Empowered Video Series with Stephanie
Thriving or Surviving?
What is required to stay on the path to thriving?
Stephanie is very excited to share her empowered video series with you throughout the month of October.
Watch the intro video here to see what you can expect.
"You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change." -Les Brown
Note: This also appears on Stephanie's bronxvillewellness website.
Where are YOU on the List?
In previous writings I shared with you how to begin creating your goals for your year ahead and told you one of my goals is Adventure!!
As we close the month of January in a new year my goal stays the same -- adventure with a twist --rooted in DEEP INFINITE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Today I encourage you to stay committed to YOURSELF, no matter who, and no matter what you are currently facing.
PS: Why do you think I will continue to plan retreats?
SO....Why is this my message today?
In my life and my work I continue to support loved ones and clients with all types of extremely difficult challenges from addictions and abuse, to anxiety, depression and overall lack of clarity.
Upon reflection, I notice there is one thread that runs through all of the struggle. And it is this thread that will determine their ability to "overcome".
The thread you ask? The ability to put themselves first.
I trust many of you who are reading this understand what I mean...even if you have not yet mastered this feat.
Think of the oxygen mask on the airplane.
You must have oxygen for yourself first, before you are able to help the other. Without your own source of oxygen, you will both...end up dead.
Same with life. Yet we RESIST we RESIST we RESIST! And guess what? Whatever is trying to get our attention, whatever is asking us for love, PERSISTS.
Unless we uncover, honor, advocate and then act for the life WE want (OUR own oxygen supply)-WE will end up with whatever WE get. A slow and painful death indeed.
Based on personal experience, the ability to save ourselves first is an on-going practice.
Perhaps hard at first because we've been told it's "selfish" and therefore lack the tools/support required.
In fact, not taking care of ourselves is selfish!!!
With practice, saving our self first becomes a way of life. As such, it gets easier.
Eventually, we realize there is simply no other way to live.
We must save our self first because the other way is hell on Earth.
Ready for my Reclaiming Joy Retreat now? I am!!!
Is the battle in here...or out there...?
Last week I encouraged you to stay true to what matters to you, especially when faced with challenges. I invited you to lean in to these challenges in order to reclaim your power.
I am fascinated by power. I love playing with power and studying it. In my shamanic practice I have learned to respect power immensely. Power is neutral. It becomes "charged" when we decide how to use it. Meaning, we are either using our power to help/heal or harm/hurt.
The interesting thing about power: some of us don't even know how powerful we are; others of us feel so powerful (ego) that we are oblivious... and still others think we are using our power to help, when in fact we are actually causing harm.
One example of being unaware of our power is when we get stuck for long periods of time in the frustration of how things "are". Perhaps we are frustrated with the outer world...or maybe it's our inner world...or some combination. Whatever the case, when we use our power for prolonged periods of time at the energetic of "frustration", we are doing harm.
Instead of focusing on why we are frustrated, we lose/leak energy to the lower vibrations that come with frustration: sadness, depression, anger, hopelessness, etc. Over time, these emotions cause harm to us and to those we touch.
When we focus on the frustration itself rather than the "root" of the frustration, we miss the gifts our frustration has to teach us.
What to do?
Get to the root!! Dig deeper by using reflection practices such as writing and meditation and/or get support by engaging in shamanic practices . When we commit to getting to the root, in the process we usually notice we are stuck/slowed down for a reason. And that reason is our teacher to help move us forward. In essence, the frustration is an invitation to lean in.
To be clear: I am not saying it's bad/wrong to have emotions. Quite the contrary. What I am saying is to live for prolonged periods of time in the lower/negative emotions is a misuse of our power as human beings.
If we want to use our power to help, we must first help our self (think airplane oxygen mask). By helping our self, we learn how to come into Ayni (right relationship) with power and we free up energy to help others. Isn't that the point?
In the process we learn one of the greatest gifts of our frustration is our freedom.
We begin to realize we are powerful human beings who are free to act in the direction of that which brings peace, love, joy and expansion...or not.
"Of this I am certain: something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are." -- Geneen Roth
Last week I gave you simple wisdom for returning to a state of peace.
This week I want to acknowledge that even "the best" of us struggle.
What separates those who prevail, and even come out "better" on the other side, from those who do not?
I've said this many times and in many ways...we become what we think. And what we think IS our perspective. So in effect, we become our perspective.
Another way to understand this is to think about the story of the 2 wolves.
Have you heard it? Here it is in brief:
There are 2 wolves.
One wolf is full of despair and darkness.
The other wolf is full of hope and light.
Which wolf succeeds?
The one who gets fed.
Got it? Which one are you feeding?
Let me know what you notice :))))
Last week I spoke about LOVE.
This week I am coming off vacation. It's funny really. I do the most "work", inner work that is...when I am not "working".
Do you know what I mean?
The place of silence, less doing, and simply allowing myself to be is a powerful place to prosper.
So, during my vacation many insights arose. Too many to write so I will choose the one I feel is most in service based on what I've been hearing and sensing.
The insight is really a series of questions I invite you to engage with, play with, dance with...explore about levels of pain.
Let me clarify that when I say pain. I am talking about the range of and doorways to the pain we experience being human walking this path: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual. As you know, there are many doorways into our pain and usually we have an affinity toward one or two of them.
I invite you to lovingly reflect on these questions:
1. Is pain natural, necessary, and healthy for me feel?
2. If so, how much pain do I have to experience before I choose to change?
3. Am I willing to be honest with myself about the level of pain I am in?
4. If so, what will I do about it? Get support? Ignore it? Descend further?
There are no right or wrong answers. We are each on our own journey. It's for us to decide how we live our life and how much suffering we wish to endure on this magic carpet ride called "life".
Last week I spoke about suffering being inevitable and how to live joyfully in the face of it.
This week I want to share a perspective that helps me during those times of suffering: Life is a marathon...not a sprint...
What do I mean?
I will use a running analogy. When I use to run, I gravitated toward distance running rather than sprinting. I often wondered, why distance? Then one day it hit me.
I like the distance running because it feels spacious and doable...comforting almost. The focus on running distance, over speed, suits my personality and my nervous system!! To thyself be known and then be true to you.
Distance running requires the ability to see the end, no matter how far off. Because all I had to focus on was "finishing", it took the pressure off of having to do it "fast".
And what I know about myself now is that fast makes me anxious.
Distance running taught me how to let go of "how fast" in order to focus on completion instead...a valuable life lesson as it relates to living the life of our dreams.
In the process of running to finish I also learned: how to breathe, how to pace myself, and most importantly, the belief that I would make it, no matter how long it took.
There is a peace filled sweetness that washes over us when we realize we choose our beliefs. As such our beliefs have the power to uplift and inspire us. Or not depending on what beliefs you choose.
The perspective of seeing and then living life as a marathon is comforting- especially these days when everything moves too darn fast for me.
This perspective has gifted me 3 pillars that guide my life...all of which I have written about to you countless times in different ways:
1. Be Real
There will be times of suffering, it's inevitable. Best to accept this with non judgmental compassionate awareness. Then get busy living again.
2. Practice, Patience, Pacing
Nobody starts off running a marathon on their first run.
In order to succeed you must...
Practice: Quite simply making the time to do the "work" because whatever "it" is, is that important to you. The excuse, "I have no time", simply means I have not chosen to make this a priority. In which case, reassess. Life is precious and short. Time is the only commodity we don't retrieve so invest wisely. Death reminds us of this. Use death to motivate.
Patience: Understand what patience is and what it is not. True. Rome wasn't built in a day. Some things take time. We are impatient. Yet sometimes we are being slowed down for a reason, we don't yet see. And still others times we are so painfully patient. We use the excuse, "I am being patient" when the truth is, we are afraid to take the massive action we need to in order to move ahead. Hiding behind impatience or patience is still hiding. Pay attention. Discern. Decide. Life = Short.
Pacing: Since energy is our #1 asset we must learn how to pace ourselves by caring so deeply for our physical, mental and emotional health so we don't burn out.
Physical- Balance your days with effort (working/having fun) and ease (relaxation/rest)
Mental- Commit to daily meditation to cultivate mental discipline and move beyond "I can't/I quit" and all the other stories the monkey mind creates.
Emotional- Accept feelings will come and go. Some days will simply suck...Practice non-attachment to the voice that alternately says, "I hate running/work/life/! I feel awful." and also says, "I love running/work/life! I feel amazing."
3. Faith- Your faith in your ability to run the distance/live the life of your dreams must be bigger than your feelings at any one time.
Faith in your dreams translates to your belief in yourself. Your "big" faith will carry you through times of suffering when feelings are at an all time low and you want to quit.
When we adopt the view that life is a marathon and not a sprint we give ourselves permission to live slow and deep...to pace ourselves so we enjoy the journey rather than rush to an "end". We practice deepening our faith that we will make it...we give ourselves permission to believe.
And maybe when we arrive at the end- death- it will be with less sadness and regret, and a ton more joy and ease...
arriving with a sweetness that says yes, our very own dreams have come true- because we BELIEVED.
Last week I invited you release something/someone you are burdening, which no longer serves your highest destiny path so that you experience living light as a feather. Otherwise known as joyful living...
What are you noticing? I would love to know here.
This week I am called to speak about suffering. So much of my life's work of late has been about understanding and then sharing the nature of suffering.
From this reflection a deep inquiry arises:
How do we live joyfully in the face of so much suffering-- both in the global world and in our personal world?
To get an authentic, practical, action oriented "answer" I believe we must first realize, that yes, suffering is inevitable. For each and everyone of us, if we are lucky.
Suffering is a teacher. Without the lessons, we stay stuck.
What is suffering?
Not accepting the burdens we face...
Judging the burdens and our response to them.
Expending all of our energy resisting "what is" therefore depleting us of the precious energy to make necessary changes to live, love and enjoy life.
What are our burdens?
A few examples:
Abandonment, abuse, addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, illness, loneliness, loss, neglect, self hate...
Do we all face burdens?
Yes, at some point in our life, we do.
If suffering is inevitable, how do we live with joy?
Meeting ALL burdens with non-judgmental - compassionate - acceptance.
Many of us hold our burdens so tightly we allow them to confine and define us. We identify with the darker parts of our humanity (remember those shadows?) and ignore the lighter parts. We end up feeling shame, guilt, fear. We do this to ourselves and others. And "they" do it to us. It's not how we are meant to live.
Once we face the truth of our burdens, through acceptance, we free up the energy of resistance.
I share an example of acceptance and embracing the parts of ourselves we feel shame /guilt/fear about (our shadows) in my book, Reclaiming Joy on page 32 when I speak of my unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Until I accepted, nothing changed.
What do we do with this freed up energy (remember energy is our #1 asset)?
We direct it towards healing.
Healing ourselves, and in the process, helping one another heal.
We learn to view all experience, including and especially our burdens, as opportunities to awaken more fully into the life we were meant to live. In the process of awakening, we cultivate compassion, wisdom, and ultimately deep self love. Compassion, wisdom, and self-love become the foundation of our life from which all prosperity flows.
We look in the mirror and know our worth no matter if we are poor or rich, Ceo or janitor, single or married, thin or heavy, abused or enlightened, addicted or clean...whatever.
As we accept our own burdens and cultivate compassion, wisdom, and deep self love, the next step is to extend non-judgmental compassionate acceptance to others.
It is from this place of acceptance that we heal and so too the world. Beneath the facade, we are one. One heart. One love. One energy.
So, is suffering inevitable?
Are we able to experience suffering and still live in joy?
In the face of inevitable suffering, when judgment ceases, and acceptance prevails, we are able to live joyfully.
Is this an easy way to live?
Over time, it's the only way. Enough said.
Last week I introduced the idea that nothing is wasted, encouraging you to see all experience as teachers. Why? To empower you!!!
How is it going? Tell me here.
This week I want to keep it soft and simple by reminding you that living is an endless opportunity to practice peace. If you are reading this, it is likely you are more sensitive than the average person. As such, in addition to the challenges you may be facing in your own life, you are perhaps also feeling the collective depression/anxiety that is occurring on the planet. It's real. So, this week my invitation is for you to practice peace as you live your life...until it becomes a way of life...
What do I mean by peace?
May you find this "definition" practical and workable:
Peace isn't the absence of noise, challenge, hard work...
Peace is being in the midst of all of this while having a calm mind, open heart and absolute faith...in a word...LOVE
Love is THE way, the only way...
As I've shared in my book, when we choose LOVE as the path, it also becomes the practice and the fruit.
PS: I am talking LOVE without condition.
Practice living peace by choosing love...
Love your mind to calm with meditation, love your heart open with possibility, love your life by walking in faith. Respond with love, no matter who/what. Try it. See what happens. I'll check back with you next week :)
Last week I talked about the thread that runs through whether or not we are able to overcome our struggles. The thread as you may recall is to Save Yourself First.
This week the conversation continues. The bottom line is that every single one of us has something we struggle with, whether or not we admit it. Those of us who have the courage to admit our struggle, then come upon the "choice".
The choice is: Will we see our struggle as a curse or as a blessing?
Throughout my life I have mostly been an optimistic person. Yet, there have been countless times where I have felt cursed. As I share in my book, Reclaiming Joy, my father's unexpected death 3 weeks before my wedding was one of those times.
In the midst of this "curse", the discomfort I felt--grief, sadness, anger, anxiety, loneliness, was unbearable at times. At the time, I did what I had to do to survive-- over working, over eating, over drinking, over doing. I did this until I was ready to choose the other path.
Several years later, upon getting divorced, another curse, I was at a choice point. I had to decide how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I did my deep spiritual healing work as I share in my book, and ultimately asked myself: Will I see the past as a curse or as a blessing? Feeling that it couldn't get too much worse, I took a gamble on seeing my experience as a blessing. Looking back, I understand that until I was ready and able to see all of my life experience as a blessing, nothing would ever change. It was the right choice.
In Chapter 2 of my book, Reclaiming Joy I talk about this concept often-- our ability to see all (the pain and the joy) of our experience as teachers...blessings.
When we practice this way of being, seeing the blessings, it has the effect of helping us to feel more comfortable in the discomfort of life.
There is a part of us, way down deep inside that knows it requires discomfort to grow. Some would say, myself included, that at a soul level we actually "call" the discomfort into our life in order that we heal. A wake up call you might say. You know what I mean. You've seen it. You've experienced it.
OK and? The challenge arises when we want to flee from the discomfort...also known as abandoning ourselves. The key for many of us is to stay committed to our path of healing, overcoming...whatever words you want to use...no matter what.
The ultimate freedom (peace) comes when we realize discomfort is not something to fear. Rather discomfort is something to embrace, to bring our love and our light to so that we may transmute what is underneath it.
With consistent practice and support, we realize on the other side of our fear, lies our freedom. This wisdom carries us so when the discomfort arises again, and it will, we feel so much more comfortable in it. We stay with our self through the discomfort instead of abandoning our self. We are wise to know there is growth here and that our freedom, our peace, requires us to exhale and stay.
Wisdom = Knowledge + Intuition + Experience
Are You Tired of the Heavy Lifting?
For many years I expended far too much energy on learning how to "do better/be better" in the crazy-ness and sometimes dysfunction of living. I refer to this cycle of behavior where we are trying too hard to function in the dysfunction, as "doing the heavy lifting". Living this way for most of my life, I often felt exhausted and drained of energy. As a result, often I became resentful and depressed because I didn't have energy for what made me feel good. Thankfully, when I was introduced to shamanic energy healing, I learned of a different way.
I learned that it's possible (and absolutely essential!) to release ourselves from old patterns of being that imprison us with the belief that we have to do all the heavy lifting.
Heavy lifting patterns are learned as we go through life. These patterns are also inherited from our ancestors, society, etc. It's simply not true that we must suffer a life of heavy lifting.
Once I decided I would no longer live this way, I began the process of releasing these patterns. As I did, I made space for what I wanted instead. I began tapping into and seeding the energetic frequency of what I wanted in my life. As a result, today I no longer do heavy lifting. My energy is incredible and my path is one of ease, peace and JOY.
If you are tired of the heavy lifting, make today the day you choose to STOP it!
Put your choice into immediate action and either attend a live event or request a free copy of my recorded full moon celebrartion & releasing ceremony here.