I’m really excited to show you the (very) short story I just wrote about my Dad, along with the insight that arose from it.
First though, a quick courtesy reminder for anyone who is considering coming to the Poetry As a Spiritual Practice Retreat–the deadline for registering is TODAY because tomorrow we have to give Mercy Center our numbers for lunch (which is included in the tuition) So, please register now if you’re coming:
Now, back to the story:
If you’ve read my book or attended one of my workshops you know I talk a lot about the power of the stories we tell ourselves.
The stories we create–stories about what has happened to us in the past, why people are doing what they are doing, and what’s possible for us–those stories are everything, really. Those stories, and the feelings they generate, create our reality.
Which is why I was very excited to enroll in the Story of You online class created by Ria Sharon and Jen Lemen of HopefulWorld.org. It’s all about discovering, and maybe rewriting, our inner stories.
My intention for the Story of You class has been to rediscover a sense of safety in the world as I speak from and act out of my truth.
Because, for reasons unknown, I have been grappling with insecurities and fears I thought I’d outgrown.
I was really confused by the intensity of those feelings, and I also knew that the “why” was less important than writing some new stories.
Yesterday Jen and Ria gave us an exercise to write about something that had happened in our lives. So as I was taking my morning walk, I started asking myself “what stories from my life could I focus on that would give me a sense of safety in the world?”
And then I remembered my experience at the bus station:
It shouldn’t have been so scary.
I was not a child anymore, after all. I was 23 and home from law school for the holidays (though I had an apartment in St. Louis, back then I still considered wherever my parents were living to be “home”). My boyfriend was visiting his own parents a few hours away. I was going to take the bus to meet him for New Year’s Eve and then we would drive back together in a few days in his car.
It had seemed like a wonderful plan.
Until the reality of this particularly gritty, nearly empty bus station in the city. My sheltered suburban mind had not pictured such a place as a launching pad for the trip.
There were a few people milling around, none of whom appeared to work there. No police. No security guards. Just a few men in threadbare clothes who looked like they might not have bathed, shaved or eaten much in recent days. One guy was sleeping on a bench; I wondered if he had spent the night there.
My Dad asked if I wanted him to stay, and I wanted to say, “Jesus, yes! Have you looked at this place? You wouldn’t really let me wait here alone, would you?”
But I was an adult now. Almost a lawyer. A woman of the world, off to meet her lover. Bravado was more appropriate, so I insisted that he leave. “The bus will be here soon, Dad. Don’t be silly. I’m fine!”
As soon as he disappeared around the corner I wanted to call out for him to come back, but I was too embarrassed. I sat there alone, trying hard to look worldly. Nonchalant. Unapproachable.
I must have checked my watch 37 times over the next 15 minutes.
And then, he was there again. My Dad. A knowing smile in his eyes and a white waxy bag in his hand.
“I saw this doughnut shop down the street and I know how much you love caramel long johns. I thought you might be hungry and I would rather eat mine with you than in the car.”
He brought me a taste of home, enjoyed in a companionable silence on the dirty bus station bench.
I carried the relief and happiness and sense of safety with me all the way to Springfield, and back to law school, and into the rest of my life.
As I was thinking about that story, and remembering how safe and happy I felt, I realized that it has been almost 5 years since my Dad left his body.
You wouldn’t think this would come as such a profound insight, because I have actively missed Dad, and grieved him, written about him and talked about him so often.
But thinking about this story helped me see that my Dad’s presence in my life had given me a sense that I was safe, that someone was cheering me on (no matter what), that someone was always looking out for me. That someone would always understand. And his death ripped my sense of safety apart.
And somehow, since then, I’ve been living with the unconscious storythat I can’t hold my own in a world without my Dad in it.
So now, my task is to take this insight, and apply the mantra Deepak Chopra offered to me this morning in meditation, “Everything I Desire Is Within Me,” to create a new inner story.
I need to find a way to re-create the sense of safety and love I got from my Dad’s presence. The safety that comes from walking with the Divine. The safety that has nothing to do with physical security, but a deeper knowing that no matter what is happening in my life, “everything I need is right here.”
May the peace of a loving parent be with you always,
And here’s the poetry retreat link one more time, in case you would like to join us: http://www.KimberlySchneider.
The Manifestation Maven
I was walking in the woods this morning, listening to the cardinals and the robins and feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sun reaching for me through the trees, when these questions bubbled up in my mind:
What is the secret of life?
What do we really need to know?
What do we come here knowing, that we forget?
And the answer came to me, sweet and clear, the same answer that has been singing through all of our souls since we came into being.
I find a hundred different ways to say it, because it’s so important.
And apparently I need to hear it over and over, because I forget a hundred times a day.
I am reminded though, when I’m talking to a life and business alchemy client, or teaching a class, or reciting my poetry during a keynote speech. Because the need I feel from the person on the phone, or the students in my class, or the people in the audience is the same. It mirrors back to me my own inner question, along with the answer my soul has been carrying all along:
Everything You Need Is Right Here.
But what does that mean, exactly?
What does that look like, moment to moment?
It looks like this:
Connect. Take a moment to breathe and reach into the deepest part of who you are, the part that has always been and always will be, the part that is an aspect of the Divine.
Be Here Now. There is nowhere else to go, nothing else to do, no one else to be. There is only this moment. Nothing else is real.
Surrender. Trust that something larger than your ego is in charge. There’s no need to resist. Whatever is happening right now holds a gift for you.
Choose Love. Who do you want to be in this moment? What would that person do, right now? Love is always the answer.
Trust Life. Life danced you into being. Life is singing you through the day. Life is painting a multi-faceted, gloriously surprising, rainbow colored reality for you to experience. As the Christian Mystic Julian of Norwich said, “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” (And I would add…it already IS well, even if it doesn’t feel that way, right now).
Everything you need is right here.
Keep breathing. Breathe in the joy, and the pain, and the confusion and the laughter, and the beauty and the fear. And remind yourself, again and again, as many times a day as you need reminding:
Everything you need is right here.
Thank you for being here, however you choose to engage with me. Whether you you are reading these newsletters, working through the exercises in my book, coming to my retreats or spending time with me on the phone, connecting with you is a privilege, and it reminds me of who I am, and why I am here.
With love and blessings,
Kimberly P.S. If you are considering the June 1st retreat, Words of Power: Poetry as a Spiritual Practice, this Friday is the last day to register. Read more or enroll now atwww.KimberlySchneider.com/
Sometime in the late 90s a small group of women gathered to celebrate the summer solstice.
They came from many different backgrounds and faith traditions.
Their ages and life experiences varied.
What they shared was a hunger to co-create an experience of the numinous that was vital and alive, new and fresh, while also being rooted in ancient wisdom.
They didn’t know what they were doing, exactly.
And they didn’t let that stop them from dancing and skipping out into the warm night, a night filled with anticipation and hope.
I was there with them. My mind was filled with moss covered stones, priestesses and monks and druids walking through misty green hills to the music of the fairies.
In truth, I was in a St. Louis suburb, toting a portable CD player and leading a group of people wearing shorts and tennis shoes out into a field. But the music coming from that CD player…the music….now that felt real. That felt like it could have come from the Otherworld.
We sang and we danced and we told stories.
We prayed and we set intentions.
And we declared, as one:
“If we can dream it, we can create it.
If we believe it, we can become it.”
I don’t remember exactly what intentions I set that evening.
I do know that I was lost in the power of the setting sun, and the warm wind on my face, and our voices joined together. I was experiencing joy, and hope, and peace, and community. A circle of seekers, celebrating our connection with the Divine. And the magical music was that of Irish sacred music vocalist Noirin Ni Riain singing, “thugamar fein an samhradh linn…” (“we have brought the summer with us…”)
And so we had.
Words have power.
Words give rise to emotions.
Emotional experiences flow out into the MultiVerse and create our reality.
How do I know this, for sure?
Because last summer, I stood with a small group of women, including my Mom (who was also at that first gathering of our Celtic Spirituality group)…
inside an ancient sacred circle. In Ireland.
Surrounded by moss covered stones.
On the day after the summer solstice.
Listening to Noirin Ni Riain, herself, in person, singing “thugamar fein an samhradh linn.”
What I imagined, in some form, became my life.
Your inner landscape is the template for your outer reality.
Words have power.
The ancient Celts knew this, which is why bards and poets were held in the same esteem as royalty.
That’s why I am mindful of my words.
I know they are beginning the process of turning energy into form.
So I feed my mind with regular doses of words that shift my perspective and open me to new possibilities–giving me ideas that become language.
For me, poetry is one of the most transformational ways to experience words.
Which is why my Mom and I are offering our Words of Power: Poetry as a Spiritual Practice retreat on Saturday, June 1st.
One of the things we will be talking about that day is how words can shift consciousness. What we believe, becomes.
We are very excited to see those of you who are already registered for the retreat. If you aren’t yet enrolled, and you want to know more, you can read about it athttp://www.KimberlySchneider.
May the peace of a powerful inner landscape be yours…
The Manifestation Maven
Being a licensed professional counselor and coach, I spend a lot of time holding a space for people’s pain.
The pain of not having enough.
Not enough money.
Or enough health.
Or enough love.
Or perhaps even more difficult, having plenty–and still feeling like it’s not enough. Because it still seems like something is missing.
Of course, in order to be able to sit with people in that space of longing and loneliness, I’ve had to learn to be present to my own feelings, so I wouldn’t be scared of other people’s.
And I’m very familiar with the tricks humans play on ourselves to avoid pain.
When we feel like something is missing, we do everything we can to fill that hole.
We eat more, we take alcohol and other drugs to take the edge off.
Sometimes we use other people.
We listen to the news, convincing ourselves that the reason we hurt is because of what’s happening out there in the world. Somebody is always suffering. Someone is always hurting someone else.
We numb out on electronics.
We buy something else we don’t need.
We try a new religion, or spiritual practice, or diet, or guru, hoping that this time we’ve found the way to stop hurting.
But none of it works in the long run, because in covering up that hole we feel inside, we are running away from ourselves.
We’re saying to some part of who we are: “You are not enough. I can’t accept you. There’s no place for you in my life.”
And, of course, that self-rejection is the true source of our suffering.
True abundance is knowing, at the deepest level of who you are, that you are enough.
That everything you need is right here.
Paradoxically, in order to experience abundance, we need to start stripping down to essentials, releasing whatever is covering up the parts we’ve rejected.
We need to let go of the masks.
Today is May Day, called Beltane in the ancient Celtic world. It’s a holiday of feasting and celebrating the joys of being embodied.
It’s a festival of abundance.
In order to step fully into that, we need to invite all the pieces of who we are to partake.
We need to rediscover who we really are, shedding whatever is covering and hiding our deepest longings.
Because when we are denying who we really are, and what we really long for, how can we ever experience abundance?
Happy Beltane! As the sun strengthens and the weather warms, may you free yourself from whatever is holding you back from experiencing all the richness life has to offer.
With love and blessings, kimberly
P.S. Immersing myself in POETRY is one of my favorite ways of stripping down to essentials, shedding the masks. I hope you will join my Mom and me on June 1st for our Words of Power: Poetry as a Spiritual Practice retreat! You can read about it and register at http://www.KimberlySchneider.com/poetryretreat
I teach two communication classes at Washington University-St. Louis, one for Arts & Science undergrads and the other for MBA students. This semester, I tried something new with them.
I asked each student to choose a poem, any poem that inspired them or made them feel peaceful and happy, and I gave them an assignment to recite it (from memory) in front of the class.
As you might imagine, the students did not greet my announcement with enthusiasm.
In the first place, public speaking is scary for a lot of people. But these are communication classes after all, so I decided the assignment was fair game.
But POETRY? Seriously? The students weren’t digging it. In fact, several dropped the class after they found out about the poem assignment.
Some pretty interesting things happened though, for the students who stayed.
In their reflective essays about the poetry experience, many students wrote that, much to their surprise, they began enjoying the poems. Memorizing the words and reciting them awakened new levels of meaning and appreciation. They even realized new things about themselves. In fact, now they wanted to continue exploring poetry!
That was good news to me, but the more important piece was this: quite a few of the students found when they got up to speak, the very words of their poems worked to calm them down.
This shouldn’t have been news to me, since I regularly memorize poems and recite them to myself during meditation, when I’m walking or driving or preparing to give a presentation. Poetry has been a source of joy, comfort and mind-training for me for many years.
My students’ insights reminded me of the power of poetic language to heal the mind and restore the soul. It’s the reason I delve into poetry myself, and why I sometimes offer clients a poem that speaks to their situation.
So there you have it, the simple solution for an anxious mind: a relationship with a good poem.
I was telling my Mom, Mary Lou Schneider, about my students’ experience with the poems, and she said, “we both love poetry and have used it in our work for so long, we should create a mini-retreat on Poetry as a Spiritual Practice!”
As usual, I thought my Mom was brilliant.
I loved the idea of offering simple ways that anyone can use poems to create peace and calm, to inspire and uplift, to comfort and heal.
So, we’re doing it. And we would love for you to join us on Saturday, June 1st for Words of Power: Poetry as a Spiritual Practice!
(Don’t worry–we’re not going to make anyone stand up and recite a poem! Instead, we will share some of the experiential exercises we’ve developed to make the magic of poetry accessible to anyone– and to allow those who already love reading poems to play with them in a new way).
You can find out all of the details here:
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you: what are some of the poems you turn to for inspiration?
It would be fun to share a conversation about that on my Facebook page:
Or of course, as always, you can email me.
I hope we’ll see you at the retreat!
May the peace of poetic words be yours,
The Manifestation Maven
Happy April Fool’s Day!
Are you a fool?
I am–or at least–I aspire to be one.
You see, the ancient meaning of FOOL is someone who walks through the world in a state of innocence. Children exhibit this quality, which is one of the reasons they are often so charming.
For adults, being a fool means choosing to adopt a fresh perspective in every situation, allowing events and people to present themselves the way they are in the moment, instead of being swayed by past experiences.
Here are some of the benefits of that choice:
1) Fools see the truth.
When you consciously release old stories, you can see things as they really are, instead of viewing life through outworn beliefs or other people’s expectations.
2) Fools experience magic.
When you are in a state of innocence, magic is everywhere. Most of us move through the world wholly unconscious to the wonders around us, because we are too busy, stressed and limited by our old beliefs. Let go of what you have always assumed to be true and you’ll be amazed at what you haven’t been seeing.
3) Fools have more fun.
When you are walking through life in a state of wonder and magic, of course, you are having more fun! And when you are having more fun, you are more fun to be around, and you are also more creative.
Bonus: you may be surprised at how many reasons you’ll find to laugh at yourself. (I am certainly offered several reasons to laugh at myself every day. I am not always as amused as I would wish to be…)
and finally (perhaps most importantly),
4) Fools discover new possibilities.
Since they bring a fresh perspective, foolish people discover new possibilities for themselves (and the world).
When you are willing to ask questions like:
“What haven’t I considered?”
“What would be another way to do that?” and
innovative, transformational opportunities emerge.
I’ll be talking about the benefits of being foolish on my monthly Great Day St. Louis appearance on KMOV, channel 4, this Thursday, April 4th between 10 am and 11 am.
Meanwhile, if you would like a resource for helping you develop fresh perspectives (aka becoming a fool like me…) please consider ordering my book,
Everything You Need Is Right Here: Five Steps to Manifesting Magic and Miracles.
It’s available on Amazon, or get my bonus audiobook of poetry and reflections if you get the eVersion directly from me. Details here:
Wishing you the peace and magic that comes from being the Fool,
The Manifestation Maven
The spring equinox, which takes place today in the northern hemisphere, is the midpoint between the sun’s apparent weakest (winter solstice) and strongest (summer solstice) times. Night and day are of equal length at the equinox; starting this week the days are longer than the nights until summer solstice in June.
Agricultural people like those in ancient Europe celebrated this festival as a time of growing light and softer ground–conditions suitable for sowing the first seeds. Although winter stores neared depletion at this time, the promise of the harvest to come gave rise to hope. It was a time to cleanse the body, mind and spirit of winter’s darkness.
The ancient Greeks believed that Persephone returned from the Underworld at the equinox, bringing the spring with her. Old Irish cosmology related the sun’s growing strength to the goddess Arianrhod’s naming and arming of the sun god Lugh, who rode forth in splendor at spring equinox. Later, Christian Celts offered their seeds to St. Brigid for blessing before putting them in the ground.
The early Catholic church chose March 25, just a few days following the equinox, to celebrate the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. When Mary consented to carry the son of God, she became pregnant with Jesus, who would be born nine months later at Christmas. The Annunciation, colloquially known as Lady Day, echoes the the older belief that at spring equinox the Goddess conceived the dying and rising God, who would be born at winter solstice.
Pre-Christian traditions surrounding spring equinox are also apparent in the celebration of Easter, when Christians mark the resurrection of Jesus. The date for Easter moves each year because it is set on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Equinox. The holiday’s name comes from the Saxon Goddess Eostre, the goddess of spring, fertility, the dawn and the east. Eostre is probably related to the more ancient Babylonian Goddess Ostara, who was associated with the morning star. Eostre’s symbols were rabbits or hares (known for their fertility) and eggs. One legend holds that Eostre rescued an injured bird from freezing to death by turning it into a hare. The transformation was not complete; however, and while the creature acted and looked like a hare in all other respects, it continued to lay eggs. The grateful hare dyed the eggs in beautiful colors and left them in nests and under bushes each spring as an offering to the Goddess who saved it. The “Eostre” bunny sill hides brightly colored eggs for children every year.
Just as light conquers darkness at Equinox, Christians believe that Christ, the light of the world, conquers the darkness of death with his resurrection. He is the God of Paradox, teaching us that to conquer death, you only have to die.
As you engage in spring cleaning of your home, or clear out the dead leaves from your yard and cut the dead wood from your trees, consider where you can clean and prune in your mind, heart and soul. Just as trees and bushes benefit from pruning, our inner lives flourish when we tend to them and regularly.
Where do you need to make room for the new life that is ready to emerge in you? What might be reborn, if only your ego would surrender to death?
I like to check within on a regular basis to see what in my life no longer serves my vision. I invite you to do the same for yourself this spring!
And, of course, if you would like my support in doing some inner clearing in April or May to make way for some beautiful new manifestations, please email me to find out more about phone coaching sessions.
Peace of the Awakening Earth to You,
The Manifestation Maven
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Do you feel the pull of the Celtic spirit at this time of year?
Whether or not you are Irish by heritage, you can tap into ancient Irish wisdom anytime. Here are four simple ways to do that:
1) Connect to Nature
Human beings are part of nature, not separate from it. Spend time outside, listen to your body, and tune into the change of seasons.
2)Seek the Sacred in the Ordinary
You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything special to connect with holiness. That’s why the Irish had prayers for simple daily tasks like lighting the fire or planting a seed. Decide to bring the best of who you are to everything you do, and be open to mystery in the mundane.
3) Respect the Spoken Word
Ancient Irish people honored poets and storytellers because they believed in the power of words to shape reality. You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat;” it is also true that you become what you say. You are creating your life with your speech–choose your words mindfully.
4) Cultivate Soul Friendships
There is a phrase in Irish, anam cara, that means “soul friend.” A soul friend is someone who knows you intimately and holds you accountable to your own potential. We all need people who awaken the best in us. Who are your soul friends? And how can you be a soul friend to others?
Celtic wisdom, like many indigenous traditions, calls us to be present, to go deeper, to honor the unseen. Whether or not you are Irish, I pray that during this season of new beginnings, you will slow down and listen to the whispers of your soul.
And if you’d like a little taste of Ireland, here are photos from some of my trips there, along with images from Celtic myth, set to the music of Noirin Ni Riain and Owen and Moley O’Suilleabhain. Enjoy! I’ll be leading another workshop in the Emerald Isle the summer of 2014 if you want to join us (details later this year).
Dia Dhuit (that’s the Irish version of “Namaste;” literally it means “God be with you”),
The Manifestation Maven
A Blessed Imbolc to you!
Imbolc is the ancient Irish word for spring, and February 1st marks the beginning of that season in the Irish calendar.
One of the things I love about the Celtic way of reckoning time is that the seasonal changes are subtle. Spring begins, not when the days are actually longer than the nights, but when the energy has just begun to shift toward light.
We have to dig deep and believe in spring when the earth is frozen and the ground is hard. But out of sight, seeds are stirring in response to the gradually brightening sun.
Similarly, change in our lives typically starts as a little shift of consciousness deep in our psyches.
The change may not be noticeable at first, even to ourselves. But it begins at that moment when we soften toward our own natures, when the growing light of awareness shines upon an old pattern, and instead of pushing it away in shame or fear or loathing, we softly smile inside as we recognize an old friend.
We show ourselves compassion.
We become willing to sit with the formerly rejected pieces of who we are.
And so we are renewed.
When I woke up this morning it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Louis, perhaps the coldest day we’ll experience all winter. And yet, I am smiling. Because I know that somewhere inside this frosty guise, spring is stirring. The thaw is beginning.
As an Imbolc gift, here’s a poem I wrote in February a few years ago about an encounter I had with the wild Canadian geese returning to their homes in the north, a little ahead of schedule.
The goose is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Celtic cosmology, and the sight of those raucous flocks filling the sky for two days was a balm to my soul; they healed something inside of me.
The Geese Came Early
The geese came early,
their exultant cries an exclamation point
to the message their expectant necks
and outstretched wings
were already writing across
a coral-washed sky:
Look. The ice is
melting. The ground that was so
cold and hard and unforgiving is softening now to receive us.
And that is why on this day
with countless bodies
and innumerable voices
For no matter how bare
or bitter this season past has been,
we WILL make our nests,
we WILL welcome new life,
we will answer the heart call
copyright 2010, Kimberly V. Schneider
Wishing you the peace that comes from knowing you are right where you need to be.
And if you would like some support in directing the soft light of compassion on yourself, you can download the introduction and first chapter of my book, Everything You Need Is Right Here: Five Steps to Manifesting Magic and Miracles (or order the book) at http://www.kimberlyschneider.com/go/
Love and Blessings,
Happy New Year!
If you live in the St. Louis area, you may have seen my feature article on how to call upon your Future Self in this month’s Healthy Planet magazine. For those of you living elsewhere, here it is:
Call Upon Your Future Self
A new year just began, so you may be thinking about how to “do it better” from now on. Maybe you’re looking for the secret for becoming that person you will someday be — that wiser, future self.
Here’s a surprise for you: no matter what’s happening in your life, you haven’t been “doing it wrong.” You may simply have forgotten who you are, and why you are here. Furthermore, everything you need to be who you want to be is right here in this moment — even the wisdom of the future self you imagine will be so much wiser than you are now.
full article published at The Healthy Planet website: (continue below)