En-Vision-ing in the New Year

New Year’s Eve has come and gone in the Gregorian calendar, but in the Celtic tradition, Imbolc is celebrated half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox – this year, on February 1. It is a celebration that teaches us to nurture the seeds of healing and new growth before their actual emergence in the dark days of winter – so it’s not too late to sew visions for the coming year. Actually, the timing is perfect! 

Vision Boarding parties seem to proliferate this time of year. Setting the tone. Planting the seeds for things to come. My passion for creating vision boards has been well documented – by my vision boards! The form has morphed over the years. The content has evolved. My enthusiasm for the process has never waned. 

2011 Vision Board

2011 Vision Board

In a detour from my usual post, I decided to share this process of mine with you – as it has had some pretty profoundly prognosticating results.

In creating my boards, my process has been to simply tear out pictures that feel resonant. I don’t question. I simply tear and cut. I allow the images to take their own place in the panorama. And then I let it tell me what it wants to say.

My process is an amalgam of lots of others. To start, sitting with a stack of magazines, I tear out photos and words that speak to me. I don’t have categories in mind. I don’t edit. Then I tidily trim all the words and images. All together they don’t yet make much sense.

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Next, I decide on categories. For example: home and family; spirituality; earning; health and wellness; love and romance; traveling and adventure. I make a sticky note with each of these categories and I spread them out on the floor.

Then, again without thinking or editing, I put each of the images into one of the above categories. Finally, I take each stack and make an individual collage laid out on my dining room table or on my floor.

What I love about this part of the process is that the photos I had imagined would be a part of one category often end up in an entirely different category and their meaning changes dramatically.

I don’t glue anything down. I simply take a photo of each collage and then I print that photo and put it on my bulletin board or even use it as a home or lock screen on my phone. I usually hang out for as long as I can with my multiple “boards” on my table or floor in order to take them in more fully. Sooner or later, we need the table or things get blown on the floor and is it is time to pick everything up and put it in a file folder for posterity.

Of course it’s fun to look back a year later and see what has come to pass or what is still evolving. Often, I check in with the images mid-year. Sometimes I burn them to turn them over more symbolically to the Universe.

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More than concrete how-to lists or resolutions, these collages convey a feeling – an essence that I want to draw into my life – sort of a more richly illustrated tarot reading for the year to come. Some boards are more resonant for me than others. Regardless, it’s a joyful process that feeds me on so many levels.

May you be fed in this New Year, on every level, with so much joy and love.

Sharon Eisenhauer
A Soul's Worth
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What is the cost of a soul? We usually live as though we can buy one. Or pay it off. Or bribe it. We compromise ourselves, making tradeoffs in work or love or myriad other ways that we usually later regret. 

All of this bargaining is ultimately in an attempt to feel loved. We long for the love that was beaten or shamed or coerced from us. Most often we never realized the deal we were brokering when we gave it away.

In exchange we may have received approval, or inclusion, or at the very least, a temporary stemming of the pain.

Most of us do this for our entire lives. But the sacrifice we are making takes its toll. We become angry, ill or depressed. We see ourselves as victims, that we are slaves to our circumstances.

And we feel that we don’t have the key to the shackles. But we do. We always did. Maybe no one told us where it was, or how to pick the lock. The key may be buried beneath layers of generational pain. But it is there.

We may have spent decades, pick-axe in hand, chipping away at fossilized rage and grief - alternating with a shovel to dig out the shame.

What we never knew, or perhaps weren’t ready to hear, was that, while using these tools built our muscles; the key to unlocking this chest of misery and betrayal has been within our reach at all times.

It rises up from the redwood sapling and towers in the sky. We can drink it in while falling into the velvety spiral of a rose. Or hear it in the thrum of a hummingbird’s wings or in a dolphin’s song reminding us to smile.

This is Love that has been here for millennia. Always. It is everywhere. Love. Only Love.

It is everywhere, but it requires our conscious attention to let it in; to fall into its arms; to let it cleanse away our eons worth of shame, betrayal and rage.

Into the arms of the Great Mother, Gaia, Love Itself, we can allow ourselves to fall. To be held. To grieve the pain, the loss; and to again see the beauty that has always been there.

With this recognition, this remembrance of what was always there, the muscle that truly needed strengthening has a chance to expand. We realize that we have had a cage of armor surrounding our hearts, a cage that must be opened. In fact, this armor must be discarded entirely in order for this astounding muscle to grow.

What protects our heart when we allow this is compassion and forgiveness. For ourselves first. For others, after.

I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. We offer Ho’oponopono - a Hawaiian prayer of compassion and forgiveness.

So we lay to rest the pick-axe and the shovel – the tools that kept us digging relentlessly at the past.

We can be grateful for what they revealed and trust that the other puzzle pieces that require revelation will come in silent recognition and with gratitude; free from the chains of victimhood that kept us bound to the past (or so it seemed!).

We choose Love. Only Love. And anything that reveals itself as less than love, we ask that it be brought gently and compassionately into the light.

Sharon Eisenhauer
Loving Trump
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While I recognize that this is a provocative headline - the intended provocation may not be for the reason that you think.

I have spoken before about the “resist” movement and how resistance only results in more of the same - pushing back. One cannot Stand United Against Hate without embodying a hateful stance themselves. We are hating the haters in this case. We can’t stand against something without being a part of it.

A shift in perspective (and effect!) is Standing United With Love. Loving the essence of another being sees the good, the commonality, our own face in the face of the other.

What we see, perceive and react against in others is a reflection of our own collective fear, outrage and intolerance. We have collectively created this world in such a model of scarcity and greed that the Earth will not be able to sustain us that much longer if we continue in this direction. She has been giving us warning signs all along.

But just as we have created this world as it currently is, we can change it. When we do this, incrementally, shift happens. But it doesn’t happen through violence or even resistance. That creates more of the same.

The way to create incremental and lasting change is through love.

Before you write this off as woo-woo or way too far out and groovy, stick with me for a second.

This in NO way precludes standing up for what we believe in. In fact, it supports it, but from a vastly more powerful stance. When we stand in our strength and sovereignty, will full faith in the conviction of our beliefs, we stand aligned with Truth. And Truth will ultimately prevail.

Where we start is in loving ourselves. Loving ourselves enough that we stop doing things like disparaging our bodies with chemical-laden food and other products, overworking, under-exercising, awful self-talk and not enough time in nature.

Yes, it takes time and commitment, but when we begin to really feel the love, we will begin acting outwardly with love - not in our usual more co-dependent way, but truly acting in love.

From this stance, our fear-based scarcity thinking that manifests as greed will lessen. We will no longer take more than our share - hoarding energy, food and other resources. There will be enough for everyone.

This isn’t Pollyanna. This is sacred truth.

We all need love. We all need to give it. We all need to receive it.

And that brings me to my headline. When a toddler throws a tantrum, what calms him down the most? What is he really asking for? It’s not a fight or more punishment. (Although at times, that appears to be better than no attention at all.)

What he is desperately begging for is to be loved. Not the apparent “love” of the whipped up followers. But real love. Love of his essence. The love that he never likely received as a child.

If we collectively begin to spend just a moment each day to send love to that tiny, precious child that was born in 1946 in Queens, New York a little softening may just begin to happen.

We might just see sparks of compassion here and there. And while his ego will certainly kick and scream at being perceived as anything less than the ego-maniacal beast that he has become, it may just make him one less trigger-happy finger away from the Ultimate Power Move.

I realize that this is very much of a stretch for most of us. But it certainly can’t hurt. And imagine what it will bring to each of us in consciously feeling love for another precious being on this planet in their most innocent form.

If all of this sounds a bit like the story of the Grinch, or Scrooge, it is because the basis of those stories is truth. Enduring truth that can save our country and ultimately our planet.

Maybe tomorrow, after we love ourselves up, send a little love his way.

Sharon Eisenhauer