Announcing the New Touchstones Series!

stones_under_waterWe are so excited to be launching our monthly Touchstones series for all Sovereign Soul Sanctuary* members!

Touchstones will be a monthly series of emails that will offer small “touchstones” – sometimes a quote, sometimes an image, sometimes an excerpt from the book, sometimes an audio visualization, sometimes a simple exercise – just little reminders to keep you connected to the monthly theme and offer you an opportunity to engage with it actively!

Each touchstone will also be posted on the private Facebook community page for you to interact with other members of the group and further activate your energy around the monthly Theme.

We thought it would be perfect to launch this new feature in June, the month where we look at Consistency and how that shows up for us in our spiritual practice. Touchstones will simply reach out to you on a consistent basis to bring your attention back to the theme, and support consistency in your own practice!

*Touchstones are a new feature for all Sovereign Soul Sanctuary Members! To learn more about how to join the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary, please visit www.sovereignsoul.org!

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The HobGoblin and the Sea: Cultivating Consistency

sea_waves_backgroundThis month over at the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary* we are looking at the role that consistency plays in our spiritual lives. And let me tell you, consistency typically gets a pretty bad rap.

For most people it’s considered a necessary evil by and for some, even an unnecessary evil. Ralph Waldo Emerson calls consistency “the hobgoblin of little minds” while Oscar Wilde refers to it as “the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Aldous Huxley says “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life.”

So, all of this is a little discouraging, yes? I mean, we know we are supposed to apply ourselves to a thing consistently, over time, and see the rewards only after regular investments of time and energy have been dutifully contributed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that’s easier said than done. Frankly the whole thing sounds dreary to me.

Face it – when you think about the things you are not doing consistently, but wish you were doing consistently, and you picture yourself actually doing them consistently – it’s a picture of you forcing yourself to do them, right? Admit it – when you think of overcoming inconsistency, you’re “muscling” yourself into it, yes?

So for most of us, the question of consistency vs. inconsistency is a question of control. We view the areas in which we are inconsistent as areas in which we are not completely in control of ourselves. We don’t have the “discipline” there, but if we could just get ourselves to straighten up and fly right, we would be totally consistent there! We really would! At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

But no wonder that doesn’t sound very fun – who wants to bully themselves into showing up or doing anything? Who wants to muscle their way through anything? And who wants to do it over and over again? Who want to “discipline” themselves, for goodness sake!

But what if consistency has nothing to do with control? In fact, what if egoic, control-oriented thinking is not only NOT the key to “overcoming” inconsistency, but might actually be contributing to your it? What if control-oriented efforts to discipline yourself are actually creating that yuck feeling when you contemplate doing whatever it is that you are loathe to do?

The subtle truth, the little-known truth is this: Consistency is not born of control. It is born of willingness.

Life is cyclical. There is ebb and flow. There is a time for everything and for everything there is a time. This is the rhythm of life. This is the nature of nature. And what that means is that the results of your efforts will never be consistent. Think of the ocean. The ocean will continue to wash the shore with waves, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, year after year.

There is literally nothing as obviously consistent as ocean waves on the shore, and yet no two waves are exactly the same. A combination of conditions – temperature, season and tide – ensures that no two waves are identical, and no two tides come in exactly the same way, and no day at the beach is ever exactly the same as the last one. But the waves show up. The rhythm, regardless of the results, is consistent. It is established and because of that, the rhythm forms a foundation from which all the infinite variations and permutations can exist.

In this metaphor, the key here is not the perfect control and discipline that the ocean maintains. The key is the willingness of the ocean to allow its waves to show up on the shore, day after day, regardless of the result. The ocean is showing up, allowing itself to unfold, and seeing what happens. And it’s doing it over and over, again and again, as though it delights in the infinite variations, and the mystery of its unfolding.

This is the secret to consistency – willingness and curiosity. The willingness to show up at the journal, or the yoga mat, or the prayer rug, or the altar without expectation of results. With only your own allowing and curiosity to bring you there. Trusting the experience to be whatever it needs to be and trusting that you are just fine exactly as you are.

It is the ego mind’s need to control everything that makes us doubt ourselves, doubt the experience, doubt the results of our efforts. And it is that doubt that makes us reluctant, resistant. We think we need to make sure we do it right somehow, and get whatever it is that we expect to get from it. We try to apply ego-mind thinking even to spiritual pursuits, but Spirit isn’t asking you to get it right. Spirit isn’t asking you to perform. Spirit isn’t asking you to achieve. Spirit isn’t asking you to match or beat your previous efforts, or the efforts of others. Spirit is just asking you to show up. To be willing and to show up, exactly as you are, as you can.

So this month, as we relax into a deeper understanding of the quality of consistency, let’s bring that awareness to our own areas of inconsistency. Where we see ourselves trying to muscle ourselves into action, let’s stop for a moment, let go of control, release discipline as a control-based exercise, and activate the energy of willingness and curiosity. Notice where you are pushing, and then relax and allow. Allow yourself to show up for the activity or intention exactly as you are, in perfect time, with perfect alignment. Just as each wave upon the shore is perfect. Utterly unique, infinitely interesting and absolutely perfect.

*This posting is referencing the monthly membership theme that members of the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary are working on throughout this month. For more information on how to join the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary, please go to www.sovereignsoul.org!

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Author Event for The Sovereign Soul: A Spiritual-but-Not-Religious Woman’s Guide to Living a Soul-Centered Life!

I’m super excited to announce that we are launching the Sovereign Soul Book Tour with an author event at the Capitola Book Café  in Capitola, California on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM!

It’s going to be a lot of fun, but I’m pretty nervous, since this is both my first book (The Sovereign Soul: A Spiritual-but-Not-Religious Woman’s Guide to Living a Soul-Centered Life9781452555690_COVER.indd), and my first ever author event! I’ll be giving a brief talk beforehand about what it means to live a Soul-centered life, and what are some things you can look at in your own life to see if you are living your own definition of a Soul-centered life.

After the talk, I’ll read a little from the book and be available to sign copies of the book! There will be a few special goodies for people that attend and some very special surprise goodies for folks who sign up for my mailing list, including being entered into a raffle for a $30 gift certificate to the bookstore!

If you are local to the Bay Area, please come down to the Capitola Book Café at 1475 41st Ave, Capitola, CA 95010 on Tuesday, June 11th at 7:30 PM and say hello!

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Sovereign Soul Sanctuary: Membership Site Launch!

It’s finally here! The Sovereign Soul Sanctuary has been ramping up over the last month, and is finally ready to launch! We’ll be kicking off the month of May with a topic call, getting to know one another and talking about our hopes and intentions for the Sanctuary.

We’re a small group right now, so we have a rare opportunity at this moment in time to share our vision for what a community of spiritual-but-not-religious women can accomplish when they come together. This community can be whatever we want it to be – whatever we make it! We each bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the mix, with different ideas of what it means to create spiritual community and to support one another in our unique spiritual journeys so this should be a really rich call!

For those of you planning to attend, I am collecting a lovely virtual goodie bag of treats to commemorate the occasion! I hope you’ll all join in today,  May 7, 2013 beginning at 4:00 PM Pacific/7:00 PM Eastern time. As with all monthly topic calls at the Sanctuary – the call will be recorded and made available for download afterwards to Sanctuary members!

If you are not already a member of the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary and you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you! You can find more information here: www.sovereignsoul.org

I’m so excited to have your company on this great adventure! See you on the call!

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Sovereign Soul Sanctuary – May’s Theme: Spaciousness

Take a deep breath in, and hold it for a second. Feel that back of your ribs expanding and the muscles surrounding them relaxing. Feel the muscles across your chest relaxing too. Now just let go – release the air with a deep slow exhale. Exhale from the soles of your feet, up through your body and out the top of your head. Feel the release. Take another slow, satisfying inhale and allow yourself to relax into the release naturally, with ease.

This is the quality of spaciousness. This is the movement of fresh air into your being, and the release of all that you no longer need. Spaciousness. Even the word feels good. Say it with me.

Spaciousness.

There is no possible way to overstate the impact of this single quality on your spiritual life. Spaciousness is an expansive state, one of allowing, one of release, one of trust and relaxation. When spaciousness shows up in your physical surroundings, your mental life, your emotional life and your spiritual orientation it supercharges and lifts up everything it touches. And when it does, it feels so so good.

This month will feature a series of posts on the quality of Spaciousness in each of these areas, starting with our physical surroundings today!

Spring is the perfect time to emphasize spaciousness in your physical surroundings – the spring purge – spring cleaning – speaks to the natural instinct to cast off the heaviness, the confinement, of the winter months and allow the fresh air to flood in, purifying every corner of your home, sweeping out any stagnant corners and cluttered closets.

In the spring we may find ourselves packing up (or selling or giving away) our winter clothes in favor of lighter, more freeing apparel – clothes that make us feel expansive and new when we wear them.

Spring is also a great opportunity to create a sense of spaciousness in our bodies – the most important physical environment we inhabit! Take a minute to look at how you enjoy food, and see if you might relish some spaciousness there. You may choose to do a Spring detox program, or simply shift the way you eat to feature more fresh produce, lighter fare, more raw, organic, nutritious meals that nourish your body and clear out any residual comfort foods you’ve been enjoying over the colder months.

You might also find yourself wanting to move more – to get out more, to be more active in the spring – taking a walk, starting a new work out regime, maybe adding swimming or some other outdoor activity that clears the energetic cobwebs from your body if you’ve been staying indoors and limiting your physical activities at all during the winter. Even if you’ve been active during the winter, spring can offer you a whole host of fresh new activities to enjoy, now that the weather is warming up!

Take a moment to think about the quality of spaciousness and how it could really open up the physical surroundings of your home, your clothing, your diet, your physical activity, and any other environments in which you find yourself. Consider the energy of the word Spaciousness. Sit with it, and imagine what a spacious home feels like, what a spacious body feels like. What would your life look like and feel like if you put a premium on space, and allowed yourself to expand into it in a relaxed and effortless way?

Next week we will explore how to create a sense of Spaciousness in your probably very busy mental life!

Love and light,

Kaite

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Completing the Circuit: Intention, Willingness and Desire

Almost anyone you talk to will agree that Intention is fundamental to creating anything you want in life. We all possess a variety of Desires. Every day we work on the task of creating the circumstances that allow those Desires to manifest into realities in our experience. Every day we are more or less successful in that effort.  But most people will agree that Desire without the energy of Intention is basically just a wish; it is impotent; something you hope for, but without the power to make it happen.

An equally important (but much less heralded) energy in the process of creation is the energy of Willingness. Willingness gets a lot less press,  probably because at first glance it seems to contradict Intention, and everybody knows that without Intention, nothing gets done. So Willingness is easy to overlook.

But the truth is that all three energies — Willingness, Desire and Intention — are necessary in order to create anything, so it may be helpful to look more closely at the relationship between the three to get a sense of how that plays out.

Willingness (sometimes also called “Surrender”) is a wide-open, receptive stance that carries a huge payload of “YES!” energy with it.  No matter how strong your Desire, at some point you have to turn it over. You have to let go, get out of your own way and release any resistance you have, any controls you have put in place to protect yourself. Willingness is where you allow whatever needs to be, to be.

But Desire seems to be the opposite of that- it’s very focused, passionate and insistent. It wants what it wants and it doesn’t want anything else. As strongly as it is “FOR” something, to that exact degree it is, essentially “AGAINST” anything else.

Traditionally we get around this apparent conflict by resolving to intend outcomes rather than intending the means by which we might achieve those outcomes. So we ask for what we want but not how we want it to get here.  This way we activate the energy of Willingness and the energy of Desire by only partially engaging with each.

But there is some treasure to be had by digging even more deeply into the nature of the relationship between the three energies of Desire, Willingness and Intention. Once we understand how Intention relates to Willingness and to Desire, and how Resistance plays its part in the system, then we can more easily understand our own role in the dynamic.

Resistance is really the tool of your ego mind, generated by your fear, and often it is the fear of wanting something badly and the fear of loss and the fear of failure and the fear of change that will keep you from intending anything at all.  Your ego mind will activate Resistance in an effort to eliminate your capacity for clear Intention. The degree to which Resistance is activated will determine the degree to which you can or cannot access your Intention at any given time.

Instead,  because your Intention has been diminished,  you find yourself engaged in a polarized version of the story, where your Desire (what you want most) is placed in opposition to your Willingness (what you are able to allow).  And once these energies are set up as a polarity (e.g. “I want it more than anything, but in order to have it I have to stop wanting it and allow myself not to have it!?!?!?!??! WHAT??!?”) you find yourself resisting both your Desire and your Willingness and moving between the two energies, unable to rest at either pole, and completely unable to muster up Intention for anything.

The polarized dynamic is ultimately a strategy of the ego mind designed to keep you out of your Intention.  It asks you to believe in a very stark, clearly defined, cut-and-dried, linear understanding of movement. It asks for a linear trajectory. It asks for a Pass/Fail mentality. It asks for a chronological order to time. And it most of all it asks for you literally to choose sides.

Now your deep knowing is that Intention carries the energy of both sides, and MORE sides. The energy of Intention is multi-dimensional.  It operates on many levels, engaging simultaneously with the energy of Desire and the energy of Willingness. It actually positions itself between the energy of Desire and the energy of Willingness, forming a bridge between the two and completing the circuit.

Intention is sophisticated enough, organic enough, to allow for apparent contradictions within itself without distorting its power. Intention can allow inconsistency without losing any of its focus, or payload. It can encompass both ends of the spectrum and everything in between.

So Resistance would try diminish, and distort, and diffuse the power of your Intention by setting limits and boundaries that cut off the flow of energy and cut you off from the flow of energy. The job of Resistance, as activated by your ego-mind, is literally to curtail the flow of energy to you, and from you, and through you. But power, flow, and current — these are the active energies of Intention. Activating Intention by releasing Resistance plugs you in, quite literally, to great power.

Intention is the dynamic  – the tension between the two energies of Desire and Willingness.  In fact, it is the alternating current between the two — allowing the two to create a dynamic tension that is electric — that is the role and the “power” of Intention.

So, you can see that this is a really lovely construct, with Intention forming a beautiful circuit between the energy of Willingness and the energy of Desire, allowing both to exist simultaneously. When Resistance has been released, and the energy is allowed to flow freely between these poles, they inform and amplify one another.  Your Intention forms the circuit and  there is no conflict, just power from and through both. It is a harmonious juxtaposition of two complementary energies.  Just becoming aware of this construct can be a huge relief energetically if you have been laboring under the illusion that you needed to abandon your Willingness in order to fulfill your Desire, or vice versa.

As you go forward take a moment to recognize the significant and powerful role that each of these energies provides in your creation. Allow yourself to sense the sophisticated, organic , multi-dimensional nature of Intention, and allow yourself to trust it. Let your new understanding of the dynamic help you to identify when your ego mind is trying to wrap you up in Resistance, by pointing out contradictions, and conflicts. Know that your Intention can encompass contradictions and take them in stride. You are not asked to decide. You are asked, instead, to expand. Instead of identifying with either your Desire or your Willingness – see if you can identify with your expansive Intention and complete the circuit between them to power up your capacity to create.

 

This post is a part of the Soul Salon, a monthly discussion of the topics that move our Spirit. For a list of all of the Soul Salon posts check out the full line up here (http://openroadscoaching.com/soul-salon-intention/ )

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Walking Each Other Home…

December 25, 2012

This is the first post of my Sovereign Soul Blog, and I thought today was as good as any to begin with my intentions for this blog and for the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary. The most important intention I have for the Sanctuary is that it would create a safe and expansive space for women with very individual spiritual practices to come together and share a sense of community. I realized that in order for that to happen, it would be important for me to allow complete transparency – or at least as much transparency as I’m able to maintain within my own expansion. By showing up real, and vulnerable and authentic and so very, very less than perfect, I can create a space where it is safe to do that. Safe to be exactly as you are, and to allow others to do the same.

It is my intention that the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary be and feel inclusive – allowing for the infinite ways in which the Divine speaks to each of us, and letting expression of that experience be welcome and supported by the members of this community.

So, it’s important to know from the very beginning that I do not see the Sovereign Soul Sanctuary as a place where you can find my answers to the hard questions. Sometimes I have answers, most of the time I just have questions. And I’d expect this to be true for all of the members – sometimes you’ll have answers, and sometimes other people’s answers will resonate with you, but always, always, always we come to the table with the questions. The human experience seems to be all about the questions.

So today, with this first blog post, I just want to welcome my readers, my tribe, and to promise that I will always be as authentic, and vulnerable and real with you as I possibly can. And my capacity to do that will probably vary depending upon circumstance, context and experience, as it always does for all of us, but that I promise to always try to really show up. To be really present, and to be really transparent so that you too can feel safe to do that.

It is with great joy and excitement that I make this first post – and that I share with you my intention for the sanctuary.  I think it was Ram Dass who best captures the spirit of my intention for this community in these words:

“We are all just walking each other home…”

With great love and light on Christmas Day, 2012

Kaite McGrew

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