The Words Will Find You

Andrea Chilcote, Erik's Hope, White Wolf

by Andrea Chilcote

Do you want a simple way to tap into your very soul’s wisdom? Take dictation.

Several years ago, my colleague Karla Boyd shared a practice for accessing one’s personal vision or purpose. It has remained a staple in my toolkit, and I’ve expanded it to situations in which I need to access my intuition or help other tap into theirs. Sometimes I even use it for deciding what to write about in these posts.

Here’s the process. First, write a question that’s on your mind or in your heart. You can imagine you’re asking the question of your own highest and best self, or some other wise person, present on earth or not. Examples would be: “What do I need to be happy in my job?” or “How can I communicate advice to my teenage son?” The best questions are those tough questions that can’t be easily answered using our logical minds.

Then…just write. Write the answer in a stream-of-consciousness format, without stopping to judge the quality or validity of what you’re writing.

Early on, I was amazed at the insights that came – even as I puzzled over where they came from. Then a few years later I attended a life-changing workshop led by renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg has revolutionized the practice of writing and she teaches a similar process for accessing the heart and soul. She’s a purest about insisting that her students hand-write their work, and write continuously for 10 minutes without stopping. She says it doesn’t matter if your inner critic tells you what you’re writing is garbage – keep writing!

The results are truly amazing, and in fact I used the technique while writing the passages from Erik’s Hope in which the character “White Wolf” counseled my dog Erik. I wrote as if I was White Wolf himself, and was often astounded by how eloquent and smart he was…so much so that I now consult “him” on a regular basis.

Here’s a recent example. I was struggling with how I would open a meeting in which the stakes were high and asked (wrote), “White Wolf, of what shall I speak?”

Here’s the answer I received:

Andrea, speak from your heart. Speak the truth and that truth will be heard by all who need it. Be present as you teach, and the words you need will find you. Above all be kind. Be in gratitude for what you have now and for what will be. Treasure each moment. Be the light.

Even though I haven’t shared the details of that meeting, I think you’ll agree that White Wolf offered sage advice. He never lets me down. What I needed was not an opening speech, but rather a reminder to adopt the right state of being – truth, presence, kindness, gratitude and light.

If you believe, as I do, that the answers are inside of you, try this method of accessing them. As White Wolf says, the words will find you.


 

This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

A Pack of Friends or One at a Time? (2014)

A Pack of Friends or One at a Timeby Andrea Chilcote

There’s a saying I love to share, just to watch the puzzles form on listeners’ faces as they try to decipher the message. It goes like this:

“One dog, you have a dog. Two dogs, you have half a dog. Three dogs, you have no dog at all.”

The point, of course, is that due to pack behavior, the closeness of a human’s relationship with a companion dog depends on how many dogs there are. When there are several, you don’t have one-on-one relationships — you live with a pack. My neighbor observes this behavior in her husband and his two grown sons, with whom he is very close. When they’re away, she has a husband. When one son is present, she says she has roughly half a husband and when all three are together, she laments (but with a smile), that she really has no husband at all.

Even though I work with people day in and day out, am socially adept and enjoy interaction with others, I’m an introvert by nature. That just means I get my energy by being alone or with one very close, significant other. I expend energy in my work and in social interactions, and need time in nature or with one close (and quiet) friend to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being with people. I often tease a strongly extroverted colleague about the time she told me, in all seriousness, that she couldn’t wait to relax on a Jimmy Buffet cruise with 200 of her closest friends. “200 close friends?” I exclaimed. I could not imagine (though this was before Facebook) having that many friends, let alone consider being with them all at once “relaxing.”

This introvert/extrovert concept is complex, because we need different things from groups than from our one-on-one relationships. In this world of never-enough-time, I tend to covet and protect time alone with special pals, even to the point of (I confess), sometimes resenting when well-meaning others join us. As an introvert, I tend to let the “pack” do its pack thing, with me on the fringes as a lone wolf. I can easily lose connection and drift away into my own thoughts while they carry on as a unit.

Susan Cain’s new bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking  does a beautiful job of helping introverts understand themselves a bit better and nudges their extroverted friends, partners and colleagues to consider a different way of interacting with them. Take her quiz to assess your own preferences.

If you need the absence of connection, the solitude of your choosing, to build the energy to connect with important others in your life, consider the choices you are making. Do you go along with crowd, later feeling exhausted or even resentful that your bucket is empty? Or do you make time for quiet, alone or with a quiet confidant? Honoring these core needs contributes to the quality of our lives.

“One of the ways you can tell if you are introverted is that you need time to recharge your batteries and decompress after you spend time with others.”– The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler