I did a fun exercise in The Artist’s Way that explored possibilities. The assignment was to collect images that represent items in lists that I made. This is absolutely perfect for me, this time of year. As 2015 is winding down, I’m taking time in December to reflect on my past journey, enjoy the Christmas season and think about 2016 and its theme and symbol. I make a Vision Board every January. The images I am collecting now will be incorporated into my new 2016 Vision Board.
Here are the categories from the assignment and the images I selected that I’ll print out and use next month. The idea is to fill in the lists quickly without overthinking.
List five desires:
1. Live part of the year in Edinburgh, Scotland
3. Express creativity in art, writing, gardening and decorating
4. Be a full time writer
5. Take a cooking class
If I was 20 and had money…five things I would do:
1. Travel the world
2. Invest to create sustaining wealth
3. Buy land
4. Build my ideal home
5. Invest in others
When I am 65 and have money…five things I will do:
1. Explore the world
2. Buy a cottage in Edinburgh, Scotland
3. Create Rivendell of the Ozarks
4. Invest in my family
5. Invest in others
This was a valuable exercise for me. I noticed, for example, that travel made all three lists. As my children have grown up and now have lives of their own, travel has become increasingly attractive to me. Expressing my creativity, in a multitude of ways, made the list. Investing in my family and others is important.
Scotland is dear to me and I feel the tug to “return home” to Edinburgh. I’d love to have a house or flat there where I could stay a month at a time, several times a year. And the land, creating Rivendell and investing in others is all connected. To offer a protected place where people can rest, reconnect with their hearts and leave feeling refreshed has long been a dream of mine. See the video at the end of the blog post for a movie I made several years ago about seeing my dream birthed into reality.
I’m excited to use these images as the basis for my 2016 Vision Board. I love connecting with my desires, seeing them as possibilities, and then releasing them as intentions into the universe, and into the hands of God. I can let go of the outcomes and watch as the Divine sets all of time and space into motion to meet me in my longings, in the way that is best for me. I’m so grateful for the year I’ve had. Bring on 2016!
My journey today began and ended in a similar fashion, full of mystery, although the locations were miles and miles apart. It was primarily an inner journey, with outer manifestations. Early this morning, standing with clients on a remote piece of land, I gazed with appreciation out over fields of waving grasses. Turning to look at the pretty little creek that marks the boundary of the acreage, I was surprised to note that tears were filling my eyes.
This happened several times as I walked around. It wasn’t sadness that brought the reaction. And although the land was beautiful to behold, it wasn’t beauty that was piercing my heart either. Something deeper was calling to my spirit, and my body was responding. The seller of the property was standing quietly beside me. He asked me if I could feel it. I could, but what was I feeling? He told me we were standing on ancient Native American lands. Not a burial site or battlefield, but an area along the creek where the People hunted and lived. That stirring around my heart expanded. We agreed it was a sacred and blessed space.
It was a beautiful and mystical experience for me. The quiet joy, peace and sense of sacredness surrounded me. What amazed me the most was that while my brain was asking “What is it?”, my spirit had already recognized what was calling to me and responded, with stirrings around my heart and tears in my eyes.
As I drove back to Joplin, two hours later, I turned that experience over and over and examined it. That deep sense of place, of peace and joy and protected space, is exactly what I want to offer to others. I hope someday to have acreage of my own, with a creek running through it, where people can retreat from the busyness of their lives and reconnect with their hearts. That spirit recognition that happens as the heart opens, even while the mind is still churning, is the desire behind offering my own version of Rivendell to the world. I created a Mind Movie of Rivendell of the Ozarks 5 or 6 years ago. I was reminded of it today, and wanted to share it here, however it wouldn’t play anymore on YouTube. I’d like to create a new movie, since I’ve journeyed farther along Life’s path.
This evening, winding down from the day, I spent time in my current Rivendell space, my backyard garden. As I weeded and trimmed back plants whose flowers have faded, I hummed contentedly and thought about the blessed ground I stood on this morning.
I was pulling a weed near a bushy plant that puts up long slender stalks with small pink flowers on them. I glanced down and was delighted to see a pale green praying mantis looking at me. This is the first time I’ve seen this interesting insect in my garden. As I spoke to him, I was surprised to see three more praying mantises, of varying sizes, on the same plant!
My delight was now magnified times four, and tinged with surprise. Just a couple of days ago, a praying mantis showed up indoors, on a bag of potato chips. He scampered up my arm and I released him outdoors. Now here were four more, all swiveling their heads to watch me as I snapped pics. Fascinated, I strolled through the garden, checking plants. No praying mantises. When I returned to the first plant only one insect remained.
I welcome these insects to my garden. They are great allies that will keep damaging insects under control. However, I view everything that happens as an ongoing conversation with the Divine. Something stirred again near my heart, just as it had early this morning. What was the deeper message these four little creatures were bringing me?
I rested in a chair on the brickio, the cool breeze bringing me the scent of mint and basil and sage. As I sipped on iced tea, I googled the symbolism of the praying mantis. Amazing. The praying mantis has a great deal of mysticism around it. It symbolizes stillness, representing prayer or meditation, and the mantis comes to us when we need peace, calmness and quiet. When too much busyness has crept into our lives, this little guy’s appearance is a reminder to become quiet and listen for the still small voice within. I needed that reminder! And having four mantises show up at once added additional importance to the announcement.
The praying mantis is also associated with time, because of its ability to wait patiently and then strike its prey at exactly the right moment. They are associated with the manipulation of time, able to move between moments and worlds, making them time travelers. I’m not making this up! Time travel seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life right now. Time in the linear sense is irrelevant to the mantis as it moves according to its inner instincts. Another great message for me.
I learned new things about my little friends, the mantises, and received messages for my heart and soul today, from them and from an ancient parcel of sacred land. I know, at the right moment in time, Rivendell will launch from here, my own backyard. I just need to keep journeying, my heart open, my spirit free. The last thing I read about the symbolism of the praying mantis is that it understands the circular nature of time. I feel like I experienced that as well today, morning and evening, lessons for my soul in the journey. A big circle. I’m right there with you, Mr. Mantis.
I blogged, on Day 52, about my dream of creating a Rivendell like place, based on the Elven house of healing in Lord of the Rings. My version of Rivendell would have whimsical cottages to stay in, walking trails that meandered through wooded acreage, a stable, gardens, and a small lake to play in. The dream was to create a space where people could disconnect from the busyness of their lives and, away from work and the stresses of life, they could reconnect with their hearts and their purposes. The largest possible incarnation of my dream includes a Retreat Center, where classes could be offered, massages given, yoga and tai chi practiced. There would even be a small, wonderfully unique restaurant that offered fresh, wholesome meals. Here in Rivendell there would be peace, beauty, good food, restoration and just plain rest.
I haven’t given up on that dream. However, as I posted previously, I realized two years ago that I AM Rivendell. I don’t have to wait for the acreage and all that I see in my vision. I create the peace and beauty and rest wherever I am. My backyard garden is an expression of my Rivendell desire. Creating the vignettes and the front porch décor and the meditation area and gathering place in the backyard, are all extensions of who I am, and what I want to offer.
I asked my darling niece, Ashley, to create a logo for Rivendell of the Ozarks, using the simple tagline that I came up with earlier in the year. Ashley is, among her other talents, a gifted graphic designer. Examples of her work can be seen by clicking the link at the end of this blog post. I love the design she created for me. It conveys what I want it to convey. And the Celtic knot in the background is a wonderful nod to my Scottish and Irish heritage.
It is time for the logo. I will continue in real estate, until the path clearly leads me elsewhere. And, I am opening myself to doing so much more. More truthfully, I am BEING, and out of that being, I am doing so much more. This has been an exciting year of first things, and shifts and opportunities have appeared during this amazing journey. Rivendell of the Ozarks creates a space from which I can offer all that I want to offer, all that I am being led to offer. I have upcoming opportunities to teach, write, speak and simply be present with others. I am learning and growing, and most importantly, I am staying connected to God and staying in the flow. By remaining exactly where I am supposed to be, in the flow, I will be taken exactly where I am supposed to go. An adventure is unfolding, and I am unfolding with it!
One of my favorite sayings right now is, “I am open to everything, and attached to nothing.” The quote has been attributed to several people, primarily Dr. Wayne Dyer. For me this means I am not limiting what is happening in my life, or saying what HAS to happen, or even trying to make anything happen. I am open, and allowing. Open to receive, open to the flow of life, open to God. By remaining unattached to the outcome, I am allowing things to unfold exactly as they should, and enjoying the journey, without creating expectations about how things should be or how they should come about or when they should. As doors open, I walk through.
Rivendell of the Ozarks. Relax. Reflect. Refresh. There is a natural progression there, and a lightening of the heart and soul. Just reading those words brings me joy and peace.
If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of JRR Tolkien. His writings have greatly influenced my life. And the recent Peter Jackson movie adaptations of Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit have brought those stories to life for me. There are many life lessons contained within the books and the films. About 12 years ago, a vision was born in me. I longed to create a place much like Rivendell in Tolkien’s stories, and invite people to stay there for a time, disconnecting from the busyness of their lives and reconnecting with who they really are. Rivendell would be a place to rest, heal, reflect, and be restored, surrounded by beauty, nature and a peaceful, joyful atmosphere.
I’ve carried that dream for many years. And then two years ago, I realized that Rivendell is a reflection of me. I am Rivendell. What I hoped to offer someday, I can offer now. I don’t have the wooded acreage and the cottages and the trails to explore, yet. But I can create space, now, that allows others to discover who they are. I can offer out of my heart all that I long to offer someday in a place called Rivendell. More specifically, Rivendell of the Ozarks.
Today’s first is a stepping stone from where I am, to where I want to be. There are many planned firsts this year that will help my dream take shape. Today, I created a tagline for Rivendell of the Ozarks. This seems like a very simple task, and in some ways, it is. And yet I’ve thought about it all day! Before I create a logo, I wanted to consider what I am offering, and how that can be expanded upon. So the words are important to me.
Here is my tagline:
Rivendell of the Ozarks
Relax Reflect Refresh
Much thinking….for those three words. However, I am laying a foundation that must be solid for that which will be built upon it. Those words capture the essence of what I want to offer in the future, and what I offer now.
I have a quote about Rivendell in my office. There is a phrase contained within it that states, “Rivendell is a haven of light…” Rivendell of the Ozarks is my light, and my gift, that I shine outward into the world.