Hold the Vision…Trust the Process

Security…it’s simply the recognition that changes will take place and the knowledge that you’re willing to deal with whatever happens.” Harry Browne

The month of December can really mess with people’s emotions for a number of reasons. Between preparing for the holidays, hosting parties, going to parties, shopping for the “perfect” gift, decorating, and dealing with work and family chores and obligations, we are sometimes left feeling depleted and perhaps even sad. For many, the memories of loved ones long gone, perhaps the recent crossing over of a family member, or the ending of an irreparable relationship makes getting through the month of December a little more challenging to say the least. These circumstances and events leave us needing some major grounding, clarity and stability.

Guided mediations are a wonderful tool for cultivating a feeling of grounding and stability. They are also helpful in making us feel safe and secure. I sometimes envision myself as a tree with deep roots in the ground. It gives me a sense of unshakable energy, strength, inner fortitude and protection from destabilizing forces. This visual also allows me to maintain that “calm in the chaos” and readily go with the flow with whatever is happening.

There have been many times in my life, especially at work, when someone has looked to me as the calming, sensible voice in a confusing and chaotic situation. During my time as a school administrator, I wanted to “lead from the heart” and be an exemplary role model of what it is like to maintain “calm in the chaos.” It is a gift of balanced strength. And it is something we can all achieve with the help of the many tools that are so readily available to us today – guided meditation being one of them.

If we hold the vision of that state of  grounding, clarity, stability and trust the process, our sense of security will feel effortless and unshakable. Guided meditations that connect us to the earth element do just that. With time and practice, you will feel like a huge, unshakable oak tree….just hold the vision…and trust the process!

The following guided meditation will enhance your sense of support and stability. You can have someone read it to you, voice record it so you can listen to your own voice, or just glance at it, close your eyes and be with the vision and the feelings for however long. Sit comfortably on the floor and, if you would like to add a hand gesture, you can make peace signs and touch your index and middle finger to the ground alongside your body (Bhu mudra). If sitting on the floor is not an option, sit in a chair (or in bed) with your palms face down on your lap.

  1. As you hold Bhu mudra, take several natural breaths to attune to all the feelings and sensations evoked by this gesture.
  2. Visualize your body as a mountain with your legs as the base, your arms as the slopes stretching out to the sides, and the crown of your head as the mountain peak rising into the sky.
  3. With each inhalation, your spine lengthens naturally, and with each exhalation, the base of your body connects to the earth more firmly.
  4. Sense breath flowing up and down your spine, creating space between each vertebra, cultivating a sense of alignment and stability throughout the entire structure of your body.
  5. Resting in your mountain’s stability, take some time to notice how the pause at the end of your exhalation is lengthened gradually, allowing you to experience the earth’s deep serenity.
  6. Attuned to the earth’s stability and serenity, you naturally receive all of its healing qualities.
  7. Begin by taking several breaths to receive the earth’s minerals in the exact quantities you need to support the structure of your body, cultivating optimal bone strength and density.
  8. With a greater sense of support, you naturally inhabit your body more completely, experiencing all areas of your being integrated as a seamless unity.
  9. As you inhabit your body more completely, the serenity of your mountain naturally permeates your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to experience absolute security at all times and places along your journey.
  10. With a deeper sense of security, a feeling of oneness with the natural world infuses your being, allowing you to feel completely at home within your surroundings.
  11. One with the earth, and infused with its healing qualities, you rest within your mountain of stability, allowing its absolute stillness to permeate your entire being.
  12. Deeply attuned to the earth, repeat the following three times, aloud or silently: “Embodying all of the earth’s essential qualities, I experience complete stability.”
  13. Slowly release the gesture, taking several breaths to integrate all of the earth’s healing qualities.
  14. When you are ready, open your eyes, returning slowly and gently, continuing your journey with a greater sense of support and stability.

If you are interested in adding another tool to your “toolbox” and want to explore mudras, guided meditations, energy centers (chakras), doshas (constitution), balance, and health conditions more in depth, Mudras For Healing and Transformation, by Joseph and Leslie Le Page, is a spectacular resource. It’s a wonderful compliment for anyone wanting to expand their spiritual practice(s) as well. This book is perfect for Yoga students, teachers, and/or anyone in all types of healing professions……and makes for a great, meaningful holiday gift.

Attuned to the earth’s stability, may you move confidently throughout the next few days, weeks and months!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Reminder

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means being in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” Unknown

With the state of the world, the full moon energy and the preparation, anticipation and craziness this time of year brings into our lives, a simple reminder is called for throughout the day. Whether that reminder calls us to stop, breathe, get out in nature, repeat a mantra, pray, move our body, listen to an uplifting song, or just sit in stillness to connect to Mother Earth, we can cultivate a sense of peaceful grounding that we can turn to again and again throughout our day.

Is it possible to maintain that “calm in the chaos” outlook? It sure is! Once again, it is our choice to make. With practice, patience and mindful intention, the choices we make become more evolutionary. We arrive at that place where we are aware of the impact our energy has on those around us and the ripple effect it has on the collective consciousness. We are so finely tuned into what our reminders are telling us, that we can operate from auto-pilot mode. Our trajectory shifts, and we find ourself operating from a place of peace, calm and ease – especially if we have been protecting our energy field (my last three blogs contain some good pointers, a prayer and affirmations that may be of help if you don’t know where/how to start).

We can become so rooted and grounded in our practice(s) that our awareness is heightened, and we see ourself as the witness. I refer to it as sitting with a bowl of popcorn and watching the movie unfold without getting caught up in the plot, characters and story line. I can bear witness to the unfolding chaos. When I am in this state, I feel like I am flowing smoothly. There is this sense of knowing and feeling the connection to earth, spirit, the Source, and joy. It feels like I have a skip in my step, and my heart is smiling! Speaking of smiling, do people need to smile more, or what?

How are you feeling this first week in December? Are you feeling grounded or scattered?I invite you to sit with the following questions and perhaps even use them as journal prompts or just food for thought:

  • Are there parts of your life that are flowing smoothly?
  • Are there some that aren’t?
  • Can you name the feelings that arise when your life is flowing smoothly?
  • What thoughts, feelings, or sensations arise when parts of your life aren’t flowing so smoothly?
  • Are you a peaceful person, or are you filled with regrets, grievances and resentments?
  • Who are the peaceful people in your life?
  • How do they make you feel when you are around them?
  • Who or what disrupts your peace?
  • What are you willing to do about it?
  • What are some activities that bring a sense of peace, calm and ease into your life?
  • Where do you turn for inspiration?

On this first Wednesday in December, my wish for you is that you may know Peace. I will leave you with a lovely prayer/affirmation from meditation cards that I have (http://www.mayyouknowjoy.com). By the way, these cards make a lovely holiday or hostess gift. And if someone you know is in need of a simple reminder, then this deck of cards, and accompanying book, make the perfect gift!

May You Know Peace

May you know peace in the core of your being. May you breathe in and out and know that everything is exactly as it should be and you’re exactly where you are supposed to be. May the lightness of peace guide you. May it be friends with strength and hope. And, if peace seems far off, identify what needs to be removed or changed to make space for it.

Peace out darlings!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

Good Morning Sunshine…Hello Joy

“The Joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person or event – through anything that happens. That Joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and this is one with who you are.” Eckhart Tolle

There’s nothing like seeing someone first thing in the morning and feeling a ray of sunshine beaming down on you. I can best describe it as a feeling of inner Joy. When I was working, one of my colleagues and I would always exchange the greeting, Good Morning Sunshine, and the other would say, Hello Joy! And since tomorrow is Susanne’s birthday, I was inspired to write this blog by the memory of this exchange – and one that we continue to have when we see each other at our monthly birthday luncheons.

Simply stated, we are either Joy or not. Joy is something that comes from within our very being, our essence, our true self. We can’t make it up, seek it outside ourselves, buy it, or expect it to come to us. This type of “expectation” is one that just causes more pain, suffering, disappointment, negativity and unhappiness. In the book, A New Earth,  Eckhart Tolle goes on to say that Unhappiness or negativity is a disease of our planet.” He wrote these words ten years ago, and they are ever so true to this very day. He further states that “Pollution is on the outer level, negativity is on the inner. It is everywhere! It’s not just in places where people don’t have enough, but even more so where they have more than enough.” When I saw him interviewed on Super Soul Sunday, he remarked how the tremendous amount of earth’s energy field is produced by people. No kidding! That is definitely clear as daylight. How can we shift the energy field?

Imagine if every single person took responsibility for the energy they bring into a room? Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, speaker and author, talks about this in her Ted Talk, My Stroke of Insight (one of those talks that went viral). If you haven’t heard of her, she was a brain researcher who studied her own stroke as it was happening. Talk about things happening for a reason and living one’s purpose! Being left in a state of pure consciousness (and unable to speak, read, write or walk at the time), she was ever so conscious of the positive and negative energy that different people brought into the room. Imagine if more people chose to clear themselves of negative energy, be still and connect to their inner being-ness and knowing-ness, and operated from that place of Love and Joy? Imagine what that would do to our beautiful planet’s energy field?

It’s not a difficult thing to do. All it entails is to be aware of that moment of negativity creeping up, and choose differently. Some may argue that it is easier said than done; however, with practice, diligence, and healthy boundaries, we do come to that place where choosing differently becomes our default setting. Sometimes, a good visual helps us be with what is in that moment (my visual happens to he a big red stop sign in my third eye – with flashing lights around it). If we stay rooted and grounded in the present moment, we are better equipped to be more mindful and aware of the decisions we make, exchanges we have, what we are willing to let into our own personal space or energy field, and the energy we bring into a room.

And speaking of energy fields, this is a time of year people tend to unravel, spiral, lose control, and push themselves into a state of sheer exhaustion…all self-imposed by the way! Rather than enjoy each moment, each day, each exchange or interaction, the “Negative Nancys and Debbie Downers” come out to play, tensions build, tempers flare, guilt sets in and the ugly in people comes out. Obviously, we have the ability to rise above all that if we take the time to listen, make our well-being a priority, heed our intuition, honor our boundaries, and bring consciousness and awareness into our daily modus operandi. With practice, commitment, patience, steadfastness and grace, we can all honor our inner needs during trying times by taking care of ourselves and protecting our precious energy field – regardless of the people and/or circumstances with which we are dealing (and if there are people who add way too much stress to your life, well it’s then time to “clean house”).

Here are a few simple and power-filled tips that pop up now and then on Facebook and Instagram, and they are right on the money.

To Protect Your Energy:

  • It’s okay to cancel a commitment
  • It’s okay to change your mind
  • It’s okay to want to be alone
  • It’s okay to take a day off
  • It’s okay to do nothing
  • It’s okay to speak up
  • It’s okay to let go 

If someone gets upset at you, that is their problem not yours! Remember, YOUR well-being, sanity, peace of mind, health and wellness should be the priority…..just sayin’!

Now that the holidays have started, we can savor them in a stress-free and enjoyable way. Time is precious, and we have the ability to enjoy wonder-filled and beautiful moments with our friends and loved ones and when we are alone too.  If we tap into our true essence and acknowledge our limitless, love-filled, miraculous and joyous self, cut ourselves some slack, loosen up, relinquish the need to control, ask for help and make our well-being a priority, we will be walking around radiating lots of Sunshine and Joy! The choice is ours to make….doom, gloom and negativity or sunshine, joy and positivity? If you ask me, it’s a no-brainer….wink, wink.

To keep my energy levels in check, I’m going to add one more to the list. I will only be blogging on Wednesdays throughout the month of December. This way, I can relax more, spend time reading and perhaps even write more!

Protect your energy, embrace the joy and shine away darlings….You’ve got the power!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

The Art of Being Held

“I’ve got you.”

Three simple powerful words: I’ve- got- you. How many times have we said that to someone in the midst of a crisis or life situation? Why do we say that? We say it because we know the power of those words and their implication: no matter what is going on in our life, we know that someone has our back.

The inspiration and title for this blog came to me during one of my yoga classes. I was listening to the talk and the teachings we take part in before starting with our actual physical practice. We were commenting on how sometimes we get so caught up in the frenzy, what’s going on in the world, in our homes, in our lives, on the job OR what is not going on, and we tend to judge, become critical and get lost in the thoughts behind the voice in our heads. This is another time when we must hit the “Pause” button and remind ourselves that we are not the voices in our head!

So, how do we pull back, reign ourselves in from self-sabotage and that feeling of incompetency, ineptness, frustration or feeling like we are drowning without a life-preserver? Well, we once again stop, pause, breathe and remind ourselves that we are being held. And not just by those physical beings who we know have our back, but by the powerful, all-encompassing divine power of God (or whatever words resonates for you) this most magical Universe, guardian angels and even our spirit family. It’s truly an art we must learn to cultivate. As my lovely friend Andrea mentioned in class, these are the times we must remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. There will be times, people and circumstances that push our buttons, but if we tap into our toolbox and the knowingness that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves, we can bask in the glory of knowing we are being held.

One of my mantras when I walk outside is, “Feel the love. Have faith. Go with the flow.” I can’t begin to tell you how soothing and invigorating it is. This little mantra / prayer keeps me rooted in the truth of knowing that I am (and we all are) divinely guided, guarded, directed and protected. That’s BIG! If that isn’t the art of being held, then I don’t know what is.

In my last two blogs, I included a meditation in one and some affirmations in the other. Today, I will leave you with a prayer. Unfortunately, I do not have the name of the person who wrote it, but it wasn’t me. Just sayin’….total transparency! As one of my teachers, the lovely and much revered Angela always points out, if the word “God” does not work for you or your belief system, please use whatever word resonates for you…it can be Divine Being, Supreme Being, Spirit, The Universe, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, or the name of that one almighty power that is greater than you….that divine power that you know holds you.

God’s Love Has Got Me

Dear God, it is so comforting to know that You’ve got me, and that nothing separates me from Your love. Even when I mess up or trip up, You’ve got me! When I forget who I Am or Whose I Am, You’ve got me! When I go my own way and make decisions out of fear or dread, You’ve got me! When I stumble, I never completely fall because You’ve got me! You’ve got me in the palm of Your Hands, and in the power of Your Love. You’ve got me in the sacredness of silence and in the chaos and confusion of my own doing.

In my humanness, I sometimes forget Your love, and I attempt to walk away from Your tender mercies and still, I know You’ve got me! I am so grateful for Your presence and Your grace. I am so grateful for Your love and Your peace. And, I am so grateful for all the ways that show me Your Love. So that I know – that You, Mighty God, have always got me! Amen

 

Stay in the light darlings-the astonishing light of your own being and, remember, You Are Held!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Too Blessed to Be Stressed

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  -Albert Einstein

Well my darlings, since it’s “Black Friday,” I imagine that many of you are out scurrying around and perhaps already starting to feel stressed. How is it that we allow ourselves to get to that point around the holidays? I’ll tell you a little secret – it’s because we choose to allow it. Rather than seeing and enjoying the blessings and miracles around us, some of are spiraling and choosing to allow self-imposed demands and stress to blind us. This is precicely when self-care needs to be at the top the list! “Too blessed to be stressed” is a great mantra to turn to these days.

When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, hit the “Pause” button, breathe and listen to what your body is telling you it needs. It will intuitively tell you what you need to do in order to restore a sense of balance, calm, ease, peace and enjoyment in your life. I’m going to keep today’s blog short and leave you with beautiful affirmations I received several years ago when Iyanla Vanzant used to publish a monthly newsletter. Each month dealt with a particular principle, and Gratitude was the one for November. I invite you to pause and breathe between each affirmation (nice juicy deep breaths), and see what images pop into your mind. Linger in each moment… for just a bit. Acknowledge the beautiful miracle that YOU are, and celebrate your beautiful gifts. And while you are at it, look around at all the miracles in your life. Hopefully, these afirmations, and the beautiful visuals they conjure up, will serve to help you stay in the Too Blessed to Be Stressed mindset!

Affirmations

I gratefully accept all the health, wealth and happiness that the Universe expresses through me every day.

I am deeply thankful for the beauty of life that flourishes around me.

I give thanks for all that I have and all that I shall be. I am open to all possibilities.

I am grateful I am abundant in all areas of my life.

With great gratitude, I release that which has served its purpose in my life, knowing that a greater good automatically replaces that which is no more. 

As I continuously explore that which is my true calling in life, I give thanks for the knowledge that allows me to nurture my heart’s desire with love, compassion and confidence.

With deep gratitude, I give thanks for all the experiences that have made me who I am. I am thankful for the wisdom and knowledge that pulls me forward toward my divine purpose. 

I am in deep gratitude for God’s endless gifts.

Stay calm and carry on!

Inhale Love… Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Heartfelt Thanks

“What amazes me is that before we can count we are taught to be grateful for what others do. As we are broken open by our experience, we begin to be grateful for what is, and if we live long enough and deep enough and authentically enough, gratitude becomes a way of life.” -Mark Nepo

Throughout our lives, we pretty much can tell when someone is telling the truth or not and if their words and intentions are genuine or not. Well, the same goes for the expression of heartfelt gratitude. Our gratitude either comes from the heart or pays lip service. It’s either genuine or impure. We are either authentic or a fraud, transparent or all smoke and mirrors. The choice is always ours to make.

The blessings that are bestowed upon us are vast and endless. The more we are grateful for, the more abundance that seems to show up in our lives. And I don’t just mean the abundance that we know as money. Abundance comes in all ways and from a bottomless well called The Universe.

For me personally, gratitude is most certainly a way of life. It is my manifesto for living. That is why I am a self-proclaimed “gratitude junkie.” Much of what we go through in life teaches us to be thankful for all of it….the good, the bad and the ugly. I like to call it the “lessons and blessings.” Here’s a thought though: Why should we have to wait to be broken open time and time again or live long enough before we finally learn to be grateful for all that is?

Furthermore, why should this week be any different that any other week of the year? Just because there is a day that is earmarked on the calendar as “Thanksgiving” and a ton of related paraphernalia flooding our senses doesn’t mean we can’t live each and every single day from a place of deep gratitude and express heartfelt thanks. Think of the shift that would occur if we stopped to give thanks throughout the day and not just at the traditional meal time. By now we know the positive effects that a gratitude practice has on our nervous system and how it promotes health and well-being. Imagine if we all expressed genuine thanks throughout the day? Imagine the impact and shift that would occur in our lives and the lives of others? Imagine.

So on this day before Thanksgiving, I want to share with you with a few questions to ponder. Some of the questions come from a lovely Attitudes of Gratitude Guided Journal by M.J. Ryan that I found years ago. I am not sure if it is still in print but, if it is, it’s something worth checking into. It lays the foundation for a beautiful practice and also makes a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You can choose to journal your answers or perhaps make them part of a family activity this week or even on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a good opportunity to put away the electronics and have yourself some meaningful conversation!

Also, if you and/or your family recently lost a loved one, and this holiday season is the first without at that person, you may want to consider answering these questions as a way of honoring their memory. You can even write them each on a piece of paper, fold each one, place in a bowl and pass it around, have each person pick one and share their answer. I am sure you can come up with your own questions to add to the list. Create away! So here goes:

  • How has gratitude brought more grace into your life?
  • Has gratitude made you feel more fulfilled? How?
  • How can you teach gratitude to others?
  • What are some of the ways gratitude comes naturally into your life?
  • Do you approach life with a positive or negative attitude?
  • Are you a pessimist or an optimist?
  • How do you cultivate a true and deep appreciation for what you have?
  • What unique gifts have you been blessed with?
  • What are you grateful for about you?
  • Count the number of ‘Thank you’s” you say during one day. Could you say more?
  • How can you teach gratitude to your younger ones?
  • Honoring your connection to your ancestors gives you a sense of belonging and wholeness. How do you honor your family? Hoe do you honor their legacy?
  • Who have you most learned from in your life?
  • Life is a journey on which you become more and more fully who you are meant to be. Who is that person?

When we choose to cultivate attitudes like love, joy and gratitude, we begin to “remake” the world. -M.J. Ryan

 

Meditation:

May You Know Gratitude 

May you know gratitude. May you be grateful for the abundance in your life. May you also be grateful for the people, feelings and experiences that cause you pain and discomfort – they are here to teach you. Express your gratitude everyday and you will find even greater abundance in your heart and in your life with each passing day.

 

Heartfelt thanks and blessings darlings…today, always, and in all ways!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Spaces & Personal Sanctuaries

“Your home both reflects who you are and can help transform who you are.”              -Marianne Williamson

Not everyone enjoys moving and setting up a new home or apartment. Me? I love it! It thrills me.  I’ve moved so often, and am so good at it, that I always say I could have owned my own moving / staging company. As a matter of fact, the average number of years I have remained in one place has always been about 6-9 years. And, I am known for leaving things behind and starting “fresh.” There is so much to be said for the art of “paying forward” and keeping the abundance circulating! Doing so warms my heart and brings me joy.

There was a time where I briefly, ever so briefly, thought about the money I have spent decorating my new places. Then one day, I had an “aha” moment and realized that one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed moving and decorating new spaces was because it’s allowed me to express my creativity. Each new house or apartment I have ever lived in has reflected who and where I’ve been at that point in my life. Oftentimes, I referred to these new places as “sanctuaries” for my soul to rest, renew, heal, evolve, grow and expand. Today, every where you look you find books and articles on creating your personal sanctuary, creating a sacred space, your personal oasis.

One such book I came across 4 years ago while I was at Lumeria in Maui, was SoulSpace Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life. It was written by Xorin Balbes who, at the time, was the owner and designer of this beautiful yoga and educational retreat oasis. As Marianne Williamson writes in the forwards, “If you are looking to make your home more reflective of the deepest truths of who you are and what you want in life, then SoulSpace is the coolest thing you could possibly read…..This book is unique and filled with wisdom, not only about design but also about us, not only about beauty but also about transformation, not only about how to decorate your rooms but also about how to better your life.” Just reading those words made my mouth water, and I couldn’t wait to savor all the wisdom and beauty the book had to offer.

Since Xorin was on the property during our stay at Lumeria, we got to talk to him quite a bit and had the opportunity to hear his soul speak. Needless to say, practically everyone in our group purchased the book, and I have since purchased some as gifts. As I read Xorin’s book, it was as if all the pieces of the puzzle known as my “moving life” fell into place. It was yet another “aha” moment. So much so, that it made me feel as if I could have penned that book myself. I had a whole lot of Xorin Balbes inside my heart and soul!

Creating your own personal sanctuary, sacred soul space and oasis is a whole lot easier to do when you live by yourself and do not have a house full of children or anyone else to answer to. However, I truly believe that where there is a will, there is a way. It does not mean that we have to live in a cluttered mess, a house that looks like a college dorm or one giant playroom. Every thing and every one should have their own personal space. Organization, attention to detail, love and intention are key factors. Remember, your outer world reflects your inner world! I invite you to sit on that for just a moment. Pause….inhale….exhale…Your outer world reflects your inner worldWhat does your living space reflect? What does it say about you? Does it reflect calm or chaos? Do you reflect calm or chaos?

Do you have a sacred space that supports your dreams, is inspirational, and houses the items that nurture your soul? It could be a corner of a room, an alcove, an extra room, maybe even an area of your bedroom or your entire bedroom for that matter. Our mind, body and soul need a place of calm, ease, deep peace, a place to retreat to, unwind, decompress, rest and relax. A place where we can write, reflect, seek inspiration, read, ground ourselves, dream, pray, meditate or perhaps even help us heal emotionally and spiritually. If you do have such a place, then kudos to you…how awesome! I’d love to hear all about it. If you don’t, then why not? Do you make the time to rest and relax? If not, why not? If you don’t, I humbly invite you to read my previous blog, R&R. 

For me, the end of a relationship usually signaled a time to move on, start fresh and do some big-time resting and relaxing. The way I decorated was always reflective of where I was at that point in time. Playing with color, furnishings and different designs expressed my moods and stages. The most important design element though has been the love, intention, fun and energy that has gone into creating my own personal sanctuaries. My home is my temple, my sacred soul space, my oasis.

Helping others create their sacred space(s) is also fun, exciting, meaningful and therapeutic. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I love to organize, purge, give away and display items that bring joy and nurture the soul. They can be different works of art, religious artifacts or deities, delicious candles, incense, essential oils, inspiring books, coloring books, meaningful jewelry and accessories, crystals, stones, pictures, found treasures or souvenirs from world travels or places of exploration, special gifts, journals, a comfy pillow and yummy blanket, soothing music, plants and flowers (one must always have fresh flowers). Regardless of the space we have available to us, the size of our home or the number of people living in it, our home will either reflect calm or chaos. More importantly, it should be a place where we can flourish and not just exist.

You know the all too common question, “Where do you live?” Well, in the introduction to SoulSpace, Xorin invites us to consider the question in a new way, and I will leave you to do so with his beautiful words of inspiration:

“Where do you live? Where do you feel alive? Where do you feel safe, peaceful, hopeful and supported? Where can you explore your hobbies, think, learn and love? If your home is just a temporary holding pen where you leave all your things during the day instead of a beautiful space that makes you feel safe and calm every time you walk in the door, something is wrong. Your home is more than a place where your possessions are – it is a place where your body can recharge, where your passions can be fulfilled, where you safely explore yourself and your desires, and where your soul can rest, be inspired and soar. Home is about satisfying our basic animal needs: eating, sleeping, seeking shelter. But it is also about achieving transcendence on earth through our other needs, the ones that are the basis of our humanity: beauty, love and creativity.”

Where do you live, darling?

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

R&R

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” -Maya Angelou

I remember when I first started teaching and was always on the go, my mother would always remind me of the importance of resting, slowing down, taking naps or, at best, just closing my eyes for a few minutes. It was her belief that one got old before their time if they didn’t take/make time to rest and relax. However, I had a difficult time processing this because of the conflicting message that her actions sent my way.

You see, what my mom practiced versus what she preached were two different things. At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around the irony. I didn’t think my mother knew what she was taking about since she was always doing, on the go and tired. How could she possibly know what she was talking about back then?  With the passing of time, I did in fact learn the importance of self-care (not the easy way), and that is why I am such an advocate for radical self-love, self-care and R&R. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite quotes is, “How beautiful it is to do nothing and rest afterwards.”

Are you sending out mixed messages? Are you saying one thing and yet modeling a different behavior for your children and/or loved ones? Today, more than ever, with all the sensory overload and stimulation, round the clock connectivity, and idol hours being spent in front of electronic devices, we cannot overlook the importance of “making the time to take the time” to unplug and take care of ourselves. No excuses! On top of this throw in the state of our world, planet, the on-the-job demands, raising children, caregiving for our partners, and aging parents. And if that’s not enough, add to that mix the problems and solutions that are required to keep our heads above water. Whew! I don’t know about you, but I am tired just writing about it! We can either let all these things wear us down, beat us up and disempower us, OR we can make the choice to go down a healthier path. The choice is truly ours to make. No one can do it for us. As Maya Angelou used to say, “When we know better, we do better.” 

The activity in my last blog, Who’s in Charge Here, gave you “permission” to do identify the things that your mind, body and soul need in order to function optimally. If your mind, body and soul are out of alignment, you can bet your pretty backside that you are feeling its ill-effects. Remember, dis-ease in the mind, body and soul will manifest into disease. And that is the absolute truth! For starters, look around at the havoc that hovering over our electronic devices is doing to our physical bodies. Take a look at how hunched over and collapsed people are looking these days. Young children and young adults already have signs of severe muscular-skeletal issues caused by their poor posture. Witness the anxiety, anger, frustration, grievances and ill behaviors in and around us. All these things can, and should be nipped in the bud because we do, in fact, know better. As I mentioned in Who’s in Charge Here, we need to take charge and act on it! After all, if you’re not in charge, then who is? No excuses darlings!

While the notion of R&R may conjure up visions of retreat centers, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, spa vacations and all the sensory delights that come along with them, we don’t have to go away to experience the healing effects of good old-fashion rest and relaxation. All we need to do is be still, connect to our body, and listen to what it is trying to tell us. We can have a conversation with our Self, and listen to what our heart is longing for… we must do in the name of self-preservation. What is your mind, body and soul calling out for? Is it calling for more quiet time, less time on social media, a digital detox, early bedtime, a bedtime ritual, a soak in the tub, candles, soft music, time to read, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, healing and nutritious foods, an hour of silence (perhaps more), a massage, energy work, reflexology, a facial, mani/pedi, long walks in nature, time with your tribe….you get the picture, don’t you?

Well, then it is my heartfelt wish that you have started to carve out the time to take care of your beautiful, precious, magical, and divine Self and that you have identified your talents, gifts and uniqueness (if not, check out the blog Exercise the I AM in You). We only get one mind, body and soul in this lifetime. Our physical shell holds the miraculous systems and organs that make us who we are.  Shouldn’t we want to honor that precious temple the best way possible? After all, we are good at helping and serving others; yet, oftentimes we do for others and not for ourselves. Let’s change the narrative and the stories we are telling ourselves and modeling for others. Rest and relaxation MUST be on everyone’s list of “non-negotiables.” And, speaking of non-negotiables, have you identified yours?

I will leave you with a beautiful prayer/meditation from the May You Know Joy deck of meditation cards I purchased while I was at Kripalu.

May You Know Nourishment

May you nourish your mind, your body and your soul daily. They are your divine trinity. Nourish your fibers, your ideas, and your values. Strengthening these will carry you further than you might dream possible. May you treat yourself with kindness and compassion and share your nourishment with whose in need of it. They will come to you and you will both be nourished in the process.

 

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

Who’s in Charge Here?

“I need to take an emotional breath, step back, and remind myself of who’s actually in charge of my own life.” Judith M. Knowlton

 

Greetings darlings! Well, if all goes well, today I will be returning from a much needed and long anticipated visit to Kripalu in Lenox, MA. Staying there always leaves me  feeling so relaxed, renewed, recharged, refreshed and connected to nature ( much needed after all the celebrations that took place in the month of October).

There’s nothing like giving ourselves permission to go out and do the thing(s) that our mind, body and soul are calling us to do. Once again, the key is to acknowledge it, make a plan, and consciously choose to schedule it as a priority. I personally see it as a duty and responsibility we have to our higher self, and we do not need anyone’s approval (other than our own) to do so. It’s self-respect at it’s best! If we aren’t in charge, then who is?

So, I am going to keep today’s post light and fun, especially since some of you may still be catching up / finishing up with the I AM exercise that was part of my blog, Exercising the I AM in You. And, since I believe in total transparency, I also needed to schedule some posts for publication in advance for while I was away.  My intention (as I type this) is to disconnect and do a digital detox while at Kripalu. Digital detoxes are also a much needed thing we can all benefit from every now and again….disconnect to reconnect!

Remember how as kids we always needed to get a permission slip signed for a filed trip or class trip of some kind? Perhaps you are the one signing them now if you have children. Well……here goes……

I invite you to make  your own permission slip for the field trip, activity or pampering you have been needing, the dream you’ve been holding onto, the thoughts you haven’t allowed yourself to voice, or any other activity your heart is telling you it needs. Like one of the pages in the I Am Her book says, “Give yourself permission to live.”

  • Take out a sheet of paper and at the top of it write: I Give Myself Permission To
  • At the very bottom of it, write: Starting This Very Moment
  • You are now ready to list the things you will be giving yourself permission to do

Perhaps this is an activity you would also like to share with your Tribe. It’s always fun to share these types of activities with those girlfriends who support and encourage one another. It’s also a good way to hold yourself, and each other, accountable. Make a night of it, host a pot-luck dinner or a happy hour and gather around the table. Have nice art supplies of all kinds if you really want to make it special. That’s  the event planner in me speaking – a simple idea evolves into an “event” of some sort. One thing I know from experience though is that a fun time will be had by all!

Now go take charge, and enjoy yourself!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Turn Your Light On

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” Marianne Williamson

I think we can agree that at one time or another in our lives we have played small. Perhaps some of us are still playing small. At some point though, we realize that what we are doing is of great disservice to our Self, our Spirit, our Soul. This is one example of how we give our power away. The idea is not to play small, but to turn on our own light for it will allow others to do the same.  In shining our own light, we are lighting and paving the way for others. We are choosing to acknowledge our greatness and inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start. 

Hopefully, you are finishing up Day 7 of the I AM exercise and glowing brighter and brighter with each passing day! Here’s a little inspirational piece from the I Am Her book as well as a  little Compliment Practice you may want to try out.

“She unfurls her wings. She speaks her mind. She is a beautiful parcel of boldness and grace, all wrapped together, brilliant. Shining. The more of her own light she allows to shine, the more others shine too. From high up, she imagines they must look like a constellation.

 

Compliment Practice

Draw a BIG heart and in it write all the nice things people say about you.

 

Shine on darlings, and watch what starts to happen. Oh, and one more thing…Remember to keep loving your EXTRAORDINARY self!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC