Authenticity, Awakening, courage

This is why what you have to offer is enough

Above my desk I have pinned up the following quote:

“Forget your perfect offering.”

You may recognize this line from Leonard Cohen’s song Anthem and the line that follows is the often memed: “there is a crack in everything, that‘s how the light gets in.”

I am a big fan of Leonard Cohen’s music and poetry and when I listen it feels like all he offers is perfect. In Anthem he speaks of the imperfection of the human condition, and how it is through that imperfection that we find our redemption and our hope.

And such is the nature of Cohen’s work that in this song it also feels like he is speaking directly to me.  And so, I listen and I am inspired.

Last year I was lucky enough to see the Leonard Cohen exhibition on it’s last day in Montreal.  And one of the things that stood out to me was the story of how in order to have his poetry reach more people, to have his “voice” heard, (and indeed in order to continue to make a living writing poetry) he started putting his poetry to music and singing.

And – especially when he started – he was not a good singer.  Video footage at the exhibition of some of his earliest forays into music were cringe-worthy, but even then he sang with joy and with a gentle, almost wise smile on his face, knowing his poetry was beautiful – and that we were finally listening.

Forget your perfect offering – even in a crowded exhibition hall – he seemed to speak directly to me.

He was generous enough to himself and his art to let himself fail.

He stepped out of his comfort zone to ensure that he was seen, that his “music” his poetry was heard. To ensure that he could continue doing the work that was his calling.

He took a risk, did something he wasn’t good at in order to offer…to offer.

And so I remind my perfectionist self, who is sneaky, pervasive and crippling, who would allow me to stagnate and die inside the walls of my house – a healer hiding in the attic – to forget about being perfect, to forget my perfect offering.

I print off Leonard’s words and tape them, yes scotch-tape them, to the wall by the window. Purposefully not framed in a Pinterest-worthy handwritten script on canvas – just imperfectly there. A reminder.

In this way I remember, to forget my perfect offering.

To just offer what I have to give, to step out and be seen – to speak, to write, to stand in the circle and be counted – to bring it and trust that those who need it will hear it, will feel the genuine vibration of my love rising from my imperfect hands.  Hear the song rising from my broken and healing heart.

May you too know you have something to give – perhaps something you have long denied, or something you might let slip away – may you find a way to share it, imperfectly.

May you and I be brave enough to step beyond our comfort zones and sing.

The broken world needs all the love and light we have to offer.

Forget your perfect offering and bring what you have.

Bring it. It is enough.

Animals and Nature, Authenticity, Awakening

How a Spider Woke me up to This Powerful, Essential Truth

This past summer I was lucky to able to spend some time on the shores of a small mountain lake in British Columbia.  One hot afternoon, as I paddled my kayak past the dock and out into open water, I discovered that I had a stowaway on board.  It was a spider.

I do not generally find spiders alarming, and so I observed what unfolded next with a sense of bemused curiosity.

I quietly watched her make her way up the paddle, and onto my hand. She then crawled up my arm and onto my shoulder and then along my neck, and that was when I started to find her distracting.  I confess that I did contemplate dropping her into the lake, where she would surely have drowned, but something made me hesitate.  She was so small and fragile after all.  So instead I gently moved her to the front of the kayak.

She stayed there for only a moment and then she headed back towards me. I watched her crawl along the side of the boat, onto the paddle and up my arm back to my shoulder, as if to say “pay attention.” She then moved purposefully down my torso and onto my leg and stopped at my knee.  And there, between my bent knees, she started making a web!

As often happens when I have an unexpected encounter with an insect or animal, I laughed.

And then, as you do, when kayaking with a spider, I closed my eyes and listened.

Floating on that quiet lake with the spider, I had a flash of insight.  In the silence I heard: “I am here at your knees because you are giving birth – to yourself.  And you need to tell the story of your rebirth — to write about it.”  And I remembered that for many people spider is a symbol of creativity, especially in the areas of writing and drawing, and also an ancient symbol of death and rebirth.

It has taken me these past months to fully understand what this encounter with spider was teaching me.

A spider woke me up to a powerful, essential truth

At that time, I had just left my full-time job and was working on building the structure of my new business and my new life – so I truly was birthing a new way of being for myself in the world and struggling to find my voice and vision.  And, just as I had tried to lay the spider aside and had even considered drowning her, so too had I attempted to lay aside and drown out my own desire to write.

I yearned for creative expression and yet I had been casting about looking for an outlet, bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t paint or play the piano when all along the answer was sitting right on my shoulder whispering “hello…writing”.

And it wasn’t just the recent avoiding of writing for my website or blog that I was faced with…it was the fact that I had been putting off writing for YEARS.

It took this most gentle and tenacious of creatures to crack open the door I had closed on the creative fire inside me, to remind me that in the call to be ourselves we must give our creative gifts expression, we must let our story and our voice be heard.

To be ourselves we must make space for creative expression. We must let our story and our voice be heard.

For a long time, I didn’t think my story mattered that much.  I didn’t think anyone would want to hear it or read about it.  Mine was an average life, my struggles too trivial or certainly too private to share. My writing surely only mediocre.

What spider showed me was that we are in fact every moment giving birth to our story. And it matters.

Ted Andrews asserts that “The spider awakens creative sensibilities and reminds us that the world is woven around us and through us… just as we are the keepers and the writers of our own thoughts, so too are we the keepers and writers of our own destiny”.

Inspiration longs to come through us, in all creative forms, to allow us to weave our story into the immense design of things.  It’s a way of marking our place in the world, and each and every story and the expression of that story is important.

If you can, take the advice of a small but mighty spider:  write, draw, dance your way into the creative rhythm of nature, weave the story of your life, step into your untapped creative powers and give birth to your future.

Do you hear the small yet persistent voice of your creative force calling you? Is it time to birth a new chapter of your life full of vibrancy and meaning but you’re not sure how or where to start? Would you like to better understand the messages that nature offers you every day?

Schedule a free call with me –  I am here to help and I look forward to hearing your story!

Shona