When Things Feel Out of Control

“ Your choices of action may be limited-but your choices of thoughts or not.“ Abraham-Hicks

“What if nature needed a break from the pain. What if she was desperately tired of humanity’s old and toxic ways. And there was only one dire way she could do for them to change. So she sent all her children to isolation. Even if it meant making some of them ill. And force them all to look within. So that the poison stops pumping her veins. While the rivers washed all clean. And the ocean breathe easier. And the animals roam free. And the air replenished itself. Even politicians were forced to face the consequences of their actions and this made them change their ways. And the metal machines stopped polluting the air. And the first time in a long time the world returned to silence. And nature grew over its wounds. And humans became better humans to themselves and to each other. And they stopped pretending to be robots. And they were able to let themselves rest. And they were able to feel and heal. And they didn’t have somewhere or someone to be. And they looked inside themselves. And they all met their souls. And through their separation they came together. And through their isolation they learned they were never really alone. What if nature threw in chaos. To send us all back home to peace.”

I’m sure many of you saw the above quote, by Sattori, on social media. It sure does seem that Mother Nature is realigning all things on planet earth, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you, but it really spoke to my heart and soul, and I truly hope that it speaks to the heart and soul of every person, everywhere, however they come across it.

And regardless of the outcome, which I’m certain will be a whole new beautiful world, the process can, and is, scary for many. Uncertainty can cause fear and anxiety as well as bring up all sorts of triggers for people.

Let’s face it, we’ve become a society that is so disconnected from “Self” and so “busy” running away from our Self, that being quarantined/sheltered at home (with many of the people we also run away from) can amp up our stress levels to epic proportions.

I believe that one of the keys to keep us calm and sane is to discern between what we can and can’t control. This may mean sitting down and actually making a list for each. But not to worry, I am here to help identify some of the things you can control when things feel out of control.

For starters, you can control how you start your day. Will you automatically reach for your electronic device and fill your space with noise and mental chatter, or will you take a few deep breaths, maybe stretch a bit, practice a little gratitude or say a prayer?

Next, you can control how you are going to show up for your Self, how you are going to treat your Self, how you are going to show up for others, and how you treat those around you. Are you kind, loving, compassionate, patient and forgiving of yourself? Do you approach your family, friends, loved ones, spouse, partner and pets with kindness, love, compassion, empathy, dignity, patience, respect, integrity and nonviolence?

You can also control how you react to a situation, how you respond to uncertainty and how you express your feelings, thoughts and emotions. Do you act or react when a challenging situation arises? Do you take the time to identify what’s happening inside of you when a challenge or trigger arises? Do you pause, create space and allow your natural awareness to arise? Do you allow yourself the space to be mindful and non-judgmental?

You also control the choices that impact you on all levels of your being: how much social media you choose to consume, what you share on social media, and what or who you follow online. Be mindful of when it’s becoming more than just “staying informed.” Given the climate of our society today, and the fear mongering and divisiveness that unfortunately exist, we have a moral responsibility to not add to these states. Be wise and smart and do your research. Before posting anything, check the source, do some fact checking and commit to only sharing what is true. After all, not every article posted on social media is legit, regardless of how it looks or sounds. Know the source and know the people you can trust.

Another area you can control are boundaries you need in place that will get you through the difficult and challenging times. Just remember that we all need to protect our energies. It’s ok if you feel like changing your mind. It’s ok to want to be alone. It’s ok to rest. It’s ok speak up. It’s ok to let go. It’s ok to take time for yourself to breathe, ground, and connect to Source. It’s ok to use your self-regulating tools now more than ever. Its ok to make the time for your hobbies. It’s ok to get creative. It’s ok to be unsure. And it’s ok to opt out of overwhelming discussions.

Lastly, you can control how are you respond to the fears of others. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just hold a space for someone to share their fear and respond with understanding and respect. Nothing more, nothing less. Just hold space. For each and every single one of us are doing the best we can with the consciousness and awareness that we have.

Hopefully, this blog has assisted you in some way. Perhaps you will find more things as areas of your life that you can effectively control and identify those ruminating and unproductive thoughts that you need to toss to the curb.

This global pandemic of our time is an opportunity for us to re-group, re-align and re-define who we want to be in the space we occupy in the world. It’s a time for feeling, healing- mind, body and soul- awakening, and raising the vibration of the collective consciousness.

And on this note, I will leave you with a beautiful prayer written by one of my favorite human beings on earth, Seane Corn, for her book: Revolution of the Soul.

“May this (the reading of this book) be an opportunity for healing, awakening, and remembering to occur in mind, body, and spirit, may we see beyond our own stories, letting go of everything we think we know and embracing spiritual perception, which is limitless and beyond reason, seeing all moments and all souls as holy. May we have the strength to do our inner work so we may confront our limiting beliefs, mature our awareness, and expand our intuitive knowing. May we be fearless in our pursuit for personal awakening and open ourselves to the God within and the God within all. May we love bigger, boulder, and more brilliantly than we ever thought possible; heal the divisions that exist; and have the courage to expose that which no longer serves our light. And as we heal, as we awaken, and as we work to evolve our soul, may we understand what it is that binds and bonds all of us as one, in God and in love. May we step in to the Mystery, and into this revolution with our hearts open, our minds clear, and our souls emblazoned in Grace. May God lead, love inspire, and our actions fuel each other, this nation, and our world into peace. Amen. Shalom. Salaam. Namaste. Who. Shanti. Peace. Om.

Finding Our Common Ground

Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.” Tom Robbins

Greetings, darlings!

You all know how I love to share. Someone very wise once said to me, “Sharing is caring.” It sure is!

You may also know that I love reading Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. She usually writes about what she’s been thinking during the past week, and she also shares stories and writings from people she calls Architects of Change.

It’s always an enjoyable read. I look forward to making a cup of tea and reading it first thing Sunday mornings. If for some reason I don’t get around to doing so, then it’s one of the last things I read before turning in for the night.

This past Sunday’s piece really spoke to me. It speaks to differences, kindness, compassion, friendship, love, politics, beliefs, respect, judgement, separation and the insanity of it all. So, in the spirit of caring, I am sharing with you the piece Maria Shriver wrote, Finding Our Common Ground:

We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK.”

Those were the words that Ellen DeGeneres used to defend herself after people became outraged by a picture of her sitting next to former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game.

It was, and is, stunning to me that she felt she had to defend herself for sitting next to someone who she considers a friend, but who happens to have different political opinions. I mean, let’s all pause and let that sink in for a moment.

Two people watching a football game. Two people enjoying themselves and their friendship. Two people being kind to each other. That makes people mad?

Are we supposed to only talk to, sit with, and be friends with people who share our exact same opinions about God, country, and politics? Look, I was against the war in Iraq, and I was furious that the Bush administration led us into that years-long battle that took the lives of thousands of young Americans. I know their families will never fully recover. I understand their pain.

I also know that many felt their loved ones gave their lives for their country, and that they take great pride in their service. I also understand that many people — regardless of whether they had a loved one fighting in the war — are still angry that the Bush administration got our country into that situation in the first place.

Still, I worry that most who reacted negatively to Ellen’s picture were only reacting because of their own personal opinions. They couldn’t give her the respect to make her own choice about her beliefs, her friendships, or whom she chooses to spend time with.

These days, people just seem to despise anyone who is not in their political wheelhouse. Can we not be friends with someone from a different political party anymore? Can we not be friends with someone from a different religious background? Can we not be friends with someone who comes from a different walk of life, or who is a different color, or who has different experiences than our own? Is that where we are now as a nation and as people? I fear that for many, the answer is “yes.”

I understand that many are reacting strongly right now because tensions are so high in our nation. A lot of people are hurting, scared, struggling, and worried about where we’re headed next. Many fear the “other” because they view those different than them as a threat to their own lives, futures, and beliefs. But if you ask me, our political problems will only deepen if we all retreat into our own corners.

It’s this kind of thinking that is driving us apart. It’s this that is keeping us apart and preventing our families, our friendships, our politics, and our country from coming together and bridging the divide. It’s this kind of thinking — this kind of judgment — that was hurled at Ellen. This should cause us all to stop and dig deep within ourselves.

Is this really who we want to be? Is this really what we want to teach our children? Is this how we truly feel? I don’t believe it is. I won’t accept it, and I don’t think you should either.

Think about how you feel when hate and judgment are directed your way. Does it make you feel good? Does it make you want to show kindness and love to yourself and others? Of course not.

“When I say be kind to one another, I don’t only mean to people that think the same way that you do,” Ellen also said this week. “I mean be kind to everyone.”

The reaction to Ellen sitting with former President Bush presents us all with a teachable moment. Do we, or do we not, want to be leaders of a movement that fosters kindness, acceptance, compassion, understanding, and love? To be such a leader — to be such a warrior — takes guts. It takes an open heart and an open mind.

It’s easy to spew hate, but it’s also small-minded. It’s easy to post a mean tweet, but it is also cowardly and weak. It’s so easy to criticize and judge, but it’s way harder to love someone who is different than you, or who you think is different than you.

I believe it’s our job right now to try and figure out what we have in common. After all, God only knows we are really good at letting everyone else know how divided we are and how much we don’t have in common.

Maybe we both love football. Maybe we both have issues with our parents. Maybe we both have felt like the “other” at some point in our lives. Maybe we both have felt like we don’t belong and like we must cover up our wounds. Maybe we both feel shame about something that we’ve done wrong and desperately want to right. Maybe we both are worried about the state of our nation’s heart and want to find common ground so we can work together to do better. Maybe, just maybe, Ellen and former President Bush were talking about that.

The fact is, we will never know what we have in common — we will never heal our divide — unless we can agree to sit down next to someone unexpected and begin a friendship. Try it and see how it makes you feel. It just might heal your heart, your world, and our world at large.

If you don’t subscribe to the Sunday Paper, you may want to consider doing so. It is one email I love seeing in my inbox first thing Sunday mornings, and I bet you will too!

So what do you say? Are you up for finding our common ground?

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Mind over Matter

“The real meditation is how you live your life.” Job Kabat-Zin

Jon Kabat-Zin is known as the Godfather of modern Western mindfulness meditation. He’s been preaching and teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for decades. This is a program that teaches us mindfulness skills to use in our daily lives.

I had the pleasure of seeing him at an Omega Institute Being Yoga Conference many years ago where he was one of the keynote speakers. It was so impactful to see and witness how “present” and powerful he was. Even when silent, and scanning the audience as he made eye contact, he exuded power and presence.

I recall remarking to myself that I wanted to have this effect whenever I had to speak before a large crowd. I wanted to drink the “mindfulness cool-aid.” And that I did because, ever since then, one of my daily goals and aspirations in life has been to show up and be present wherever and with whomever I am.

Being able to stay afloat in today’s world, and having tools to self-regulate, was part of several conversations I had with a couple of friends this past weekend. Everything today is fast and furious, and the sands of time seem to be slipping by rapidly. Having tools, and utilizing them, can help us to slow down, regroup, regain some clarity, enjoy time with friends and loved ones and even strengthen relationships.

The point of being mindful is to live in the moment and appreciate whatever it is that shows up without having a meltdown or feeling like we’re just spiraling into a dark abyss. In order to do this, we must be mindful or “in the moment.” We must allow ourselves opportunities to “land and arrive” in our bodies and then be fully aware of whatever it is we are doing in that moment. Even sipping tea, washing dishes, or cutting vegetables are all opportunities for us to be present and focus on what we are doing.

So…..after a weekend of much conversation, home-made scrumptious food and jokingly “trying to solve the problems of the world,” I chuckled as I came across the latest issue of Breathe magazine. It is appropriately titled The Mindfulness Special.

If you’ve never held this beautiful magazine in your hands, I suggest you treat yourself to one. The magazine contains articles on wellness, kindness, mindfulness and inspiration…. right up my alley! It’s filled with practical, short pieces that allow us to inhale and exhale deeply. I guess that is why the magazine is called Breathe.

I decided to peruse it when I got on the train for my ride home from visiting my friends this past weekend. As I flipped through the articles and the pages, I came to the back of the magazine. I took the time to read Mind over Matter because it was all quotes, from a variety of people, designed to inspire us to live in the moment. Who doesn’t love a good quote?

I, for one, am a sucker for good quotes; so, in the spirit of stewardship, love, caring and sharing, I will leave you all with these precious gems that will allow you to pause, land, arrive, inhale and exhale deeply.

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. Mother Teresa

Training your mind to be in the present moment is the number one key to making healthier choices. Susan Albers

In today’s rush, we all think too much, seek too much, want to much, and forget about the joy of just being. Eckhart Tolle

Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. Maya Angelou

Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts. Buddha

Look for the answer inside your question. Rumi

Pure awareness transcends thinking. It allows you to step outside the chattering negative self-talk and your reactive impulses and emotions. It allows you to look at the world once again with open eyes. And when you do so, a sense of wonder and quiet contentment begins to reappear in your life. Mark Williams

The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear. Prasad Mahes

Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it’s outside when it is inside. Ramana Maharshi

Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance. Amit Ray

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. Jon Kabat-Zin

Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world. Amit Ray

Mindfulness is like that-it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life. Thich Nhat Hanh

Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax. Bryant McGill

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without figuring it will always be the way (which it won’t). James Baraz

It is my hope that the above quotes touch something in all of us, and that we all continue to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart… right from the start!

Breathe…

Inhale Love and Light… Exhale Grace and Gratitude, JTC

College Admissions Scam

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” Khalil Gibran

Greetings darlings!

As I was checking my emails this morning, I came across Mallika Chopra’s blog on the college admissions cheating scam. Being all too familiar with the expectations, absurdities, insane practices and stresses related to getting a child into college, I put aside the blog I was working on for today and instead decided to share the outstanding blog Ms Chopra wrote.

Not only is it on-point, but it also puts parenting styles into perspective and places what is truly most important in clear view: a child’s overall well being. In addition, it offers us all opportunities to have meaningful conversations with our children, colleagues, peers, friends and family.

Enjoy the read and share if you care!

Dear Friends

As my phone exploded with texts from friends about the college admissions cheating scam, my reaction was sadness and non-surprise. It also forced me to reflect on my own achievement orientation and parenting style.

In the last month, my frustrated conversations with friends and family has involved testing accommodations, affirmative action against Asian student, sports recruiting, legacy admissions, inherent advantage for the affluent, donations, and most importantly, the tragic reality of suicide in colleges. I have also had really honest, sometimes uncomfortable, conversations with friends about how an elite college education can transform the social and economic path for some families and communities whereas for others (like mine) it is assumed it is part of our children’s path.

The college bribery and cheating scandal is about fraud, and how rich parents have made moral sacrifices and criminally participated in a scheme to get their kids into college. But the problem lies deeper and we need to start addressing the root causes of a system that is not only rigged, but creating anxiety for our kids.

Our kids are anxious, stressed out, tired, over diagnosed, and over medicated. The system as a whole is to blame – schools, colleges, testing organizations, counselors, therapists, and the list goes on and on. And while the system is broken, we as parents need to take responsibility. 

When we send kids messages that success is dependent on getting into a certain college, we are stripping their soul of living a meaningful life. When we overschedule our kids so they can pad their resumes with varsity sports, club teams, volunteering, and justify that they love it, even if they don’t get enough sleep, we as parents need to take responsibility. When we let our kids take an overload of AP’s and honors classes, and say that their counselor said they can do it and it’s necessary for college admissions, and then we see our kids on edge, we as parents, need to take responsibility. When we stress about our kid’s ACT or SAT scores, and burden them with extra tutoring, we are playing into the system. When we justify getting our kid’s extra time on testing or letting them have unneeded medication to stay alert, while perhaps deep down inside knowing they don’t need it or we didn’t do everything to avoid it, we are sending our kids a message about what matters most to us. 

As parents we need to send our kids a different message. 

• Sleep, right now, is the most important aspect of your health and happiness.

• Who you are as a person matters more than what you achieve.

• I believe in you and your abilities, and am proud of what you choose to do.

• Teenage years should be a time of discovery. 

• If you aren’t passionate about something, even if you have been doing it for a while, its ok to try something else.

• It is ok to fail. By failing, you learn.

• Be bored. That’s when creativity often bursts forth.

• Just because “everyone” is doing it, doesn’t mean you need to.

• When you are kind, I am so proud of you.

• How can we give back to the world?

• I love you.

Kahlil Gibran reminds us that:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

As parents, it is our responsibility to transition from an achievement-oriented discussion in our homes to one of nurturing our kids to know that they are special. Our role is to help guide our children to discover their unique talents to find connection and to serve their communities and their world. Let us remember that our children are sacred gifts. We can best serve them, and ourselves, with unfiltered love and genuine acceptance.

It is my hope that Mallika Chopra’s blog will get everyone thinking about our children’s overall well-being and perhaps even how we perpetuate a system that is destroying our children’s physical, mental and emotional health. May this blog spark reflections, questions and opportunities for deep-diving conversations.

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Mingle All the Way

The best present we can give someone is our undivided, distraction-free presence.” -jtc

Greetings, darlings!

If you’ve kept up with my blogs, or read enough of them, you probably know how much I adore props, activities, snacks and champagne. They are all necessary ingredients for enjoyable, fun, entertaining and celebratory gatherings. You probably have also learned how much I love to share…. whether it be experiences, books, magazines, meditations, affirmations, programs, websites, webinars, activities, prompts for journaling and questions for contemplation and growth.

So, it’s no surprise I knew I had to share the following questions I came across in the December issue of O Magazine:

  • What are your true feelings about the holidays?
  • What is one of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
  • What is the thing you are most grateful for that happened in the past year?
  • Who is a person you met this year that surprised or delighted you and why?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given or received?

These questions are ways to have more meaningful and engaging conversation. We can type them up, put them on lovely cards or stationary (remember… presentation, presentation, presentation) or on the backside of seating cards. Or, we can place them in a lovely decorative bowl, pass it around and have each person select a question to answer. The other thing we can do is just to have them committed to memory, or carry with us, and use them as polite conversation starters at a party where we may not know everyone. It’s definitely a fun way to “mingle all the way.”

I will share with you the person who I was blessed to meet this year that both surprised AND delighted me. Ready? Drumroll please…I got to meet a 35 year old nephew I did NOT know I had!!! My brother fathered a child between his first and second marriage- right smack in the middle of his four children. It all came to light when one of my nieces did AncestryDNA and was then contacted by David, who shares sibling genes with her. My two youngest nieces and I kept in contact with him for a several months until he was in town a few weeks ago and we met for dinner.

If there was one thing the four of us shared, it was our open hearts. We were all beyond excited to meet and were very welcoming of each other. We all look forward to getting together when he’s in town again. More importantly though, we look forward to being in each others’ lives. THAT is such a gift!

I cannot begin to tell you how easy and comfortable it was to gather around the table and share a meal. For me, it felt like I had known this handsome, smart, personable and successful young man my entire life. That’s how easy it felt to be in his company. If anyone looked at our table, there’s no way they’d guess we had just met. I only wished he could have been in town for my 60th birthday weekend and all the celebrations. I would have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED to introduce him to all my friends. Patience, JT, patience…. the day will come!

Darlings, whatever the occasion, festivity, gathering or party, I encourage you all to be present. Engage fully with others, look other people in their eyes, smile, and maybe put some of those questions to use. Remember though, just be prepared to answer some of them as well… wink, wink!

Stay calm, and mingle on!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

How Do You Cemetery?

“Life just gives us time and space. It’s up to us to fill it with joy and meaning.”

This time of year, as I have previously written about, I find myself thinking about my Mama a lot because I lost her 2 weeks before my 50th birthday. Memories pop us…some happy…others sad. But the memories that stand out the most are the happy, celebratory ones.

You see, the event planner in me enjoys celebrations of all kinds….life, death and everything in between. There are moments of joy and happiness to be found everywhere. We just have to choose to look there and live in that space.

Mama enjoyed a great celebration and always loved to honor those who passed before her. And, my Honey-Honey always appeased her and took her for rides to the cemetery to “visit” with all the friends and family interred there. Once my dad passed away, the duties fell on me and my brother. As a matter of fact, my brother and Mama had quite the routine. They’d stop for Italian sandwiches sometimes, or at Mazur’s Bakery for some Italian pastries, which they would then enjoy while “visiting” with my father.

Mama said it brought her comfort to visit with dad even though she knew his spirit was no longer there. But something about knowing his bones were there brought her peace. Truthfully speaking, I’ve never been one for the whole cemetery thing. However, since losing Mama, and knowing how much she LOVED visiting there, I have taken to going 2-3 times a year. Usually around Mother’s Day, her anniversary and Christmas. The Christmas blanket is a must!

What else is a must? Well, for that, I have my cemetery partner in crime, Patti (aka Mother Superior / MS). We have taken cemetery field trips to another level! We too stop at the Italian Deli, the liquor store for a bottle of Chianti, my customary roses that I leave on top of the tombstones and, this year, MS brought along sunflowers since those were her dad’s favorite. We lay out a picnic blanket, chat, eat, toast and sip as we make our way thru the various stops we make. Oh, and no plastic wine glasses! This year, Patti came armed with “Grateful” and “Thankful” wine glasses…..presentation, presentation, presentation!

Needless to say, our “visits” usually last somewhere in the vicinity of 2 hours. I’m sure they make Mama smile AND cringe at the same time. As far as Frankie, Patti’s dad (and former bartender in Hoboken) goes, he is probably really proud of us. I can see him smiling down at us! Oh, and we usually leave our mark by Frankie and place the empty Chianti bottle by his tombstone.

Yep…..I am turning into my mother but have stepped it up a few notches. I get where she was coming from….you can’t beat the peace and quite, green grass under your bare feet, the lovely sunshine on warm as well as cold days, the falling leaves, and the majestic landscape when snow has fallen.

My darlings, it’s all about the celebration! More importantly, it’s about the attitude and joie de vivre….the zest, exuberance, verve and effervescence we bring to our daily lives and the lives of those around us. Yes, life serves us up a plenty of sucky” situations. As Sheryl Sandberg notes in her bestseller, Option B, sometimes we must just “lean into the suck.”  However,  it does not mean we have to wallow there. I believe a healthy dose of gratitude and a little celebratory cheerfulness go a long way. They keep us afloat and in good spirits when we are faced with adversity as well as sad, painful and heart wrenching moments….especially when we lose a loved one.

Live it up…live out loud….live a succulent life! What’s the flip side? Six feet under….we’re all headed there. Each day brings us one day closer to when we leave this physical world. While we are still here, what do you say we do it in style? Always and in all ways. Carry on!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Living a Succulent Life

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” -Khalil Gibran

One of the beauties of disconnecting from social media and taking a digital detox is that we can appreciate the fullness of life and the spaciousness of all the hours in a day’s time. It’s like having this huge vessel called “time” at our disposal for us to do whatever we want…to fill it however we want without getting caught up and sucked into endless and mundane hours of social media feeds, emails, texts and phone calls.

Whenever I get away, which is usually for a 3-4 week period, I intentionally unplug. I want to take in Mother Nature’s elements, eyes wide open, feel her gifts and allow the sense of spaciousness, awe and wonder carry me to parts unknown. Oftentimes, those parts unknown are the deep dark places in my soul that are calling for some attention and want to come out and play. I find myself so totally present and immersed in my surroundings, that I lose track of the time of day. As a matter of fact, time isn’t even an issue, unless I have to be showered, dressed and  ready to go out somewhere.

What I found this past August was that my days seemed extra long. There was a sense of expansiveness and vastness, as if extra hours had miraculously been added to my days – more so than other times I’ve unplugged and disconnected. In addition to being off social media, I barely had my phone on me. When I got to it, I got to it. The other thing I find during these periods is how my creativity gets sparked, how ideas for future blogs seem to pop up, and how many books I get to read. More importantly though, I love the sense of lightness, clarity, mindful presence, and the peace and calm that washes over me and carries me through my days. I like how being 100% present for whomever I am with feels deep down in my soul. Time is sacred my darlings, and we should not take it for granted by filling it with meaningless pollution that robs it of its sacredness.

These periods also offer a window into the lives of people who are living in a total state of distraction. People who can barely complete a sentence without looking down at their phones and getting caught up in a text, alert of some kind, or sucked into the dark hole of social media feed “oblivion.” Forget about even having a meaningful conversation when they can’t even complete a distraction-free sentence.

I may have asked you before, but do you cringe when you  hear people go on and on about how “busy, very busy, very very busy they are?”  Or is it just me? I often wonder if being able to say how “busy” we are is some sort of badge of honor. A badge of honor that leads to exhaustion, lack of sleep, meaningless conversation, lack of wonder, creativity, and appreciation for the enormous amount of untapped beauty, nature and magic that surrounds us. A badge of honor that is keeping us from living a wild and succulent life. Mother Nature’s gifts are all there for us to see, feel, hear, smell and taste. What are we waiting for? Why are we waiting? The time is NOW to live fully and to take big juicy bites out of life. If not now, then when? Darlings, let this blog be an invitation for living a succulent life!

As if on cue, when I got home and was unpacking and putting away my journal, magazines, etc., I happened to notice that one of my favorite books seemed to pop out of nowhere. The delightful book, Succulent Wild Woman – Dancing with Your Wonder-Full Self! by SARK is a fave of mine because it is jammed packed with inspiration and topics like being and becoming a succulent wild woman, fears, outrageous adventures, blocks to succulence, healing, sexuality, love and romance, creative expression, money and power, building a succulent community, and more. At the end of each chapter there are even books, resources and music to further guide and awaken our wonder-full Self.

Also on cue, when I picked up the book it opened to a very colorful page and the title, which spanned both pages, read “Being a Succulent Wild Woman.”  The book is also adorably colorful, entertaining and done in her handwriting by the way. Well, I just have to share all these little golden nuggets with you. Some of these nuggets may seem a little “out there” for some of us, and for others of us it will be nothing short of an ordinary happenstance. So, if you feel like you want to delight Mother Nature or feel that you could use a little succulence in your life, here’s a good starting point:

Being a Succulent Wild Woman 

  • Bathe naked by moonlight
  • Marry your self first –  promise to never leave you
  • Buy yourself gorgeous flowers
  • Practice extravagant living
  • Invent your life over if it doesn’t feel juicy
  • Cradle your wonder places like precious babies
  • Be delicious
  • Eat mangoes naked – lick the juice off your arms
  • Discover your own goodness
  • Smile when you feel like it
  • Shout: I’m here! I’m succulent and I’m loud!
  • Be rare eccentric and original
  • Describe yourself as marvelous
  • Paint your soul
  • Investigate your dark places with a flashlight
  • Make more mistakes!
  • Weave your life into a net of love
  • Your are enough you are enough you are enough
  • Celebrate your gorgeous friendships with women
  • Tell the truth faster
  • End blaming
  • Dress to please your self
  • Let your creative spirit rush. Flow. Tumble. Leak. Spring. Bubble. Stream, Dribble out of you
  • Be inwardly outrageous
  • Seek out other succulent wild woman – encourage the sharing of mutual treasures 

I think it’s time I re-read this book, considering I am entering a new decade in life! As a matter of fact, I may just start as soon as I finish writing this blog, especially since it’s a rainy, gloomy Sunday, and that sets the stage for a perfect and quiet day of reading.

Wishing you much succulence today and always!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Be a Queen & Own Your Power

“May you listen to the voice within the heart even when you are tired. When you feel yourself breaking down, may you break open instead. May every experience in life be a door that opens your heart, expands your understanding and leads you to freedom.” 

In honor of Mother’s Day,  I didn’t want to approach this blog in the  traditional way of celebrating all our mothers and everyone out there, men included, who do their fair share of “mothering.” Instead, I want us to celebrate the Mother who lives in each of us. Where or how do we start? Well, going within of course!

Please pause for a moment to center yourself. You may want to clear your space with some sage , incense or even light a candle. Take a few deep, slow breaths. As you do so, feel your heart expand. Feel the Love that is the essence of who you are. You may want to close your eyes here, and take as many breaths as you need to feel grounded, centered and serene. When ready, ask yourself these questions….. and you may even feel inspired to journal away!

  • How do you mother yourself?
  • Do you listen to the great mother voice within?
  • If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Do you allow your inner Mother to take care of you?
  • If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Do you approach your inner Mother with a heart wide open?
  • If so, in what ways?
  • Do you approach your inner Mother from a place of loving-kindness, compassion, understanding, and wisdom of the ages that has been handed down to you?
  •  If not, why not?
  • Do you operate from a place of Love, or do you keep your heart padlocked under lock and key?
  • If your heart is secured tighter that a federal reserve bank, what are the blocks, obstacles or limiting beliefs that are keeping you from operating from a place of Love?

The art of writing / journaling offers us opportunities to delve deep. The deeper we dig and go within the heart and soul, the more layers we peel away, the more cobwebs we clear away, and the more we will be able to step into our power…the more we can claim our glory. And if that isn’t liberating, then I don’t know what is!

In honor of our inner Great Mother, I want to share something that was written by Oprah Winfrey. I found it in one of my many notebooks, of course, as I was trying to piece together inspiration for today’s blog. Another source of inspiration came from one of my beautiful teachers who planted the “inner mother” seed in class today, and it got me thinking…. So, on this Mother’s Day;

Be a Queen…Own Your Power

Be a queen. Dare to be different. Be a pioneer. Be a leader. Be the kind of woman who in the face of adversity will continue to embrace life and walk fearlessly toward the challenge.

Take in on. Be a truth seeker, and rule your domain, whatever it is: your home, your office, your family – with a loving heart.

Be a queen. Be tender. Continue to give birth to new ideas, and rejoice in your Womanhood.

We are daughters of the “Goddess” here to teach the world how to Love. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, where you came from, who your parents are, or your social or economic status. None of that matters. What matters is how you choose to express that Love through your work, through your family, through what you have to give to the world.

Be a Queen. Own Your Power and Your Glory.

So on this Mother’s Day,  regardless of your gender, love your inner Mother.  Love her some more. Better yet, just love more. Love everyone and everything. Glance at strangers, and send them love too. And remember to send out your love to our Great Mother Earth while you’re at it!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC