I’d been doing a version of these minutes in our private Google group, but today I woke up and felt like blogging. It’s been months since I’ve been compelled to write, so I’m gonna roll with it. Running Dreamers & Schemers is one of the best things that I do, so it’s really a pleasure to be able to share this work a bit more publicly. I link to the worksheets for each exercise, but these are password protected and limited to monthly subscribers in order to keep conversations private.
In our first gathering of 2017, we welcomed four new members to Dreamers & Schemers! You can tell I was really wrapped up in getting everybody settled in because this is the very first time EVER that I’ve been remiss about taking a group photo.
Our lovely host, Jasmin, took the time to set up the space and fill it with all kinds of nourishing and healing elements for all our senses. Check out her “nourish bar”! And take special note that she has laid out three different colors of apples because, as she put it, it’s important for food to appeal to the eye, as well as the taste buds.
We kicked off the evening by establishing the three pillars of our community, the three agreements that uphold Dreamers & Schemers as sacred space:
- Honor self
- Honor other
- Beginner’s mind
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
There were a lot of new people this month, but the idea of going around the circle and doing introductions all over again felt a little heavy to me. I usually ask participants what brings them to Dreamers & Schemers and then I give my little spiel about my journey from academia to youth work, through burn out and eventually to the Self Care Shakedown / Dreamers & Schemers. But that story has been starting to feel a little stale and I wanted us to get to know each other in a fresher way.
To this end, I asked everyone to offer into the circle her name and two juicy bits of information:
- What is one thing that not many people know about you / you are just learning about yourself?
- What is your edge? (I.e., what is one area in your life where you are learning and being challenged?
I shared with the group that I was born under dictatorship (and martial law!), and as a child lived through a people’s revolution, and then a military coup that threatened to topple that democracy. (My house was on the perimeter of our subdivision, so the tanks were literally on the other side of our walls and we found bullets in our yard.) Last month I was reflecting on all this and realized that it is one of the reasons I’ve been able to stay off the emotional roller coaster of American politics.
My current edge is learning how to integrate more fun and lightness into all areas of my life. I’ve figured out how to do this in my trapeze / aerial practice, which I am deeply committed to, but also lighthearted about. I want my professional and spiritual “work” to be just as lighthearted. I think that’s why the idea of Game Plan keeps nagging at me, because I know deep in my heart that the game of life can be seriously fun.
On that note, it was a lot of fun learning new things about everyone in the group, including those whom I’ve known for a few years now! Turns out we have a lot of dancers and aspiring dancers in Dreamers & Schemers.
BASIC MEDITATION with personal sun
For our first meditation I wanted to keep things simple but also hit a number of what I think of as basic meditation skills (turn inward, ground, center, release, etc.). I skipped any conceptual discussion of this and asked people just to “get on the bus” so they could just have the experience without their brains trying to make sense of all of it.
After grounding, centering, and releasing whatever didn’t serve us in the moment, I spent a bit of time with the “personal sun” tool. We’d done this once or twice last year, but it seemed to move a couple veteran Dreamers & Schemers in a new way this time around. Reactions included feeling a physical sense of warmth and safety, and feeling like you could “fill up the emptiness” inside using this energy tool consciously. I love to nerd out on this sort of thing, how people experience energy work, so it’s always fun for me to hear how a certain meditation lands with others. It never fails to amaze me how an exercise that is so simple and seemingly “imaginary” can have such a powerful effect on you.
“Home frequency” is a term that I’ve seen bandied about in Law of Attraction and energy healing circles, but it kind of describes an exercise I made up for myself so I’m borrowing the label, even though I use it a bit differently. Intuitive healer Penney Peirce defines “home frequency” as “the highest, most natural personal vibration you can attain,” or the feeling of “soul-in-body.” I have always been surprised by the assumption that everyone has one single home frequency, because I personally work with two different ones, depending on my mood. I had everyone calibrate and sit with one home frequency for a little bit.
INTENTION + “PRAYER”
At the end of last year it struck me that the gifts of these past two years have been the result of pairing an intention (something you resolve to show up for and “work at”) and what feels more like a “prayer” (a wish so big that you could not possibly work at it no matter how hard you tried). To be honest, I wasn’t consciously pairing my intentions with my prayers, but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense that my “prayer” for each year would somehow correspond to my conscious intention.
In 2015, my conscious intention was to work on “surrender.” The prayer I held in my heart was to “rest in the palm of God.” In practice this meant learning everything I could about surrendering from books, podcasts, friends, and strangers. It meant talking myself off the ledge whenever I was freaking out about my life not going in the direction or speed my ego thought it should be going. When it came to “resting in the palm of God,” however…I had no idea where to begin. Some people who have had a long, thriving personal relationship with the Divine can perhaps teach me how to go about “doing” this, but for me it was all about just “being” and trusting that if I kept showing up for my surrender practice, that I eventually I would learn how to rest in God’s hands.
And you know what? My prayers were answered in ways that I could never have dreamed of. In 2015 I found grace. I stopped loathing myself for being an “unproductive” member of society. And when I embraced that, I discovered the joys of flying trapeze and the secret athlete in me, and an entire path of learning opened up before my eyes.
Just as magically, 2016 I set the intention of practicing self-compassion. This meant being as gentle with myself as possible and keeping that awful voice in my head that likes to yell at me or quietly demean me in check. The prayer behind that was “to see myself through the eyes of God.” I knew that Spirit looks at all of us and sees only beauty and perfection, and in my heart of hearts, I wanted that perspective. I had the capacity to see this in others, but was really challenged to do that for myself.
The gift of 2016 really took my breath away. By the fall I noticed that I had surpassed self care and self compassion: I had landed squarely in the territory of self love. It tickles me to think about it because it feels nothing like how I expected. And I feel like I reached a “goal” that I never even set for myself.
For this exercise we talked about the difference between setting an intention and a prayer and how to go about each one, and worked individually on our own personal pairings.
CENTERING ON YOUR VALUES
This is a tool that I recently got from my Akashic Records as a way to kick off my new year. It is an exercise in drawing your boundaries, holding the energy of your values steady, and infusing your life (or any aspect of your life) with that energy. It builds on a few of the skills of the earlier exercises. Just as an experiment we came up with two shared values we wanted for the group (love and trust) and centered on these for a few minutes.
Next gathering is second Thursday of Feb! In the spirit of winter, we’ll work on making like a plant and retreating to our roots so we can be nourished.