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live it to give it is all about love and connection. Being authentic. Living our lives and sharing it with others. Life is messy and so is this blog. Somedays my organized coach self shows up. Other days it's my vulnerable author. There's a mom that lives inside me alongside a wife, friend, creative muse, ponderer extraordinaire, and multitude of others. I'll introduce you to people who inspire me and offer a peek into my world that very likely intersects with your world. In other words, I will share life in its full, glorious mess with you. I'm honored you're here and I hope you'll come back soon!!  Cheers! Kayce 


Entries in Discernment (13)


Knowing When to Ask for Help

My pondering has taken on a new level of exaggeration these past weeks as I tap into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding the promotional aspects of being a self-published author. As I’ve perused books, websites, and media expert information, I’ve felt like a seasick sailor in the midst of a typhoon. Green at the gills and seeking solid land, I’ve deciphered enough to know that it’s definitely not a positive sign when thinking about marketing your beloved product results in a tightened chest, violently churning insides, and a strong impulse to throw up.
Walla Walla Book Event
While I can candidly declare that I am competent in a number of arenas, there is never-the-less a voice in my head (and stomach) that says, “Leave the marketing to someone else.” There is naught like the mechanics of unsolicited self-promotion to turn my insides out and make me flee for shelter or cower under the covers. Please don’t get me wrong... I absolutely adore sharing stories, connecting with people, speaking on a welcoming stage, or engaging in an intimate one-on-one conversation. But the thought of walking into one more independent bookstore and having a clerk stroll away with a sneer on her face and As I Lay Pondering held between two fingers as if it were a dirty diaper turns my skin cold. Seriously... diving into Puget Sound midwinter without a wetsuit feels more inviting to me.
Now, anyone who has known me for even a brief period of time understands I have little aversion to taking risks. In fact, it joyously tops my ongoing to do list...
Take A Risk Every Day
...but I have also come to learn there is a laudable difference between taking risks that propel me forward and  those that push my heart begrudgingly into areas that leave my essential self feeling disturbingly icky. Even though I am a rockin’ coach, it is rarely wise to practice my skills on my loved ones. I am typically too invested in the outcome to be objective. Likewise, I’ve determined that exclusively promoting my own book is akin to being the sole counselor for my family. I am entirely too close to the subject. Misunderstandings are inevitable, feelings will get hurt, and unflattering barfing may ensue.
Further down on my list-to-live-by is another premise that I have a tendency to overlook.
Know When to Ask for Help!
I was raised to be an independent woman and asking for help can be a challenge. It is both blessing and curse to know myself as competent in my own right. Navigating this new marketing territory is clearly possible, but leaves me with a daunting feeling and the declaration, I don’t wanna! That’s clearly how I feel about taking the next promotional step(s) alone... I don’t wanna!! Therefore...
It’s time for me to take a risk, put my independent ego aside, and ask for help! Today I’m turning this plea over to the Universe. Call it prayer, intention setting, dream making, wish casting, whatever you like, but I’m releasing it out into the Great Unknown. And since I’m choosing not to go it alone, let me ask you this...
·      What projects make you turn ‘green at the gills’?
·      Are you compelled to disregard the potential warning signs and push on through?
·      If yes, consider why.
·      What does risk taking entail for you?
·      Do you know when (or how) to ask for help?
·      Feel free to practice alongside me by putting your needs and desires out into the world.
    Together we can see what happens!
·      Ready. Set. Go!!!
Wanted: Ideal advocate for As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life. Must be articulate, energetic, and marketing knowledgeable (or excited and willing to learn). A promoter of passions with excellent tools and the skills to implement them.
Excited to work together and find perfect ways to extend our mutual energy and efforts. Reasonably priced and ready to make things happen. Passionate about my book, work, and what I have to offer the world. We connect seamlessly and complement each other well. Loves marketing and promotional work, is a self-starter, and not overbearing. Compassionate, generous, an excellent listener, and a well-connected connector.
When she/he arrives the weight drops from my shoulders and the gnawing in my stomach releases. Life moves forward with ease and satisfaction. It feels effortless... yes, effortless.
Companioning and marketing with ease... that’s what I want!! Okay, Universe. Ready. Set. Go!!!



Two Seals and a Gift

Bandon, OR Beach
Nature offers an amazing gift of bringing us back to center when life feels out of balance. One of my favorite ways to explore just about anything is through the use of metaphor. How is this like that? While visiting the Oregon coast, my questions emerged something like this: How is the baby seal who strives to climb atop a slippery rock like my current situation? How is the beach covered in fog similar to my brain that refuses to clear? What of the sun that remains concealed from sight? Are my dreams hiding in plain view or are they just over the horizon?

One evening while beach combing, I paused to watch a group of sea lions gathered in the swelling tide. Eyes trained on the youngest pup, I was mesmerized by his struggle to climb atop the slippery embankment where his mother perched precariously. My maternal instincts were tugged by his unfruitful tenacity, and part of me wanted to wade into the icy surf and boost him onto the oblong pillar. Fortunately my sanity prevailed. After all, if he, an able-bodied water creature, couldn’t do it on his own, what benefit would I, a moderate swimmer at best, be to him? Nonetheless, our natural instincts are often to reach toward those we momentarily consider less capable—children, clients, co-workers, strangers—while setting aside our own care and safety in the midst.

Baby Reaches Mama (momentarily)
As I continued to observe the scene before me, I focused on the mother who lay upon the craggy peak—her pose precarious, like a crescent moon tilted on its side and loosely balanced on a rocking pebble. She appeared neither concerned about her shaky state or that of her offspring diligently attempting to reach her. Occasionally, she raised her head to look around, but then lay back to rest. She wisely knew the rhythm of the tide would ultimately ease her off the rock and into the water, reuniting her and her babe.

Recalling this scene later, I asked the questions: How is this like my calling today? Will I clear my head enough to look around and inquire: What do I need? What next? What will bring me life, rest, joy, peace, and love? Even though my initial response was to rescue the striving pup, my deep resonance was not with him... I have done enough striving for a lifetime. Today I choose to wonder how I can rise up like the wizened matriarch, peer around, and allow the flow of life to gently carry me into the sea and off my own precarious perch.

My assessment is not that the mother sea lion is resigned to her existence, but rather she has learned the rhythms of her life and chooses to go with them rather than struggle against the raging tides. Her young pup expends his energy in his own natural (and necessary) process of maturation. Each are appropriate for their time and stage in life.

Today I invite you to consider this: Where do you struggle and strain when letting go might serve you better? What energy needs to be expended to bring your life (mind, spirit, body) into balance or maturation? How is this like that? Where might nature guide you today?


Angels in our Midst - Do you believe?

“A Warrior of the Light is never predictable.

She might dance down the street on her way to work, gaze into the eyes of a complete stranger and speak of love at first sight, or defend an apparently absurd idea. Warriors of the Light allow themselves days like these.”Paulo Coelho

Are you a Warrior of the Light? Someone who’s willing to dream of angels and step into absurd ideas? Well, I am. This morning I awoke thinking of angels and other things that some might call “woo woo.” I opened As I Lay Pondering, saw today’s title, “To Be Known,” and asked myself what it would mean for me to be known right now in this moment. Hmmm.... 

Norah & the Watchers
Do you believe in angels? I do. They come in all shapes and forms—furry, human, dreamlike. Arriving in streams of light, laughing children, and a gentle touch. A stranger who appears and mysteriously vanishes. A fleeting thought, prickly neck or tingly skin. One of my favorite “angels” that shows up in both image and imagination is a curly-headed impish girl named Norah (translated as Compassion). My old golden retriever, Curry, emerges on occasion. And, of course, my purring companion, Aslan, is an everyday reminder of otherworldliness in present form. My long-deceased father has appeared on several occasions through music and nature; meeting me when I most need to hear him. Real or imagined? Truth or fantasy? What do you believe?

Recently a man perusing my ponderings mentioned to his wife that he thought I might be a little crazy. So be it. A warrior of the light dances through the street and people either join in the dance, run the other way, criticize, or pause and ponder. Which do you choose to do?

Curry Dog
There is a place of stillness where everything connects, disappears and comes into absolute clarity all at the same moment. I think of the Bible story of Jacob wrestling with God and his dreams of the ladder going up to heaven while angels ascended and descended. These kinds of stories have been with us since the beginning of time. The question is... Are we willing to believe? What happens when we slow down, step into stillness, and listen... deeply listen? Will God speak? Do angels show up? Is it the result of an overactive imagination or a mind running wild with thoughts and fantasy? Does it matter? Will it be any less real if I can’t hold it in my hand or capture it in a digital photo? Perhaps I am a touch mad, but today my mind returned to a very real experience I had during a meditative time in Arizona this spring.

When I closed my eyes and the meditation began, our moderator simply mentioned the word “stage” and I felt the spotlight shine upon me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had these longings since I was a little girl. Do we all dream of being on the stage? Yes. No. Perhaps. I believe our “stages” simply take on different forms. [Pause and ponder: what your stage might be? You know, the one you see when you close your eyes.]

Check out that Boa!
Moving down the pathway of my mind, golden-haired Norah greets me with her playfulness and compassion—her is-ness. In her unique way, she invites me to simply be. Before me on the ground lay an apple that I witnessed just before the moderator invited us to look up rather than down. There to my right were grand marble steps leading upward to the stage. A brilliant curtain crafted of magnificent red—the color and texture of my feather boa—reminds me there is nothing insignificant about my essential self. She is meant to shine! (I know this and yet I doubt it in my current mind... not the meditation). Returning to the dream state, I am invited to leave Norah, my guide, at the bottom of the staircase. I don’t want to take my journey without Compassion, but Norah reminds me that she is always with me. All I need do is ask.

Moving up the stairway, I see a being with shoulder-length hair. He glows with strength and light emanating from within. Before I can ask his name, I know it is the Archangel Michael whose card lay “randomly” on my chair before our session began. The Angel turns and points to the audience spread before the stage. It is filled with adoring fans—people asking for my gifts... my gifts... MY gifts. The people do not clamor. They simply stand before Michael’s outstretched hands—before me—and wait. They snake around my viewpoint—like the final scene in “Pay It Forward”—holding lights and waiting. They are honoring me and know I have the gift to share with them. I am awed and honored myself. Michael is brilliant before me andhe is part of me. Strength and courage. Like Norah, he will always be with me, but especially during this time of the journey he is very near.

I sense him over my left shoulder now. His golden wings gently wrapping around me as I write with my golden muse, Aslan, purring in my lap. “Be you, my child. The world is waiting.” I feel it now and I heard it then as he turned back to me and said, “The gift is you.” And in his hands lay my gift to the world.

In that brief moment, I smelled the apples I had seen earlier. The fruit of life. Tempting and forbidden. Hmmm. Fear creeps in. I was always forbidden to shine. Forbidden to taste the fruit of my own knowledge. But here, the sweet fruit has been broken open before me. I need only inhale—stop, pause, breathe—and it will find me, surround me, and fill me with its fragrant aroma. May this fragrance move me into the world with strength and tenderness; compassion and love; Michael and Norah. There is no room for fear when all is love.

Truth or fantasy? Real or imagined? Sane or inept? What do you choose to believe? Where does your mind go when you turn to that deep place of stillness where everything connects, disappears, and becomes clear in the same moment?


Is God a Giant Ouija Board?

What are the questions I'm most curious about these days? Well, they're probably the things I'm curious about a significant portion of the time. Career. Time. Money. Relationship. God. Not always in that order. Is this for me? Am I on the right path? Was that a good decision? Did I do a caring thing? Am I ok? Oh my, it feels like I'm 10 years old again and playing with a Ouija board.

Ouija boards and Magic 8-Balls - maybe they do hold all the answers. Will I be rich? Absolutely. Will I be famous? You bet. Does God exist? Ask again. Oh boy, do we ever get past that fascination with wanting the answers? By asking questions do we treat the Universe/Higher Power/God like a giant Ouija board? Asking for an answer and anticipating the answer we want to hear. Manipulating the planchette and acting like we're not. Pretending we've let go of control when, in fact, there is no way we'll take our last finger out of the game.

What might it take to release and let go? What is our role in the grand plan? I remember a friend telling me a story I'll never forget. She had a college roommate who had a big exam coming up and didn't even study, then wondered why she failed the exam even though she'd prayed really hard. Is God our Magic 8-Ball? Are the answers right in front of us? Again, what's our role? I know if I sit around and eat chocolate all day I'm going to get fat. Do I know if I work really hard it will pay off? It depends on how I define "pay off". If I already have the answer planned then I may be disappointed, but if I let go of the Ouija board then I might be delightfully surprised by what happens.

What are your burning questions today? Do you need a speedy answer or are you willing to wait for the surprise? Will you study for your exam, sit back and eat chocolates or jump in the game?

Life coach Martha Beck says, "Listening to that mystical frequency, while staying safely grounded in logical and pragmatic action, is the key to planning the path of your best destiny."

I invite you to ponder that today. Me? I'm off to plan my destiny :-)

photos from St. Catherine's Monastery ©2010


The Journey Has Already Begun

I am the one who sits and waits. Waiting for what? The pilgrimage? Today? Tomorrow? The Holy? The Sacred is already here. I sit in the shadows - in the space of waiting. The already and the not yet. My heart has turned to the desert. The journey has begun. The Sacred text written on every branch before me... still, I am curious about the shadows and what I do not and cannot already know.

I awakened today (& yesterday, too) wondering - What is wrong with me? Is something the matter? I leave for Egypt in two days and all I want to do is immerse myself in Instant Netflix offerings of Veronica Mars. It's almost a compulsion and I ponder - Am I avoiding or am I waiting or something entirely different?

I can't make myself read the history of St. Anthony (whose footsteps I will be following.) Instead I read the current Vanity Fair and the sad adventures of Lindsey Lohan. My heart breaks for the world around me AND I feel wrapped inside my own little cocoon. The journey has already begun.

"In each of us dwells a pilgrim. It is the part of us that longs to have direct contact with the sacred." - Phil Cousineau

How do you respond for the pilgrimage of life each day? Do you wait? Avoid? Jump in? What is your longing for contact with the sacred? Please, do tell!

Who knows whether I will return to this space before I depart for the desert? In case I don't, please know I will carry those I love with me (that includes you) and would cherish knowing a space is being held for me in your heart as I travel into the unknown. Peace and blessings, friends. Namaste.