Two years ago, I attended a business retreat with George Kao and it was a life-changer--by far the most transformational business event I have ever attended, bar none. I was so excited about it that I decided to convince George, renowned social media marketer-"Spiritpreneur", along with shadow-master Katie Curtin, to activate that powerful magic at least once more.
So next month, George, Katie and I are co-hosting "Spiritpreneurs," an intimate mastermind retreat that will take place in Northern California from September 12-14, 2014. The event is for conscious entrepreneurs and innovators who are seeking an authentic business model and inspired, true-to-the-soul, marketing. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves, go deep into your heart and work on your true livelihood, then this event is for you. http://www.spiritbusinessmastermind.com
I realize that you probably have a lot going on, but if you want a truly life-changing intensive I urge you to join us. Together we will explore generative, inspired business models--ones that I believe can transform commerce over the next few years. The best part: you'll discover magic within YOU that can light your way forward.
I know , because it happened to me.
It is going to be an amazing, bonding, and powerful experience for sure. Come join us and other select "Spiritpreneurs" to build a plan for your own true livelihood business. Apply here: http://www.spiritbusinessmastermind.com
So... the Hero's Journey Summer Book Adventure begins and I enter into the unknown world ...
As a first step,
I need to recommit to my rhythmic structure. it helps me stay focused,
productive, and allows my creativity to emerge as the psyche/muse does
its magic. So I started this morning. As it turns out, I wasted 20 minutes
looking for that nearly-blank journal for my morning pages and ended up
cleaning off my desk instead of getting started. (just noticing, and
trying not to judge) So my first morning page entry is doing double duty
as this blog entry... with my musings about the importance of rhythmic
structure. Rhythmic structure is important. For
me, I need to start with elements that calm my mind chatter... with 30
minutes of meditation and at least two binder-size pages of
stream-of-consciousness writing, though I realize Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way suggest 3 pages. (It's my structure, I can do what I need to. ) Here is what I am putting in place as a daily structure:
Wake up early, have a cup of tea
Meditate 30 min
Exercise--movement every day, vigorous exercise 4 days/week (30 min)
1 hour of working on this program and my book
break., shower etc
Go to work.
I need to arise at 5:00 am to get all this in. That means bed at 9pm. *sigh* no more strolling around facebook until 11pm. Thoughts on resistance... If you haven't read it, Stephen Pressfield's The War of Art
is a very good read about overcoming resistance in doing ones work (in
my case--writing). Pressfield comes at it from a masculine
perspective--with many "war" metaphors of course... but he has a point. Resistance
takes a variety of forms. Perfectionism, the self critic,
procrastination, distraction, worry about what others think,
indecision.... it's all here. He offers many strategies--including
just persevering and putting in the time, whether or not it turns out to
be a productive day. We are here to do our work. Do the work. That's
what pro's do. (I assume that you need to "go pro" if you expect
someone to pay you for what you write.) Rhythmic structure is vital strategy for me in overcoming resistance and getting quality writing out into the world. That
said, there is a more feminine approach to creativity--it is more like
cultivating a garden. I start by preparing the soil and then I plant
seeds... and then I feed what I want to grow. Rhythmic structure is preparing the soil, pure and simple.
I am undertaking a new initiative with life design coach Katie Curtin this summer.
Katie (founder of the Creativity Cafe) and I are each writing and self-publishing our next books in the coming weeks and we plan to invite a select small group to join us and do the same.
Together, we will get our books written, finished, published and ranked in their categories on Amazon Kindle. In the process, we will take a select group of people each by the hand and walk them through getting their own book done -- step by step, with built-in accountability. We will cover the entire process: from breaking through writer's block, procrastination and visibility issues to FINALLY getting the book finished, to creating a great in-demand book cover and title, to putting in place the systems and strategies for self-publishing and ranking the book on Amazon.
Why did Katie and I decide to work together on this? Simple: we discovered that we each bring a complementary gift to the process:
I bring the structural, systems and tactical steps--basically the same approach that I used to publish Tending the Soul's Garden with great results(my book was ranked the number one permaculture book for weeks--even above those who invented permaculture!)
Katie brings what's needed to actually get the book finished--accountability, coaching and energy healing. If you have a book that you just cannot seem to get done, working with Katie can change all that.
In June, Katie and I will be accepting applications and interviewing candidates for this program. (We only want people who are serious about doing the work, and whose books offer a positive contribution).
But before we send out more details, we would love to hear from you:
1) Do you have a book you want to write or have partially written? What's the topic?
2) What's the #1 reason getting in the way of you going forward with this book project?
3) Which of the following topics would be of most importance to you?
-- structuring the content so it is clear to the reader (and so it will sell)
-- ensuring that you write in "your voice"
-- getting it done- writers block/procrastination
-- publishing your book on Amazon
-- marketing it and getting it ranked as a bestseller in its category
-- how to leverage the book into other revenue and outreach opportunities
-- fears about visibility and putting yourself out there
-- How to promote the book in a way that suits your personality and style
We'd really love to hear from you. Just contact us and tell us what's getting in your way, and what you'd like to know more about.
It has been a couple of months since we connected with you via Growing Edge, and we now return to our farm rhythm. So much has happened these past weeks--we can't wait to share!
In this issue of Growing Edge,
we highlight the power of rhythmic structure to release creativity and
flow in our lives and work. Loretta shares her transformative
experience of putting structure in place and Denise offers insights from
the garden leading to greater focus and abundance. Both of us have been speaking at events
(both live and virtually) on the topic of the inner work of spiritual
entrepreneurship. We share these details below along with access to a
new program offered by our friend and colleague JoAnn Saccato
(including a way to get a free copy of her book for a limited time).
Also, don't miss the May Day SPECIAL discount for the Big Why telesummit
package--Denise's series for taking your own work to the next level.
This edition of Growing Edge is all about rhythm--and we must say It is good to be back in the seasonal and daily cycles that sustain us.
Rhythm - Routine - Release
other years of multiple resolutions, for me 2014 began with only one:
to co-direct a twelve week deep grief recovery project with Dr. Jack
Miller with all the energy and focus I could summon. This resolution has
changed my life. It has given me a rhythm that is more than a routine
and provided me with a channel for release on varied levels: physical,
emotional, and spiritual.
It all began with my commitment to meditate, to exercise, to feel my
feelings as fully as possible, and to express these feelings creatively
in writing and in art. I was invited to journey with the participants in
this project as they did the same and to help hold the container that
protected us throughout this rite of initiation. The project concluded
with my being anointed a Ritual Elder at the final celebration on April
The ending was only a beginning.
During the last few weeks – back at home on the orchard - I have grown
in my awareness of the power inherent in my staying within the rhythmic
structure that I created during the project. In the past, I have
struggled to establish a strict routine… (e.g. walking every day at
7:00AM.) Perhaps I thought that structure would limit my freedom. I
found the opposed to be true.
What a difference it makes to prioritize my rhythmic structure each
day. I give myself time to do those things before other scheduled
activities. For me, this includes twenty minutes of quiet meditation, a
healthy breakfast, and a brisk walk or engaging in a needed farm chore.
Yes, sometimes it means getting up very early, but the flow of energy
throughout the day makes the early rising worthwhile.
Allowing time to write about strong feelings that rise up during the
day is equally important. A pad on my desk or by my bed for evening
reflection helps me to capture those feelings and then schedule a time
to sit and creatively express them in whatever medium appeals. For me,
this is usually art paper and craypas (crayon and pastels combined that
allows the blending of colors and shapes with one’s fingers)
Now, I am deeply convinced of the importance for all of us who are
involved in the Great Work to create a rhythmic structure that sustains
us in our endeavors. Doing so has brought me to a place of deep peace
and joy in my work.
Gardens require rhythm to grow: The daily rhythm of watering, weeding, harvesting--the
weekly rhythm of reseeding and fertilizing, the seasonal rhythms of
selecting new seeds, mulching and composting, and the annual rhythm of
planning and perhaps expanding. In any garden, we co-create abundance
by aligning with and participating in natural rhythmic cycles. Rhythmic Structure What is rhythmic structure? It is one of
the most powerful secrets to unlocking innovation, productivity and
success, and , more importantly, a path to deeper joy in life. I have noticed that through the simple
activities of meditation, exercise and regularly scheduled creative
time, a subtle change takes place within me, opening the door to
possibility. At first, creating structure to be
“creative” may seem counter-intuitive. By keeping the big picture in
mind, taking simple daily actions, and by bravely addressing barriers
(especially difficult ones), we become free. Structure gives us the
freedom to follow our heart, apply our mind and feed our spirit... The
path before is set by a deep internal awareness and aligned with our
true purpose. Rhythmic Structure is essentially soil
building. The results of a regular ritual or practice are that we not
only create the conditions for success in our work, but we find joy and
freedom in doing so. The bottomline: our psyche rewards
rhythmic structure. I find that keeping a rhythmic structure unleashes
my creativity, dynamically creates the conditions for my success and
most importantly, allows me to expand and grow with JOY.
Companioning the Sacred Journey Course
Our good friend JoAnn Saccato recently launched a 5-week course based on her best selling book, Companioning the Sacred Journey: A Guide to Creating a Compassionate Container for Your Spiritual Practice. (Keep reading to see how you can receive the book for FREE!)
is a gifted and talented, heart-based Spiritual/Life Coach, Reiki
Master and mindfulness meditation teacher who lived ten years in chop
wood, carry water fashion. As her canine companion of 15 years, Shyla,
passed, JoAnn reflects in the book on how she compassionately attended
Shyla and herself through their heart rending parting.
JoAnn’s course focuses on three tools discussed in the book:
journaling, mindfulness, and affirmations. (This course is definitely
for you if you’re craving more authenticity, acceptance, forgiveness,
gratitude and joy!)
The five-week courses include live sessions with JoAnn, online
curriculum, a private online community, guided meditations and more. The
tele-course version is perfect for those wanting to integrate these
tools while immersed in life and begins May 20, 2014. A new in-person
course begins May 22, 2014. Get full details HERE: http://www.companioningthesacredjourney.com/courses.html
JoAnn is extending a $50 discount to our friends and their friends if
you sign up by May 5th. (Just select the “Friends of Denise and Loretta”
option during check out.)
JoAnn’s generosity touches our hearts in a big way. She alerted us that if you sign up for her email list http://www.companioningthesacredjourney.com, she’ll send you the details on how you can download her book for FREE!
Special Invitation: Have you heard about the Summit “Innovative Change for Entrepreneurs”?
Both Loretta and Denise have been invited to participate in this free
virtual event with host Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers. Discover how to be the
Light or Leader in YOUR business, please join us and our fellow experts here.
On May 20, 2014, Denise also speaking at Jenean Zunk's event "Own your Awesome" The event is for entrepreneurs looking to overcome fear and self doubt. Denise's topic is Audacious Mindset: Essential Principles and Practices for the Conscious Entrepreneur
Setting a clear and powerful intention is like creating fertile soil. This is where we begin if we want to create abundance.
But what happens if we struggle to create
an intention? What then? Sometimes selecting a direction and beginning
to take action helps… but more often, it simply results in a flurry of
activity without result. How can I commit to creating a healthy “garden” if I have not decided what to plant or where to plant it?
If I am floundering, I find it is helpful
to reset my intention to that of creating fertile soil for my dream to
emerge I commit (or recommit!) to a daily rhythm and structure, and
set time aside for carefree play, creativity and time to just be. I
observe natural forces around me and allow the energies within me to
emerge. These energies fuel my next step.
To explore this topic of intention in greater depth, I invite you to consider investing in The Big Why Telesummit series.
THE BIG WHY -- Special
Until May 15th, we are offering $75 off the regular investment of $197 for the Big Why Telesummit premier series. The
Big Why is an opportunity to learn from the most powerful storytellers
and inspired entrepreneurs about what fuels their Great Work so you can
better align with yours.
These are some of my personal heroes and
all are inspirational leaders—I interview each one of them to dig in on
their top strategies for how they:
--Align with their "Big Why"
--Take their own work (and their clients) to the next level
--Challenge themselves to tell a new story --and much more. (Of course, I share my own strategies too)
Discover how to unleash your potential,
align with your purpose and take your own work to the next level. You
receive downloadable MP3s, transcripts and my own action sheets for each topic--plus you get valuable gifts from many of the speakers... everything you need to get the most out of the material.
No matter what, when it gets hot, we risk losing plants and trees.
The problem is that the irrigation systems cannot take a hard freeze... so we walk that delicate balance of waiting until the last minute and then getting the irrigation systems in place, repairing the left-in-place tubing from damage the season before (or from chickesn or freezing over the winter), replacing timer batteries, putting the systems back together, reprogramming the timers and testing everything.
Inevitably, it is a race against the clock on these volatile spring days. Too cold, then too hot, and maybe a cold snap comes again.
The more we plant, the more difficult "irrigation weekend" has become. I have now officially reached the limit for a one person operation--I'll need to train others in irrigation or risk losing perennials.
The lesson here?
Do not expand beyond your ability to put systems in place. Really--it is that simple.
After many weeks away from farm life, I am re-entering gently.
The community that has formed here at Dancing TreePeople Farm has organized the greenhouse and barn tools and started the early spring seedlings. I return in time to see the perennials drinking the last of the spring rain.
It is time to set out the irrigation lines.
Being away for so long means that I do not know where anything is. With a gentle spirit, I've spent the day poking through the barn, the toolshed, the garage, breezeway and one of the greenhouses to seek out the irrigation supplies I will need to get the plants water.
The plants are not seeing any water yet, but at least I know where everything is. It is nice to be home.
Have you ever tired to solve a problem - a suduko puzzle? a relationship challenge? a choice between two good opportunities? Have you expended lots of time and energy to find an answer that eludes you? Only to step away from the trying so hard - to distract yourself with a totally different activity - and lo! the answer comes. This has happened to me so often.
The series of Soulwork Adventures that I will be posting here weekly are meant to be simple, grounded, enjoyable experiences that give us a way to step out of our "solution mind" into an "allowing mind". So acknowledge that you are trying to solve a problem, if possible let it go for now, and take time to engage in a Soulwork Adventure:
Sometimes our inner “season” can seem out of sync with the outer season. Snow can be falling and freezing winds can be whipping around us, yet our hearts are warm with anticipation and blossoming with hope. Create a symbol of your inner season this week. Find a small box – a brown lunch bag is fine. Decorate the outside of the box/bag with pictures and words that are expressions of the present season: summer, winter, spring, or fall. During the week gather pictures, write down words, and find trinkets that seem to match your inner season. What are you experiencing inside? For example, inside you is it: a summer of refreshment, an autumn of change, a winter of surrender, or a spring of blossoming? Each day place the pictures or words or trinkets in the decorated container. At the end of the week, empty them out and consider their meaning in your life at this time. Be present to the insights that arise and give thanks.
At the end of the week go back to the "problem" - any new insights? or is it still a puzzle? Even if there is still no solution in sight, how does it feel to have done the inner and outer season activity? Was it more beneficial than only focusing on the challenge being faced. I will post my answer next week - hope you do too.
Why is it that we need to "let go" before the seeds we plant will grow? Dancing TreePeople Farm (dancingtreepeople.com) is no longer for sale. The Universe presented us with a solution that brought tears to my eyes because it perfectly matched my decade-old dream of a transformational intentional community. Two deaths in the family, and other misadventures led me to believe the dream would never happen, so after a decade of trying too hard... I let it go and decided to move on. No sooner did the for sale sign go up than the possibility emerged. Now the sign has come down and community is forming with friends/brilliant changemakers. No doubt this little corner of the world will change the world. It is inevitable now. I am pinching myself.
It is time for the next phase of the Audacious Plan
Back by popular demand... a video Massey Burke and I created last year.
I haven't been ill in a very long time... and this week I found myself with a raging sore throat, aches and other unpleasant symptoms. I attribute this to a deeper internal transformation underway. In my experience, my resistance is lower than usual to such influences when I am deeply open to change...
Lucky me! (really!) I get the chance to just STOP, take care of myself and find my center. In my weakened state, with gentle self-care, I am treated to a brilliant autumn display here at Dancing TreePeople Farm. Armed with a few throat lozenges, hot tea, and spiced with honey from our farm ---I let the sun warm my face, tend to my aching body. How good it is to sink into the beauty of this place and allow it to heal me.
The one word that best describes Loretta's and my journey across the USA to visit earth spirituality centers in tribute to her brother John.
I left California fancying myself a marginal farmer and came back realizing that what I have initiated at Dancing TreePeople farm has been amazing. Now, my energies are drawing me to something new and yet unformed.
I am clear that I will not know what is next until I let go of what has been.
We need to put DancingTreePeople farm on the market and set an intention that someone will purchase it who can continue the transformation that was started here. This decision has triggered the next whirlwind. In the weeks to come so much will happen. Yet, I am at peace in the midst of it.
Dancing TreePeople Farm is a special place. It has taught me to take things one step at a time, to be persistent and observant. It has taught me that the universe is on my side, even though my vision might not be how things actually unfold.
It has taught me that each new cycle, each season is an opportunity for abundance and a change to try something new. it has taught me to appreciate and value community and connection.
It has taught me that nature is powerful and fecund.
There will be a great deal of grief in letting go... for so much has taken place here and so much of my life's blood, my time, resources, hopes and dreams have been poured into this farm. This place is special. It is beautiful and alive. It is rich beyond measure.
In the weeks ahead, it is my intention to share the wisdom of Dancing TreePeople Farm and the insights that I will take forward into what is to come.
As we drove into the driveway at 1445 Pitney Lane, we were greeted by three barking, exuberant, well-cared for dogs and their caretaker, Denise's sister Shelly. What a welcome! It is so good to be home. Unpacking, catching up, and entering back into the daily tasks feels so good.
Tonight I am looking forward to a good rest. Tomorrow, I may need to take one of the dogs to the vet - for a possible fox tail in her ear. Back to life as usual. How good! There is so much about the trip that I want to process and share. More in the days ahead.
"California or bust" has changed to "We made it!" Though not all the way to Upper Lake, we are finally back in California with one more day on the road to go! Today's trip was long and felt even lo-o-onger as we traveled through the Mojave Desert toward Bakersfield. But there is so much beauty and diversity within the landscape, even when it seems to "look" the same, I watched the passing scenes with a deep sense of wonder!
John seemed to have had the same delight in the natural beauty that surrounded him. Among his many pictures (1000+) are scenes of waterfalls, cactus pocketed desert, barren trees, blossoming bushes, mountains, streams, deer, bears, elk, turtles, rabbits, and the list goes on. John had a photographer's eye and many of the pictures he took are striking, I am so grateful to have seen for myself some of the sights that caught his eye and imagination.
Before leaving for this tribute journey, I had removed John's photos from the albums where he had placed them in a somewhat random way. With some of the pictures I created an album to share at the memorial service. The rest ended up in a shoebox. Often as we have been driving home (and I have been the passenger) I would look at them and arrange them in categories. Most of the pictures are of the people who were part of John's life, but he also had photos of his truck parked in front of the places where he stopped to help, of the bedrooms where he stayed, and of the projects that he worked on. And, yes, of tables decorated for holidays and of food that was served. Each picture holds a memory. I am grateful to have them and to remember the stories that John shared about his life.
I almost titled this entry "Altered States" because after over two weeks on the road, from driving to accepting the hospitality of so many generous people and the kindness of strangers, I most certainly feel fundamentally changed. As often happens, the outer world mirrors the inner world... here we are in the wide open southwest, seeking out the "four corners" --the spot where four states come together: New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah..
There is a history of surveyor disagreement as to the EXACT spot, but popular lore and public outcry has affixed the marker in this very spot, and there it stays. And to me, Pluto is still a planet too no matter what they say.
Today we did something that John would never do - a little bit of sightseeing! Instead of going directly to our next stop over place we took a side trip to the Four Corners Monument. It is the only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point. On August 23rd we drove in four states. Today we stood infour states at the same time: New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Plus we saw Shiprock, a monadnock rising nearly 1,583 feet above the high desert plain on the Navajo Nation, and other marvelous vistas and rock formations.
The highlight of our day was the time we spent with the community at the Desert House of Prayer in St. Michaels, AZ. For me, this included a chance to reconnect with one of my dearest friends, Sr. Nancy, who also knew and loved John. And we had the opportunity to tell the story of our tribute journey to others who were guests as well. Six of us sat around the dinner table sharing stories and delicious food from Judy's garden, a productive oasis in this desert land.
As I get ready for another restful night, I am aware of a deep connection between all the places that we have visited on this trip. They are places of life and welcome! Though they may seem to be located in out of the way places, they are peace-filled versions of "Grand Central Station". It was true at Rockhaven Ecozoic Center, at St. Francis / St. Emma, at Timberlake, and now here at the Desert. People are in and out - volunteering, bring fresh produce, stopping by to say "hi" or to seek advice, asking for prayer, checking on a scheduled activity, and so on. What a gift these places offer our world. No wonder John was drawn to visit and to serve!
Another day of driving through the beautiful, amazingly diverse, terrain of New Mexico until we reached "Colorful Colorado" as the welcome sign announced. We had decided to change our original travel plans so we could include Durango. We wanted to visit with Lora Cardarelli, a friend of ours and of John's. Lora and John had met each other at Rockhaven Ecozoic Center and had worked together there on a couple of projects. We told stories of John and caught up with each other's lives. Then, we enjoyed a delicious meal with Lora and her partner Molly before heading out again toward the setting sun.
Our "detour" may mean a fewer longer days of driving ahead but the time to connect was such a blessing. I have a deeper appreciation of why John often went out of his way to stop and visit new friends and old, as he traveled. Tired tonight and deeply grateful!
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an ecological design framework inspired by living systems. The ethics, root practices and principles in permaculture can be applied to the garden, the farm, and indeed any living system including human structures.