Finding Your Passion

“What lights you up more fervently than anything else in your life? Listen to whatever immediately comes to you – these are the signs leading you to your true passion, your heartfelt desire and ultimately, your destiny”  -Desire & Destiny Meditation Series

 

Some of the things that show up in our lives aren’t all warm and fuzzy. These are the hard lessons that oftentimes break us open, bring us to our knees and leave us in an extremely vulnerable state. A state that can be such a blessing when all is said and done. It’s been my experience that the more I’ve been brought to my knees, and have been broken open, the more that my heart expands and blossoms. Being in that vulnerable space allows for our hearts to blossom like a ten thousand petal lotus. It also takes those times for us to stop and listen to what our heart is trying to tell us.

Such times tend to lead us toward greater opportunities and are meant for us to find what sets our souls on fire. It makes us ask questions like: What are my gifts and talents?What brings me joy? What excites me? What do I have the most fun doing? Where do I feel like I belong? What makes me come to life? What makes me feel like I am being of service? How can I serve? And, what is at the bottom of all these questions? It’s passion. Passion is what drives us to be the very best we can be. It’s our soul expressing itself through our intention. It’s that spark in our eyes, the skip in our step and the opportunities that allow us to shimmer and shine.

Unfortunately, there will be people in our lives who may attempt to extinguish our light as a result of their notions of what we “should” be doing. Other times, our internal dialogue will keep us from living our passion because of the stories we have created for ourselves. Part of the journey is looking at those stories as well as the situations and circumstances that have broken us open and ask ourselves, “What is this situation here to teach me?” I always say there are lessons and blessings to be found in each challenging moment. They may not look like what we may have imagined, but they are lessons nevertheless.

When we do what we are passionate about, our dreams, desires and successes come to fruition. We feel alive when we do what we love. We feel aligned, productive, and creative. We don’t feel like we are working. It feels more like fun!

If we aren’t having fun doing what we love, then we must examine our situation. We’ve all had experiences where the thought of going to work the next day was sickening. How about constantly getting sick on the job (and boy can I speak to that)!?!?! Or feeling like our life energy is slowly being drained from us? Is this a way to shower ourselves with love? Obviously not, but it certainly is a way to get our attention!

These situations allow us to determine what we are no longer willing to compromise. And it usually boils down to our health, well-being and quality of life. We cannot put a dollar amount on our mental, physical and spiritual well-being. What we can do, is live our passion – for it will most definitely lead us to our calling. It may not all happen at once but, taking the initial steps of determining and following what our hearts and souls are tugging at us to do, will always put us on the right path. We are telling the universe that we are ready!

For many of us, the second half of our lives presents us with the opportunity to do redefine ourselves and how we want to live out this time in our lives. Our life experiences and wisdom have brought us to a place where we no longer do anything we do not want to do. It’s a time where we want to focus more on being of service in ways that only we can do via our unique creative expression of who we are. It’s a time in our lives where we’ve learned what happens when we don’t take care of ourselves and the importance self-love, self-care and self-respect play in all facets of our existence.

So darlings, to keep us in a constant state of showering ourselves with love and affection, I leave you with another dose of Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. When we take the time to pause, breathe and shift some of our thoughts and actions, magic tends to happen!

  • Rather than muscle through your day, take a moment to breathe and go with the flow.
  • Personal growth is a winding path. Expect to revisit the same issues and the same mistakes.
  • Empower your decisions and your self-esteem by learning to say no.
  • Tune into your sense of smell. It connects you to your emotions and your health.
  • Surrender isn’t about giving up. It’s about letting go.
  • Listen to your body; it knows what it needs most.
  • Balance is self-improvement with self-acceptance.
  • Invest in your work space. Inspiration and fresh ideas bloom in a positive atmosphere.
  • Use your vacation as an opportunity to engage your creative side.
  • In everything you do, align your actions with your personal philosophy.

Here’s to keeping the passion and the magic flowing!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Love the Little Things

“It’s amazing how the little things – like your smile – can lift my spirits and remind me I am loved.”

Just in case no one has told you today that they love you, I will…..I LOVE YOU! Now, tell me THAT didn’t bring a smile to your face!?!?!?! You see, it’s those little things, those subtle nuances we sometimes overlook, the smallest gesture of love and affection shown to us, the wisdom shared that brightens our day, a chance encounter with someone who left us feeling high on life….the little things that lift our spirits!

It’s good to just hit “Pause” at times and take stock. Examine the little things that show up in our lives that we sometimes tend to overlook or give a second thought. There is so much love, joy, grace, humility and gratitude to be found in those moments! We can take it a step further and examine the ways our presence leaves other people feeling as well. The smallest of gestures, like a smile, can literally save a person’s life! We’ve all seen and heard examples of that over the years. Sometimes, just looking into a stranger’s eyes, or having someone look into our eyes, affirms that we have been seen. That is a powerful act in itself!

I’ve been hitting the pause button a lot these days and taking the time to love the little things. I’m taking the time to savor the beauty around me, the acts of kindness shown to me, even the unwelcome inconveniences that show up. There’s beauty in each moment should we choose to subscribe to that mindset. Despite the crisis and calamities around us, we can choose how to respond to them…..we can find little things to love even in times of crisis, death, and other tragic life circumstances. It’s all in the perception, and our perception is mighty powerful!

In keeping with the Love theme this month, I will continue to share Ten Thoughts of Whole Living with you. These power statements / affirmations allow us to shift our perspective and put us in a different head space. Ten Thoughts present us with opportunities to not only love the little things, but it’s sends our brain the subtle message that says, “I am taking the time to love my Self.”

  • You already possess all you need to stay calm. It’s just a matter of practice.
  • Food isn’t just fuel; It has the power to heal.
  • You can’t slow the aging process by getting tough on your body. Be gentle instead.
  • Breathe deeply. Healthy, strong lungs fan the flames of well-being.
  • Pay close attention to the patterns in your life. They’re the keys to doors only you can open.
  • No one likes a lecture. Inspire by example.
  • You don’t need a lot of time to get fit; you just need consistency.
  • Real authentic change emerges only from a place of deep focus and intention.
  • When you really listen, without reacting or judging, things become a lot more clear.
  • Bad news gives us the rare chance to pause and reflect on what matters most.

 

Love thyself darlings, and all the little things that come with it….oh, and remember to keep smiling!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

On this Valentine’s Day

“If you want to change the world, love a woman” -Lisa Citorie

In honor of Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love and all the people we hold near and dear in our hearts, I want to share a beautiful essay with you that I came across long ago. I cannot even begin to tell you where I found it, but I was inspired to save it. So on this day, let’s celebrate the power of women, the sisterhood, the goddesses, the feminine divine, our holiness, our roles as creators in the cycle of life, in nature, in our hearts, in our homes, in our lives, in the workplace and in the world.

To Love a Woman by Lisa Citorie

If you want to change the world…Love a woman-really Love her. 

Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense. Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen. Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing – every winged one, every furry and scaled one, every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one, every not yet born and dying one…Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life. If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough. If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet, you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her.

If you want to change the world… love a woman-one woman beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason, beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety and all your superficial concepts of freedom. We have given ourselves so many choices -we have forgotten that true liberation comes from standing in the middle of the Soul’s fire and burning through our resistance to Love. There is only one Goddess. Look into Her eyes and see, really See! See if she is the one to bring the axe to your head..If not, walk away. Right now! Don’t waste time “trying.” Know that your decision has nothing to do with her because ultimately it’s not with who, but “when” we choose to surrender.

If you want to change the world… Love a woman. Love her for life-beyond your fear of death, beyond your fear of being manipulated by the Mother inside your head. Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her. Say you’re willing to LIVE with her, plant trees with her and watch them grow. Be her hero by telling her how Beautiful she is in her vulnerable Majesty, by helping her to remember every day that she IS Goddess through your adoration and devotion.

If you want to change the world… Love a woman in all her faces, through all her seasons and she will Heal you of your schizophrenia-your double-mindedness and half-heartedness which keeps your Spirit and body separate-which keeps you alone and always looking outside your Self for something to make your life worth living.

There will always be another woman..Soon the new shiny one will become the old dull one and you’ll grow restless again, trading in women like cars, trading in the Goddess for the latest object of your desire. Man doesn’t need any more choices.What man needs is Woman, the Way of the Feminine, of Patience and Compassion, non-seeking, non-doing, of breathing in one place and sinking deep intertwining roots strong enough to hold the Earth together while she shakes off the cement and steel from her skin.

If you want to change the world… love a woman, just One woman. Love and protect her as if she is the last holy vessel. Love her through her fear of abandonment which she has been holding for all of humanity. No, the wound is not hers to heal alone. No, she is not weak in her co-dependance.

If you want to change the world… Love a woman all the way through until she believes you, until her instincts, her visions, her voice, her art, her passion, her wildness have returned to her- until she is a force of love more powerful than all the political media demons who seek to devalue and destroy her.

If you want to change the world, lay down your causes, your guns and protest signs. Lay down your inner war, your righteous anger and Love a woman…beyond all of your striving for greatness, beyond your tenacious quest for enlightenment. The holy grail stands before you if you would only take her in your arms and let go of searching for something beyond this intimacy. What if peace is a dream which can only be remembered through the heart of Woman? What if a man’s love for Woman, the Way of the Feminine is the key to opening Her heart?

If you want to change the world…Love a woman to the depths of your shadow, to the highest reaches of your Being, back to the Garden where you first met her, to the gateway of the Rainbow realm where you walk through together as Light as One, to the point of no return, to the ends and the beginning of a new Earth.

On this Valentine’s Day, I raise a glass to you-  my darling goddesses, the ultimate expression of the feminine divine…and to all the men and women who know how to love a woman (or who are willing to learn…wink, wink)!

Feel the Love!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

Start Wherever You Are

“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed, so is your destiny.” -The Upanishads

Wherever YOU are…not where someone “thinks” you should be, how long it should take you to “be there” or doing what THEY deem is the “appropriate” thing for you to be doing. Just be…..BE YOU, in all your glory, divinity and magnificence! How about just making and taking the time meet your Self  and start wherever you are?

I recall the first time I decided to do just that: take the time to meet my Self…really meet myself and decide who I was. It was the first time I had decided to be in a relationship with me. Invest in Me. Become intimate with my Self. Explore my life. Assess my assets and re-assess my core values. Take a hard look at my core beliefs. Examine how I was living, breathing, eating and conducting myself. Trust me when I say this did NOT sit well with some people.

You see, that’s what often happens when we break free from the status quo and break from the mundane,  the routine, jump off the stressful carousel of life and look for ways to come back to our Self. It’s what we do when we want to live a deeper, more meaningful life. It’s work that some people may be uncomfortable doing because it brings about a certain level of change. Let’s face it, not everyone is comfortable around the face of change! Others may just not “get it” because they are on a totally different path or have a very different level of awareness. We may even find others who feel the need to poke fun at us…..and it may even be a family member. Regardless, we shouldn’t let any of that take us from going on whatever life exploration journey we feel called to go on.

Little did I know the life journey I was about to embark on when I took my first step onto a yoga mat. Little did I know the changes that were awaiting me. Little did I know how life-altering a yoga practice would be. Little did I know how expansive my mind, body and soul would become. Little did I know how I was about to enrich my life. Little did I know of the impact that yoga philosophy would have on my life, values and core beliefs. Little did I know that I was going to have the most fulfilling soulful relationship of my life. Little did I know how peaceful and happy my life would be. Little did I know how critical, judgmental or weary some people could be when we are living a life that doesn’t mirror theirs. Not that it mattered to me because there is only one person I need to be accountable for, and that person is Me. At the end of the day, we are the only person that matters. How we love and honor ourselves should be the one investment we are all committed to making…always and in all ways!

However, at the time I was embarking on this journey, I didn’t have the words to accurately describe the how, when, what, when and why I was undergoing this change. All I knew was that it was the ultimate form of self-love and ecstasy I could have ever imagined. I felt like I had come home to my Self. When I finally did find the words, it was magical!

That’s what happens when we meet ourselves…really meet ourselves for the first time. It requires us to put and end to all that external and internal chatter and criticism and own our authenticity, bravery and courage. I can’t think of a better way to meet our date with destiny than choosing to own our truth, authenticity, bravery, courage, divinity, fiercelesness, grace and vulnerability! Oh yes, and with a sense of awe, adventure, magic and openness to the infinite possibilities, love and abundance that is always available to us.

Darlings, when we take full-on responsibility for who we are in the face of scrutiny, you will not believe how it stops some people dead in their tracks. There is this one woman I know who, whenever I would see her (which wasn’t often), would always insist on asking if I was dating anyone and why I was not doing so. Well, when I finally felt comfortable enough in my skin, owned my truth, bravery, courage, and found the precise mindful words…..it shut her right up. Now, I wasn’t a bitch or anything. Remember, it’s all in the delivery. I am a firm believer that we should always speak our truth kindly, clearly, calmly and compassionately… and with a smile. I recall feeling so at home when I said something like, “I AM in a relationship with me. I AM taking the time to fall in love with me.”  Yep, it was priceless, and she was speechless….and has never brought up the subject again. Period. The End!

So my darlings, let’s continue showering ourselves with some good lovin’… Ten Thought on Whole Living sets the stage for us to do just that. These thoughts allow us to meet ourselves where we are, open our minds to new ways of thinking and being, and give us new ideas and practices that allow us to approach our life, our self-love and self-care in more mindful, enriching and enlightening ways. Here are some more Ten Thoughts for you to consider:

  • When you believe in an abundant universe, your world feels more plentiful.
  • A healthy diet is about how you prepare, not just choose, your food.
  • Walk, run, dance, and jump a little every day.
  • Explore your inner adventurer. Try things that excite you.
  • Sustainable living goes beyond a single action; it requires a shift in our philosophy.
  • Your limitations aren’t flaws; They are opportunities to cultivate self-kindness.
  • Think of smarter, greener ways to stay warm and dry this winter.
  • The most motivating thoughts spring from gratitude.
  • Become aware of what you are eating…and why.
  • A resolution isn’t what you “should” do; it’s a chance to move your life forward.

Start wherever you are, and come home to You.. to your mind, body and spirit…it is the most important date you can ever have! Finding my Self was my deepest desire. What’s yours?

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Conscious Self-Love

“Everything in life is most fundamentally a gift. And you receive it best and you live it best by holding it with very open hands.”  – Leo O’ Donovan

We are each a gift. Our presence in this lifetime is a gift to those around us. When we stand in that knowingness, in our power, see it, feel it, smell it, taste it and embody it wholeheartedly, we are in alignment with our essential being. We are better able to honor our role in this cosmic carnival of life. We are better able to embrace our life, take juicy bites out of it, celebrate it and be more conscious of the love, affection and attention we first give ourselves. Showering ourselves with conscious self-love is an intentional act!

So, as we continue moving through this love-filled month, a month that I hope is filled with radical self-love for all of us, I will continue sharing with you Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. If you missed my previous blog, Radical Self Love, I encourage you to check it out before going any further so that you will know the focus of my writings throughout this month.

  • Forgiveness is more that a one-time choice; it’s a whole approach to living.
  • Develop a consciousness of your body. You’ll more effectively maintain balance.
  • Make your workout anything but routine.
  • Embrace the full spectrum of energy, from charged-up thrills to moments of calm.
  • Family traditions are a screed practice- they affirm our deepest values.
  • The best gifts are infused with intention.
  • Sometimes the situations that make you most vulnerable offer the greatest rewards.
  • True beauty can’t be applied from the outside; it must emerge from within.
  • Think simpler. Less fuss equals less waste.
  • Living well requires a focus on the present, not just a promise for tomorrow.

As we read these thoughts on whole living, we can examine how they each play out in our lives. We can think of ways we embody these practices. Some may stand out more than others. Perhaps some strike a chord. We can look at the feelings that arise as we read them, and take some time to sit with these feelings, name them, and describe them.

The more we honor the gift of our life, and everything else that shows up in our life as the divine gift that it is, the more we will be able to fully embrace our greatness and be more conscious of the love, affection and attention we first give ourselves. It’s never to late to start….the point is to start wherever we are.

Approach the act of conscious self-love as the most intimate relationship you will ever have….Enjoy and savor every moment!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Radical Self-Love

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Greetings, darlings! Since my last two blogs dealt with relationships, I figured I would delve a little more into the most important, authentic, up close and personal relationship we can ever have – the relationship with oneself. And since February showers us with all things love, everywhere we turn, I thought it would be nice to place ourselves in the spotlight for a change. After all, we deserve it! If we don’t shower ourselves with radical self-love, who will? What images does the phrase radical self-love conjure up in your mind?

Love is our divine birthright and, in my humble opinion, we should unapologetically own it. Yep, stand tall, proud, open-hearted and grateful for the unconditional love that supports us and is always available inside of us – the Divine life force that brought us into this existence. The love that oftentimes shows up at unexpected times. The one we call by many names….Father, Mother, God, The Creator, Divine Being, Celestial Being, Allah, Spirit, The Almighty, Great Mother, Divine Source  and all other names denoting a Supreme Being. We are an extension of this divinity! How can we not shower ourselves with love knowing the great love that resides in us? How can we best honor the Source? How can we be more gentle with ourselves? How can we be more loving with ourselves?

Some people have mastered the art of loving others but have lost themselves in the process. They have forgotten about themselves, their needs, desires, wants, dreams, and aspirations. They are quick to meet the needs of everyone around them but wouldn’t know where to start, or how to start, taking care of themselves. They are barely getting by. If you are one of these people, I encourage you to think long and hard as you ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What happened to me?
  3. How did I let this happen?

Whether you have forgotten how to shower yourself with love or not, I am certain we can all practice a whole lot more radical self-love. Let me ask you this? If you could spend an entire day showering yourself with love, and taking care of your Self, what would it look like? How could you carve out some time for some self-care practices or routines that would allow you to amp up your livelihood?  What is your soul calling you to do or not do?

For some reason, I felt compelled years ago to rip out certain pages from Body and Soul magazine (not even sure they are still in publication – perhaps under another name). They used to have a monthly feature called Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. Now I know why I kept these pages – because some day I would be able to share them with you! So, throughout the month of February, I will be sharing some of these thoughts on whole living with you to help you get jump-started on some major self-love, self-care and mindfulness practices and/or enhance your already existing practices.  Being mindful of our needs and attitudes towards ourselves, our thoughts and actions greatly impact our quality of life. My heartfelt wish for you is that you feel inspired and motivated to shower yourself with a whole lot of love and affection!

  • Ease into the day slowly: take a few minutes each morning to gently wake up. 
  • Be straightforward. An honest response often trumps a clever one.
  • Discover new ways to share the things you love. 
  • Worry breeds anxiety; intuition invites calm.
  • Create habits that help you live sustainably – wherever you are.
  • Don’t second guess; sometimes the best idea is the one that comes first. 
  • Respond to life with openness and curiosity.
  • Don’t wait until you have no room left in your day to breathe; make space now.
  • Anger has a way of evaporating in the face of compassion. 
  • Find pleasure in the simplest of tasks. 

Another great way to work with these Ten Thoughts on Whole Living is to use them as journal prompts. You can set the stage by lighting a candle, centering yourself, connecting with your breath, and anything else that helps you to feel grounded. Read and think about each one and how you can apply them to your way of being. When you are ready to write, don’t over think; just write from the heart and see what comes up. As I like to say, lead from the heart….right from the start. You may just surprise yourself!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

You’re Not Alone

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that killed your dreams.” -Maya Mendoza

My previous blog, Relationships Expire, was geared towards friendships that sometimes need to be let go of due to the nature of the circumstances surrounding the friendship itself. While much of what I wrote about can most definitely be applied to romantic relationships, partnerships, unions and marriages as well, this particular blog will explore the excuses that we sometimes use as our reason for staying in a romantic relationship gone bad. Self-doubt, not wanting to be alone and not being able to make a decision – one way or the other –  are key factors that oftentimes keep us stuck.

When I was growing up, Mama would always remind me, “Para ester mal acompañada, mejor ester sola.” Translation: You are better off alone than in bad company.  Perhaps that is why I’ve always had the ability to recognize when a romantic relationship was no longer serving me OR the other person. I’ve never had a problem being alone. The reality is that sometimes we are the loneliest in a relationship. However, some of us prefer to stay in unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships. Why? Because we claim we don’t want to be alone.

Not wanting to be alone / lonely speaks volumes! If we don’t like our own company,  THAT is a problem right there. If we don’t learn how to be in relationship with ourselves, then we will never know how to be in relationship with another. If we can’t love ourselves enough to recognize and acknowledge our needs, how will anyone else do so? If we can’t feel secure on our own two feet, nothing another person does will give us that feeling of security. If we subject ourselves to another person’s alcohol abuse, drug abuse and domestic abuse, we will continue to attract such behaviors at the expense of our mental health and physical well-being. If we can’t dream and aspire to achieve our dreams, no one can do it for us. If we can’t be exceptional role models of what healthy relationships look like for our children, then who will?

Some of us are what I call “routine junkies.” It’s a comfort zone of sorts or may even be a coping mechanism. It’s like we are unable to freely function if we aren’t chained to a routine of some kind regardless of how destructive it may be. We will maintain a stronghold on that routine at all cost –  even if it robs us of our life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Let me be clear here. There are definitely relationships worth getting in the ring for and doing the work for, and there are many resources and tools out there to help us do so. However, we must first be committed to working on the MOST important relationship of all – the one with ourselves. Only then are we able to come together, have unity of purpose and the skills needed to handle the inevitable conflicts and ups and downs of being in relationship with another person.

And just as there are people in beautiful, healthy, loving, productive and committed relationships for decades upon decades, there are those people who’ve been together just as long but for all the wrong reasons. These are the ones who’ve stayed way past the expiration date. Perhaps they have failed to see that the relationship / union / marriage has died? Do they stay because of the money? The children? The pets? The company? The convenience? The house?  Comfort? Guilt? Self-doubt? Complacency? Because of what others may “think?” How they will be “viewed?” Lack of drive or ambition? Lack of  self – respect / self- love? Fear of confrontation? Lack of skills? Lack of support? Lack of expectations? Inability to make a decision? Fear of starting over? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being alone? Just plain fear?

A long time ago, a psychologist recommended a wonderful book on relationships to me. She prefaced the recommendation by saying that, although the title had the word “marriage” in it, the book was a great tool for anyone fighting for or wanting to be in a healthy relationship. The book, Fighting for Your Marriage, is based on the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP). The book is divided into 4 parts: Understanding the Risks on the Road to Lasting Love; Teaming Up to Handle Conflict; Enjoying Each Other; and Staying the Course. I found the book very helpful during a  time when I was in one of THE most challenging relationships of my life. It helped me to realize that we were both on two very different pages and stages of our lives.

Around the same time, I attended an Omega Conference and one of the keynote speakers was Harville Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt. Together, they published a book, Getting the Love You Want. This book also has an accompanying workbook for couples. And like with many self-help books and programs, part of the work / success comes from examining our own issues, agendas, childhood, traumas and other stumbling blocks that keep us from getting the love we want – and so rightfully deserve. I have come to learn that if we do not have a healthy, loving and compassionate relationship with ourselves, there is no way we can reap the beauty of being in a healthy romantic relationship.

Another book that is a game changer, and one I have also passed on to others, is Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum. If you are unsure as to whether you should remain in a romantic relationship or call it quits, this book is a step-by-step guide  that will help you make a decision and remove self-doubt from the equation. After all, self-doubt can sabotage the healthiest of relationships, never mind ones in disrepair. This isn’t a book that will tell you ways to fix a broken relationship; it is one that will help you choose whether to leave or stay in the relationship. The scenarios in the book cover just about every challenging issue you can think of and will guide you to make the best decision for yourself. Whichever decision you make, you will feel confident doing so. As one reviewer noted about the book, “A powerful self-help resource for anyone caught in a web of relationship distress.”  Hmmmm….I like that term, a web of relationship distress!

I think it’s safe to say we all enter relationships having certain expectations. However, times change and people do too. The more we evolve, grow and mature, the more we come to realize that some romantic relationships MUST have an expiration date. We can acknowledge and honor the fact that we came together for a purpose, we were each other’s teacher, we can identify the value we each added to the relationship yet know when to walk away……respectfully, wisely, compassionately, consciously and maybe even lovingly.

One thing to remember, is that you’re not alone in any of these scenarios. There are people in our lives who support us and have our back, tools to help us identify the root causes of our troubles, professionals that can guide us in working the work, practices that allow us to feel deeply rooted, stable, and supportive, and resources that we can turn to for inspiration, encouragement, motivation, wisdom and enlightenment. The key is tapping into these resources!

Darlings, happiness, joy and love are our birthright. Oftentimes, the only person keeping us from claiming them is ourselves. We don’t need to remain in a dead-end relationship  that is robbing us of these gifts. The choice is ours to make. It always comes down to choice making. The key is making the most evolutionary choice…..the one that will free us to fly, dream, soar, be happy, joyous, live fully, embrace our magnificence and, perhaps, even find love again!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

PS- During the month of February, I will be blogging on Sundays and Wednesdays only.

 

 

 

Relationships Expire

“Let go. Something beautiful wants to grow on its place.”

So let me begin by being totally transparent here and tell you that I waited until late in the day before this blog was set to publish before I sat down to write it. I don’t know why, it just happened…..I’ve been off  my writing schedule a bit, and today I felt a little bit “off my game.” I had something in mind, but it just wasn’t flowing, and I’m all about going with the flow.

A part of me didn’t give it a second thought because my “pseudo daughter,” otherwise known as “LL Cool Rutz,” was stopping by to pick up some delicious, home made, old-world, Cuban black beans (made by my friend Barb). By now you know I’m all about sharing, so Barb also put some beans aside for my fellow friend and foodie. I also knew that LL and I would end up in some sort of conversation that would fuel ideas for future blogs.

Now, LL may have thought she was just making a quick pit stop at the treehouse to pick up some food….really? Who comes to a Cuban, Italian-by-injection, food-loving household and doesn’t get fed? Oh, and did I mention she was also going to have a cocktail? Well, the food “drive by” and quick cocktail ended up in a Tito’s jam-fest complete with hummus, chips, popcorn and freshly steamed brown rice, black beans and a side of avocado (mind you, she didn’t want to eat here). So much for a quick pit stop. I’ve learned…don’t ask, just serve!

As we ate curled up on the couch, I shared my thoughts for a blog with LL, and she insisted on the title, Relationships Expire,  because of the direction our conversation was headed. I initially was thinking about romantic relationships, but then we zeroed in on friendships. We talked about how we can get “stuck” in relationships that don’t serve us any longer and why. Here are some questions that were thrown around (in no particular order):

  • With whom do you commiserate?
  • Have you ever felt “stuck” with a person / people because they are part of  your life?
  • You know the saying, “misery loves company?” Is that some kind of coping mechanism? 
  • Are your peers growing alongside you?
  • Can you identify the stagnant relationships in your life?
  • Who guides you along your evolutionary path?
  • Is there someone who drags you down?
  • Is there someone keeping you from growing?
  • Can you identify the givers and the takers in your life?
  • What value do your friends bring to the table?
  • What value do you bring to the table?
  • Are there conversations / stories you are getting tired of telling?
  • Are you OK with letting go of a friendship that no longer serves your greatest good?

OMG I am trying to make sense of some of the notes I took while we were chatting up a storm, and I can’t make heads or tails out of them! It’s like they are written in a foreign language. I have pretty nice handwriting, but what I scribbled literally looks like gibberish! Why on earth do I scribble? Ugh!

Anyway, as we were chatting away, we were also sharing times in our lives where we felt that a relationship had expired. Especially if we are on an evolutionary path. There may come a point where we start to grow apart, and we see the learning gap getting wider and wider. We see that we have less and less in common with a particular friend(s). And that’s OK. Everyone is on their own path and has their own individualized learning plan that must be respected. We may reach a point where we feel we are growing by leaps and bounds, and others are lagging behind – until it gets to the point where we get cut loose or we do the cutting loose. And that is OK. Sometimes, we just have to let go! The key is knowing when to let go!

We each have a role to play in the friendships we develop along this journey called life. Some friendships are longterm, some temporary, and others are transitional. Some ebb and flow, some hover on the surface, and others sink to the bottom. As we grow, mature and evolve, our circle of key friends may decrease in size but increase in value.

Also, different people fulfill the different needs we have as human beings. It’s like we have various “gas tanks” to fill….survival, primal, emotional, intellectual, professional, physical, spiritual, cosmic, creative, etc. It’s very rare for just one person to fill all of these tanks (although occasionally it may happen). That’s just the way it is. Another key factor is being able to identify who is filling these various tanks for us and knowing how we contribute to the lives of others as well. If there isn’t some sort of mutual exchange happening, if we aren’t adding value to each other’s lives, if we aren’t showing up for each other when we need it most, then we must examine the significance of the relationship we are holding onto.

Sometimes, by holding onto a relationship that has expired, we are keeping something truly beautiful from growing in its place. After all, don’t we see that in nature? Nature is truly such an amazing teacher! Periodically, we must do some weeding. We must clear out dead weeds, plant new seeds, nurture and water them, and watch them blossom. Relationships are no different. Just as weeds die, relationships expire!

OK darlings, as LL and I have taken to saying on many evenings, it’s time for me to go to Club Bed –  featuring DJ Pillow and MC Blanky (I saw this posted once and just loved it).

Next up, the second half of our conversation that dealt with romantic relationships. Some have expiration dates as well!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Soften Your Edge

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating- these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do.” -Wayne Dyer

Soften your edge is another term we hear in yoga class a lot and one that can be applied to our everyday lives. When I heard my teacher-friend, the lovely Tara, say these words in class the other day, I once again thought it would be a good topic to write about (much like a previous blog, Just Linger, inspired by yet another wonderful teacher, Erin).

We can go though life in a state of perpetual conflict, grievance, sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment, resentment and constantly hit brick walls, or soften our edge, sink in, open up and flow with effortless ease. And it is this state of calm, ease, peace, expansiveness and flow that allows us to be in balance. The more we tap into practices that keep our mind, body and spirit in that state of balance and effortless ease, the more we realize we don’t have to struggle or force anything to go our way. It just happens. The disciplines of  Yoga and Ayurveda teach us that the path to perfect health is learning to maintain balance……in mind, body and spirit. And that is why I LOVE YOGA. It changed my life!

Yoga philosophy can be traced back more than 5,000 years. This practice is much more than physical poses. It encompasses physical, mental and spiritual practices which allow us to “unite” our mind, body and spirit. These practices, or disciplines, are based on moral and ethical principles that allow us to align all parts of our being with our thoughts and actions. They afford us tools that will allow us to approach life from a place of equanimity and equilibrium.

The practice of yoga offers us opportunities for self-reflection, self-regulation, the practice of kindness, self-compassion and self-awareness. It’s an inside job! A job that is not dependent on external circumstances; yet, it rewards us with much success and is one that enhances our performance in ALL areas of our lives.

Since I’ve been immersed in the world of yoga, I’ve heard sooooooo many people say,  “I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga.” Unfortunately, that is a false perception and misunderstanding. There was a time in my life I had a limited range of motion due to surgery as a teen and, I too, subscribed to that limited mindset. Over the years, there have been times I’ve been more or less flexible as a result of subsequent orthopedic surgeries and joint replacement appliances. However, we do NOT have to be  contortionists to do the “physical” practice of yoga.

Yoga is so much more that those physical postures. It requires us to tap into ourselves, our minds, emotions and belief systems. It’s about meeting our body where it is, honoring what it can and cannot do, exploring our edge, and respecting it. Much as in life, when we engage with others, we should be able to meet them where they are, explore our similarities and respect our differences. In order to do so, we need our spiritual toolbox and resources.

The practice of yoga restores harmony in our mind, body and spirit. It’s about going within and loosening every thought pattern and emotion that grips at us and takes over our minds and, oftentimes, makes us act unskillfully. The inner work and exploration we do as a result of our practice allows us to relinquish the grievances, resentments, anger and unresolved issues that are holding us hostage and keeping us stuck at every turn. It frees us! It’s not uncommon to hear a yoga and meditation practitioner say that they felt “at home” when they found yoga. That’s what yoga does, it brings us home to ourselves….to the very core of who we are. It brings us back to a healthy and renewed place of calm, ease, equanimity, loving-kindness, compassion and self-awareness.  Yoga softens our edges.

Our breath is another tool that allows us to soften our edge. It’s brings us back to the present moment instead of being stuck elsewhere. And that “elsewhere” is usually a dark, anxiety ridden, self- induced little shop of horrors. Something as simple as connecting with our breath diffuses the volatile diatribe waiting to explode within us like projectile vomit. Not a pretty sight!

When we are in the present moment, and have a clear head, we realize that we are the ones making something the struggle that it has become. We have been the ones adding fuel to the fire. There is absolutely no need for that – we can remember that at any given moment, we can connect with our breath and make a different choice. How liberating is that? Bringing ourselves back to the present moment allows us to shift our perspective from being “stuck” to one where we are able to see the infinite possibilities and choices that truly exist. As Deepak Chopra says, “We gain access to the creative and nurturing flow of our own nature.”

And on this note, I will leave you with a passage from the book, The Golden Present, for you to ponder.

“Health is your birthright, not disease; strength your heritage, not weakness; courage, not fear; bliss, not sorrow; peace, not restlessness; knowledge, not ignorance. The person with health and strength of body, soundness of mind, with morality and spirit is a real gem among all humanity. Such one possesses the true treasure.”

 

Wishing you a relaxing, peaceful, blissful, free-floating kinda day xo

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Tone

“Because no matter how hard a conversation is, I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace. Knowledge. An answer is delivered. Character is revealed. Truces are formed. Misunderstandings resolved.”         Shonda Rhimes

Let’s face it – there are times to have conversations and definitely times NOT to have conversations. The key lies in knowing the circumstances that can resolve or sabotage a conversation. If a productive, respectful, dignified and heart to heart conversation is what we are looking for, then we must adhere to setting the tone for having them.

I’ve found the following guidelines I established for myself very helpful. I will admit though, it took me several years and many lessons before mastering the art of setting the tone. Hopefully, you can relate!

  1. We make bad decisions that result in poor judgement when we are tired / over-tired/ distracted / hungry. Do NOT have conversations under these circumstances!
  2. If we do not have time to talk, do NOT make a phone call, take a call, or return a call regardless of what the other person make think. What another person thinks of us is their business not ours!
  3. There are certain conversations, especially the ones dealing with our feelings, reflections and relationships that MUST be discussed in person and when we have created the time and space to do so – when we can sit across from the other person and speak from deep within our heart and soul. Just remember, the other person may need time to reflect on what was said before responding. We must honor that. Conscious communication at its best!
  4. A conversation with someone who is inebriated is pointless and a waste of time and energy because they are “handicapped.” A person under the influence can be irrational and perhaps even belligerent and mean. They probably won’t even remember what was said or deny ever having said / done anything. This one can be a little challenging. Sometimes ignoring the person works best – other times they may test our patience. It’s a tricky road to navigate. The best option is probably to be nowhere near this type of compromising situation to begin with. We should remove ourselves whenever possible. Boundaries!
  5. Act, don’t react. Pause. Create the space to let things BE. Take the time to think. adhere to the 48 hour rule before responding (especially if it’s something that pushed our buttons to the max). Everything is a process, and our process is as uniquely different as are the lessons we are each here to learn. The “process” needs time and space to evolve and unfold. While some of us are exceptional at communicating verbally, others communicate best in writing. Either way, honor the process!
  6. Some things are better left unsaid. Silence speaks in its own way. If there is something we feel we just need to get out, take the time to sit with it, write about it, get the feelings and the energy out, release them (burn them if you desire), and wait for the appropriate time to present itself. Hand it over to the Divine. When such time presents itself, what and how things need to be expressed and experienced just happen. Perfect synchronicity and divine intervention!
  7. Agreeing to disagree is oftentimes the best solution provided there is no animosity or sarcasm. At times, some conversations need to be re-visited at a later point in time. Let go and go with the flow!
  8. Lastly, it’s not what gets said, it’s how it gets said. We must speak our truth kindly, calmly and compassionately (and with a smile when needed). Keep it simple too. It’s all in the delivery!

Since we are all human, I’m sure we’ve all had our share of lessons when it comes to deciding when and how to have conversations. We all have our own styles of communicating, and that is something that took me years to learn. When I was much younger, I just assumed everyone was open, ready, willing and able to talk about anything, anytime and anywhere. Surprise, surprise…..Not so! It took a while, but I finally got it.

One thing I know for sure though is that peaceful, non-violent communication is the way to go, especially in today’s times. It  can resolve a lot of misunderstandings and allow us to attain deeper levels of understanding and enlightenment. If we all take the time to listen deeply and communicate consciously and peacefully, we can certainly shift the communication dynamic to one that resonates with our soul, raises our vibration and not diminishes it.

Good vibes, darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC