This morning a praying mantis appeared in the upper right corner of my bedroom window.
Could the message be any more clear?
When was the last time you prayed?
When was the last time you carved out time and space to get still, to hear the quiet voice inside?
I got a glass from the cabinet, a piece of mail. I climbed up to reach the praying mantis. Placed the glass over his body until he crawled in. Covered the glass with the mail.
Then I took him outside and set him free.
The praying mantis waits for his prey with his slender arms folded together as if in prayer.
There’s an intelligence to the pause.
There is a different quality to a day that I begin as a busy entrepreneur, bombarded by noise, pressures, distractions when I don’t start with reading, prayer, meditation and journal writing.
When I don’t get rooted in who I am.
In why I do what I do.
What has this got to do with business?
Did I need to look up what the praying mantis meant?
*”If Praying Mantis has crawled into your space;
Usually the Praying Mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us. Taking a step back and some simple meditation would be in order here because the external din we’ve created needs to be quieted so that we can come back to our own truth. The Praying Mantis always comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.”
It was confirmation. The praying mantis appears when you have allowed your life to get too busy, chaotic, noisy, out of control.
If we are to be leaders, we must begin by leading our own lives. Leading each day that’s gifted to us.
Today, I want to talk about how a blog gets born.
I want to draw the anatomy of a blog.
I want to share it on Periscope, my new obsession!
I want to share it with you. And, I want to encourage all of you to join me in a Five-Day BlogPlay starting Monday.
I want to turn content generation into blog play into something joyous into a way that we engage more deeply with our hearts our purpose our lives and each other.
Are you game?
Now my blog begins.
On Wednesday, August 12th, I had a dream.
I saw the word BELIEVE tattooed on the inside of my right wrist. The same wrist where I bear a scar from smashing a window ten years ago.
Yes, I locked myself out of my house.
Yes, I was just trying to jiggle the window so it would pop open.
But I misjudged. I was angry. I was having a lover’s spat.
I was not in control of myself.
I hit the glass too hard.
Instead of opening, the window shattered, and glass slashed my wrist.
I looked down in horror. So much red. I felt the blood drain from my brain. I felt my knees go weak. The swamping dizziness.
Even though I don’t like to ask for help, I had enough presence of mind to call a friend who came to drive me to the Emergency Room.
When I arrived, the medics looked at me funny. They thought I had hurt myself on purpose.
I didn’t even think of that.
The truth is, I didn’t hurt myself on purpose. But I did hurt myself. I was to blame.
Because at that point, in my crazy Love Junkie phase, I didn’t know how to master my emotions.
I didn’t start the day in a peaceful way. Rooting myself in reading, prayer, meditation and journal writing.
It was a wake up call.
The praying mantis today was a wake up call too.
But I am still telling the other story. The story of this past Wednesday.
You see how time layers, and how there are different portals bringing us backward and forward through time?
We are time travelers.
There is a beauty and an ease when we understand this. It makes storytelling possible. It makes personal growth possible.
Are you with me?
Follow me. Think of my mind as a bouncing ball. Remember those?
So, I woke up on Wednesday with that dream fresh in my mind, of the tattoo of BELIEVE on my inside wrist, overlaying the scar, the scar of self harm.
Even though I didn’t do it on purpose, it was still harm to myself.
I know better now.
I woke this past Wednesday and I was restless. Worried about business pressures. I hadn’t slept enough. I didn’t feel like reading, praying, meditating or journal writing.
But I did.
Because I know that to believe in myself I have to do what I say I’m going to do, and so I read.
What was the reading that day?
It was about quitting.
What did the reading say?
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
Sure, we may have heard that before, but have we really felt it. Have we really believed it? Have we really committed to it?
I wanted to quit that day. It’s true.
Still. I fell to my knees after reading, because when I pray I need to be on my knees to feel humble.
Can you hear it in my voice? No. I’m writing. Maybe you can feel it. I can feel it. How my heart is cracked open. How this is the moment of deep truth, of vulnerability.
I need to start the day on my knees.
I need to get humble, so I know that I have gifts that I’ve been given. I have a body, I have a spirit, I have a mind I’ve been given. My job is to get out of my own way. To do what I say I’m going to do. To serve. To show up. To express. To be brave. To come from the heart.
But I don’t remember any of that if I wake up and my brain is racing. If I want to quit. If I’m angry, frustrated.
Then, I’m not connected to spirit.
So, I was on my knees. I prayed. I got humble.
But I did say this. Out loud.
Oh, you better believe I bathed in self pity. I felt righteous! Deliciously grim! Visions of quitting danced in my head!
At that exact moment, my iPhone pinged.
A text popped up from the man I’m seeing. An encouraging, sexy, spritual text.
I laughed because you see, if we pay attention, the Universe is speaking to us. It’s singing to us. It’s giving us clues. Answers.
It’s showing us the way to be bigger than ourselves.
That is what it means to be a leader. That is what it means to run a conscious business.
We all can create our own economies, but we have to step up.
Back to the blog. Back to that moment this past Wednesday.
I shifted from prayer into meditation.
I use Headspace.
I like Andy Puddicombe’s story. I like his laidback British voice. I like how relaxed he is and how he’s earned his authority through years of meditation.
I like how his practice is rooted in pain. How he lost four people close to him in one year when he was a young man, and he couldn’t bear it. He felt his whole world cracking, falling apart.
So he left that world for ten years. And traveled. And meditated. And learned.
So. When Andy said to straighten my spine, I did.
And lo, as soon as I straightened my spine, my story became clear for that day.
I got out of the slump of I’M ALONE. That old story. I felt energy move through my body. It was that simple.
I straightened my spine.
I straightened my spine.
I realized that we have to straighten the spines of our narratives.
We have to get them in alignment with our businesses.
You need to get aligned with your business, which is your bigger self.
See how all those pieces came together?
Here’s another piece.
What pulls them together is my mind. I’m creating the connections.
That’s what you can do, too.
Amanda Palmer talks about our job as artists – and I believe we creativie entrepreneurs are a new breed of artist – is to COLLECT, then CONNECT, then SHARE.
What I am telling you in this blog is the things that I collected.
They were observations, dreams, moments.
Then how I’m making them connect? Through associative leaps. That helps them cohere into a whole narrative.
Here’s the final piece.
My grandfather was born on August 12th. He’s no longer alive. He used to go around the dining room table and poke all his children in the back with a stick.
“Sit up straight.”
He poked them hard.
All his children have excellent posture.
My mother – who surprise surprise, fled Blue Blood Boston to become a Greenwich Village bohemian and dashiki-wearing quasi-hippie — would tell this story as an example of her father’s cruelty and formality and discipline.
“’Sit up straight,’” she would say, mimicking her Irish doctor father’s stern voice.
But now I see the wisdom in it, even if the style left something to desire.
And so I ask you all to join me today in straightening your spine.
I invite you to get straight and aligned with your business, your mission, your bigger self.
Join me in a Five-Day BlogPlay starting Monday, August 17th.
If you have any questions, I would love to answer them. Comment here. Or there. Or Twitter. Or find me on Periscope. Or shoot me an email.
I am grateful that you spent you precious time with me. I hope you got something of value.
Because I wrote this blog for you.