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 spoke about how we are entrusted with this body- it's a gift and we are entitled to nothing.
This week as some of you are embarking on the 3 Day Refresh with me, I want to remind you to pay attention. To what?
Pay attention to what makes you come alive!!! Meaning, what makes you feel good, peaceful, grateful?
Yes, sometimes it's getting on a plane and going on a sweet retreat (PS: 2018 Tulum Retreat dates have been set!).
However, most often it's much simpler. When we stop and pay attention often we realize that feeling good results from choosing to see and fully experience "the good".
Make a gratitude list.
Take 5 minutes to feel the sun on your face while you inhale and exhale.
Plan that breakfast/lunch/dinner/movie/comedy show/musical/massage.
When we "do" things we enjoy - and remain present - it makes us feel ALIVE. Feeling alive results in feeling good. When we feel good, our state of being is enhanced and we make better choices. As we repeat this cycle, we "need" less and less to feel good. Each moment becomes an opportunity to say, "yes, thank you". And we realize it's not so much what we are "doing"...it's how we are "being" in the doing.
Ahhhh...being and doing is what I speak about in my book, Reclaiming Joy. For most of us it's a lifetime practice...
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 spoke about rising up and how our perspective influences our life by telling you the story of the 2 wolves.
This week I want to continue encouraging you to stay true to what matters to you especially when faced with challenges. More specifically, I invite you to lean in to these challenges or that which seems to have "power" over you.
My shamanic practice has taught me to respect power. We all have it- power that is. How we use power (to harm or heal) results in our experience of life. And-- so often, we unknowingly give away our power and therefore the direction of our life.
One way is by avoiding/minimizing the sometimes chaotic/highly emotional energy that comes from the uncertainty that arises when faced with big life choices/changes. And blaming others is also a form of avoidance/minimizing :)
Avoiding/minimizing happens because we are afraid to engage honestly with the feelings that arise from uncertainty: confusion, fear, anger, sadness, etc.
What to do instead?
Lean In and become masterful at managing your emotional energy!!!
1. Accept what you are feeling with compassion (you don't have to like it)
2. Ask yourself what is at the root of the feeling (i.e. anger from feeling taken advantage of)
3. Action- do something about it!! (i.e. speak up, say no, set boundaries, get support)
Life is short. What we can't be with, won't allow us to be. The path to peace comes from owning our power and leaning into that which is trying to get our attention so it can be "healed". And yes, often it comes in the form of a "challenge" we are facing.
Try it! Let me know what you notice.
Last week I shared a simple and practical paradigm for understanding what it takes to move from thinking about something to taking inspired action toward that something: Rest Root Rise
This week I invite you to play with another concept: do what makes you feel good!
What do I mean?
Many of us force ourselves to "do" things that don't make us feel good. Something or someone else is the CEO of our life. You know what I mean?
We engage in behaviors that either don't give us energy or even worse, dis-tress and drain us. These "behaviors start with our thoughts and end with our actions (or non-action). It happens in all areas of our life from relationships and personal health to hobbies and career.
Why/How does it happen?
Many reasons. Often it's because we have seen others "suffer" and perhaps we feel it's how life ought to be. Maybe we don't know what makes us feel good!! And sometimes it's simply that we don't value our self enough to find out and promote our self to CEO of our life!! In short, we are afraid to fully be our self.
Doing what makes us feel good is actually so simple most of us miss it.
I am a prime example of missing it at times
How? My tendency to over do: over think, over analyze, over complicate; and sometimes the over doing is me putting someone or something else in front of what makes me feel good.
Are you relating?
While this way of being has certainly reaped its rewards for me, it doesn't last and it really does not make me feel good!
A good example of this happened over the summer. Some background-- I love teaching group yoga. Since splitting my time between NY and IL earlier this year, the logistics have been a bit challenging and I haven't been teaching as much. I miss it! It makes me feel good. So, after exhausting myself trying to figure out how to teach in one place every week, I came up with a short term solution. Teach yoga every Sunday on the beach in NY. I knew I would be at the beach July and August and I was able to commit. I decided to make it free, and spread it by word of mouth. All that was needed: beach towel, water bottle, good vibes...simple. Well, it was an amazing experience (see picture above). Teaching yoga on the beach combines everything I love!!! Hence the upcoming Tulum Retreat with me :)
What to do?
Reflect on an area of your life that doesn't feel good. Perhaps you are working really hard or feel dis-engaged from your work and you want/need to take time off yet feel unworthy/afraid to ask, etc.
Perhaps the time off will reap big rewards like re-connecting you to your life purpose. Or maybe you simply need rest and relaxation to feel renewed. Whatever it is, go for it.
Commit to doing what makes you feel good in one area of your life. It doesn't have to be a big thing. Start small if that is your comfort zone. And like me, maybe it's a short term solution that will lead to a longer term one. The key is to choose something, one thing, and do it. Remember, the universe rewards action.
Watch, "Hello My Name is Doris". This movie made me feel so good!! It was a reminder that whenever we say, "Impossible", what we really mean is "I'm possible". Believe in you, I do!!
Last week I shared a poem, It Stops Today, to encourage you to harness the powerful energy of the universe we are experiencing in order to manifest your life.
Today I want to share a simple and practical paradigm for understanding what it takes to move from thinking about something to taking inspired action toward that something.
The paradigm: Rest Root Rise
Rest = Most of us are plain exhausted, on all levels. Even the idea of going on retreat or planning a vacation breeds feelings of anxiety...it's another thing "to do" or spend money on. This is not how we are meant to live. If this is you, time to revisit where you are directing your energy.
In Chapter One of my book, Reclaiming Joy I speak of Rest as Vitamin R. We need it, like we need food, water, and air. Often when we are in need of deep rest, like a retreat or even a sabbatical, it's because we are at a major transitional point in our life. In the rest, we gather our energy to let go old ways of being and create new paths for our life. In effect, the rest supports our ability to root, or become grounded.
As such, unless we make rest a priority, we will simply be too tired to co-create and live the life we deserve. I won't go into the many reasons we exhaust ourselves. You know them. What to do? Focus on taking time off to rest, if that's what you need. At the same time work toward getting 8 hours of sleep each night.
Seem impossible? Great. Learning opportunity! Reflect on how you are currently spending your time and redirect to invest it wisely on getting rest and enough sleep. When you are rested... you will become rooted.
Root = By rooted I mean grounded, calm, present, connected, aware, awake...nourished. All of us have been at points in our life when we feel anything but the above. Living life from a place of feeling like we are "floating/reacting" whether its because we are anxious, unclear or simply don't feel grounded will not serve us in the long run. Meaning, we will not be able to rise above the drama of life in order to manifest (aka co-create) the life we want.
Rise = The place of growth, evolution, wisdom that supports living our authentic self. We arrive here only by being rested and rooted. We cannot rise when we are exhausted and unclear. It simply doesn't work that way.
When we are rested and rooted we experience the positive energies of life: love, laughter, joy, compassion. In a specific sense, we: enjoy positive and loving relationships, work in a field or vocation that inspires us to be our best, have abundant health and vitality, and our bank account $upport$ the vi$ion we have for our life.
All cups overflow. We attract partners in prosperity on all levels. We are at home in our self. We are peace. We are fully alive. We do not fear death because we know we are truly living. #Noregrets
And yes, this cycle of rest, root, rise comes along many times in our life until we arrive back home to our self and look upon all areas of our life with gratitude, grace...peace...joy. It's the feeling that all is well and we want for nothing.
Breathe that in. And believe it is possible for yourself, cause it is.
Rested, Rooted, Risen...Yet Again :)
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 a perspective that helps me during those times of suffering: Life is a Marathon...Not a Sprint...
Today I share with you something I read that I've been trying to make sense of about our secrets and our pain: the size of our secrets represents the size of our pain.
So, lots of big secrets = lots of big pain and vice versa....hmmm?
Instead of going on and on about what this might mean, I wrote a poem instead:
Why Do You Weep?
Sweet child, why do you weep?
We all have secrets we keep.
It's time to enter the deep.
Open your heart.
Unfurl your wings.
Your song is now.
It's time you sing.
To love and be loved
It's why we are here.
Your longing for love
Is the secret my dear.
Love yourself now
Go into the pain
What awaits beyond
Is for your gain.
Let the tears flow
There's nowhere else to go
Loving so deep
No more secrets to keep
No more tears to weep.
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 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.