The end of 2016 found me stormy inside, frustrated by a year of trying to move into and on with the next chapter of business in our story. Picture a tropical storm stuck in a circling pattern at sea. (Such a positive word picture.)
Apparently, the Heavens have thought it best for Tropical Storm Annie to remain there until some things were downgraded into less destructive, more productive rainfall without the hurricane strength and furry. Go figure.
So as I was circling at sea, I felt a nudge to get really clear on some things about myself- cuz ya know, wherever ya go, ya take yourself with you (read the whole enchilada-strengths, weaknesses, the good, the bad, the ugly). You take yourself into your next chapter, into your new business, into your new relationships, into your New Year…
That’s when it suddenly seemed like a God thing to me that the New Year begins in winter when the world in the northern hemisphere is dormant and at rest. (This will require my downunder friends to turn up the AC and close the curtains around 5:00pm.)
Can anyone tell me why we jump straight away into making #resolutions (usually another list of to-dos and should-be s for our already busy and bedraggled selves) right on the heels of being shaken up in the dizzying whirl of the proverbial holiday snow globe? Are you feeling me or am I the only one taking crazy pills?
So in my circling storm, I felt as though several questions were posed to me.
How about we take a cue from the sleeping landscape and hibernating bears and we all just settle down for a bit?
How about we take a few moments and just be quiet like the naked trees? (I know for some, this strikes terror in the heart and you feel as though I am speaking a foreign tongue.)
How about this January we end our days earlier with the sun and rest a little longer each day?
What could 2017 look like if we gave ourselves time to REST and discover what we really need way deep down in our hearts before adding to-dos and should-be s, #resolutions to our already busy lives?
How much better could our lives be if we began by getting reacquainted with who we really are and THEN after that, we made ourselves some promises about trying to live more intentionally out of our truest selves, our secret sauce, our God breathed unique reflection of Love?!
Here’s where my quest began before my stormy restless self made landfall.
You may not share the same fascination/obsession I have with what makes people tick and what makes me react or respond to them in the ways I do (good and bad).
To me, it’s a grand puzzle of Divine proportion that we each contain a unique blend of characteristics, strengths, and gifts that have been given to us in order to reflect and express who the Creator of the Universe is!!
This is when I had the picture of a SOUL TATTOO. It’s a unique and purposeful and permanent part of each one of us. It is beautifully drawn into our very being, into our spirit by God himself. It can never be removed.
Psalm 139: 13-16 speaks of this idea God had about knowing us as spirit before we were conceived in our mother’s womb. Before our heart began to beat on week three, He knew us and had already given us our unique expression of Himself, of Divine Love.
Then we take our first breath and our life begins to happen. We are born out of blood, sweat and tears in the most beautiful way, ask any woman who has given birth.
As fresh and lovely as we are, blood, sweat and tears begin to happen to and around us in relatively short order, usually in not such beautiful ways.
Life teaches us to put on layers of bandages, clothes, and disguises in order to carry on, comfort, and protect ourselves from further wounding, pain and suffering. AND THEN we make New Year #resolutions each time the calendar restarts. My new theory is that this ritual really speaks of our longing to live out of our buried and forgotten SOUL TATTOO.
We loose sight of it under all the layering. We keep running harder and faster thinking we can eventually catch up with the life we really want to live and with the person we really want to be. #exhausting #busybusybusy #autopilot #isthisallthereis?
OK. WOW. Pause and rewind a bit.
The last week of December, I went back to Joette, my Medical Massage Therapist, who has become my sweet friend. She has been performing miracles on my post accident arms and shoulders.
There I am face down on the table and all of these very private thoughts about wanting to live more fully and authentically out of my SOUL TATTOO start rolling out of my smooshed lips. (Do you know how hard it is to form words lying face down in a donut hole?) She stops and her hands rest in warm silence on my back.
After a few moments, she begins haltingly, “This is what I needed to hear today. I have been asking what more is there? I have felt so dry and so stuck and suddenly what you are describing is making my heart pound in my chest and I feel as though maybe there is new adventure ahead of me! I can see it. I can see the idea of having a SOUL TATTOO, but how do I discover and live out of it?! Annie, you need to blog about this. I need this and I can think of others who do too. How do I do this?”
This is when I broke into a cold sweat.
For me a cold sweat generally speaks of being called out of my comfort zone for the benefit of someone else at the risk of looking foolish or even a little bit crazy. (Pride? What if I can’t follow through? What if this just goes down a stupid bunny trail? What if? What if? What if?)
When I was that stormy circling pattern out at sea, I made a quick outline of the coming year for my personal journaling and spiritual focus. At the time it felt holy to me, as though the Lover of my soul was opening up a Divine invitation into deeper breath, richer relationship, more presence, and fuller life during 2017.
It is a plan that follows the seasons of His magnificent creation, allowing the world around me to be a framework and guide me through a year of living more intentionally and authentically out of my SOUL TATTOO.
As cryptic and unrefined as this plan is, I knew I needed to invite her on this journey with me, thus the cold sweat. So I did. And then I invited another dear friend. They both said, “Yes, please!” (Now the sweat is freely flowing.)
As an act of love and faith that this notion of having a SOUL TATTOO is not just for my own private and cozy benefit, I’d like to invite you on the adventure of getting reacquainted with YOUR SOUL TATTOO and learning to live more fully out of it this year. (Full armpit faucet now on…)
I will be posting some thoughts each month out of the journaling plan, knowing that it will morph and take shape along the way. I’d love to have you join in whenever, however it suits you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback (honestly, it might help my cold sweating issue-ha ha ha xo). If it doesn’t sound like your thing, no biggie. I hope you’ll still pop in now and then just to say hi- xo.
So if you’d like to come along for the adventure,
First step is to find 15 minutes and grab your favorite beverage (coffee, tea, wine…time zone dependent) and using your preferred form of technology go to viacharacter.org and take the FREE character strengths test.
Second step, print out your results. I like this test so much because it focuses on character strengths. Character strengths “make up our core capacity for thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that can bring benefit to us and to others. They represent the best about each one of us.” (taken from VIA Institutes website)
…”the best about each one of us”, the way God uniquely designed each of us.
I picture my character strengths as the part of my soul that filters and focuses and brings greater fullness of life. And I have a growing suspicion that when something trips me up it may be because I am for whatever reason living outside of my core, my SOUL TATTOO.
Third step, print out the PDF below for some thought provoking questions.
And, seriously, I’d love to hear from you (you can use the contact form and/or comment at the bottom of each post). Your thoughts will be of such great help!
HUGS. BIG HUGS. Annie
Just click on this little PDF link for some more things to noodle on! 🙂 jan-rest-1