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...
Last week invited you to play with another concept: do what makes you feel good!
How is it going? Do you know what makes you feel good?
This week I encourage exploration into YOU, also known as self-discovery with the question: do you know who you are?
In my coaching practice, this question is one of the first things I ask clients. Do you know what I usually hear as the reply? Prolonged silence. Then, " I don't know" which leads to, "I am a parent, spouse, worker", etc.
These replies lead to my next series of questions that do not include our roles and responsibilities. Those questions lead to replies such as, "I am a lover, peace maker..." See where I am going? It's beyond what we do in the world.
So, why do I ask you this question? In my experience, knowing who we are beyond what we do gives us peace when our roles change and shift. Who are we when our children grow up and no longer "need" us the way they use to? Are we able to let them go or do we hold them too tight because of our neediness? This can also happen in intimate relationships when one person is growing and healing and the other is seemingly "not". What then? Do we stay? Or go? Or learn new ways of being? Hmmm....
And, who are we when we retire, change jobs, move, get divorced, experience loss of any kind?
These are deeply powerful life transitions that naturally shape the foundation of who we "think" we are. It's not a bad thing. It's simply something to be aware of so when we find ourselves lost in the fog of doing life, we are able to return being life.
How do we return to being life? By asking "Who Am I" without all the labels.
And by taking the class, reading the book, getting the support we need to navigate the new territory.
In exploring who we are, and perhaps more importantly, who we are becoming, we must allow our defenses to ease a bit. We must stop fighting with our self!!!
Fighting our way back to who we have been is depressing, dis-empowering and won't work. Instead, the empowering path forward is the one where we accept who we are.
The past several months have been a time of major transition for me on all levels so I am having lots of practice at this!! When I accept who I am, and who I am becoming: a change maker, instigator, provoker of truth, passionate lover, peace maker, risk taker, intellect, inspired action oriented person, then peace prevails. And yes, I also accept the challenging/shadow parts of my personality which also make me who I am: impatient, controlling, complicated, judging, highly sensitive. These shadow parts create the polarity that makes me be me. I can't "delete" them. I can only be aware of them and balance them out. Many of you are nodding :)
When I resist who I am because I am afraid to be myself or I am afraid of making someone else uncomfortable, I feel depressed and dis-empowered. Trying to fit into someone else's idea of me, quite frankly, has not ever worked. Yet at times I have lapsed and fallen into that dance since I am human too. Sometimes reality bites and yes, loss hurts. Bad. And yet...
In the dizziness that comes with big change, having the courage to be who we are ultimately puts us exactly where we need to "be" in order to "do" that which we were born for. It's freeing my friends!!
We step into the fog and eventually move through it...until the next phase of self-discovery returns and the fog rolls in yet again. It's a cycle we experience often when we accept.
A final note in case my writing isn't (yet) clear enough. A movie, "The Last Word" with Shirley MacLaine speaks so beautifully to this idea of how much of our life we spend fighting who we are to realize at the end, it is exactly who we are that was the most blessed gift to those around us and to our selves.
Perhaps the key is to realize this before "the end", you know? Or perhaps not? Some of us, perhaps myself at times, thrive on the polarity and the dance of dark and light. Meaning, my challenging traits of wanting to be in control enable me create massive movement in the direction I desire. Not good or bad. Simply is...and I am aware of it.
Know thyself. Be true to you.
Upcoming Events to Explore YOU!
Em-Path Workshop, Bronxville, NY on THIS Saturday, Sept 16th 2017
Sweet Retreat: Tulum, Mexico, October 31st-November 5th, 2017
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 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 in staying with theme of paying attention, I talked about about the many ways our habits define us. I shared examples of how this happens and what we can do to make a shift. What did you notice?
This week I want to talk about how we walk the path of life, feeling JOY, unencumbered, once we open our eyes to the reality of LIFE, including our amazing habits...and our not so amazing habits.
Pause, Exhale, Read the next few sentences out loud. Your voice is a powerful transmitter of energy and information. You must listen to it and feel it.
So...Unencumbered = not having any burden or impediment...
How do we walk the path of OUR unique life, feeling JOY, as we ALSO face what seem to be the burdens and impediments of life?
Here's what I will share.
Those of you who know me personally have insight into my love life! Fast recap: I fell madly in love with a man, David who lives in Chicago. He has 2 beautiful kids and all. I have myself, 2 cats and a thriving business in New York. Hmmm..
Joy? Yes! Burden/Impediment? Yes, at times!
It's no coincidence right after I met David I began writing my first book, Reclaiming JOY. The theme being, reclaiming myself, by being who I am...really going after my deepest hearts desire. And yes, in the process I received that in David.
Fast forward almost 2 years later and I see the book writing as preparation for this present time in which I am navigating a long distance relationship. Lots of travel. Lots of what seem like impediments and burdens to my JOY: conflict from my heart being in 2 places, my body adjusting to the very different energy of 2 places. Separateness!
Truth: Living half of my life in Chicago, and half in NY has been tough. I am a person who gets ALL in. Fully present. I want what I want and I usually get it. Oh boy. Control freak coming out.
And now, I got what I want, LOVE, and yet the distance...(burden/impediment? or gift?).
Don't misunderstand me. I am filled with joy. Grateful for love. Grateful for all of it.
I am able to see the gifts in the 2 lives I am leading.
And yet- when I am being totally honest with myself, in my truth, in the center of my being, I long for the two lives to merge in one physical location. To ease some of the "burden".
Since all we have is the present moment, and it's uncertain how/if/when a merge will happen, I am frequently reminded of what I wrote in Reclaiming Joy. Specifically, joy is a way of being. Joy is a choice. So, while I have my heart, body, mind, split at times...or at least that is what it feels like, I am also learning how to travel lighter, free of burden, unencumbered. To find the freedom and the FUN.
1. By choosing to continue being myself (reclaimed JOY) and honoring my truth which is my desire for partnership that is "merged".
2. By shifting my perspective so that I am open to really really really practice what it means to live as joy, unencumbered.
Meaning, to see all of it as an adventure! To find JOY in the distance even when it seems like separateness. The separation is in my mind (ego), not in my heart (divinity). Very different.
The truth is-- YES! There are many days I fall to my knees and ask God, why? What is the lesson in this? Haven't I struggled long enough? Carried enough burden already? Why can't this be easy? Show me! Tell me! Please. In the end, I exhaust myself to the point of letting go...of surrender.
And then I hear that still voice within that reminds me, this is all part of the journey. JOY isn't the destination. JOY is the journey!!! I must see it this way in order to feel joy, unencumbered. Powerful. Freeing. Beautiful really. Tears of gratitude flow. A second book coming?
So, while the distance is a challenge, it is also the sweetest of gifts. I get to learn, yet again, how to live what I teach. I get ample time to play in this garden of the unexpected, letting my walls crumble, putting down my sword down and bowing to the love that is in my heart and flowing, no matter where I am and who I am with. In fact, the challenges force my heart open even more...to survive, I must to find more ways to give my love. Fascinating. A paradox? I play the polarity. More on that another time.
I also get the chance to express myself, here with you. I give voice to my feelings as a way to encourage you to give voice to that which you are holding so tight that it keeps you burdened...encumbered...unable to experience the JOY of YOUR life.
A long writing today, I know!
So, let us remember that in the expression, the depression lifts. As my shaman brothers and sisters have taught me, we must tell our story and also retreat to silence...and this process, this polarity frees up our burdens so we may sing and dance again...traveling lighter...experiencing joy...unencumbered.
Invitation for YOU:
What choice will you make, right NOW to experience JOY...unencumbered?
Will you reach out to a loved one? Say I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you?
Will you tell your story? Will you retreat to silence?
Will you commit to song, dance and our Tulum retreat :))?
And then, how will you continue to make choices on a daily basis to experience joy...unencumbered?
Tell me here!!!
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.
SWEET RETREAT - TULUM, MEXICO
With Stephanie Filardi
October 31st - November 5th, 2017
Relax, Renew & Nourish yourself in this amazing Mayan land.
Start the day with meditation and yoga in front of the sea, savor healthy and fresh meals, unwind with free time by the Caribbean Sea or explore the wonders of the area, connect with like minded people.
Open to All Levels!
Last week week I spoke about love and relationships to inspire you to think about how powerful our heart is and to stay open!
This week I am returning from a week long retreat in Tulum, Mexico. Thanks to my dear friend Linda who told me about this special sacred space!!
Indeed, the time away in sweet retreat allowed me to connect more fully to my heart and all that I want, need, and desire at this stage of my life. Many of us don't take/make the time to get away and make this deep heart connection. To me, going on retreat is one of the most valuable and high yielding investments we make in our self.
Having said this, for the last several years I've been searching for a beautiful location to host a sweet retreat. My intention is to provide people the opportunity to release, relax, and renew...to experience a re-birth of sorts. I wanted a place that allows for both quiet time with our self and the chance to interact with like minded people. A place that has delicious nourishing food, a beautiful beach and the space for me to lead yoga, meditation, and shamanic rituals, to name a few.
I am thrilled to share I found the place in Tulum (pictured above)!
I will be hosting the Tulum retreat Tuesday, Oct 31st - Sunday, Nov 5th, 2017.
Note: If the above dates do not work for many, I may opt for
Tuesday, Oct 24th - Sunday, Oct 29th. More details to follow in the next week.
If you think you might be interested, please email me here.
And please forward to friends so I will include them in forthcoming details!!
In the meantime, don't wait for Tulum to go on a retreat!
Simply shutting off your computer and phone for 1/2 a day or even the entire day is a powerful practice. I do this once per month. I alert the important people in my life that I will not be available for the time frame I have decided. I drive out to a beach near me and take only a journal. I try to have as much silence as possible- meaning, I don't talk to people and often won't even listen to music. I value the silence. It's a wonderful practice.
Until Tulum...Wishing you a Day of Sweet Retreat,