Last week I encouraged exploration into YOU, also known as self-discovery with the question: do you know who you are?
What are you noticing?
This week I want to keep it real simple. As you continue to make the most important investment of your life-- exploration into yourself, I offer these 2 quotes as a way to help you return to peace...when all else seems to "fail".
"When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher." -Ezra Bayda
"Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint." -Henri Nouwen
When I pause and stop to be, I reconnect to the deepest part of me;
There is love there is light, sweetheart there's no more fight.
This place is pure, for this I am sure.
My mind wipes clean, my body let's go, my heart blooms open to all the unseen.
I am here. Now.
Present and Alive.
Sweet child. Open, dive and enjoy the ride.
We are ALL meant to THRIVE.
Thank you for THIS day.
A poem I wrote for all of us to let go, love our self into being who we are.
Exhale. Let Go.
Exhale. Go Slow.
Exhale. You Know.
Exhale. Take a Bow.
Exhale. Renew a Vow.
Exhale. You Speak.
Exhale. You Weep.
Exhale. Look Up.
Exhale. You're Enough.
Exhale. Fear Not.
Exhale. Faith Rules.
Exhale. Darling, your life is your school.
Exhale. Be Tough.
Exhale. Own Up.
Exhale. Be True.
Exhale. Its time to Be You.
Thank you for these words I pray.
Thank you for this precious day.
Thank you for this beautiful song.
Thank you for the spirit of life that carries me along.
I rest in your grace.
I know it isn't a race.
I bow to you now.
I understand my place.
Grateful and true, it's a gift to be YOU.
Baby, Let Go.
Last week I shared with you my JOY about hosting a Sweet Retreat in Tulum this Fall to continue encouraging you to find what brings you JOY and then to go for it!
This week I want to speak about a topic many of us (myself included!) wrestle with that often makes us feel anything but JOY. The topic is attachment.
As humans with needs, wants, and desires, sometimes we get caught in a cycle of suffering that results from not getting these needs, wants, and desires met. This often happens in relationships we hold dear. For example, maybe our spouse/lover/partner/beloved is totally overwhelmed and therefore not present for us. As a result, they are unavailable to meet our needs. Suddenly we find ourselves in a mind trap that causes us to attach even more to our need. It's so primal. And so potentially destructive to us and to the one we love if we are unable to see how to meet our need.
This attachment is usually a result of 3 behaviors/feelings we repeatedly engage in, often without even knowing:
1. Expectation: We have trained ourselves to expect that our needs will be met by others.
2. Judgment: When that doesn't happen, we fall into judgment- of self (Am I being needy?) - and of other - (What is wrong with them!! Don't they care!!)
3. Disappointment: When we judge, we feel let down, resentful...anything but joy.
What do we do?
Some of us close our heart. We protect our self to prevent any further hurt. The paradox here is that this won't work. It may be a temporary fix. The truth is, what we most need to do is to keep our heart open. In fact, we need to open our heart even more-- to ourselves and in turn to those we love.
How do we do it?
By practicing non-attachment to our needs, wants and desires.
It's totally healthy and normal to have needs, wants, and desires and to express them. And it's beautiful when our loved ones fulfill them. However, when we come to "expect" it, we set ourselves up for potential suffering.
When we practice non-attachment, we find ways to nurture our needs when our loved ones won't or simply can't. We learn how to be creative in our pursuit. If we long to be touched, we get a nourishing massage. If we long to be heard, we connect with a dear friend or mentor who will simply listen. If we long to be loved, we practice loving ourselves more deeply by allowing our-self to be enough exactly as we are.
My friends, to experience JOY, we must learn how to practice non-attachment. When do we: we free ourselves and therefore others from the burden of expectation; we show up without judgment; we allow disappointment to grow us into deeper love for all.
In my experience, practicing non-attachment is the only way forward to live as JOY.
Having said this, please understand practicing non-attachment does not mean we continue to stay in relationships or situations that are one sided and will never meet our needs. Rather, as we learn non-attachment, we deepen our self-love enough to speak our voice with clarity and compassion. When we do this, those who want to meet our needs will begin to show up...or not. From here we get to choose what to do, and we do it from a place of non-attachment...peace...clarity...love.
Finally, as we begin to live as JOY, we realize that in the process we have also learned the 2 magic ingredients which make all of it possible: gratitude and love.
Last week I shared with you that committing to clarity requires courage. Often when we start to "see" what needs to change, it's scary. I also gave you the next steps to help you get clear on what you want to "make happen" in 2017.
This week I will share with you what I do personally every year to help me to stay committed to taking action. May it help you as well!
What is it I do? I create a theme for the year! When I decide on the theme, one of the things I enjoy is making that theme the cover of my daily "planner". Glitter and all, as you see in pictures above.
Yes! I still use an old school planner. There is something about the art of pencil in hand writing out my days that is simple and beautiful.
So, back to themes:
2016 was Reclaiming JOY.
While this theme continues to evolve, I have decided to make 2017, Thank You.
Why Thank You?
As the journey of living continues to invite me to grow into new ways of being, at times breathless, kicking, screaming, crying and laughing...all that makes sense to me is THANK YOU for ALL of it.
Thank you for another day.
Thank you for YOU.
Thank you for choosing to see the beauty everywhere.
...the list is endless...
What will be your theme for 2017?
If you want to share your theme with me, thank you, yes, I'd love to know!!
Share the love...forward this blog to a friend :)
For me the fastest way to calm my ego and uplift my thoughts...and therefore my spirit is by focusing on gratitude.
The quote below (I tweaked it a bit!) is one of my favorites and I refer to it often:
"Wear gratitude like a cloak, so joyously, and it will feed every corner of your blessed, beautiful, bounty-filled life." -Rumi, respectfully edited by Stephanie
Gratitude isn't something to celebrate only on Thanksgiving. For many of us, it's how we live, or strive to live.
Being grateful is being joyful! Easy, no? So, I decided to come up with a simple game to help keep me on the path of gratitude.
As I speak about in my book, Reclaiming JOY, how we are being (grateful or not, loving or not...) determines the quality of our doing...and this is how we experience life. It's a big deal!!!
Here's the game:
1. Grab paper and pen (or your cell phone).
2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
3. Write down as many kind words as possible about yourself that begin with theletter of your first name. (I.e. Stephanie: Still, Silly, Self-Loving). The key is to write words you "know" you are...and even more importantly, write words you wish to become.
4. For the rest of the year, look at this every morning and night. Add to it!
Extra Credit: Share and play this game with a spouse, partner, child, friend, co-worker...etc.