Thursday, May 25, 2017

🦋Wonder While Wandering and a Warning🐛


Alice in Through the Looking Glass
Scroll down to the very short video at bottom if you prefer to view rather than read.

Seven years ago on June 1, 2010 I arrived in paradise by way of some astonishing synchronicities. But I would've never gotten here, nor would those synchronicities have happened, if I had not first dived into the depths of hell.

The beauty, magic, love, joy, and gratitude that I have experienced almost every single day since I began my new life here are also accompanied lately by big challenges, along with fear, resistance and a whole lot of instability, insecurity and uncertainty.

But I now trust (except for those moments when I don't!) that chaos and trials are the trail that leads to transformative evolution and undiscovered treasures.

So many aspects of myself and formerly highly unskillful behaviors transformed suddenly for the better after my descent into the underworld seven years ago. Other aspects are more slowly evolving.

Even with these many changes (some of which are pretty miraculous), I am still the marvelously messy mix of me that I have always been.

The cool thing is that I have grown to love and appreciate who I am, with all of my human "flaws" (like aspects on a gem that make it unique) and "sins" (an archery term that means to miss the mark).

This is a much more enjoyable way to live than my previous state of self-loathing and being obsessed with a relentless struggle to fix myself so that I could gain approval from outside myself.

But again, the path to this happier way of life was as a result of a miserable time of chaos.

This is how evolution happens. Not just for me, but for all of us. Think of how the caterpillar disintegrates into goopy bug soup (made of 'imaginal cells") before emerging as a beautiful butterfly.

Perhaps in this case "Stoned soup" 😉


My life circumstances are bit precarious at the moment*, but I'm certainly not alone in this dilemma right now on the planet.  It is a scary and difficult time even for those who are in more stable circumstances than mine, and I foresee a rough patch ahead for all of us.

But I also believe that we (individually and collectively) are ready for the next stage of our evolution and that the rocky road through this sometimes terrifying territory is the only way.

If someone tries to assist an almost formed butterfly emerging from its chrysalis by cutting a larger hole with a scissors, this is not a helpful action. The butterfly develops it's ability to fly as a result of the struggle through the tiny aperture and could be deformed and flightless if everything was made "easy" for it.

This does not mean we should not offer assistance to those who are having a hard time, (we are all in this together and need to be as compassionate as we can to each other) but a certain amount of pain and challenge is necessary.

This journey is full of paradoxes that require paying close attention to each moment. This the function of crisis in our lives. 

Big shocks, surprising changes, painful endings and other disturbing events are very effective ways of getting our attention and moving us forward on our (essential, vital and non-optional) evolutionary path.

What I am discovering lately is that this quest through difficult terrain is not facilitated by demanding answers and fixes.  It is more about asking QUESTions with an open attitude of curiosity about what is happening and what lessons and gifts are possible.

It requires slowing down and cultivating trust, even when it seems imperative to speed up and work harder to make something happen.

This journey also needs a willingness to explore the messy middle ground as well as the jagged edges that appear at the brink of the abyss.

The warning is that this journey is dangerous. There are no guarantees of safe passage.

And the only way out is through.

You can temporarily avoid it, but this will only make it harder later. This I can safely promise you.

I can't promise that you will find bliss like I found in my little paradise. And there is no promise that I will continue to live as I have for this incredible seven years. The only constant is change.

But I offer you my experience and the wisdom I have gained from hearing and watching countless stories (fictional and real-life) of others who have followed the same kind of journey.

Whether a trip down the rabbit hole into a bewilderingWonderland with a jabberwocky and a capricious bloodthirsty ruler or a surprise divorce or any of the endless variations of our life (and death) stories, there is a discernible and reassuring cyclical pattern.

And one of the elements of this pattern is that there are treasures beyond measure to be found in the darkness.

So on this New Moon, the dark time of the cycle of the month, I offer hope to those of you who are feeling fear. And for those of you who are experiencing the magic, I celebrate with you. And if you are both feeling the fear and experiencing the magic, I welcome you to my world!

Adventures with wonderful little friends in Wonderland 



*in part due to my encounter with a service called Wondersitters which I invested ridiculous amounts of precious time to join in the hopes of picking up on-call child care jobs to supplement my finances. They are... um...not wonderful. ("They" can refer to both my finances and the owners of Wondersitters)

Although they do prompt the question of "I wonder if I or the hundreds of others who served their families will ever receive our money..." And the even more helpful question of "I wonder what the lessons and gifts in disguise are."

I am pondering the latter question in full faith that there are gifts AND spreading the word to prevent others from going down this rabbit hole.

The kids pictured above did not come to me not through Wondersitters but through a wonderful little synchronicity.

Here is the very short video.








Wednesday, April 26, 2017

🐲Here There Be Dragons🐉


SCROLL DOWN IF YOU PREFER VIDEO VERSION OF THIS BLOG

Where the hell is a knight in shining armor when I need him?! 

Or perhaps Queen Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons, from Game of Thrones.

Or even a kid like Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon or the clever young Paper Bag Princess.

I could use any one of these character with good dragon wrangling skills to assist me with some that are visiting me. 

I am welcoming and learning from them as best I can, but these metaphorical beasts have been swooping around in my world recently, so my energies have been diverted from other tasks.
Therefore, I am offering you snippets from my full moon post a year ago to assist you with any person, internal aspect or circumstance that is serving as a "dragon" in your life right now.


This is St George whose day of celebration was on Sunday (4/23/17)

The evil dragon with glittering green scales is drooling as he prepares to shred the helpless princess with his razor sharp claws and then pop the dainty delicacy into his ravenous mouth. At that very moment a knight in shining armor gallops onto the scene, leaps off his white horse, swiftly pierces the dragon's heart with his trusty sword, and swoops the swooning damsel into his arms. The knight and princess leave the dead dragon behind and ride off into the sunset where they will live happily ever after. 
Countless versions of this archetypal tale have played out through the millennia and they're still quite popular -- albeit not always with literal dragons, princesses and knights. 

I confess that even though I totally get the dysfunctional aspects of this classic Karpman's Drama Triangle of victim/ persecutor/ rescuer, which I explained in a previous post, there's still a quivering little part of me that longs to be magically rescued with such dramatic flair. Apparently many years of cultural conditioning continue to captivate me despite my best intentions!

But lately, I have become increasingly interested in an alternative story in which my princess becomes a courageous heroine, who matures into a sovereign queen. My dragons morph into wise teachers and even in some cases, powerful allies. And knights transform into fellow adventurers. All of us become partners on a journey.

We can't allow “dragons” (internal or external) to run rampant, but we need different strategies rather than killing or fighting -- unless there is a life or death situation where there is absolutely no time to take any action other than violence. 

But in most cases there are creative alternatives, especially if we address situations at their inception.

Dragons come into our lives for a reason and we need to discover what that is, so we can address the underlying need. 

🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉

Every shadow is connected to light and every lie has some kernel of truth. When we understand the origins of our dragons, we can find out what their purpose is and how best to write them into our new story.

Changing your story is not just an academic exercise. The creativity involved is more than just re-writing the details of a piece of fiction. It is quite literally creative --meaning you can at least partially, create what will happen in your life by creating a different story. 

I know this can happen, because I did it before.

And now I get to do it again! 

My dragons have morphed into new ones. And I am a different protagonist than the one 7 years ago. And yet I am still me and my dragons are just different manifestations to help me with the same core issues. 

But the adventure is definitely a new one! Stay tuned...

How have dragons shown up in your life and what has your strategy been? Have you been a dragon slayer or perhaps a dragon snack or maybe a dragon dancer? Have you have even been a dragon in someone else's life? Consider how well your previous strategy has worked for you and whether you might want to explore a different one.

Daenerys "Stormborn" Targaryen
We are re-born in the storms of our lives





















Sunday, March 26, 2017

🤠The Adventures of Calamity Jane🏞

My Barbie dolls did not dress up or go to parties. They were badass babes who went on perilous adventures.  Sometimes they rode on the back of Skippy --a once fluffy white dog who had become matted and gray and whose tail was dangling by a safety pin.

In this post, I offer some snippets from my youth. I share this slice of my life for a reason which I will explain later.

If you prefer to view rather than read, scroll to the video entitled "Quan Yin VS Snidely Whiplash" -- below the photo of the labyrinth.

Keep reading (or watch the video) if you have any traumatic stories involving people who you believed wronged you in your past and want an easy and powerful way to transform your relationship to them.

OR if you want to learn about a opportunity for an adventure in the wilds of Marin with me (below the castle and above the labyrinth). 

Let's start with Skippy, Calamity Jane and the daredevil Barbies.

Skippy was the only surviver of the horrific purge of my large, grubby and scruffy but well loved collection of stuffed animal friends that my mother had stuffed in the garbage can while I was at school one day. But Skippy escaped and lived for many more years of adventures!

A blue clad, hard plastic Calamity Jane doll whose flexible joints allowed her to straddle Skippy, was often the leader of these dangerous expeditions. Sometime she would carry wounded Barbies in her strong and bendable arms to safety when necessary.

The Barbies sustained a lot of injuries in climbing dangerous heights etc, so Jane was kept busy. Calamities were her specialty.


I spent a lot of time in solitude as a child, due in part to being an only child and for many years the only grandchild. When I was very young my divorced young mother was a full-time college student who waited tables nights and weekends. Then she became a full-time schoolteacher who had piles of homework to correct at nights. Plus there were years when we lived on isolated farms and Mom always had a long drive everyday to get to her job.

I did not have babysitters or nannies. I wore a key around my neck starting when I was in second grade, so I could let myself in after school.

During my time in suburbia both before and after the years on the farms, I was not as as secluded and had friends to play with, but was frequently grounded for long periods of time for my wicked deeds. I started getting into big trouble by the time I was in third grade.

So, my piles of books, trusty television, stuffed animals*, Barbies (and sometimes the elves and angels surreptitiously extracted from the boxes of Christmas ornaments in the basement at my grandparent's home) were my dear companions (embarrassingly) well into my early teens -- when I was having perilous adventures of my own with drugs and petty crimes.

And now, a bit about my mama.



She was by far the most important character in the story of my first 17 years of life. I have mentioned Karpman's Drama Triangle in previous blogs --which consists of villain, victim and hero. This device is very popular in myths and fairytales and other plots as well as most dysfunctional relationships.

I used to cast my mother in the role of villain for what I considered to be unskillful parenting (although I phrased it differently back then!). When I got a little older, I upgraded her to a fellow victim in view of all she endured from the time she was a child --she certainly didn't have a good role model for mothering.  And for all that I witnessed her struggle with during my childhood --my father was not available for support of any kind and there were many other challenges that she faced as well.

But I decided to change that story so that she was neither a villain or a victim. In my new story, we were on a journey together and she was my ally, as well as a true heroine in her own right.

When I changed the story, I did not ignore the old "facts", nor did I insert anything that was not true. I simply used a more compassionate lens in a search for evidence that supported stronger roles for both of us. (I outlined this process in a previous post about Shawn Achor's research - scroll down below elixir image).

It turns out that my mother truly was an adventurous Hero/ine. I just ignored all of her amazing feats (expert horseback rider, motorcycle rider, pilot of small planes, award-winning Elementary school teacher, voracious student of a wide variety of topics, handy woman who could assemble and fix anything, spiritual explorer, fiercely independent, a pioneer in trends that would become popular later and so much more) because I preferred to see myself as a victim deserving of pity.

My childhood years were not easy for either one of us (I will not share those dramas because they are not my story alone), but we both did the very best we could under the circumstances and together we made it through.

As I began to believe the new story, my love and respect for both my mother and myself grew bigger and bigger.  And in the process some difficult old behavior patterns began to shift for me.

When I look at the two stories side-by-side now, the new one actually feels more true --with a capital "T". The old stories were harmful both to myself and my mother and not good for anyone else who heard them.

Furthermore, stories ripple out into the world. Both the good ones and the bad ones. I would rather be spreading stories that cause people to feel better than worse. We have more than enough toxic stories in the world -- especially now.

Doris Day played Calamity Jane in the movie a few years before I was born. Here is a photo of Doris that looks remarkably like my mother in the '60's.

And a faded one of me with my parents. I'll bet Mom is a better horseback rider than Doris!


Also 3/26/17 is Mothering Sunday in the UK -- a day to honor your mother, so I am honoring mine.

Okay, one last embarrassing little tidbit and then another one raising the possibility of me appearing utterly delusional.

I had a role in the adventures of my inanimate friends. Whenever things became really challenging for them, they would come to me and I would offer them wisdom on how to triumph over their current adversity. They referred to me as "the princess". I told you this was embarrassing...

Okay now for the part where you begin to question my grasp on reality if you haven't already.

I like to think that perhaps my current or future self reached back in time to that unhappy little girl to give her support. I am toying with a story that maybe, during the times when my younger self's pretend companions were facing great peril, they did so on behalf of her. And when they came to their sovereign leader, an older version of me spoke through her to them -- thus comforting and offering hope to that scruffy little kid.

That story is a bigger stretch, than the one I shared about my relationship to my mother, and unlike that one, this one has no actual evidence.

There is, however ample evidence that the stories we tell ourselves about our past can impact our future. And there's also an abundance of evidence that any story that we truly believe becomes powerful beyond our wildest imagination. For one example,  Consider the placebo effect --and the nocebo effect.

And the most incredibly amazing thing about this is that we get to choose our stories and create new ones. Not pie-in-the-sky, impossible stories like "Once upon a time I won the lottery and lived happily ever after". But ones in which we are the hero/ines of our story no matter what challenges life offered in the past or will present now or in the future.

My new happy 4 word story: Changing stories changes lives!

There is a popular bit of wisdom circulating that says the things we first remember enjoying as a child are what we should consider when finding our mission in life.

I was never able to think of what that could be. I followed in my mom's footsteps, working with children -- and some of the adventures I created for them are legendary among my many former young charges, but I think that it was this enactment of the Hero/ines Journey, with the aptly named Calamity Jane that led me to my role as a guide to the Hero/ines journey now.

I offer a seven-week version of this journey via email and telephone AND on this first new Moon of Spring, I am announcing a new enhanced version for those who live in the Bay Area.

I will be taking seven adventurers into the wilds of Marin County to discover seven different labyrinths and spirals. Each week we will also explore a different stage of the Hero/ine's Journey

I'm only accepting seven intrepid Explorers, so if you are:

  • in the Bay Area and
  • in a time or place in between where an old way of life has ended and the new one is still an elusive mystery and
  • in need of some guidance on how to get through this place and
  • someone who enjoys fairly short and easy hikes in spectacular natural beauty and
  • free on Sunday afternoons starting 5/23/17 (I will offer short make up hikes on Thursday evenings for those who need to miss a Sunday) OR
  • someone who knows someone who meets these criteria and want to tell them about this opportunity or offer this as a gift -- and keep in mind that I offer the email and phone version anywhere in the world
Please contact me at michelle@sparksandleaps.com to learn more. 

This is one of the 7 labyrinths we will visit



HERE IS MY VIDEO VERSION OF BLOG ENTITLED "QUAN YIN VS SNIDELY WHIPLASH"





*****************************************

*I realized this post was getting too long, so I cut this part. But I could not completely leave out my beloved real animal friends -- especially the "complicated " kitty "Raza the Wild Thing" who was a major player in my life and Ramashundra the seventh in reincarnation of Vishnu --my sweet afghan hound with whom I also had a complicated relationship for different reasons --another story!
    I had many animal friends. Dogs --13 at one time, cats, horses, chickens, chameleons, turtles, rabbits, hamsters and gerbils, but my relationship with them was complicated due to what felt like overwhelming responsibilities to care for them.

    I had a particularly complicated relationship with a scary, Siamese kitty who adored my mother but hated everyone else. She would growl menacingly in my mother's lap whenever I came close and frequently attacked me --sometimes lying in wait for me at the top of bookshelves to pounce when I got up for a drink of water in the middle of the night or hooking her furry black paw with claws extended underneath the bathroom door to grab my toe.

    Raza lived with us from the time I was in kindergarten until I was a senior in high school -- well technically I had dropped out by then, but I would have been a senior. She and I made peace at the end of her life, but she felt more like a dragon on my road of trials than a friendly ally for me at the time. Although she was a heroine to me when she stalked the police officers who had come to discuss one of my many misdeeds with my mother. 

    With apologies to Asians who were stereotyped by these characters from Lady and the Tramp, this pair perfectly depicted my view of Raza at the time. I have since changed my story about her,  especially after she came to me on an Ayahuasca journey, but that is another story....






















    Sunday, February 26, 2017

    💦💧💦Overflowing 🌊🌊🌊



    My Wild Neighbor

    I have three choices for you if you do not have time to drink in everything in this overflowing blog post.
    1. Scroll to below the labyrinth image to see what I am offering (oh PLEASE do this -- I am so excited to share it!) 
    2. If you are a friend or family member who wants to know about my recent adventures, or you enjoy stories with a useful message, read the first part.
    3. Watch the video (keep scrolling to the very bottom of the page)

    I awoke in the very early morning and stumbled with my eyes only half open into the bathroom with the intention of a quick pee and then diving back into my bed for a couple more hours of much-needed sleep.

    This plan was thwarted by the unexpected discovery that the toilet water had risen to the top. The combination of this initially confusing and most unwelcome sensation combined with the ear-splitting siren announcing that the creek had gone over the bank (I live next door to both the siren and creek) was an effective wake up call.

    So once again, I threw some stuff into bags, climbed over the sand bags that have been in place for several weeks and ran out into the pouring rain. This time I did not bother to move more than a few of my things off the floor. The process of moving them and putting them back every time had just proved to be too time-consuming.

    I splashed though the little lake around my car and drove to the higher ground of a parking lot waiting for the grocery store to open so I could use the bathroom.

    While I waited, I texted my friend who lives up in the hills asking if I could take refuge there again until the creek went down. She said I was welcome but would have to take the back way as the closer road was closed due to mudslides -- which had also red tagged nearby homes. 

    Fortunately, the rain stopped and the creek went back down to it's bed and I returned home. I would've loved to return to my bed as well, but did not have that option.

    I took this photo near where my car was parked on my street.
    A few days later, I was at the library (I had walked there through a torrential downpour because I was unwilling to lose my competitive parking spot on high ground --for which I would receive a ticket). The water dripped from my saturated raincoat onto the floor as I removed the book I had ordered from the hold shelf. 

    At that moment, an alarm noise sounded. Most of us politely gave our attention to the librarian as she announced that it was a flood warning and then we went back to what we were doing. Warnings and alarms have become the new normal.

    Rather like watching the news lately.

    My choices were to turn back or
    go off the path where the poison oak lurks or
    just keep going and enjoy the messy fun.
    What an adventure 2017 has been so far! So many of us are in the midst of intense initiations. And I am not just talking about the weather and it's after-effects!

    Perhaps you are noticing some similar experiences to the ones I have listed below, even if you are not in a geographical flood zone.

    • overflowing
    • powerful winds of change
    • surges and gushes 
    • rushing faster and faster         
    • frequent power outages 
    • muddy
    • messy
    • dark days and rainbows
    • uprooting and falling
    • exciting adventures
    • many paths and roads blocked
    • sudden dangers 
    • astonishing beauty.

    In addition to the weather, I have been affected by the extremely challenging circumstances that many of my dearest love ones have recently endured (either it's happening everywhere or it's probably not a good idea to be someone I care about).

    Furthermore, what is happening in my country and the world at large is never far from my thoughts and always percolating in my emotional body.

    I think we are all feeling these kind of things at a deep level at this time of rapidly accelerating world change.

    Yet as scary, uncomfortable and confusing as is to navigate in the midst of all of these Life Storms, I truly believe that these are times of initiation and even adventure.

    It may not feel like a very fun adventure when we are experiencing fear, overwhelm and the accompanying surges of fight or flight hormones.

    But it is precisely these kinds of provoking situations that compel us to evolve. And it is our individual and collective evolution that the world desperatly needs right now.

    So what I have been up to (in addition to my own personal adventures and doing my best to transform them into evolutionary opportunities), is creating a service to assist those on similar paths.

    In the midst of all of the aforementioned chaos, as well as an entertaining and hugely time consuming assortment of bizarre technical glitches, and a bout of insomnia, I was connecting with people from all over the globe (with electrical power dancing in and out, interrupting Internet service and Skype calls), to find the best possible candidates for beta testing my new service as a guide to the "space between stories".

    I finally found the perfect Beta Clients and have been sending them materials customized for their seven-week Hero/ine's Journey.

    They have been giving me valuable feedback --which has been sweet but also about not overwhelming them with the vast amount of material that I've accumulated over the past 7 years.

    I listened to them and figured out a way to make it much easier while still having the extra information available so that you can choose to explore any topic that sounds inviting. 


    And now, I'm overflowing with joy and excitement to announce that I am finally ready to be a guide for this journey!

    Please see the description below if you are curious what I have created or if anyone you know is currently experiencing a gap between an old way of life and a mysterious, elusive new one. 

    You might want to consider gifting this service to someone you know who is feeling stuck in "The Neitherlands" (a place between worlds) and could benefit from the support and guidance of my playful and practical program.

    It would be an invaluable gift at an affordable price. And you would also earn my overflowing gratitude! 
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Are you in a “space between stories” * - a gap - between an old way of life that has ended and a mysterious, elusive new one?

    Does this ring true for you?:

    ·  An ending (possibly traumatic and sudden)irrevocably changed your life.
    ·  Everything feels surreal.
    ·   The rules seem to have changed and no one gave you a copy of the new ones.
    ·  No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get any traction to move forward.
    ·  You feel uninspired to do the things that you think you’re supposed to do.
    ·  You are drawn to activities that seem to be impractical and unproductive.
    ·  You feel overwhelmed, scared, confused, and maybe even despairing, yet you’re not ready to give up.


    *The Space Between Stories is the title of an excellent essay by Charles Eisenstein.



    What if you knew that what you are experiencing is:

    ·  exactly what you most need and will benefit you immeasurably
    ·  shared by increasing numbers of people for an evolutionary purpose
    ·  a story that has been told in every single culture from the beginning of time and is the basis of every major religion as well as bestseller books and blockbuster movies
    ·  an invitation to an initiation, so that you can discover and share the unique gift you are meant to give
    ·  not a random bad thing that happened to you, but “a dangerous and beautiful assignment” (quote from Caroline Casey)
    ·  about to amplify your deepest inner wisdom, intuition and send you magical synchronicities so that the guidance you need will become increasingly clear
    ·  going to be hugely challenging but you are totally ready for or it wouldn’t be happening



    ⛵🐉 THE HERO/INE’S JOURNEY 🛡⚔

    In the mythic Hero/ine’s Journey, that uncomfortable “in-between-place” is known as “The Special World”. 

    There is a really good reason why this “monomyth” (as Joseph Campbell calls it) has always been wildly popular and deeply influential. Not only does it make irresistibly compelling fictional stories, but people all over the world are living the story every day.

     I know, because it happened to me. 




    I certainly didn’t think of myself as a “heroine on a journey” after my life implosion (perhaps initially “hot mess wallowing in misery” might have been more accurate).

    But each time I surprised myself by behaving differently than I ever had before, strange and miraculous events occurred.

    My curiosity about these unprecedented new ways of being and magical synchronicities lead me to the story of the Heroine’s Journey.  When I looked back on my experience I discovered my story fit the template in truly astonishing ways.

    This motivated me to do a ridiculous amount of research (many hundreds of books, articles, teleseminars, interviews, classes, events and adventures, work with practitioners of multiple modalities and more!) for over 7 years into everything from cutting edge science to the Ancient Wisdom Traditions.

    I wanted to understand what had happened to me, and in the I process learned about the stories of countless other ordinary and famous individuals who had experienced this same basic journey.

     And now I’m ready to share what I have learned with you.

    I believe that the reason I dived down all those rabbit holes and experienced my Heroine’s Journey, and the reason I have had so many other enormously challenging experiences throughout my entire life is so that I could be of service to you, and to the collective journey we are all on at this time on the planet.

     I’m ready if you are!

    So, this is what I created for you:

    I modified the classic Hero’s Journey to focus on immediate first steps for you. I am guessing you don’t have time right now to spend months or years on this journey --although you could certainly use it for a lifetime if you wanted to deepen into it. There are options that range from doing less than an hour a week to doing a deep dive every day. 

    I also made it more in-line with emerging paradigms of a more balanced masculine and feminine way of showing up in the world. And I added some practical and playful elements to make it both useful and fun.


    Week 1 - Understanding the JourneyOverview of Hero/ine’s Journey and why it is useful as a transformational tool during difficult life transitions. Also, reflections on your old story or the “Ordinary World” as it is referred to in The Hero/ine’s Journey. Exploring how you got there and discovering the gifts you bring that will help you.

    Benefit - When you are able to reframe what is happening in the context of this story, it shifts your perspective from feeling powerless and perhaps victimized by random events, to seeing a larger purpose, which activates hope for the future. Discovering in retrospect the clues that you may not have recognized at the time helps amplify your intuition. Discovering your unique gifts (including some you may not have recognized as gifts) will help you immeasurably on this and all future journeys.

    Week 2 - Gathering Your AlliesPreparing a team to accompany you on the journey. Practical step by step suggestions for how to build a support network. This includes mobilizing your current friends and/or family and/or community. Finding or creating new allies and mentors — in person and /or online. Locating appropriate helping professionals - even with few resources. And even creating an internal set of allies that will always be with you.  

    Benefit Deliberately assembling a team is absolutely essential. If you don't have a strong support network, building one can seem daunting, so it helps to have a guide to assist you in creating this vital component in your journey. It may be only a small number or it could be a big community, depending on your circumstances and needs. Even if you already have a good support network, intentionally calling them to join you on the adventure with specific instructions as to how they can be of the most support to you will be helpful for both you and them. This is a reciprocal exchange. Although you will learn how to exercise your muscles of receiving, you will also be giving to them. And if there is any way that you have even the smallest capacity to volunteer in some tiny way, you will learn how this will be of enormous benefit to you. 

    Week 3 - Crossing the ThresholdHow to consciously take the step from your old life into “The Space between Stories”. And if you are already in this “Special world”, how to go back and step over the threshold again as a sovereign hero/ine who is choosing to go on this adventure. You probably did NOT choose it consciously, and I will help you re-frame it in a way that reclaims your power.

    Benefit When you exercise your ability to choose your circumstances, with the understanding that even seemingly random and painful events can be beneficial, you feel a sense of sovereignty. During this step you will be exploring how to take a seat of dignity and serenity --even in the midst of chaos. Any actions you take from that place are far more likely to take you to a more beautiful New World than reactions from feeling like you were shoved or dragged into this in between world by your hair! You may not have any physical power over some of the circumstances, but paradoxically surrender and vulnerability are hugely courageous and one of the strongest ways to show up.

    Discovering ways to embrace your passage and rightful sovereignty and power AND humility and vulnerability is a tricky balance, but one you can achieve.

    Week 4 - The Road of Trials/Facing Your Dragons: Why this road is essential for your evolution and how to navigate it as well as surprising strategies for dealing with the “dragons” you will find there.

    Benefit The road of trials is not an easy one. The dragons can be dangerous. And yet there is nothing you will encounter there that will not ultimately help you — understanding this is key. The process of discovering this on your own can be a confusing, slow and painful one. A slower pace and being willing to be present with pain and not having all the answers is necessary. But having a guide to help you see the bread crumbs or shiny pebbles on the road and offer clues as to how to turn a fire breathing dragon into an ally while still keeping safe boundaries will help you keep going strong, OR to take a creative play break or rest if that is what is called for. Play, creativity and quiet times are not frivolous distractions on this road.

    Week 5 - The CaveHow to survive the darkest times and find the treasures that are in there. 

    Benefit No one enjoys the cave. It is dark and scary and uncomfortable. It is unavoidable and inexorable whether or not you consciously choose it on a hero/ine's journey. Ultimately you are alone there for at least part of the time, but if you go into it with the understanding that it will bring you treasures beyond your wildest imagination. Even during the times that you feel the most alone, at least your internal allies will be there for you if you know

    how to ask for them. Having evidence of both of these truths Will give you courage, strength and comfort.

    Week 6 - The Grail: What is the unique boon or blessing that you came on this journey to find and how bringing it back out of the Special World will serve not only you but all whom you will meet.

    Benefit When you find your version of the Holy Grail or Golden Fleece, it will serve not only you for the rest of your life, but your team and everybody you encounter in your life’s journey from that point onward. And this gift will also ripple out endlessly into the world. So it's a pretty big benefit!

    Week 7 - Ritual and/or CelebrationWe will co-create a ritual or celebration to mark your passage back to the Ordinary World --which is both a return home and paradoxically a New World that you could not have previously imagined. 

    Benefit We rarely take time in our culture to pause and celebrate our successes, or for that matter to honor our failures. This sacred pause helps to remind you of everything you learned, and to discover deeper levels that you might not have noticed in the midst of the journey itself, as well as give you a landing pad from which to survey your gifts before launching forward into the New World. Also, even though it can seem strange to celebrate something like a death or divorce, there are always gifts to be found. When you celebrate them, it strengthens the power of those gifts and your sovereignty. Also, when you know that there is a celebration waiting for you, that helps pull you towards it and can even bring unexpected joy. Whether you choose a small private and reverent ritual or a party including all on your team or something in between, it is a way to step over the threshold into your New World in a similar way to how you crossed over into the Special World. Here is a list of other benefits of celebration. http://www.sparksandleaps.com/13_benefits.html


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    Benefits of the Hero/ine’s Journey

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    ·      When you believe that challenging transitions are random and harmful, this belief triggers your biological survival conditioning, which in turn triggers neurological, physiological, psychological chain reactions in your brain, body and behaviors.

    ·      Rather than continue this predictable sequence by what seems logical (working hard to figure out a sensible plan, fix your problems or at least find a fix for the pain), taking this illogical path of first divining meaning and finding gratitude from whatever has happened will completely shift your experience.

    ·      It brings hope and a whole lot of magic – which can actually be validated by countless real life stories and an abundance of fascinating scientific data.

    ·      Choosing to dive into the discomfort via the mythical realm may seem like a strange idea, but there is an alchemical transformation that occurs for those who have the courage and faith to take this journey.

    ·      It will also activate your right brain, amplify your intuition and greatly enhance the creativity that you need far more than you need logic when you are in that Special World. Your magnificent, logical left brain is extremely useful in our ever accelerating fast-paced Ordinary World -- it just doesn’t work well in the Special World. You can’t think your way out of that place.

    ·      One thing to keep in mind is that you may have already crossed over that first threshold or dived into the cave or even found your Grail but perhaps don't recognize yet, using the structure of this journey.

    ·      I cannot guarantee that you will have a total transformation in 7 weeks. Although this is certainly possible, this is not a linear journey with a clear map. It is more like a spiral or labyrinth and has many layers.

    ·      Once you have shifted your perspective and have experienced all of the steps once, you will have a completely different way to navigate your current transition and all the ones you will encounter in the future.

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    Your Three Choices for the Journey:

    All Three versions of the Seven Week Hero/ine’s Journey offer the same basic “magic elixir”, but it comes in different containers.

    I am well aware that those who are on this journey often have financial constraints so I have created three levels.


    If you are self-directed and/or require the most affordable option, there is the Rose Goblet.

    ·      This is a seven-week exploration of how to navigate your current life transition using the framework of the Hero/ine’s Journey.
    ·      You will receive a document at the beginning of each of the seven weeks via email with seven creative, playful and/or practical activities, from which I recommend you select two -- one that calls you and one that challenges you. You can certainly do them all as long as you don’t get overwhelmed, but you may be better served by going through the seven weeks and then starting over choosing new ones the next time around.
    ·      There are also extra credit options of links from me and various other teachers (which will include readings, recordings and videos) to explore for each day if you are inspired to learn more.
    ·      I highly encourage you to join a private Facebook group where you can connect with me and others on the journey. 
    ·      Phone support with me is available for an additional fee of $50.00 per half hour which you can set up through my online scheduler.



    Sliding fee from $50.00 – $200.00 for the full 7 week Journey (see below)











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    If you want all that is in the Rose Goblet with the addition of a one hour call before you start so I can customize the offerings for your unique situation, personal preferences and learning style, you may prefer the Silver Chalice. This option also has email support from me.






     Sliding fee from $250.00 – $400.00 for the full  week journey(see below)










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    If you know you will need extra support and want all of the above plus a 45-minute private call per week, then the Holy Grail is for you.





    Sliding fee from $450.00 – $900.00 for the full 7 week journey (see below)










    I have done a lot of different programs, so I know what I am offering here is worth more than the highest prices on the upper end of the sliding scale.  But in the interests of making this easily accessible, I am experimenting with an introductory low price and a very wide sliding fee scale. I trust that you will honor your true needs and also mine in selecting a price.  ❤️

    If you feel called to join me on this adventure, (or you did not consciously choose an adventure but want a caring, playful and savvy guide for navigating this in-between place where circumstances landed you!) I would be honored to be your ally.

    If you would like to learn more about me and what qualifies, go here and here or visit this first story of my blog. You can also check me out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michelle.simonson.5

    If you are curious to learn more about this journey and/or want to share what is happening in your world so I can learn about you, please send me an email at michelle@sparksandleaps.com with the subject line "Curious".

    I am looking forward to hearing from you and assisting you with turning this "space between stories" into an experience that will yield unexpected treasures!