The Art of Disconnecting to Reconnect

“In a world full of doing, doing doing, it is important to take some time to just breathe and be.”

Have you mastered the art of disconnecting? Have you noticed the alignment to Source and the creativity that’s unleashed when you take the time to do so?  Do you make it a habit of regularly and intentionally taking the time to disconnect? Do you find yourself more patient and at ease when you disconnect? If so, you’re ahead of the game.

We can all use time to hit “Pause” and relax, refresh, recharge, regroup, recalibrate and even rejoice. Not only can we all use the time, but it is imperative that we make the time to do so. In my humble opinion, taking the time to disconnect is one of the best self-care gifts we can give ourselves. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again….having self-care practices is not selfish. It’s actually self-preservation!

We live in sensory overload times. Don’t you sometimes feel like a pin-ball machine with things and people coming at you from all directions? With distractions of all kinds? How about all the social media feeds than can consume hours on end? For some people, it consumes a great part of their day; yet, these are the same people who claim they have “no time” and are “too busy.” I’d like to ban those two phrases, but that’s for another blog…wink, wink!

Taking the time to disconnect rewards our minds, bodies and souls with precious gifts. Let’s start with the gifts of being, breath, presence, and awareness. Then there’s the silence, tranquility, focus, discernment, grounding, connection, creativity, openness, patience, grace, alignment, and truth…..just to name a few. Disconnecting for brief periods frees us up to actually use all our senses. It’s like seeing, breathing, listening, feeling, smelling and touching things in new ways. We are gifted with opportunities to uncover layers upon layers of distractions in need of peeling away. These opportunities allow us to shed whatever it is that is heavy and weighing us down. No doubt about it!

Nothing or no one can provide this experience of the senses for us other than ourselves. Taking time for ourselves is something we can do at home. We do not have to travel across the world, go to a spa, ashram, or spend a ton of money on. Disconnecting is something we can do from the comfort of our own private sanctuary. It just requires a willingness and desire to do so. In today’s fast-paced times, we can all stand to reap the benefits of jumping off the carousel or removing ourselves from the perpetual hamster wheel, and BE STILL.

When we give ourselves permission to disconnect and practice be-ing, we emerge a totally different person. We are less burdened, there’s an air of lightness in us, and we are better equipped to show up for ourselves and for the people in our lives:

  • We learn to be more mindful of our actions and reactions.
  • We get to see and examine our shortcomings and look though a different lens.
  • We can better identify our needs, desire and wants.
  • We know what it takes for us to be our best Self and are no longer willing to compromise anything less.
  • We learn to schedule our priorities and keep our non-negotiables close to the vest.
  • We learn to guard and protect our energy like the peaceful warriors / goddesses that we are. And guess what?
  • We learn not to care about what others have to say about our self-care practices and our mastery of the art of disconnecting. Because, when we do re-connect, we can bet it will be at another level of awareness and awakening. It’s a beautiful thing!

Think about this for a moment…..all electronic equipment needs charging in order for it to work. Well, human beings are no different….surprise, surprise!?!?!?! Just sayin’ my darlings!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Inspired by the Sea

“Live with intention and create your own legacy. Live it, go for it and stay dedicated to following your truth. You have much to offer.” –JTC

Since the beach is such an inspiring place for me, and since my last two blogs – Beach Baby and Beach Bum Bliss –  were inspired by time spent at the beach, I decided to pull out some of the pieces I’ve written there. Actually, most of  the pieces have been written on “The Hollywood Riviera” (as my cousins and I have taken to calling Hollywood Beach in Florida). Just so you know darlings, I’ve never shared this side of my writing with anyone. So, perhaps it’s time I do just that. May it touch you in some way, shape or form! Here goes:

A New Dawn

Lonesome Star. Brilliant Moon. Waves Crashing. Swirling Colors of Yellow, Blue, Orange and Pink. Seagulls Hovering. Cruise Ships Entering. Wind Sweeping. Palms Swaying. Light Approaching. (November 2007)

Visions

Visions of white sand, turquoise waters, luscious plant life in all shades of green. Visions of early mornings, sacred spaces, holistic rituals and a calm center. Visions of practicing gratitude, compassion, loving kindness and helping the less fortunate. Visions of peace, a global community, uniting hands, minds, bodies and spirits for the good of humanity. Visions of abundance and wealth, giving and receiving. Visions of a beautiful circle called Life. (May 2008)

Post Hurricane Frankie

Stillness…in the air, in the water, in my heart. Quietness… all around me, inside me, within me. Stillness & Quietness. (August 2008)

6AM Quiet Darkness

Full Moon Shining. Stars Illuminating. Heavens Protecting. Life All Around Me. Air. Water. Birds. Trees. Nature. Nocturnal Creatures. Light. People. Breath. Music. Rejoice!!! (Easter Morning 2009)

One

One Soul. One Heart. One Mind. One Body. One Look. One Touch. One Caress. One Kiss. One Today. One Tomorrow. One Forever. One Eternally. One You. One Me. One Us. One. (April 2009)

Twilight

Darkness all around me. Raindrops falling on my dewy skin. The fresh scent of rain permeates my inner being. Rough waves crash & collide and become one on the shoreline. The breeze blows and the palms sway. Twilight is turning into dawn.

A light is on the horizon waiting to start the day. Dawn is soon approaching. Light, a hint of pink, a clearing, clouds hovering up above. The sun is creeping up, an orange ball of flame. Up, up and away obscured by dark clouds. Yet, its rays shine down between the clearing. A new day has graced us. (August 2009)

 

It’s amazing how memories are stored in our bodies and on a cellular level! As I typed each piece, I was transported to the exact time and place where I wrote each one. Memories flooded my mind and sensations crept through my body. Memories of hope, love, peace, humanity and the intention to live a life of purpose and meaning, as well as leave behind a legacy of love, peace, service and unity. All this still lives wildly in my heart, and I gratefully approach each new day with a sense of steadfastness, integrity, intention and grace. It is a practice, both on and off the yoga mat, as I move through my days.

How do you move throughout your days? Do you set intentions? What legacy are you creating? Remember darlings, we all have much to offer. Now go out and find ways to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start!

Inhale Light & Love…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

PS: Throughout the remainder of April, my blogs will be published on Sundays only. I will be going on a yoga retreat next week and need time to prepare then time decompress as I renter….wink, wink!

Beach Bum Bliss

“Like seashells, we are beautiful and unique each with a story to tell.”

Sea shells, turquoise and sea-foam green waters, bronzed and glowing skin, sun bleached hair, freckles and the scent of Bain De Soleil Orange Gelee SPF, layered on top Coconut oil and Australian Gold SPF with instant bronzer… Ahhhh! A serene ocean setting and layering tricks for that perfect tan…. hey, layering products is the key to achieving that bronzed goddess look! Just make sure you slather all that on BEFORE heading out in the sun and BEFORE putting on a bathing suit. Throw in a good trashy beach novel and voila….total bliss!

Why is it that everything, EVERY thing, EVERY accessory, and EVERY piece of clothing looks better when we have that sun-kissed look? If you are a beach bum, like yours truly, then you know exactly what I am talking about. However, even a Beach Bum should know when to curtail the sun bathing, right? Operative word here, “should.”

Can you believe I actually had an appointment with the dermatologist on the heels of having been away for over three weeks? What was I thinking?!?!?!? As I sat in the waiting room, I realized it was NOT the ideal time to be seen by a dermatologist. Ooops! We had a good laugh though because she shared how, on occasion, her mom tells her how pale she looks, and asks her if she’s feeling OK. Case in point!

I truly admire how healthy, pale, ivory skin looks on some women. On me? I just can’t seem to do it for very long. Now having said that, like many of my fellow sun worshipers out there, I am paying the price for a lifetime of sun worshiping…wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and sun spots. Ughhh! As a matter of fact, whenever I see young girls with beautiful milky skin today, I urge them to stay out of the sun!!!! Now THAT is something I would have NEVER thought that I would EVER succumb to saying. Ah, the wisdom of the ages!

Years ago, I even tried staying out of the sun for a bit. This Beach Baby even sported long sleeves and long pants at the beach! My cousins thought I had lost my mind. For a while, I embraced that “pale” look.  I “learned” to embrace it, used exceptional facial creams and maintained a wonderful skin care regimen and was actually “OK” with it. Until…….I bought my Florida Sanctuary. Oh dear! I call it my “falling off the reformed, sun worshiper wagon”…..done and done!

These days, I no longer put in 10 hour days in the sun like I used to back in the day; however, I do allow myself to enjoy whatever time I have in the sun! Even if it’s for two hours, I bask in it while reading a fascinating novel and sporting a cute bathing suit, sun hat, sandals, beach cover up and perhaps even sipping a little bubbly on occasion (or a poolside cocktail). AND… lots and lots of water. Water is my all time favorite! You can also find me writing poetry and journaling while I am at the beach. That’s when I feel the most creative and inspired.

There’s some sort of magic that occurs when I’m at the beach, swimming at the pool or just working on my tan. Walking alongside the beach, or even riding a bike there, is blissful. It’s like a meditation in action. Just as I can read or write, swim or walk, I can just as well be silent and in tune to the sights, sounds and stillness around me. And lets not forget the people watching and occasional parade of lifeguards doing their morning routines…..hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little eye candy now and then!

If I could, I would swim every day! It soothing to feel that connection of oneness with the water. It’s mesmerizing! Right stroke, left stroke, right stroke-head tilt and breathe…left stroke, right stroke, left stroke-head tilt and breathe….when I fall into that rhythm, I just glide. I feel like a fish, a manatee, even a mermaid! Hmmmm!

Speaking of mermaids, I saw  a lovely quote by Anais Nin that made me stop, chuckle and ponder: “I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depth & a great fear of shallow living.”

Can you relate? Time spent in contemplation and delving deep within is never wasted. Neither is honest, soulful and meaningful conversation. What matters is finding that place and time for doing so. Whether it is at the beach, in your yard, in the shower or in the comfort of your own designated sacred space, the important thing to remember is that we are all unique and have our own stories to tell. Sometimes they are funny and light, other times they are deep and dark. Regardless, we can all embrace our uniqueness and the stories that arise when we are transported to our magical, blissful, happy place.

Do you have any stories you would like to tell? If so, get them out there! You never know who may be influenced, impacted and inspired by what you have to share.

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

Beach Baby

“Dear Ocean, thank you for making us feel tiny, humble, inspired and salty…all at once”

What is it about the cool waves, warm sunshine, hot sand, lovely seagulls, swaying palm trees, the feel of a soft breeze or, even sitting poolside early morning, that captivates me, enchants me, grounds me and allows me to inhale and exhale ever so deeply? Personally, there’s nothing like being at the beach, in the ocean and soaking up some sun to re-calibrate me, my senses, thoughts, feelings, energy, humility and spirit.

Well. I guess my childhood and upbringing was a huge influence. You see, I come from a family of “beach bums” as I like to say. My northeast family were the beach lovers. We were the ones that schlepped to Florida every year, rented houses on the Jersey Shore and eventually some of us owned second homes in the sunny state.

On the other hand, my southeast family avoided the sun like the plague! And this was long before sun block, UVA/UVB rays, long sleeve shirts, beach hats, and protective beach attire of all kinds….before all the warnings of sun damage and skin cancer… before the warnings to stay out of the sun between the hours of 12-2. Seriously? They wouldn’t be caught dead outside soaking up some rays! Needless to say, my aunts and cousins living in Florida rarely went to the beach and some never even used their pools. I guess they thought it made for a pretty decoration! Hence, the ivory, non-wrinkled, smooth and beautiful skin they sported well into their 80+ years young.

Oh well! I didn’t fall into that category! The only thing as while as Ivory Snow on my body are the areas beneath what the smallest of bathing suits covered over the years. For some reason, I’ve always detested tan lines. Perhaps it was all those baby pictures of me!?!?!?!

Throughout my childhood, my parents would schlep to Bear Mountain State Park, various lakes, down the shore and even to Miami Beach on a regular basis. I recall pictures of me up at Bear Mountain, in a wooden play pen and every other necessary item for an outing. There are pictures of me in ruffled panties, a bandana and sans a bathing suit top. I’d be playing in the sand, on a seesaw, or just parading around….without a top! Hmmmm…funny how some habits from when you’re 3-5 years old leave a lasting impression! Suffice to say, my parents succeeded in raising and training a full-fledged Beach Baby.

All kidding aside though, I really feel the magnitude of the universe when I am  by the beach. I feel like a tiny speck of sand on the planet. It is this feeling that humbles me and makes me see that we are all little grains of sand, side by side, and how we are all more alike than different. It gets me thinking about the intelligent force of creative energy out there in the cosmos. I can also be in the ocean for hours!  Being in the healing, salt water purifies me, and I feel connected to an entire underwater world and the beauty that resides there. I have a FB friend who does a lot of diving, including night diving, and she  posts the most majestic, colorful and enthralling underwater pictures. It makes me want to live in the underwater world!

Obviously, this Beach Baby feels at home when at the beach. And nothing depicts this captivating, enchanting, purifying and grounding feeling more than one of Doreen VIrtues’ Angel Cards:

The Ocean

‘The deep blue sea speaks to your soul, healing and soothing you. Even the act of imagining yourself dipping into its healing womb brings about desirable effects. better yet, spend time physically near the ocean. Allow its power and beauty to wash away away cares and concerns.”

Is there a special place that speaks to your soul, heals and soothes you?

Next up, a little Beach Bum Bliss and more confessions from the Beach Baby…wink, wink.

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Your Creative Power

“Life is a work of art and we are its artists.” –Sandra Magsamen

I love Sandra Magsamen! A friend of mine turned me on to her art years ago. You’ve probably seen her plaques, mugs, books, cards, ceramics, and calendars bearing her signature images, motifs and messages from the heart. They are colorful, uplifting and make you smile. Just the other day, I pulled her book, Living Artfully, off the shelf. I haven’t looked at it in about ten years or so, and I think it’s about time to start perusing it again.

Her book reminds us that we are indeed the artists in our lives. The problem is that many of us have let our paints dry, we’ve put away our brushes, forgotten our dreams,  have let 24/7 electronic connectedness consume us and have forgotten how creative we were as children. We have forgotten the power of our imagination and the possibilities that dwell in our creative force field. It’s time we reclaim the dreams, possibilities and rediscover our creative power. Why? Because it’s fun, and I’m sure you will agree that we need to have more fun!

We all have creativity inside of us. It lives in our hearts and minds every single moment of every single day. When we were children, we lived in this field of creative energy. I invite you to take a moment to ponder these questions:

  • What did I love to do when I was a child?
  • How did I fill my days?
  • What mattered?
  • Who and what made me happy?
  • What are my most cherished memories?
  • What things and activities did I truly treasure?
  • What things did I really not like? 

Let your imagination run wild here as memories flood your mind. Allow all your senses to engage you. Visualize every last detail of those memories – the sights and the sounds. Connect with the feelings that these memories evoke. Think about the hours you spent playing, imagining and creating all sorts of things.

Even people who’ve had less than pleasurable childhoods used their imagination to create a life they would want to have someday. And guess what? Many of them did. They held onto hope and tapped into their dreams, strength and became resilient. Along the way, they learned the power of creativity, visualization and the law of attraction. At some point in all our lives, we must take the time rediscover our creative power. In doing so, we come alive…..in living color! Oh, and we must ask questions, a whole lot of them!

In Living Artfully, there’s mention of a UCLA study that documented the following: on average, at age five we engage in creative tasks 98 times a day, laugh 113 times a day and ask 65 questions. By age forty-four, the numbers fade to 2 creative tasks a day, 11 laughs and 6 questions. Keep in mind, this book was published in 2006. Also, I don’t know when that study was done, but I would be willing to say that in today’s world, where children as young as one and a half are already addicted to their parents phones and even have their own iPads, the numbers have really dwindled.

And on this note, please allow me to digress a moment. Sadly, a child’s creativity is already being squashed by overuse of these technologies. I believe there should be a designated place and time for technology use. Brain development is being affected and social skills impaired since technology makes it difficult for a child to pick up on social cues. Overuse of technology is keeping children from developing the ability to think critically or be creative. Oh, and the lack of exercise and physical play is causing us to see obesity in children on the rise. And let’s not forget about posture. Let’s face it, children will model what they see the adults in their lives doing! Hmmmmmm

All the more reason we must foster an environment of creativity, fun and play. And what better way to do it than to meet that head on, full throttle, and in hot pursuit! It starts with us adults learning how to be a child again and awakening our senses and lust for play, imagination, curiosity and invention…..each and every day. In doing so, we gain confidence, and it does wonders for our self-esteem! Tapping into our creativity encourages us to color outside the lines and to take risks. We become more flexible and open. We embrace mistakes and find creative solutions. More importantly though, we are able to live more fully as we actively engage all our senses and savor the beauty, magic and possibilities around us. Just think how inspiring this could be to the little ones in our lives!

How can we tap into our inner child, and our creative, artist Self? If you are at a loss, or need a place to start, here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Give yourself permission to be you
  2. Have fun and have a sense of humor
  3. Get curious and ask lots of questions
  4. Learn to meditate 
  5. Invite creativity to be part of your everyday routines and activities
  6. Play loud music and dance freely 
  7. Think of yourself as a creative person and you will become one
  8. Act as if everything you do is a creative expression of who you are
  9. Be innovative, recycle and reuse
  10. Look at things from a different perspective
  11. Get yourself an adult coloring book or download ready-made images for coloring
  12. Take dance classes
  13. Get together with friends and paint, make pottery or play games
  14. Go bowling, ride a bike, pick up a new hobby
  15. Play tourist in your own town
  16. Learn about crystals / maybe learn to make jewelry
  17. Learn how to knit / crochet / sew / play an instrument 
  18. Read the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
  19. Watch travel films / home renovation shows
  20. Redecorate by simply moving furniture around
  21. Experiment with color anywhere and everywhere
  22. Make “play dates” with friends, play dress up and do things that bring you joy
  23. Experiment with new recipes and different cuisines
  24. Start / join a book club…or any type of club
  25. Smile and laugh more and see what happens

Darlings, I hope this blog joyfully inspired you and that you discover more ways to live a life that vibrates with creativity and inspiration. Now go out and tap into your creative power and create away!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

“Clear your clutter and enjoy the magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.” – Marie Kondo

I don’t know about you, but the month of March gets me into the “spring cleaning” mindset. Putting away the snow boots, heavy coats, scarves and other winter-related items thrills me. What else thrills me this time of year? Looking for things I can discard, donate or for which I can find a new home. The month of March sparks a lot of creativity as well. I love to move things around and shake things up!

The inspiration for this blog came as I was composing an email to a dear friend of mine who is moving and needs help decluttering. She has so much on her plate these days, that she reached out to me to inquire if I could take a trip to see her and help her with the process. Since I will be unable to go due to travel plans, I told her I would email her some pointers and guidelines from one of my favorite books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the Japanese Art of Decluterring and Organizing by Marie Kondo. What a gem! It’s the perfect book to declutter and tidy up “once and for all.”

So, as I was composing the list, I had an “aha” moment and decided that it would make for a perfect blog on spring cleaning. After all, March is all about clearing out, cleaning up from the winter and getting reading for spring (especially here in the northeast). As with any type of creative and inspirational project, I believe the key is to have fun doing so. Enjoying the process and the fruits of our labor is the name of the game. When all is said and done, we can sit back, take in the beauty we created and maybe even pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.

In an effort to not overwhelm, I only pulled specific tips and guidelines from the book:

Getting Started:

1. Visualize your destination
2. Vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space
3. Tidy up / de-clutter / discard in the right order
3. Selection criterion: Does it spark Joy?
4. Choose what you want to keep not what you want to get rid of
5. Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard  / donate all the rest.
6. Think in terms of category not place
7. Collect everything that fits within the same category at one time
8. Don’t let your family see
The BEST sequence is:
Clothes
Books
Papers
Miscellaneous
Mementos
CLOTHING: divide into sub-categories
Tops
Bottoms
Socks
Bags
Accessories
Clothes for specific events
Shoes
*Place every item of clothing on the floor, be sure to handle each one, and ask yourself “Does this spark Joy?”  If so, it’s a keeper!
BOOKS: divide into four broad categories
General (for reading pleasure)
Practical (references, cookbooks, etc)
Visual (photograph collection, etc)
Magazines
*The criterion is still of course whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it
*Discard / donate books that you keep saying you will get to one day (because most likely you never will)
PAPERS: Dispose of anything that does NOT fall into one of these three categories:
1.currently in use
2. needed for a limited period of time
3. must be kept indefinitely
*All papers should be kept in one central place not scattered everywhere
*Discard all those pages you ripped out of a magazine (if you haven’t used it, you never will)
MISCELLANEOUS: here’s the sorting order
CDs/DVDs
Skin care products
Makeup
Accessories
Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc)
Electrical equipment and appliances (digital camera, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely electric)
Household equipment (stationary and writing materials, sewing kits, etc)
Household supplies (expendable like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc)
Kitchen goods / food supplies (spatulas,pots, pans, baking pans, blenders, etc)
Other (spare change, figurines, etc)
*Don’t keep things “just because” – these items too need to be handled and kept only if they bring you Joy
Other Misc items:
  • Gifts: many gifts remain unopened/unused/used once – thank it, thank the giver and discard / donate / pass on
  • Travel samples: we collect them yet never take them on trips – these only last a few weeks to maybe a year – discard/ donate
  • Electronics packages: you can always get help on-line or in the store – discard boxes/packages
  • Unidentified cords: will always remain a mystery- discard
  • Broken appliances: contact your local recycler and get rid of them
  • Extra bedding: yes we need some extra bedding but don’t stockpile or hold onto if soiled, mildewed or have no use for
  • Spare buttons: in most cases no one replaces buttons – if it’s a special garment/coat sew the extra button inside if it
  • Products from the latest health craze: if you’re not actively using them, thank them and discard/donate
  • Free novelty goods: None of these are going to bring you any pleasure – discard them / donate without any qualm
  • Small change: coins are stripped of their dignity when left to just waste away-use your coins – adopt the motto “into my wallet” or put them in a jar/piggy bank and cash them in every now and then
  • Sentimental items: no matter how wonderful things used to be we cannot live in the past – the joy we feel here and now is more important – sort through the keepsakes and discard/donate/give away – the space we live in should be for the person we are becoming now not the person we were in the past
  • Photos: do NOT put them in a box to “someday enjoy”- it doesn’t happen – keep the ones that inspire joy – keep your photos in albums – discard photos/albums from your past that you never look at
DESIGNATE A PLACE FOR EACH THING: 
This is a routine to follow every day, and you will avoid seeing clutter all over the place. The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for EVERY THING.
STORAGE: two rules
1. Store all items of the same kind in the same place
2. Don’t scatter storage space
*If you live with your family first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member
“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out. 
You should arrange a room / storage space so you can tell at a glance where everything is than to worry about the details of who does what, where and when.”
Marie Kondo’s magical little book is simple and very clearly understood. It really cuts to the chase, and it also identifies pitfalls that trip us up and keep us stuck. That is why it’s so important to adhere to her process. The process is truly transformational and will not only declutter and organize your personal sanctuary, but it will do wonders for your mind and spirit! There’s a whole lot more content in the book that is valuable and practical, so check it out! Needless to say, this book also makes for a delightful gift.
Happy Spring Cleaning my darlings!
Inhale love & light…Exhale grace and gratitude, JTC
 
 

Embrace the Teacher Within

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” -Albert Einstein

Can we agree that we are all students here on “Earth School?” Can we agree that we are all teachers on earth school as well? This is a beautiful conversation we can have with ourselves and the fellow students and teachers in our lives.

Just yesterday one of my friends and I were having such conversation over brunch. Remember, the best and juiciest conversations can be had over a delicious meal!  My friend and I acknowledged how we’ve each learned from each other throughout some of our challenging times and how we freely and openly dance between the roles of teacher and student. As the Buddha stated, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” How true is that!

As with all things that are divinely timed, I was listening to a meditation this morning that spoke about the people and experiences that move us and truly inspire us. The meditation encouraged us to ask ourselves what is it about these people or experiences that make us feel this way. I came up with a few questions of my own that I’d like to share with you in case you’re interested in pausing and taking some time to reflect:

  • Who are the people who are inspiring you these days?
  • How do they inspire you?
  • What insight(s) have you gained from them?
  • Have you been prompted to take on a new course of action?
  • Have you experienced a shift in perspective?
  • What challenges have been your greatest teacher?

Earth school always brings us people, circumstances and situations to learn from. A lot of the learning comes form the exchange of information we have when we take part in meaningful conversations with others. Conversations that allow us to express our insight, questions our motives, speak our truth, share our wisdom and embrace new ways of looking at things. It goes beyond complaining and having the same meaningless, dead-end conversations that leave us feeling empty and without purpose – or angry and frustrated that we wasted our precious energy.

A really powerful conversation we can have is the one with our Self. Why? Because we also have the power to inspire and influence others. If you have not embraced the teacher within, then it’s about time you do! There was a line in the meditation that said, “Within all of us lies a wonderful teacher, a soul that greatly inspires others to seek the highest good and to engage fully in life, merely by expressing our authentic self.” 

  • Have you embraced your authentic self?
  • Have you embraced the teacher within?
  • What insight or inspiration can you share with others?
  • What are some valuable lessons you’ve learned that you can pass on if given the opportunity?
  • How can you creatively share your wisdom, insight and gifts with others?
  • Are you open to receiving wisdom from others with openness, love and joy?
  • How can you embrace and live the fullest expression of who you are?

My darlings, there are many colorful and creative ways that we can express our ideas, insights, and  teachings with others as the day is long. I encourage you to not only embrace the teacher within, but let your inner teacher come out and play!  As long as we are here on earth school, we are creating every moment of our life in everything that we do or say. Color outside the lines ( which is something I love to do) and be passionately creative!

Whether you all realize it or not, you are allowing me to embrace my teacher within by sharing my love of writing. I appreciate the time you take to read my blogs, perhaps comment on them, and even share them with other people in your life. I’m humbled at the bloggers who have found me, for I only recently discovered the world of blogging and haven’t yet delved into it as much as I would like. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to inspire, love, and serve you in ways that move and inspire you to do the same. Infinite love and gratitude from my heart to yours! xo

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

When Bad Stuff Happens

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways; either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” – Dalai Lama

Bad stuff  happens to good people. Bad stuff happens to bad people. Bad stuff happens.  Period. And when bad stuff happens, we either fall, or we rise. We either weaken in the face of fear and uncertainty or become strong in the name of love and hope. What would you prefer to do?

Challenging, difficult, painful and heart-wrentching times remind us of what is really important in our lives. It’s a basic tenet of the privilege of being alive. When we take a bird’s-eye view of things, we can see a common thread running through the hardest times – the worst times bring out the best in us. The key, is to have an open heart and to be grateful for the teachings, lessons and blessings these times are bestowing upon us.

Just take a look at everything swirling around in our country and in the world today. I think we can all agree there’s a whole lot of darkness and bleakness that, if we allow it to consume us, will swallow us up entirely. It  will destroy us unless we tap into our inner fortitude and rise above it. We must take action, be patient, steadfast, and wholeheartedly bring our understanding into the world along with our compassion and empathy.

In spite of all the darkness, we can see the light in the cracks that are starting to happen more and more. We see how people are stepping up, coming together for a common good and/or a common purpose. We can look back at tragedies that have occurred throughout history and see the good that ultimately came of it. Destruction must occur in order to rebuild. When bad stuff happens, change occurs. Change that must occur if we are to move humanity forward. And that collective energy that moves us forward is the collective consciousness that is on the rise. We each play a vital role in it, so this is’t a time to lose hope or fall into despair.

We can look at hope and strength as two pillars that build resiliency. During the darkest of times in our lives, hope and strength allow us to keep going…to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And I am not implying that we not allow ourselves to feel pain and sorrow for, if we didn’t, we’d be unfeeling and unloving creatures. Pain affirms that we are alive, that we love, that we are loved, that we are human, that we matter, that we all have pain, and that we all suffer. During these times, we can feel the interconnectedness of a shared humanity.

Challenging times are the greatest teachable moments should we choose to look at them in that light. It’s a time to affirm that we are powerful beyond measure, and tap into that knowingness. It’s when we dig deep, we feel deeply, love harder, and challenge ourselves to rise above…..to empower ourselves with that sense of hope and inner fortitude and be grateful that we have the skills, tools, loved ones and resources to guide and support us. This isn’t a time for self-destructive habits to consume us – for it is the antithesis of self-love, self-respect and self-care. I would hope that we all have people around us that would throw us a life-line if they saw us falling into self-destructive habits. Be grateful if you do. And be sure to hold on to that lifeline should you ever need it!

Here’s a little affirmation /  prayer for you from the May You Know Joy Meditations for Everyday Living book/cards.

May You Know Power

May you know your own power. This power comes from standing firmly in your truth and expressing yourself in the world from that place. It is not about the ego and is never about minimizing others to achieve this. In fact, power comes from recognizing that lessons are constantly presenting themselves to you. Look at every person and event as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your values. These are the seeds of your own self-love, self-respect and empowerment.

Yeah, bad stuff happens, but I am here to remind you that your are powerful beyond measure!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

PS- I will be on holiday this month and disconnecting from social media as much as I can, so my blogs will publish only on Wednesdays throughout the month of March. I will be “defrosting” and allowing the waves to nourish and infuse me with inspiration xo

 

 

 

 

Let Your Love Shine

“Do not chase love, choose love. Do not need love, share love. Do not fear love, embrace love. Do not seek love, become love.” -Creig Crippen

Darlings, this will be the last blog for the month of February, and it brings us to the conclusion of Ten Thoughts for Whole Living. I hope that, over the course of these past several weeks, you’ve found Ten Thoughts useful in some way, shape or form. I am a firm believer in that whatever we need shows up at precisely the time we need it most. Like the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This is one of my favorite quotes that I’ve learned to love and embrace over the years!

Don’t be fooled though, the teacher isn’t always a person. Many times the teacher could be horrible working conditions, unimaginable horrors, tragedies, world events, social injustices, atrocities,….and the list goes on. And, unless we are behind closed doors with someone, we never know exactly what they are going through at that particular moment in time. As a matter of fact, I am still blown away when someone shares how a particular blog was exactly what they needed on a given day. It’s serves as a reminder that everyone is fighting their own battle. Most times, we would not know that from looking at someone, especially if they are faking it until they make it. Sometimes, all we can do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one breath and one moment at a time…..and let our love shine!

That is why it is so important to nurture ourselves with love. Stressful times call for stressful measures. Measures that soothe our soul, excite our spirits and give us hope. Hope that we will come out the other end standing taller than before. When we love and nurture ourselves, we can handle the tough times a little easier. It’s a skill we’ve cultivated along the way. We’ve learned to laugh out loud, with others and at ourselves. It brings a little fun into our lives, and we can all use more fun and laughter!

So on this last day in February, I leave you with the last of Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. I hope they’ve enriched the quality of your life and your love of Self!

  • Stress can push your internal resources to the breaking point. Make time to unwind.
  • Your core supports the whole body. Explore ways to keep it strong.
  • Just because a task is important doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
  • Missteps are part of any process. Stay focused on where you’re headed.
  • Cultivate the art of knowing when to move on.
  • Don’t shrug off compliments; honor and remember them.
  • Resist the urge to overanalyze every experience. Live each moment instead.
  • Generous acts are more than simple gestures. They’re a way of life.
  • Let pleasure expand your perspective.
  • Make this the day you stop dreaming and start doing.

Darlings, remember to choose, share, and embrace love… and let your love shine!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Hello Love

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart” – Confucius

Hello Loves! Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing Ten Thoughts on Whole Living with you. I believe that each one of those thoughts / affirmations / power statements are ways we can treat ourselves with a little more tender loving care. They are ways for us to open the door and say, “Hello Love” in ways that no one else can do for us. Why? Because we are the ones holding ourselves accountable.

When we become accountable to ourselves and for the love we give ourselves, a major shift occurs in our psyches, body language, actions and outlook on life. We become more grounded, confident, skillful, vibrant, jovial, aware, alive and have a zest for life….joie de vivre!  No one, or nothing, can disturb our peace regardless of whatever madness is hovering above and waiting to make landfall. There is a sense of steadfastness and undisturbed equanimity that come with loving ourselves and owning it. At least that’s how I can personally best describe it.

We’ve all looked for love in the wrong places. Why? Because society and consumerism have brainwashed us into thinking that love is something we can only find outside ourselves…like lasting happiness and peace. We now know better. We have the tools, practices, resources and life experiences to show us the way back to our true Self. THIS is where love resides…..Hello Love!

We are now better equipped and more knowledgable than our parents, grand-parents and past generations. We’ve learned to fall, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and forge ahead. And no one better stand in our way! Like the saying goes, “Everything you need to know is already inside of you.” Now THAT is something I wish I would have told my younger self!

Here are some more Ten Thoughts on Whole Living that you can explore, work with, act on, and use along your journey. As Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.” Can I get an Amen?

  • When you commit your dreams to paper, you give them a place to take root.
  • Be mindful of where you put your attention. The shape of your life will follow.
  • When you view your health as a non-negotiable, your priorities naturally shift.
  • Positive change starts with truth, and no one knows it better than you.
  • You’re more than just what you do for others.
  • Before you react to an emotion, first consider the source.
  • Learning to let go begins with understanding why you’ve been hanging on.
  •  Do more than understand stress reduction; put it into practice.
  • There’s no way to grow without taking a few risks.
  • Setting boundaries doesn’t keep others out. It defines where your life begins.

Carry on darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC