With this Ring

The ring I ordered the day after Thanksgiving finally arrived. I immediately slipped it on my finger. I selected this particular ring for two reasons: it has a definite boho style to it, and the silver band is made from a feather, my symbol for 2018.

The ring is bestowed with significance for me already. The feather design will be a constant reminder of the journey I am on this year. As I moved through my day, a story arose around the ring that makes it even more…dare I say it?….precious to me.

The story began this morning with a quote that arrived in my email box.

“To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself.” Marie Forleo

I was struck with the truth of that statement. I quit setting goals on January 1, years ago. Instead, I choose to immerse myself in the flow of life, engaging passionately with others, acting on the opportunities that are presented to me and navigating through the challenges that appear.

My goals have shifted into promises that I make to myself and to the Divine, and they begin with a simple premise…stay in the flow and trust that it will carry me to where I need to go. It’s not that I don’t make plans. However, they are released to the Divine as desires of my heart, as promises. And then I let go of the outcome. I stay open to possibilities, and act on the next thing I need to do, as it is presented.

My trips to Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England last year began as desires, as promises, made to myself and to others, to travel. The Italy trip was five years in coming together. The UK trip came together in a year. I took each step as the way opened before me, as did the family members who traveled with me, until we boarded those international flights.

I looked up the word promise this afternoon, to see its origin. Promise comes from the Latin words pro, meaning “forward”, and mittere, meaning “send”. Promittere – promise -to send forward or put forth. My heart beat faster when I discovered the literal meaning. A promise is sending something forward, putting something out there.

That is what I am doing, when I make these promises to myself…I am sending something forward before it is made manifest. I am putting my dreams and desires out there. And then acting on the guidance I am given. What a beautiful meaning the word promise holds for me now.

Looking at my ring, the significances suddenly all connected together. Promise rings are frequently given to represent love, and a commitment to a future long term relationship. That commitment may turn into a marriage. However, it can also signify a forever friendship or an eternal bond between a parent and a child.

My ring is a promise ring, that I have given to myself. It represents a commitment I am making to myself, to honor and cherish my heart, mind, body and spirit. I promise to care for myself, to continually learn and grow, and to seek to raise my awareness ever higher. I promise to listen to myself, to love and accept myself, and be gracious, so I can love and accept others, while being gracious to them.

And in keeping with the theme for this year, I make a promise to myself, and to the Divine, to see the Larger Story, to communicate my own story with transparent authenticity, and to share the stories of others with compassion.

I am so grateful that I was drawn to this special piece of jewelry. At the time, it was pretty and it represented my symbol. I had no idea, yet, the truth the silver feather would bring to me. I wear it with a heart full of wonder and joy.

With this ring…as my reminder…I will be mindful of my promises and what I am quite literally sending forward. I pinky swear.

The Stories I Don’t Want to Tell

Every morning, I ask the Divine a question, “How shall we play today?” Beginning this morning, I added a second question, “What story shall we tell?” The answer came almost immediately. I was guided to write about the stories I don’t want to tell.

Author and speaker Byron Katie has taught me valuable truths about these kinds of stories, the ones we make up in our minds that are responses to life situations. She says we create stress in our lives when we argue against what is, instead of accepting it. We go into our heads and create untrue stories around a situation, and then believing the story we have made up as truth, we unwittingly invite misery in.

You wave at a friend at a crowded mall food court. She doesn’t wave back. In fact, she appears to ignore you completely as she rushes by. Your mind immediately builds a story around that incident. She must be upset with me, to ignore me like that. What have I done to her? She believes she is better than me. I don’t like her anyway.

On and on the thoughts go, building a story based on a perception. The emotions the story generates feel genuine, and affect your mood and your whole day. Later you find out the friend did not see you at all. She was distracted as she rushed to purchase a gift for her mom’s birthday. The situation created had everything to do with your thoughts about it, and nothing to do with the friend.

I experienced this type of negative story telling, when I twisted my knee in October. As I dealt with pain again, after being pain free for more than a year, my mind began spinning out a story about what was happening.

This always happens with my left knee! It is weak. It gives me trouble. What if it doesn’t heal? What if my knee hurts for years? What will people think, after I’ve shared my healing journey, if they see me limping again?

On and on my story went, until I brought myself back into reality, back to the present moment and complete awareness. The truth was, my left knee twisted. And it was painful, as a result. That was all. That was the real story.

From my fifteen months of adhering to a plant based lifestyle, and learning to care deeply for myself, I knew what to do to heal. I applied knowledge, and tenderness, toward improving my knee….and it healed.

One of the most freeing lessons I have learned in the last few years, is to not go into the stress inducing practice of creating untrue stories around people, events and situations. I have learned to stop myself when I begin to do so. During my Year of Surrender, I discovered that telling myself untrue stories moved me out of the flow of life. I could feel the resistance my thoughts created, and that became my signal to release them, and return to the flow.

Life is easy in the flow. Life is without stress, in the flow. Byron Katie says, “We don’t attach to things; we attach to our stories about them.” And who has control over the stories I tell? I do. Who has control over the stories you tell? You do.

Stories are compelling. Whether they are good stories that encourage, or stories that create stress, they have the ability to shift us energetically, upward or downward.

Robert McKee ways, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” 

I take my responsibility, as a storyteller, as an alchemist, very seriously. The ideas that I put out into the world, by way of my stories, will be held to a high standard. No one else sees the world exactly as I do. No one else can tell the stories that I can tell. The same is true for you. I am excited to share my stories with you. I am excited to hear the stories you will share with me.