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!!!
Last week I shared a series of questions with you to engage with, play with, dance with...to explore about levels of pain. How did it go?
Pain is real. Pain is what gets us to change. The discomfort that comes with change helps us grow. None of us are immune to this cycle of life.
In fact, more than ever, we're all facing and feeling the collective energy of creation (new ways of being/living) and destruction (old ways are dying).
As many of you know and some of you may be feeling, today is the solar eclipse and new moon. You can google it to read more.
From an energetic perspective, the energy is high, urgent, and frenetic in some cases. The energy is also extremely powerful.
What does this mean?
NOW IS the best time to choose how you wish to live.
Will you finally choose to let go of what's holding you back/draining your energy/creating drama?
Will you finally choose to go after what you want with everything you've got?
Stop waiting. Be decisive. The time is NOW.
I wrote a poem to inspire you:
It Stops Today
Here's What I'll Say
It Stops Today.
Release what's in Tow.
Clear and Free.
Look, Do you See?
From the Legacy
It Stops Today.
What to Say?
You Found your Way
It Stops Today.
Might be Gray.
You'll be OK.
Baby, It Stops Today!
You will Soar.
For this I am Sure.
Look Sweet Love!
There is SO Much More.
Close the Door.
The Score is the Score.
Ties No More
You are OK.
Because It Stops TODAY!
Back to Flow.
Of this you Know.
Life is Short.
It's quite the Sport.
Find your Light.
It is the Dark Night.
It STOPS TODAY.
Choose to LOVE.
Turn your Gaze Above.
Find your Laugh.
Past is Passed.
Time to Go.
It Hurts, WOW, I know.
YOU ARE OK.
Today IS the Day.
Here's What I'll Say.
IT STOPS TODAY.
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 talked about engaging with your council, meaning what is your method and frequency of communication.
How is it going? Feel free to email me and share.
As you continue to develop and engage with your council, I invite you to take pause. We are half way through 2017 and it's a great time to stop and reflect. Or as I say in my book Reclaiming Joy, it's time to Stop Driving and Start Thriving.
What do I mean?
Many of us spend our life so busy doing - the endless to do lists- we neglect to notice how we are being. In fact we invest next to nothing in being because we are spending so much on doing. My friends there's a cost to excessive spending on doing without investing in being.
What's the cost?
We end up losing sight of why we are here, what's important to our well-being, and ultimately what brings us joy. We go through the motions. We end up broke and depleted physically, energetically and sometimes emotionally, financially and spiritually. Our health, relationships, bank accounts and work suffer. We live in "should'. We give up.
Is this how we are meant to live?
No way. What I am noticing more than ever is that many people don't realize excessive thinking is part of the "excessive doing". In fact it's the thinking that puts us in this endless cycle of doing (should's).
Really? Tell me more.
As you many of you know, I meditate daily. And yes, I still "suffer" the afflictions of the mind. I am human. Yet, because I have made meditation a daily practice now for almost 20 years, I have developed a powerful habit.
The ability to discipline my mind and thereby redirect my attention from the negative (seeming obstacle ) to opportunity (positive possibility).
It's such a sweeter place to live. And at 41, this is how I choose to live.
Why Am I Sharing This With You?
Part of it is selfish. It's not fun interacting with anxious, stressed, negative people.
More than ever humanity is suffering, mostly by their own hand because there is no mental discipline. Stress, anxiety, anger and fear are at an all time high. And yet we still engage in the habit of turning on the TV to watch the news.
Part of it is self-less. I believe we are all meant to thrive. It saddens me to see so much suffering and I feel the need to do my part by helping people wake up!!!!
Unfortunately, many people still do not have a daily meditation practice and yet they want life to be better, different. You know the saying- we are what we repeatedly do? Well, here it is. It is unrealistic to expect our life to change when we won't change our habits.
Why Invest in The Habit?
Gaining control of your mind is the one habit I suggest you invest heavily in.
I see this trend of stress, anxiety and fear increasing. For such an advanced society, we surely have failed at what I feel is the most important aspect of living well- the ability to control our mind.
When we allow our mind to take control, the stress, anxiety, and fear separate us from others. We become a society of me versus you. It shows up globally, in our boardrooms, classrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and everywhere in between. Living this way is anything but thriving babes.
This week my invitation for you is to: Stop Driving Start Thriving:
1. Stop. Notice how much you spend doing by allowing your mind to create drama, story, separation, negativity...obstacles
2. Stop. When you notice your mind engaging in the above, invest in being...re-frame it to how this experience is one of: learning/growth, connection, positivity...opportunity
3. Stop. Observe the results...how do you feel...are you being peace?
4. STOP making excuses and commit to a daily meditation practice
5. Stop. Celebrate as you cultivate your new habit of mental discipline...
There is no magic pill to ease the mind. You must make meditation practice part of your daily routine to help you cultivate the habit of mental discipline. In this way, when the stress, anxiety, anger, or fear hits, your habit will kick in and re-direct your mind from obstacle to opportunity. In a word: Thriving. It's all a mind game this life. Those of us who get this, thrive...laughing all the way home to our grave.
A quote for you:
"To develop a reliable routine, a golfer has to decide to follow it and practice it time after time until it becomes an ingrained habit that will show up no matter how much pressure he or she is under. You can be sure that under pressure, you will find out what your dominant habit is." -Dr. Bob Rotella, Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect
Last week I invited you to explore creating your council, an on-going practice I use to keep me on the positive, play filled, purpose full and prosperous path. Say that 5x fast!
Have you started considering who may already be this for you and what kind of support you receive / want more of? I'd love to know here.
This week I want to talk about the "criteria" for creating your council. Before I do, keep in mind your council will likely be between 5-10 people. Some of these people may be friends, acquaintances, or even paid mentors, coaches, etc. Usually it is not a family member.
You may also decide to be available for someone else's council to offer whatever it is you are gifted at. Usually this is what winds up happening as we commit to the process.
These are the 3 criteria for ALL people on your council:
1. Proven Success:
People who are already having success in the area you want to create/improve. For example, one of the areas I mentioned was physical. If you are looking to improve your physical health, find the person who is already radiating extraordinary physical health. If you are looking to start / improve a business, find the person who has done / is doing it.
People who will help you find your truth: what you want/what gets in the way, no matter how hard, without holding judgment. They are able to do this because presumably they have gone through what you are going through and are now successful. They have been able to reach success because they have overcome similar obstacles and therefore understand, value and appreciate the absolute requirement for non-judgment. This doesn't mean the person will condone negative behavior. They will call you out. That is the point!! However, they will hold up the mirror with compassion, loving-kindness, support and wisdom to empower you.
This is why I don't suggest a family member for your council. It's usually very hard for family to be completely objective. Note this doesn't mean you can't talk to family! It simply means you have people in addition to your family who you reach out and listen to. Maybe you learn to filter what you tell family if it doesn't always serve to divulge all.
You want people on your council who have the time & energy to support you, when you need it. In addition, here's where books and paid mentors/coaches come in handy by giving you the extra boost. For example, maybe you want to develop your spirituality and deepen the connection you have with yourself. Perhaps the person who would be on your council isn't accessible right now for whatever reason, or you don't "yet" have this type of person in your life. Reading a book (see my reading list here) or perhaps hiring a mentor/coach who specializes in this area would be of service to you and keep you moving forward.
Based on the criteria above, start making and/or tweaking your council list. If you have questions, let me know here.
Next week I will share more about how to engage with your council.
Last week I invited you to revisit the garden of your life and prune it. By pruning your inner garden, you begin to simplify your life and amplify your energy so you are able to focus on that which brings you JOY.
Are you pruning? What are you noticing? Tell me here.
This week I invite you to think about a practice I have found essential over the years to help keep me on the positive, prosperous path.
What's the practice?
I call it create your council...otherwise known as the practice of putting together your network of support.
These are people who help you be and become your best self--they amplify your energy by being who they are and allowing you to be who you are. They hold up the loving and truthful mirror for you without judgment.
Why is it important to have a council?
Three main reasons.
1. We are not meant to go it alone.
2. It is in relationship with others where we grow the most.
3. We all have blind spots we aren't aware of that keep us...stuck.
What kind of support does a council give?
All kinds- physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual.
How do we choose these people?
Great question. I will outline criteria next week.
In the meantime, start considering who may already be this for you and what kind of support you receive / want more of.
If this is new to you, begin to think about the type of support you desire.
Last week I invited you to consider how living life is an endless opportunity to practice peace. I also shared that peace isn't an absence of conflict. Rather, peace is being calm amidst all of it and choosing to respond with love.
How is it going? Tell me here.
This week I encourage you to take the next step: Revisit the garden of your life and prune it.
Life is too short to live otherwise...and as I mentioned last week, 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 (em-path?). Absorbing all this intense energy creates distraction, complexity, and ultimately depletes your precious energy. By pruning your inner garden, you will begin to simplify your life and amplify your energy so you are able to focus on that which brings you JOY.
By the way, if you know you are an em-path, I suggest you attend my workshop this Saturday.
How do you prune your garden?
It's 2 parts.
You must first weed the dead. After that, you seed that which brings you joy.
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Close your eyes.
Ask yourself the questions:
What makes me come alive/energizes me?
Upon opening your eyes, jot down what came to mind.
As you do jot down what came to mind, also think about:
1. What needs to be weeded from the garden of my life so I have more energy to seed?
Example: Weed negative behaviors such as gossip, negative thinking, people...
2. What do I wish to seed instead?
Example: Positive thoughts, nourishing, positive friendships...
Make sure you list at least 2-3 things for each question.
Say thank you to yourself and commit to taking small steps over the next 7 days to weed and seed.
What kind of small steps?
Weeding- When you notice yourself in the gossip or negative thought, stop it. Distance yourself energetically and physically from negative people.
Seeding- Commit to getting support (a mentor, class, book, etc) around weeding these behaviors and people. Attend a social activity with the intention of meeting a new friend.
As in nature, when we nourish our garden - by the consistent activity of weeding and seeding, we bloom.
Remember to be courageous and compassionate as you face the facts.
I will check back with you next week.
Questions/Support? Connect with Me.
Last week I talked about joy, unencumbered, meaning-- how do we walk the path of life, feeling JOY, unencumbered, once we open our eyes to the sometimes challenging reality of LIFE.
What have you noticed?
What choices have you already made & will continue to make, right NOW to experience JOY...unencumbered?
Tell me here, I'd love to know and hold you accountable.
This week I invite you to consider another concept:
Each and every one of us is born to THRIVE.
Truth. Thriving is part of the blueprint we are born with.
Do you believe that?
If not, why not? Watch those negative thoughts. Your beliefs/thoughts become your life.
Over the past few weeks in my walking with protection workshop (Note: I am offering this workshop again in June), my sessions with clients and in my heart felt talks with loved ones, something has revealed itself... a gem of sorts.
Many people do not believe they are born to thrive. Instead, at some point after birth they have come to accept that life is a struggle. This belief impacts their reality as they live each day in "survival" mode.
Do you know what I mean? It makes my heart sad. Maybe this is you, has been you, or perhaps it's someone you love- living in this "mode". Whatever. This isn't about judgment, ever. This is about reality and choosing to THRIVE, to be ALIVE.
I talk about this struggle of surviving versus thriving in my book Reclaiming Joy. I share that we spend so much time busy in the doing, trying to survive, we neglect to notice how we are being. In the process, we end up sleepwalking through life...holding so tightly onto threads of what may have been "if only"...waiting for some big shift to happen or for someone else to save us.
I will tell you from my experience-- the big shift starts with you! Yes, often our circumstances drastically change (death/divorce/addiction/depression) and it forces us to open our eyes. Yet- it still comes back to us making a shift-- we still have to make the choice to THRIVE, beyond what has happened for us, (not "to" us remember?)
Why would we choose to THRIVE when it seems like so much work/energy, even scary, etc to take the action steps necessary?
Because at some point we realize it's the only path. So, yes, we are born to THRIVE! However, this birthright is not a license to be lazy and sing the "woe is me" song when life hits.
Many of us get stuck in everything that we feel "prevents" us from thriving:
Who has betrayed us, hurt us, stolen from us, broken our heart, let us down, abused us...lied to us, etc, etc.
What to do?
First, upgrade your belief/thought pattern to, "I WAS BORN TO THRIVE and I WILL". Free up that stuck energy and direct it towards LIVING.
Second, look at yourself in the mirror, into your eyes and really ask yourself:
What kind of life do I wish to live?
As you explore your answers, perhaps you will list qualities such as: faith, truth, integrity, love, peace, abundance, adventure, ease, JOY.
As you explore your answers and get clear on the life YOU wish to live, when circumstances present themselves that are less than the qualities you have listed, you get to choose....
Am I willing to speak my voice in this situation to advocate for the qualities I wish to live by?
If yes, then there are only 2 outcomes.
Either the other party/parties will step up, or not.
Which leads to the next choice.
Are you willing to stay because you have yet to learn "that" lesson....i.e.: you are enough, deserving to ask...and work it through?
Is it time to prepare how you will exit a situation that no longer serves YOU and the life YOU wish to live.
Much food for thought. Take it in. Let is simmer. Write, Pray, Meditate, Share with me.
I got it, I get it, I support it. We are't meant to walk alone.
No judgment here-- Only ever Love to help you THRIVE.
Speaking of THRIVING...have you chosen to join us???
Sweet Retreat Tulum, 10/31-11/5!!
Experience the many ways we nourish ourselves. Learn More.
Last week I shared with you a brilliant short video about mindfulness and how it empowers us. I reminded you that where our attention goes...our energy flows.
Staying with this theme of paying attention, I want to talk about habits.
In a recent conversation with a friend, she told me for Lent she gave up Facebook.
She admitted it was very hard. She wasn't 100% "successful" yet she learned a valuable lesson about habits.
Specifically she learned that her habit of incessantly checking Facebook was both an energy/time drain, and an emotional roller coaster. In giving up FB, while she may have felt more disconnected at times, she also felt more at peace. Interesting huh?
She noticed that each time she checked FB, she was emotionally triggered - either positively or negatively. This habit of checking FB was something she created and therefore was something she could change. The realization of this habit gave her a new interest in bringing greater awareness to her habits in general.
In the space of disconnecting (with discipline) from FB, she realized other habits in her life (the positive ones too!) that she engaged in. This recognition felt empowering for her. Why? It reminded her she is always in choice about how/where she is investing her energy/time.
Naturally this conversation got me thinking about my habits and how they define me. Meaning, if I am unaware of certain habits, I am living in somewhat of an asleep/unconscious state. I may be moving from one thing to the next because it's what I "always" do. This automatic behavior - habits - may be causing me to miss out on a more enjoyable and easier path!!!
AHA: The ability to step back and notice our habits gives us the awareness to choose consciously. Think of it as another form of meditation-- an active one!
Below are some examples of how my habits have dictated my thoughts, words and actions...and therefore have defined my life.
Thought Example: When I see a person being unkind, my habit is to think, "wow, that person is mean".
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps this person is having an awful day and they need my positive thoughts with a smile...and if I give my positive vibe, I feel better too!
Word Example: When someone accuses me of being unkind, my habit is to rush and defend myself...ME!? Unkind!?
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps I am having a bad day!! And I am being unkind in that moment. And my being "unkind" is a sign I need to be still, rest...nourish myself in some way.
Action Example: When someone I love doesn't acknowledge me when I do something generous for them, my habit is to withdraw emotionally.
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps it's about me learning (again and again!) to be generous without expecting something in return. Or about honoring that perhaps I need to do something for myself or ask someone I love to do something for me :)
Oh the wisdom to be learned in noticing our habits!!! The invitation is for you to notice your habits. Be gentle with yourself. Have fun with it :)
The Heart Knows
Recently I shared a simple reminder about LOVE...LOVE is about sharing not bearing.
All of this talk about love and relationships lately reminds me of something I wrote about a few years ago that I feel is worth sharing again. My intention is to inspire you to think about how powerful our heart is and to stay open.
The following is from, "The Secret Teachings of Plants" by Stephen Buhner about training ourselves to use our heart as an organ of perception (instead of the mind) in order to cultivate abundant health, relationships...well being.
On page 99 a quote describing the state of heart coherence by Rollin McCraty says: "It is the rhythm of the heart that sets the beat for the entire system. The heart's rhythmic beat influences brain processes that control the autonomic nervous system, cognitive function and emotions. Coherence is the harmonious cooperation, and order among the subsystems of a larger system that allows for the emergence of more complex functions. It is used to describe more ordered mental and emotional processes as well as more ordered and harmonious interactions among various physiological systems. It embraces many other terms used to describe specific functional modes, such as synchronization, entrainment, and resonance".
This line speaks to how I wish to live my life: deeply, with all of my internal systems connected and reflecting my outer world.
For me, heart coherence is a state of being where what I think, say, and do are the same. In shamanism we call this Ayni.
The result of living this way? Inner Peace. Freedom.
In another great book, "Untethered Soul" written by Michael Singer, he says never let the heart close, no matter what.
In my experience of life, often FEAR is what gets in the way of staying open, staying free, staying connected, coherent. When I remember, as Singer also states... That inner disturbances will not destroy me, that I CAN handle my feelings...that I CAN stay in this place of coherence even when it's hard -- is a testament to the strength of my heart. I realize now, after much resistance and then surrender....that not only can I function in the world when discomfort arises... I can ALSO choose to be happy at the same time.
What a well earned gift!
As I continue to practice ALLOWING my heart to open more fully to ALL of life, I see my heart as a rose petal blooming. As my heart opens more fully, my experience becomes more beautiful, more loving, more connected. FREE.
What can shake me? Not much... It's when my path, my practice and the fruit are all the same. All systems connected and working with one another. Coherence.
Easy, no? Worth it? Absolutely! I support you!
Wishing you all the beauty an open heart brings.