With Love – And Hot Tubs – All Things Are Possible

Version 2

Well, lovies, I’m home from a week’s vacation in sunny Florida, which was sunny only part of the time. The other part of the time our hosts were having the same kind of whether we’ve had all winter: weird and unusual. Poor dears were turning the heat on at night just to stay ahead of the 40-degree temps. But amidst all the climate change shenanigans, I learned an important truth: With hot tubs, all things are possible.

And despite 40-degree nights, I still managed to come home with a sunburn, which qualifies me for zero complaining for the rest of the winter. (But if you’re really curious, I’ll show you my bathing suit marks.)

No Matter Where You Go

One of the things I loved about this vacation was that even though I started with this:  “No matter where you go, you bring yourself with you.” I ended up freed from my usual ways of being, expressing who I am inside, which is loving and generous. How this manifested for me was in my utter freedom in giving away Soul Message cards to perfect strangers.

It didn’t start that way, of course. At first, I gave to get, plain and simple. I wanted to sell lots of cards and books to the drummers I’d be in workshops with, so I placed a card on each seat. When no one bought, I concluded they were just not into buying, and I gave up.

Your True Motivations Speak

Have you ever noticed that even if you don’t know your true motivations, they are picked up by others anyway? This is why it’s so useful to be able to read others’ responses and situational energies: They can bring to consciousness that which has been buried in unconsciousness.

Giving up paved the way for something new to come in. I had no choice but to give up my agenda and fall back on what I know is best anyway: listening inside for the cues and direction in each moment.

Another Way

My friends and drumming mentors, Inanna Sisters in Rhythm, gave a concert in Venice, Florida on Saturday night. After we students had practiced our part (the processional), we were just hanging around waiting for people to arrive. I started walking up to audience members and offering them a card from my always-handy grab bag of Soul Messages.

The responses were so heartening that I put a card on every chair so everyone would arrive to a loving message. After the concert, moved by the spirit of this church, which had placed stuffed animals in the seats to be loved and cuddled before being given to kids in hospitals, I donated a set of cards and a book, thanking them for holding the concert.

And, believe me, you haven’t lived until you’ve danced to West African music in a church where people are waving stuffed sea turtles and unicorns in the air, dancing in the aisles.


A few days later, we stopped by the Venice Holistic Community Center to see an old friend and to donate a set of Soul Messages to the center. I learned that my friend was attending her mother’s bedside. I dropped off the gifts, and then I started giving out cards. The three practitioners who were there took cards, as did our two waitresses in the busy diner across the street, as well as the homeless woman camping out in front waiting for a place to sleep.

The first waitress got, “Delight Yourself,” and exclaimed, “Ain’t that the truth!” The second waitress got, “Your inspiration and heart are welcome here,” shrugging it off as self-evident, while sporting a sly grin. A practitioner at the Center got, “You’re already perfect. There’s nothing to improve,” and did a little victory dance in her seat, explaining that she’d been able to wean herself from her supplemental oxygen lately. The homeless woman received with grace, “You are the soul of goodness.”

Warm weather makes a difference. So does being in a walkable area. Failing helps, actually. Thank goodness I’ve developed an ear for clunkers through my writing, musical, and counseling experience. But also, giving out and delighting people with loving messages has a strengthening effect on the heart.

I’m feeling it possible that my more defended places could continue to stand aside while I share the love these messages carry, no matter where I am, starting with myself.

I learned something else on vacation: With love, all things are possible. And if it isn’t love, it won’t bear fruit, and that’s a good thing.

sand doodle


With love,


As always, thank you for stopping by and reading. I’d love to connect with you,  either here, on Facebook or Twitter.

To sign up for my newsletter, please follow this link:

by Phyllis Capanna © 2016 joyreport

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA.  © 2016 Phyllis Capanna

Sometimes It's Just Easy

Hello Dear Readers and Friends,

Seems like a zillion years since my last post, which was 1 week ago. Time slows when you’re immersed in the wondrous present moment, doesn’t it?

Fun Factoid

I used to write songs. Lots of them. One of them, called Pictures of Love, which can be heard here, is playing in my head as I write. Just for fun, go listen.

No Longer in Lala Land

Or, at least, I don’t want to be. I want to be connected. That’s one of the miracles of …well, of everything: my recovery, my writing, the Internet. It’s so easy to connect. It’s also easy to think you’re connecting but really you’re singing in the shower.

Anyway, I recently launched a reader survey, designed to allow me to better connect with you. Yes, you! I will give you a nice gift if you fill it out and share some of your thoughts, ideas, needs, and happies (yes, that is a word) with me.

One of the freebies is a set of my Soul Message cards, downloaded to your computer, that you can print and cut and have in something like 10 minutes.

Preview of Free Soul Message Cards

Here’s the step-by-step of what happens after you complete my 2 minute survey:

I send you the link to get to this page.
I send you the link to get to this page.
You click the link, and it takes you to the download page.
You click the link, and it takes you to the download page.
You load some card stock into your printer.
You load some card stock into your printer.
You print out the file.
You print out the file.
You cut them out.
You cut them out.
Voila! Your cards in hand.
Voila! Your cards in hand.

And please note, I printed them using the Fast Draft setting because I’m running out of ink.

The other thank you is a copy of my book, Soul Messages, which will look like this when you click on the link:

First page of Soul Messages.
First page of Soul Messages.

Pretty much how it looks in print. You can read it on your computer or print it out. It’s about 60 pages, plus or minus.

Another Favor

The survey will be ending soon, so please, do it now. It really only takes 2 minutes. Honest. Also, if you know of anyone who might want either of these freebies, please share the survey link with them.

So What’s the Pithy Take-Away?

Ha! Well, my one goal in life is to be a best selling author. I don’t have to be ashamed to admit that, right? Still, it feels pretty vulnerable to say it. And my one plan for making money is…you guessed it, to write a best selling book (or 10). Those of you who’ve been reading for a while know that about a year ago I up and quit my job so that I could pursue this dream. Now, the field of writing is competitive. It doesn’t matter whether you’re self-published or represented by a publishing house. You still have to produce quality stuff and then get it out to your audience.

Finding that audience is about 90% of my life right now. That’s why I blog. That’s why I give away my books. That’s why I ask you to read and write reviews or give testimonials. That’s why I teach workshops and classes. That’s why I post to Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Google +.

What needs to change is that I need to spend 90% of my time writing. (This post was going to be about the miracle of a timer and a notebook, but that will have to wait for perhaps next week.) So, while I hunker down and complete my next project (The Soul Message Workbook!!), I’d like you to share my work with someone you know. This post will be published on my Facebook Soul Messages page, to Twitter, to Linked In and on Google +. Find me in those places and give a shout out that you read this. I’d love to meet you.

The pithy takeaway is that you, my dear reader, count as much as I do here on this blog, in my life, and out there in the big, big, big, big picture (another song,actually!) If each one of my readers shared once, that would be about 600 potential new readers. Just by clicking a button, telling somebody about my blog, forwarding an email, sharing my post somewhere on the Internet, going to my book on Amazon and writing a review, pointing someone else to my Amazon page for physical books, etc., etc., etc., you can make an incredible difference. Easily.

I think you get the point. I love writing for you. All you have to do is complete the circle: read, share, repeat.

Oh, and if you really want a thrill, start giving a Soul Message card to a random person who works hard and hasn’t had a good, honest, kind thing done for them since they woke up today. And when you figure out how to get a picture of their face when they read their message (while still be present to enjoy the moment with them), let me know.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

With love,


Say it. Do it. Write it. Live it.


I was leaving my audiology appointment and remembered that I had brought in my stash of Soul Message cards, intending to give one to the receptionist. I wavered while the thought and feeling of being not good enough, in danger of being rejected, of offering something “stupid” and of no consequence welled up in me as I stood poised in the hallway. I could turn right and head toward the elevators or left to go back to the reception area. 

“None of that!” I said to that cacophony, and turned left toward Mary, the receptionist who’d checked me in. Before I could stop myself, I reached into my bag and pulled out the card that says, “You are a natural healer. Trust yourself.”

I handed Mary the card, she read it, and said, “Aw, thank you! That’s so wonderful! Look! I have goosebumps!” I said, “I just want you to know you are making such a difference in my life.” Her eyes teared up, and so did mine. “That’s so good to hear,” she said. I watched her shoulders drop a couple of inches.

All of us in healthcare love to care. But very often, the people we are caring for are so sick, it is all they can do to take the next breath, sit up in bed, or rub a washcloth over their face. We wonder sometimes if what we do really makes a difference. The administrative staff get to wonder that a lot more. Of course, Mary is the one who makes sure my medical records get to where they need to go, answers the phone when I forget when my appointment is, and greets me when I get there, assuring me with her manner that I will be taken care of competently.

These days, more often than not, I call myself a writer, not a healthcare provider. But it’s the same nagging worry: Does it make a difference? I thought I knew all about the Soul Messages, something I created to act as a loving voice people could hear whenever they needed to, with messages we all need to hear, for encouragement, affirmation, and just plain love. I thought writing was about channeling that voice, then sharing it with others (and teaching others how to channel that voice for themselves), and that completed the circle. But today I discovered that the real completion is to be that voice for someone when I don’t have to, when I’m not being a writer, and especially when a stronger voice inside is telling me not to, because it won’t be good enough.

The Soul Messages are for giving. There’s a saying in recovery circles, “We keep what we have by giving it away.” Damn, but these little cards are teaching me and helping me to grow beyond my self-imposed limitations the more I share them, and the more I listen to that wise voice within that says, “Say it. Do it. Write it. Live it.”

How about you? How has life conspired to have you expand beyond what you thought possible? Do share in the comments below. And as always, thanks for reading.

With love,


p.s. If you would like to be notified of when I will be offering writing and Soul Messages workshops, please join my mailing list, and I will keep you up to date.

 Want a free copy of the soul messages book, or a free set of diy soul message cards?

Help me out by sharing your thoughts in a 2 minute survey, and I will send you the thank you gift of your choice. Thank you!

by Phyllis Capanna © 2015 joyreport

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA.  © 2015 Phyllis Capanna

Doing It Wrong


It was during a week as a temp at Harvard University that I first encountered Julia’s Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I was subbing for an assistant to two professors. One was on sabbatical, and one was on vacation. (It was a plum placement.) I proceeded to gobble up The Artist’s Way. That was in 1991, and that’s when I started doing the Morning Pages. Except for a few weeks somewhere around 2013 or so, I’ve done them every morning since.

At first I ignored the three pages rule and just wrote until I was spent and had nothing more to say. I remember one epic run of ten or so pages brimming with self-hatred. Julia had warned that the pages would bring stuff up, and had encouraged us to hang on and do them anyway. I figured I had several decades of backlog, so it was okay. Soon, though, I settled into the three page routine. A couple of times I wondered, as I’m sure many before me have, just what she meant by “three pages.” Was it three pages, or three pieces of paper, filled? I decided that, being a writer, Cameron had said what she meant, three single-sided pages.

A week ago, I chose as my travel reading another Cameron book, The Right To Write. In it, she again uses the Morning Pages as a writing tool. The instructions begin, “Take out three sheets of 8 ½ by 11 paper…” and end, “When you have finished writing three pages, stop.” At once, I had the answer to my nagging question of long ago. Initially, it struck me as funny that I have dutifully written three pages for twenty-plus years, and I’ve been doing it wrong. The fact that it tickled me, I thought, was progress in itself.

But it bugged me. I wanted to reap the real benefits of this exercise (not the half-benefits I had already attained.) I wanted to be a real writer, a heavy hitter like Cameron. I wanted to follow instructions. As soon as I found out I’d been doing the Morning Pages “wrong,” my meager three pages lost their magical quality and failed to conjure their usual sense of endless possibility. Suddenly they were small and constrained. I wasn’t allowing myself to fly, to reach, to stretch. I was limiting myself. I was playing small. I’d been letting myself off too easy. As usual.

I decided I had to fill three pieces of paper. I figured it would be tough. The first day, in a hotel room in Atlantic City I was sharing with a friend, I ran out of things to say.  I jumped up, relieved to be off the page. The next day, staying at a beach house in Massachusetts, I was interrupted and left it at five pages. At breakfast that morning I told the story, and everyone agreed: Three pages is three pages: 1, 2, 3. Three pieces of paper filled give you pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Still, I felt I was doing it wrong. The next few mornings, my pages went to four pages. I was just not filling three whole pages.

A few days later, back in Maine with a full house at our lakeside camp, something happened. Bathroom time had become a ballet of sorts, with four people plus visitors sharing the facilities. Now, my usual morning routine is a careful set-up for my morning pages. I wake up. I go to the bathroom. I make my morning coffee as if I am performing a sacrament. I arrange a small writing pillow to rest my notebook on. I begin with a short spiritual reading. I fill my fountain pen and blot it. I open the notebook and begin.

But on this morning, I couldn’t get into the bathroom right away, so I started making coffee.  When the coffee was ready, I didn’t want to start my pages, because I still hadn’t taken care of necessities in the bathroom. As time ticked on, I thought my elderly mom might soon be getting up, which would mean no morning pages at all.  It looked like I would have to do some multi-tasking. 

When my turn came, I waltzed in with notebook, pen and coffee. I started writing, and in that moment of reckless scrawling on the top line of a blank page, the magic of the Morning Pages came back. I wasn’t waiting or holding back. I wasn’t playing small. I was going for it. I was grabbing my writing time any way and anywhere I could. Free again, I felt the endless road open up before me.

All wrong, completely out of step and treacherously close to not being able to write at all that day, I dove in, recklessly, messily, hungrily. I hadn’t written since the day before. I was thirsty for this. I didn’t know what I was going to write about but that didn’t stop me from living my life right there on the page for the next thirty minutes or so. I wrote three lovely, sloppy, sprawling pages of stream of consciousness.

Am I doing it wrong? Or am I doing it the way that is right for me?

It is safe to heal and release limiting ideas of success.

P.S. Don’t worry, I didn’t hog the bathroom for the full thirty minutes. I also couldn’t let go of the question about how many pages is three pages.  I finally got my answer on Julia’s own blog, in which she states, Morning Pages are three, single-sided, 8.5×11 pages (so in other words, not 6 pages).” Which means that in The Right To Write, when she states, “Take out three sheets of 8 ½ by 11 paper…” the accurate thing would have been to say “two sheets.” I hope I remember her mistake the next time I am tempted to think that my mistakes are the end of the world. All in all, Julia’s mistake lead me to a stronger place on my path. Love you, Julia! And thanks for The Artists’ Way and the Morning Pages. They rock!

The S-Word

Universe Designs

The Universe designs the perfect circumstances to support your success.

If the first thing that jumps to your mind when you read this assertion is your most recent flop, read on. And keep in mind the corollary: “If at first you don’t succeed, there’s more to the story.”

I’ve decided to jump into the topic of success, because it is such a loaded one for me, and, I suspect, others. Even the word is distasteful and alarming, as in gets my cortisol levels up. It can’t be success I’m talking about, can it? That illusive yet over-worked topic that people either pay thousands to master or give themselves energetic whiplash pretending they don’t care about?

I thought I didn’t care. Until I learned about someone else’s success. Someone in my own field of touchy-feely personal growth and healing. Someone I did not regard as a writer. Someone who seemed to just jump in and voila! Success! Even though I understand the mechanics and manipulation that go with claiming bestseller status on Amazon, I was still stung by her book’s success. 

Even though, even though, even though. I still felt humiliated, hopeless and terrible. As in terror. Yes, I would fail. It’s written in the stars. I am hopeless. It will never happen for me.

Some good news: I knew what to do. I wrote down, in excruciatingly detailed and honest language everything that was going on in that mind of mine, all the reasons why I was a failure, all the reasons why being a failure meant I was also useless as a person, all the reasons why being a useless person was who I always had been and always would be.

Then I turned them around into affirmations. Well, not right then. First I spent at least an entire summer’s day in Maine (which means I wasted the equivalent of a week anywhere else) feeling as though I were dying, trying to convince my partner that I was dying, and losing all interest in any of the things I usually enjoy. Yes, it was that bad.

My depression lasted for a couple of weeks. I started calling it what it was, and I started talking about it in safe places. I started to ask myself why I cared so much what happened for someone else. And most importantly, I started to ask why I wanted what I wanted, and how did I define success.

The most obvious lesson gleaned from my plunge is that my ideas of success were based, at least partly, on competing with and coming out ahead of others, and on getting validated and legitimized by others’ recognition of my work. I also had success tied in with self-esteem and worthiness. As in, I had to prove that I deserved to exist, and the way that I would prove that would be to become a bestselling author.

My depression actually helped me by bringing these beliefs to the surface where I could see, examine and question them. No wonder I had been holding my fledging business at bay and felt estranged from its heart and soul. I didn’t actually have a handle on its heart and soul. I was in it for the wrong reasons. Yet I knew that I was called to reach beyond writing just for myself. I knew I had something of value to share.

My Mastermind group helped, my friends in similar fledging endeavors helped. They helped mostly by doing an enormous amount of listening as I talked myself through the process of discovering what mattered most to me as a writer of healing works.

Eventually, I sat down with my trusty yellow legal pad and took each one of those damning beliefs and turned them into affirmations, and from there developed a new list of Soul Messages, all related to the topic of success.

I also wrote down some guidelines for how to turn affirmations into Soul Messages, essentially turning I-messages into ah-messages by using the word “you,” as if someone were telling you about yourself and about life, as they do when we are young sponges absorbing everything the big people tell us.

I still don’t like the word success, and I’m open to suggestions. I don’t like it because anyone like me, who has all this emotional charge around the concept, will look the other way when they see the word, and these are the very people who might benefit from the messages. Maybe I need to find words that a child might use in talking about success. Maybe the entire concept is something we only develop as part of a mindset we adopt because we think we have to, in order to be legitimate adults.

I don’t know. You tell me: Is success a valid topic for the Soul Messages lady?

Love you lots,


To sign up for my newsletter, please follow this link: http://mad.ly/signups/102366/join by Phyllis Capanna © 2015 joyreport All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA.  © 2015 joyreport

Everything You Need You Already Have

Hey there, it’s been a while. I thought I’d include my blogosphere buds in my holiday happ’nin’s. It really is a double – no, make that triple – life sometimes. What got me writing today is that I just realized my whole process here has totally been mirroring the one core belief I love living by the most.

Here it is:

Everything You Need You Already Have

What’s that got to do with holidays? Two things: First, the kinds of gifts that I like to give are ones that meet a spiritual, soul or heart need, not a physical one. (Except for how soulful certain scarves and foods can be!)

Second, I decided/was guided to offer a holiday special this year, in the interest of achieving my primary business goal of connecting with my tribe. So, I am offering a two-fer (which you can read about and take advantage of here.)

Next, I went about preparing for the orders to come in. This gave me a great excuse to visit some of my favorite art and craft supply stores and take advantage of some of their sales. I got some luscious, rich papers, and really couldn’t find much else that floated my boat, so I stuck with the colored paper and went home to root around.

At home I found:

The remains of beautiful marbleized paper I’d made about 30 years ago
A small pile of handmade papers I’d bought from a local artist
Some sheets of paper I’d made myself, about 10 years ago
The remainders of origami papers I’d purchased over the years
Sharpies in all colors including gold and silver, plus about 10 other gold, silver and white paint markers, plus a whole set of fine point Sharpies in about 8 colors
A stash of fabric, grosgrain and wired ribbons
Glitter paper, glitter, sequins, tacky glue, rolling cutter and cutting board
2 pads of black art paper
Tons of colored, holiday and non-, tissue paper

Are you getting my drift?

Everything I needed I already had. For my project. My brand-new-I’ve-never-done-this-before-I-wonder-how-I’ll-pull-it-off project.

I believe this about everything. (I can be so literal sometimes.) I believe that what I am seeking from the world I have inside. I believe that what I most want from life comes when I am able to receive it. I believe that as a group, we humans already have world peace and enough for everyone. I believe that the only thing that’s going to have changed, when these things come to pass, is people’s mindsets. We’re not going to invent ourselves out of poverty and war. We are going to heal ourselves out of those conditions.

This is what I see is possible: We can heal. What do my holiday special have to do with that? It’s a tiny contribution to personal healing. The Soul Messages are small reminders that we are beautiful and deserving, wise leaders, and that this is a benevolent universe. Once enough of us know that and live that, we will have the critical consciousness shift that will bring about healing for all of humanity.

Question: What contribution of yours have you been telling yourself is too small and insignificant to matter?

Grateful as always, to have this space and community.


And here’s the link again, in case you are interested in taking advantage of my holiday specials and helping me use up my wonderful treasures, or just want to see what I’ve been making.

by Phyllis Capanna © 2014 joyreport

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA.  © 2014 joyreport

Easy Doesn't Lead To Happy

That’s my lesson of the past couple of weeks. So many times I’ve been faced with wanting to stay in my gauzey, cocoon-ish comfort zone but have made the choice to go ahead and face something I dread or be with someone who challenges me, because I recognize that I am in a comfortable but unsatisfying rut. After all, I’ve told myself, this is the stuff I write about. So do it.

And each time it’s worked out fine. In fact, as soon as I realize I have a choice, I’m okay. The only way to break out of the prison of my conditioning is to question myself awake. Then and only then can I see the prison for what it is: a place I’ve put myself because on some level it’s comfortable. Even dissatisfaction and unfulfilled dreams are comfortable, because they are so familiar. I know them inside and out. And familiar is easy. The thing is, easy doesn’t lead to happy.

That’s a tough one. It’s the exact opposite of every fairy tale I’ve internalized about what my goals in life should be. After all, some of the greatest myths of our age have to do with something called leisure, which has to do with the idea that only rich people get to sit around and do nothing, i.e., have it “easy.”

Certainly without a guiding mission, vision or purpose, any life – busy or laid back – can lack soul and satisfaction.

Revelation number two: I still have to go against the grain to live my message. And what is that message? The message is we have the potential to create our own reality. To do that, we first have to sift through and examine all the beliefs about ourselves and our world, rejecting those that sell either of those short. Enter the Soul Message cards and book.

But the cards and book are worth nothing if, in my hardest moments, I cannot find a choice that shifts my pain into something empowering. Even if it doesn’t take the pain away.

So, what are the choices I am talking about? I am talking about choosing to be loving with people, which includes letting go of my needs and judgments about them; owning my reactions, not living them. Forgiving. Sometimes over and over again.

I’m also talking about being loving with myself, but not in the “If you really don’t want to do it, you don’t have to” way, but in the “Chin up, baby, this is the kind of person you want to be” way.

It means choosing the empowering belief as an action – “The Universe adores me, so this is not evidence of a whimsical god toying with me. There is a solution. I just can’t see it because I’m paralyzed with fear of betrayal right now.”  And then picking up the phone to check someone else’s perspective.

And it means rejecting the disempowering belief in an active way, too: “ No, people are not all out for themselves. This person is just fixated on doing what they think they have to do to survive, because they’re afraid. I’ve been there.” And then connecting with that person, human to human. Maybe there’s something I can do for them. Maybe all they need is a warm smile. Sometimes just the shift in my awareness changes the whole scene.

And then, prayer. Prayer for me is stopping for a moment, focusing on my heart, affirming my “I am good- you are good- the universe is good” truth and setting my intention for a healing.

It’s all about healing. This whole crazy, spinning out of control mess of a world is all a giant conspiracy to wake us up, snap us out of those limiting beliefs and as a last ditch experiment try loving ourselves and each other and believing in goodness for real. Like with our asses and our pocketbooks, our politics, policies, and in our moments when no one is watching.

When no one is watching, I sometimes struggle to live all this. Writing about it here helps me connect with my big truths and with my tribe.

What is the vision, mission and purpose that give your life meaning?

What do you struggle with that is in stark contrast with what you say you are all about?

What do you do to connect with your big truths and your soul peeps?

Stay tuned for my web/biz/writing/inspiring re-tool coming this Fall! There will be freebies! There will be new products! There will be creativity, recovery and spirituality aplenty.

I look forward to having you as a friend on this journey.


To sign up for my newsletter, please follow this link:

by Phyllis Capanna © 2014 joyreport

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA.  © 2014 joyreport


Abstaining From Negative Talk – Are You In?

Ouch. That’s all I’ve got to say. And I’m not being negative, just real. I’ve decided to go a little deeper in my understanding of the power that words have, something I believe in deeply. Something I am about mastering, or at least getting really good at. Words.

I’m reading, devouring actually, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines, in which she relates a powerful story of how she accessed a new reserve of personal power by abstaining from negative talk for 21 days. Negative talk means complaining, criticizing, dissing, using sarcasm, and gossiping. Whoa.

I thought I had this one. Really. I’m Ms. Positive, right?  Well, no. I didn’t and I’m not. After all, I am a J in the Myers-Briggs personality type system. Although they kindly say it doesn’t stand for judgmental, in my case, it does. You could say discerning, and I am. I can parse a bundle of sticks. I can see so clearly how it is and how it could be oh-so-much better. And when the world does not see it and do it my way, it irks me.

All of which is okay. What’s not okay, and I’m not sure why, because I haven’t experienced it yet, is bitching about it.

But I’m willing to try, because it’s something I suck at so far. I seem to have come up against an inner wall, and I’d like to dismantle it. I’d like to have a more spacious inner room where air and light (that is, ideas and spirit) can flow and expand freely.

Can I be a bigger person, and learn to use my powerful words even more powerfully? Especially not in the blog, not online, not in any of my promotional guises, but in the personal realms where I am in relationship with actual people and have to tolerate imperfection and disappointment?

I hope so. So far, I’ve had to start over three times in three days. That’s how ingrained the habit of criticizing is, and that’s how unconsciously I indulge in it.

© Phyllis Capanna
© Phyllis Capanna

So, I like company. Are you willing to take the challenge with me? No criticizing, complaining or gossiping for 21 days. If you lapse, you start the count over. Make a calendar for your fridge and mark off the days. Comment below if you’re in!

What If You Ignored Yourself and Did It Anyway?

© Phyllis Capanna


“The Force that through the green fuse drives the flower…”

It hasn’t been as warm as we would like, but as soon as the light changed at the vernal equinox, everything began to shift. It’s how our earth is made to work. A tiny shift in the angle of the sun creates a season change. So, what’s kept it cold? Basically, the atmosphere, that ecosystem of air, moisture and movement that creates our weather. In non-Western cultural and spiritual traditions, each of the elements (as in building blocks) that makes up our physical world corresponds with certain universal qualities or states of consciousness. Air corresponds with thought and what used to be called ether, or life force. Often referred to as chi or ki, the life force is that unseen energy that is vitality itself. Water corresponds to emotions and the unconscious.

About to Burst Open
© Phyllis Capanna

It occurred to me today that this is exactly how our thoughts and feelings influence our internal weather. We are given the light. With our thoughts and mental orientation we either allow it to warm us or we keep ourselves out in the cold, suffering from past hurts and false ideas about who we are and how love is doled out. When we are in that state, the chi, or life force, cannot flow.

“A bucket turned over even in a rainstorm remains empty.”

When we find ourselves in a place like that, where all around is sustenance and we cannot partake, it is a spiritual emergency. We are cut off from source. What we need are tools to bring us from emergency to emergence. We need to allow something greater to come forth from within us, so that we can transcend the polarities that threaten to pull us apart. (These are the either/ors that eventually drive us crazy, so that, if we’re lucky, we “crack.” This, too, lets the light in. Eckart Tolle’s and Byron Katie’s stories are illustrations of this.)

Sky From Bangor on the Interstate
© Phyllis Capanna

Today I found myself saying to a client (those readings again!) that sometimes the best way to transcend a crippling personal mental environment is to give up trying to solve it and focus on taking meaningful actions. Do good work, nurture relationships that matter, learn how to love better.

Mental weather patterns that won’t give demand only one thing: Stop waiting for the weather to change to live your happy life! Have your parade in the rain. Wear a parka to your picnic. Plant daffodils in your snow banks.

Instead of referencing your sore spots (Nobody believes in me, I don’t have enough credentials, I’m afraid to ask for what I need) shift your focus to a larger goal, the one that would motivate you to get out of bed in the morning if you let yourself live it, if only in your own head. (Which is where it has to start its life anyway.)

Here’s the really startling truth about stopping picking at your scabs and focusing elsewhere: It requires giving up hope. That’s right, we have to give up the hope that by constantly attending to them, we will somehow manage to heal our wounds instead of re-opening them again and again.

Of course, it doesn’t really mean giving up all hope. It means letting go of misplaced hope. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not within our power to heals ourselves, just this once. Maybe we have to place our trust in something greater, impossibly mysterious, and endlessly unfathomable, but as dependable, not as the weather, but as the light. It might take something that big to heal that one intractable wound. That one.

This is essentially how I came to writing, readings, making little cards, doing workshops, and everything else I have done: By paying attention to the drive to translate what I care about into actions that connect me to people, to life itself. It’s my desire to be out on the dance floor despite the things that might trip me up.

Ultimately, it is love that got me here. In spite of my deepest insecurities and lack of credentials, this is my act of love to myself and to the world.

Do you hold yourself back from your act of love to the world? What if you ignored yourself and did it anyway?

© Phyllis Capanna
© Phyllis Capanna