Tag Archives: courage

A Millstatt Face

1 Sep

Millsatt Face Day 9.  A Millstatt Face. Millstatt Abbey  is a former monastery in Millstatt, Austria. In this City of Mil, we find that  ancient Celtic beliefs were overlayed with Christian beliefs in 1070 AD, when the Benedictines took over. The city itself is named after the Celtic creation god, Mil, as it translates literally, ‘City of Mil.’ Well then. Locals believe that an ancient place of worship existed here as least as far back as Charlemagne, if not before. The town’s name certainly  implies that this holy place has pagan beginnings.  In a beautiful carving, typically stylized Celtic faces peer out from above the massive entryway. The scene over the door  shows

‘the sun, moon and stars watching Millstatt Monastery being given into the hands of Christ by its founder and are struck dumb (literally, they have no mouths) by this pious act.  Could this be an unconscious reference to the silencing of the ancient pagan beliefs?’  says Historic Impressions.

Now whether or not you’re pagan isn’t the point. Or at least not my point. I’m wondering if the face peering from behind the crescent moon has a right to speak? Is he not allowed a voice just because he comes from a different perspective? And I wonder about the many, many artists who have effectively allowed themselves to be silenced, not from fear of persecution, but by our modern day fears of self-doubt, insecurity and general unwillingness to accept and believe in our true worth. WHICH IS PRICELESS. So is it fair that we silence ourselves- or anyone, for that matter, because our opinions don’t reflect the status quo? Because we ‘don’t believe in ourselves’ anymore?’ Because we’re afraid to speak our truth?

We live in a time of incredible freedom – we pride ourselves on this very freedom. We say we value ‘mavericks’, ‘individuals’. Well? Standing up for what you believe and expressing it takes great courage, mastery and discipline. So does being an artist. Mavericks. Deviants. Bohemians. ARTISTS. Celebrate that creativity, use your freedom of expression. Be courageous. The world need artists, just as it always has needed court jesters. Truth needs to be expressed, one way or the other. Don’t be silenced by fear. Let your heart open and express your truth.



On leaving a trail

13 Feb

The daughters
of your daughters
of your daughters
are likely to remember you,
And most importantly,
Follow in your tracks.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I came across this quote yesterday. And whether or not this remembering and following actually happens, it startled me into thinking that it could possibly happen.

Thankfully, I no longer react with fear to information like this. I would have, in the past. But today, in my present incarnation, i feel no pressure to  sit down and write a list of goals, or see my life from the perspective of my funeral, or any of the other suggestions for leaving a legacy and insuring that my life matters.
Because my life here really does matter. It matters most of all, quite appropriately, I think, to me.

Unlike all my years at goal-setting, outward focused energy, I have found that what comes bubbling up from my own inner depths has the truth, elegance and beauty to actually sustain me. Money, accomplishments, notoriety are incredibly delicious and necessary in degrees. We do after all, live in a material world.

But what I would assume my great great grandaughters will find worth following is not to be found in abundance in the business section of the bookstore. I imagine they, like I, will hunger for authenticity and truth. For equality, the ability to love freely and a zest for life that will see them through to the end and beyond. They will need courage to express themselves honestly and compassionately without fear of retribution, derrision or judgement. They will need a hell of a lot of self love in order to love their world and those in it fiercely – exactly as it presents itself.

So I try to be quiet often, to be patient with myself, and to forgive. I try to love myself for my light and my dark, knowing that in my greatest fears are my greatest gifts. I try to be comfortable with myself and my life. I try to let go of the outer results and focus on the inner causes.

This has led me to settle on a way of life that honors my deep inner movement and knowing. A way of life that is not dictated by externals yet encompasses them. A way of life that makes all of my rather ordinary moments potentially extraordinary. Every great mystic and spiritual teacher has stressed the internal life as more ‘real’ than the outer material world. I find this to be the case with my own life. If my inner rhythm is honored, and I see outer events as effects of my inner causes, then whatever presents itself is exactly as it should be. No questions asked. I have the choice always in what action or response I wish to take. How do you do this without freaking out? With absolutely trust? In the face of your initial response being ‘this sucks…’

Enter Tolstoy and The Three Questions.*
What is the right time for every action?
Who is the most important person?
What is the most important thing to do?

(And thankfully, The Three Answers:)

The most important time is now. The present moment is the only place or time in which we have any power.
The most important person is the person in front of you.
The most important thing to do is to do good to that person in front of you.

Most circumstances and situations involve people, so most everything is included. Animals can and often do present themselves. And small children. And inconvenient requests. Death and dis-ease are included and honored. And moments of great clarity and beauty. And a satisfaction and strength in your own convictions and way of living.

It is challenging. It makes me slow down. It forces me to think, to prioritize from the inside out. It makes me smile when I go to bed. It makes me look forward to a day of one-thing-one-moment-at-a-time. It takes getting used to. It makes me sigh with relief. When I focus this way, my internal knowing takes over, I trust and honor myself on the fly. I trust that the next moment will arrive exactly as it should be, and that I will have the courage and strength to allow it.

And there you have it. A simple, elegant formula for living a life that ulimately will bring you great peace of mind, upon which joy will surely follow and voilá – a life worth living – on your own terms. I am leaving the very track that I am also following, left to me by those who came before, who also had the courage and love to honor themselves, their music and their call.

*From Wikipedia -“The Three Questions” is a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy first published in 1885[citation needed] as part of the collection What Men Live By, and other tales. The story takes the form of a parable, and it concerns a king who wants to find the answers to what he considers the three most important questions in life.

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