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2012-10-25 15.30.53As is my ritual, I take a moment at the end of every month and reflect on what just happened – for me, in the context of what my clients are experiencing, or what I’m noticing happening in the world at large. It’s my way of making sense of  it all. And slowing down.

Some months, my reflection is driven by a “WTF!?” need to make sense of things. Other times, it’s a means to pay homage to the sweetness I’m experiencing. It’s also a constant reminder that I am not, in fact, in control of turning the wheel. I know this to be true in my bones, but damn if I don’t forget it at some point during each month. This monthly practice – together with my seasonal reading of The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover – keeps me honest and helps me to reconcile my fierce and persistent will with my belief in the need to surrender to the Universe’s divine wisdom and timing.

It works for me.

I call this practice my monthly Touchstones. Stones have always anchored me, and are a constant fixture in my business brand as a result. Sometime back in 2007, it became the basis for my newsletter that I share with the SheChanges community. “Newsletter” is a misnomer, really (note to self: change that), because at its core, my monthly Touchstones isn’t really about marketing or sales. It’s about creating some conscious space to notice our lives and how they are unfolding – individually and collectively. It’s about celebrating those people that cross my path – literally or virtually – who inspire me, inform my thinking, and embody the values I share around creating change. It’s also about sharing the love – passing along some juicy resources, links and experiences that have rocked my world and make me drool with joy and excitement.

Touchstones = Good food for Brave Pirates

I’m blown away when people in my community tell me they eagerly anticipate receiving my Touchstones each month. After sending it out, my inbox is flooded with amazing comments from people who share my sense of what the month was about, or appreciate the perspective on change or the resources I shared within it. It never ceases to amaze me and here’s why: I’m not a “newsletter” reader. I tend to get my fix through Facebook or Twitter feeds, or random collisions with people, not by reading blogs or monthly newsletters on a regular basis. But clearly others do. Which makes it all worthwhile.

So thanks for that.

But I realize that receiving an email every month from me isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (exhibit A: me). So moving forward, I’m going to be extending my reach with my Touchstones practice, posting my monthly reflections as a blog post as well. To give you a sense of what I will be sharing, here is an excerpt from September’s Touchstones that just dropped in people’s inbox last night.

A Note from Lael

When I think back to my experience of September, it all feels like a blur. Lots of transitions colliding with sweet and sour circumstances, like grieving a loss while also gearing up for a new beginning. Lack and bounty meet, like two fat rivers merging. It’s like the excitement of clutching brand new sharp pencils and a fresh journal, and also feeling despair looking at garden beds that are dying. In many ways, it’s hard to reconcile it all. And from what I’ve certainly felt in my own body, and have also seen reflected by my clients, this month had a “buckle your seat” belt sort of energy to it that was fast and furious and packed some Gs around the tight corners. But one thing I’ve come to appreciate in the swirls and eddies of September, is that there is truth at its epicenter – sometimes blissfully sweet music to our ears, and sometimes confusing and hard to swallow. All of it medicine for the road, I presume, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it means and why we’re in need of it. What all this has reminded me is the incredible grace it takes to ride through life. Some days I feel full of it, and other days I am craving a river guide at my side, reminding me to “swivel at the hips” and enjoy the ride the current clearly wants me to have. Here’s to the ride of our lives. And a boatload of grace. Rock on.

Reflections on September: Truth Serum

September ushers us into fall like a well-seasoned hospice worker, nodding with understanding and compassion as it lays out the reality of the situation. It’s kind, but firm and insistent – reminding us that the promises from the summer have all been delivered and how its best to take stock before heading into the dark of the winter. We see the squirrels frantically chasing down nuts for their stores, and feel restless and resistant to the inevitable turning of the wheel. But September is there, holding space for us to transition at our own pace like a wise crone, sometimes tolerant, often stern, as it guides us through. September asks us to face the truth of this season, even if it’s sad or confusing or we simply don’t want to. Because September knows what we would like to forget – that the wheel will keep turning even if we drag our feet and dig in. September smiles at us, offering us crisp days and fiery colors, as it cools down the temperature, and leads us lovingly into darker days where we will get the rest we didn’t even knew we needed. And as the days begin to gradually shorten, we reach out to hold September’s hand as the wise and trusted companion it has become.

If you like this sort of stuff, feel free to sign up on my home page to receive Touchstones directly. Or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and you’ll see the link pop into your feed sometime at the end of every month. Choose whatever flavor works for you. Or just join me here if you’d like. And we’ll ride it out together.

Rock on.