Woodpile Wisdom: The Power of Simply Starting

  I’ve been hibernating in the woods next to the ocean for the last two months. I’ve had lots of time to marinate in the silence and isolation that always calls to me when the nights get long and the natural world sleeps. I’ve also learned a lot. From my woodpile, no less.   The house I’m in is old and the walls are full of love and life well lived. It’s also cold. And damp, especially in the winter. A wood-burning stove is my primary source of heat. Fortunately, the house comes with its own seemingly endless supply of wood. But the wood is out back and there is no one here to help me move it inside.   When I first arrived, I was totally overwhelmed just by the idea of bringing enough wood inside to heat the house. Thinking about it made my back and head hurt. So, for the first few days, I simply turned up the old thermostat and added another layer. I pretended that I was warm enough. But it was January, the temperature was dropping and heavy rains were in the forecast. I knew I had to face the music and bring in wood. So I bundled up, found some work gloves and headed out back, dreading the process and hoping that once I was sitting in front of a warm fire, it would all be worth it.   As I rounded the corner of the house, the first thing I saw was a wheelbarrow.   AHA!! That will help.   I took the wheelbarrow over to the woodpile and started loading...

Release Fear and Ride the Butterflies!

“Be more curious than afraid.”  -Ishi   I am calling BULLSHIT on fearlessness. Fearlessness is a myth. A set-up. An illusion. On the other hand, fear is a natural, often healthy response that arises deep in our reptilian brain. Evolutionarily speaking, it got us here. It helped our species survive in a world that really wasn’t safe, when “not belonging” to a family or a tribe really was a matter of life and death.   While there are no more saw-tooth tigers threatening us, our reptilian brain – and its fear response – is not going away. Trying to get rid of fear is like Sisyphus trying to roll the stone up that mountain. It’s a no-win. That’s why I’m calling BULLSHIT on fearlessness.   If fear is here to stay, how do we move beyond it? Here’s my current fear challenge. I long to move out into the world. To give what I know I came here to give. Yet, when it comes to acting on my desire, I am often paralyzed by fear. It feels like I’m on my own personal see-saw. One breath, I’m up, ready to take off. The next breath, I’m down, so scared I can’t move. It’s crazy-making.   Does this sound familiar? How often do we find ourselves here? Too many to count right? Sigh. Each time I wake up in this place, I have to re-remember that I can be scared AND move forward at the same time. I can choose to move through – and beyond – fear, if I’m willing to practice – a lot! – compassion, curiosity and courage. ...

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