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 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".
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 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
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.