Who is She?

“Her presence makes the world a better place. Who is she? She is me. She is you.” 

Hello darlings! I know many of you have committed to the activity in my previous blog, Exercising the I AM in You, so I am going to keep the next couple of blogs short. The inspirational pieces I am going to share with you, in the next couple of posts, come from this delightful and precious book by Compendium called I Am Her. It’s actually a beautifully and artistically designed book of quotations, vignettes and questions to inspire all the women in your life.

Who is She?

She is a daughter. She is a best friend. She is a pocketful of light. She is a spark of something good, getting brighter; a dream grown large; the right thing at the right time.

She is a dancer, a singer, a thinker, a truth-teller. A connoisseur of all the things this wide world has to offer. Her spirit is the first thing people notice. Her mind always had a mind of its own. Her heart. though it has sometimes been hurt, bears a strong resemblance to a daffodil; it always flowers again.

So she wakes with anticipation. She finds new hills to climb. And everyone agrees that the very fact of her in the world means there is still so much good to come.

Who is she? She is me. She is you.

Hopefully, you are all enjoying the I AM exercise and unearthing the beauty, talents, gifts and uniqueness that makes you who you are!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

Exercise the I AM in You

“All of us are seeking the same thing. We share the desire to fulfill the highest, truest expression of ourselves as human beings….the most valuable gift you can give yourself is the time to nurture the unique spirit that is you.” -Oprah

As children, we are taught to love others and treat them with kindness and compassion; yet, we rarely heard the message that it first starts with us. I don’t know about you, but I feel the most important lesson that should be taught early on in life is to do just that: Love and accept ourself, show up for ourself with loving-kindness, compassion and understanding. Take care of our beautiful soul and nurture it with food for all the senses. The value in this lesson is that we learn to put our Self first, and not in a selfish way, but in a self-preserving way!

Fast forward to when we are in our adult lives, and we will most likely get to the point where we seem to be unraveling, disconnected, lost, not grounded, spiraling, fatigued, anxious, and exhausted from doing, doing, doing and giving, giving, giving. Why? Because we are doing and giving to others. We are “do-ing” instead of “be-ing.” We’ve all heard the adage, “If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of anyone else.” Why is that so difficult to do? We’ve put ourselves at the bottom of the “to do” list, that’s why!  We should have been at the top of the list all along had we been taught to do so early on in life.

Somewhere along the line, we find ourselves lacking joy, stamina, wonder, love, excitement, creativity and a host of other things. We are quick to see the gifts in others and admire them in ways we seem to have lost the ability to do for ourself. We lose touch with our true essence and the connection to that divine energy that is much greater than us. Where did it go? Well darlings, remember the line from the Wizard of Oz? You’ve had the power all along.” You just mis-placed it, gave it away, ignored it or chose to forget about it all together. There comes a point in your life where you must find it, polish it, step into it and reclaim the divine power and glory that is You. How? Well, a good place to start is to turn inward and start acknowledging your personal gifts and uniqueness. We all have them. We’ve just lost sight of them. Be still and listen!

Look around and take a close look at all the young girls and women of all ages, beautiful women inside and out, who fail to see their beauty, light, uniqueness and gifts because they are so caught up in doing for others or comparing themselves to others. Just think about the behavior that is being modeled for younger generations. It’s certainly not a healthy one. A good way to break this cycle is to first acknowledge the behavior and then consciously “choose” to end this cycle of madness and struggle. Instead of prioritizing your schedule, schedule your priorities (when I heard my lovely friend Christy once say this, I felt a shift occur in my mind). And if you’re not sure of your priorities, a great way to re-claim them is to identify your “non-negotiables.” As I’ve shared before, mine are prayer, yoga, meditation, sleep, water, nutritious foods, exercise (and other self-care practices). Nothing, or no one, comes between me and my non-negotiables. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way! What are the things your mind, body and soul need in order to “show up” for yourself in a healthy, kind, compassionate, mindful and peaceful way? And by the way, leave the guilt at the door when doing so! These are the things that need to be a priority on your schedule. Along with the guilt, leave the prioritizing of the schedule in the past, and start scheduling your priorities!

Another powerfully insightful way to identify and connect with your personal gifts, uniqueness and divine power is a wonderful exercise called I AM. If my memory serves me correctly, I first did it as part of Iyanla Vanzant’s Inner Vision Institute Do the Work series. It “appears” to be a simple task and one you may have doubts about. It may also be one that you struggle with as you try to “come up” with what to write. You see, with each passing day, you will most certainly find yourself delving deeper and deeper, excavating and finding those long-lost gifts you have buried or, perhaps, never even acknowledged.  You do this exercise for 7 consecutive days, and all it requires is a pen and paper (no typing – it must be hand-written).

Directions:

As will all sacred practices / rituals, I suggest you take a moment to perhaps light a candle, clear your space, burn some sage, palo santo or incense. Take a few deep breaths, get comfortable, set an intention and don’t over-think. Approach the activity with an open mind and open heart! Now take a piece of paper (you may want to do this in your journal) and write Day 1 at the top. Then, below that, write I AM. Number your paper from 1-40. You are now ready to say to yourself, “I am……” and write whatever comes up next to each number. Do not judge or over-think – just go with the flow! You will do this for 7 consecutive days. 

Believe me, you will be amazed and in awe of the magnitude of what you have written. It will leave you feeling empowered, strong and in love with You. No one….I will say it again….no one, can give you the most valuable gift of nurturing the unique spirit that is you other than You! In doing so, you will fulfill your highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being, and not a human “do-ing.”

Happy exercising and remember, just do you…. And love who you are!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Special Wishes for AJ

“And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him” Luke 2:40

Today’s blog is dedicated to a very special little man named Arie Joseph  (AJ). He is my God-daughter’s son who is being baptized today.

In addition to all the prayers, blessings and special wishes that will be showered upon AJ on this day, it is also a very special day for his parents, as is with any rite of passage in a child’s life. On baptism day, parents are up close and personal to the sacrament that brings their child into Christianity. It’s a commitment parents make. It is also a responsibility they have as caretakers of their child’s beautiful mind and soul to instill some sort of belief / faith in them. As a child grows and matures, they may stray from their religion / faith  or maybe even find another one that resonates more for them. Regardless, parents have laid the foundation for spiritual, faith based practices, beliefs, morals and values in hopes of creating a kind, loving, compassionate, wise, responsible and productive citizen of the world.

The experiences of being a first time parent, diapers, dishes, sleep, lack of sleep, food prep, doctor appointments, teething, runny noses, fevers, food allergies, work schedules, child care and other dilemmas (remember- the bigger the child – the bigger the problems) can be daunting and overwhelming. Then throw in how one will discipline the child and the parenting style that both parents may or may not see eye to eye on. Having been in education for 33+ years, I experienced first-hand the chaos, confusion, angst, anxiety, destructive behavior, and struggle that families go through when they are at odds with the basic tenets of how to raise a child. After I ended my career, I came across Dr. Shefali. I don’t recall if I first saw her TED talk or her interview on Super Soul Sunday, but what a game changer she is!

Once you see Dr. Shefali, listen to her, and really hear what she is saying, your life, world and awareness will be forever changed. Had I come across Dr. Shefali’s work sooner, I swear I would have created a parent workshop or parenting classes around her first book, The Conscious Parent. Furthermore, if I ran a private school, this book would be mandated reading for parents and/or caretakers before accepting the child into school. It would also be required reading for the teachers. I am telling you, it’s a book every parent-to-be (or person responsible for raising a child) should read way before they even plan on starting a family (and for anyone working with children). THAT is how POWERFUL Dr. Shefali’s books are! As a matter of fact, I gifted The Conscious Parent to AJ’s parents when I learned they were expecting and also gave my girlfriend Barb (Grandma / Abuela) Dr. Shefali’s other book, The Awakened Family. My darlings, this is definitely a gift that keeps on giving!

If there is anything we have learned by now, is that the “Authoritative” approach to discipline and public shaming does not work. It’s not healthy and is destructive to say the least. Instead of building a child up, enforced disciline and punishment tears the child down – leading to shame, resentment, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, insecurities, hostilities, behavioral issues and other self-sabotaging behaviors…..and yes, it is a form of bullying. One of the things that struck me is how she is able to show us that children are a mirror of our own unresolved issues. In her book, The Awakened Family, Dr. Shefali also shows us how and/or why children’s needs aren’t being met and why they truly feel they are not being “heard” by parents or don’t feel a connection to the parent(s). She poses some profound questions for parents to ask themselves:

  • Where am I as the parent failing to connect with my child?
  • What in the child longs to be recognized, but is being ignored?
  • How can I help mitigate the feelings of inferiority and shame that my child experiences?
  • And most importantly, how am I projecting my own internal shame onto my own child?

In Dr. Shefali’s words, “Unless we begin to turn the spotlight within and ask these difficult questions, our children will live in the legacy of shame that will continue into future generations. And the epidemic of bullying will continue to soar.” Dr. Shefali’s books integrate Eastern and Western philosophies and show us how to parent in an evolutionary and conscious way. She gives us daily skills and tools that are transformational, healing and lead both children and parents to a place of calm, ease and joy. I highly recommend Dr. Shefali’s book to anyone thinking about starting family, just started one, is struggling with the “my way or the highway” style of parenting and/or caretakers responsible for raising children. Her books make an awesome gift for anyone who is being blessed with a new baby in their family. The books are blessings in and of  themselves!

So, on AJ’s special day, I am sending the Diaz-Spencer Families many heartfelt special wishes and blessings and will close with a beautiful prayer from Marianne Williamson’s book, Illuminata – A Return to Prayer.

Dear God, Thank you for the birth of Arie Joseph into the world and into this family.  We offer ourselves this day as caretakers of his spirit and his higher mind. May we fulfill with strength the glory of our role, in AJ’s life and in the lives of his parents, Erica and Doug. May the spirit of this family, from generations past and into the future, burst forth to bless and sustain Arie Joseph. Amen.

Let the celebration begin!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

New Normals & Self Acceptance

“In the midst of difficulty, my curiosity is piqued, and I aim the lance of self-inquiry into the center of my deepest fears. I give myself permission to feel exactly what I feel, to be just as I am, and in that self-acceptance I find the energy, awareness, and a thousand gifts I never guessed were within me all along.” Donna Faulds

I wanted to write this piece as a follow-up to my last blog, The Warrior Goddess in You, because self-acceptance can be very challenging when going through a health challenge and/or the recovery period that follows it. It is very easy to get frustrated with all the things we cannot do, the physical and emotional changes we are undergoing, limitations imposed on us and “unknowns” that sometimes hijack our thoughts.

One thing that is very helpful during this time, is to simply acknowledge that every day is a new day and that you (or the person recovering) will be faced with establishing “new normals” almost daily. I know how it feels to have your wings clipped, be down for the count, and have to rely on others for some of the most basic needs / tasks. It’s not easy, especially if you are extremely independent. Establishing new normals calls for us to shift our perspective, be humble, maintain a sense of humor, and practice acceptance.

Perspective, humility, humor and acceptance are qualities of the mind. Conversely, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity are qualities of the heart. And guess what? These are things that we do have control over. Pause and think about this for a moment. They are also the qualities needed if we want to embrace our “new normal” and still experience joy while doing so.  Don’t get me wrong, a good pity party is called for now and again. We have to cry- and I’m talking ugly, messy crying! Then we  have to put on our big girl panties and forge ahead. Donna Faulds eloquently tells us to go to the center of our deepest fears, to feel and accept. In doing so, we become aware and in tune to our body. This self-inquiry process allows us to appreciate and be grateful for our miraculous body and its gifts – especially its ability to self-regulate and heal. This is powerful as well as empowering!

Time and patience allow us to accept ourselves gracefully and lovingly. We just have to remember that it is a process and one that calls for us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not a competition, nor is it a race to the finish line. We try our best, but stumble at times, and that’s okay! There comes a point where the qualities of the mind and the heart seamlessly merge and they become our compass (as well as our life preserver during the more challenging times). Before we know it, we find gifts that were within us all along!

Affirmations are a powerful tool when stated with intention. I will leave you with some beautiful ones by Tannaz Chubb:

I am open to receiving the many blessings of healing delivered to me by the power of the Universe.

I trust that all changes and transformations are happening for my highest good and that everything is unfolding perfectly.

I gracefully accept the help of those around me in order to release the weight I have been carrying. I do not need to do this alone.

My body, mind and soul is cleansed and restored with a healing, positive, white light.

I am beautiful and perfect just the way I am, I love and respect my body, and am grateful for all that it has provided me with.

I feel strong. I feel confident in my body and in my mind, and through this strength I embrace myself for all that I am.

I embrace and love all that I am. I show myself compassion and forgive myself for all that I once believed was not good enough. I accept myself. 

 

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

The Warrior Goddess in You

“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear and hope to despair” Howard Thurman

Within the past two months, I’ve learned of some friends and acquaintances diagnosed with the big “C” and others that underwent major surgery. In addition, yet others are awaiting to have surgery. Whether it’s a diagnosis, some health issue we’ve investigated, or an injury requiring surgery, our mindset is 80-90% of the battle.

It is at this juncture and critical time when we must call upon our inner Warrior Goddess and prepare for yet another journey.  This journey requires us to step into the fire of transformation once again. We must have the strength, courage and hope that our Phoenix will emerge, and we will be even more aligned, aware and connected to the “I AM” of all that we are, and then some. Regardless of previous diagnosis’, injuries or surgeries we may have had in the past, it is important to remember that the health crisis we are facing is different. Why? Because we have a new perspective.

One of my beloved yoga and meditation teachers brought this to light as I was preparing for surgery two years ago. Even if we are facing the same diagnosis or a similar surgery, it has never happened the exact same way before. It is a new time! Even more importantly, my beloved Angela reminded me to NOT bring a verdict based on my past experience. She further went on to encourage me to experience the situation anew and, even though there will be struggle and difficulty, meet it for what it is and not add past perspectives or perceived problems that may or may not come in the future.

I decided to write this blog a while ago when one of my friends called to ask me how I prepared for my last successful surgery, so that she could share it with a friend of hers who was having surgery. Before sharing with you how my Inner Warrior got ready for “game day,” I must tell you that Shiftforwellness.com was started by my friend Jenn as a result of her battle with cancer ten years ago. It’s a wonderful, beautiful and user-friendly site to visit where she shares a plethora of resources and tools that worked and didn’t work for her – before, during and after her surgery. I am a firm believer in not “reinventing the wheel” and tapping into the wisdom and sage advice of others. I love, respect and admire people who put “their stuff”out there in an effort to light and pave the way for others. I believe this in itself is part of our purpose.

So after my conversation with Jenn, I quickly pulled out my journal from a few years ago and made a list. Intuitively, I knew I had to share this information in a blog. As you should know by now, I am BIG on self-care. We must always make a conscious choice to take care of the Goddess in all of us so that she is ready to step up to the plate when needed. First and foremost, I emailed my tribe of friends and informed them of what was going on. Secondly, I started a Self-Care / Self-Nurturing Journal. One of the things I wrote in it was all the responses my friends emailed me. I wanted to have this readily available if and when the going got mentally and emotionally tough. This way, the beautiful, heart-felt words my friends wrote to me would serve to inspire and motivate me during the challenging times that lay ahead (in addition to reminding me how blessed and loved I am). The other thing I used the journal for was to make an entry every single day leading up to the surgery. Mind you, I started it on October 25, 2015 and my surgery was scheduled for the end of January 2016.

Keeping this journal was a way for me to hold myself accountable for the care and nurturing with which I would shower upon my Inner Goddess. Lastly, the other thing I listed in my journal, was all the “tools” I had that I would be able to tap into at any given time. As I previously said, our mindset is critical. Equally critical is knowing that we are held by that higher power – call it God, The Universe, Nature, Spirit, The Divine – whatever resonates for you personally. I am also a firm believer in the power of prayer. Its collective energy is palpable, powerful and at our fingertips at any given moment. Gathering our prayer warriors is one of the most powerfully energetic, uplifting and inspiring things we can do.

In addition to prayer and intention, some of the “tools”  listed in my Self-Care / Self-Nurturing Journal are as follows:

  • Pranayama (breathwork)
  • Aromatherapy oils and diffusor
  • Music and Mantras
  • Meditations (I especially loved Finding Your Flow which was a past one from the Oprah and Deepak Chopra  21 Day Meditation Series)
  • Guided healing meditations and visualizations
  • Inspirational books (like No Mud, No Lotus)
  • Healing Mandalas coloring book
  • Massage
  • Self-massage
  • Yoga (and chair asanas when I would be unable to get down on the floor)
  • Guided sleep meditations
  • Lavender Eye pillow
  • Energy work / Reiki
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Proper nutrition, lots of H20 and no sugar or alcohol
  • Journaling
  • Affirmations

My darlings, trust me when I tell you that my inner Warrior Goddess was beyond ready for yet another battle. And boy, did she come out to play! One very important thing we must remember though, is to allow ourself rest. Even if it means not taking calls, responding to texts right away, and setting time aside to listen to voicemails and read emails. It can be extremely overwhelming and fatiguing to say the least. And, the body needs sleep in order to heal. The last thing it needs is added stress and discomfort. The other important thing to remember to do is have certain contacts be the “point person” in charge of groups of friends and family. It is virtually impossible and draining to even “think” you can “handle” it all. Not only is it impossible but extremely stressful if you try to exert control over the entire situation.  Instead of holding on and gripping tightly, choose to let go and be held! This is when we must open ourself to receive!

It is my deepest desire that you are able to utilize any of the information I shared with you. Feel free to pass it on to anyone you feel may benefit from it. We all have the ability to tap into the strength and inner fortitude inside of us. However, some of us have a more difficult time doing so.

Always know you are loved and that a higher power is holding you. Remember, you are powerful beyond measure! Take care of the Warrior Goddess within, always and in all ways!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

One Year = 365 Opportunities

“Every day is a fashion show and the world is the Runway” Coco Chanel

Have you ever stood in front of your closet (a pretty packed closet) and felt baffled as to what to wear? Well, according to my mother, it’s because we have too many choices. Over the years, I really started to believe that for myself despite the constant purging and giving away of clothing I’d find myself doing over and over. I’ve gotten to the point where if I buy an article of clothing, some other piece has to go. However, this doesn’t stop me from still standing in front of the closet though. Let’s be real now, when this happens to us, how many times do we end up reaching for the same thing? How infuriating to say the least!

Well, part of my “approach” to this new year is that I am going to channel my inner Goddess and play dress up every day.  So far, so good. Then again, it’s only been 3 days since my birthday. You see, my entire style and approach to fashion has morphed since I stopped working. I went from stylish power suits in every color, design and texture, dresses, jackets and the highest of heels etc., to yoga and work out clothes, sneakers, fun sandals, furry boots and cowgirl boots (I put my own spin on how I wear and accessorize these items though). The “athleisurewear” industry is making a killing, don’t you agree? They are also making it easier and easier to skip “playing dress up” and opting for yummy, comfy clothing. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with yummy, comfy clothing, but what about all those beautiful “to die for and must have” pants, dresses, skirts, sweaters, blouses, shirts, jackets, wraps and scarves we have invested in? And let’s not forget the shoes, boots, heels, handbags, jewelry, gloves, hats, belts and other accessories we’ve purchased to go with these “to die for and must have” items. Well, I know it’s only been 3 days, but I am making a commitment to myself to dress up – even if it’s to go grocery shopping. Yep, you heard me! I will leave yoga or the gym and, instead of going about my day, I will first stop home, shop my closet and accessorize away! I even have a support system – my friend Maureen and I have recently taken to sending each other pictures of our outfits every day. It’s actually quite fun!

The key to all this is to have a very well organized closet. I don’t know about you, but I love my closets and cabinets to look like a store. Organizing closets thrills me. It brings me joy! Let’s face it, there is nothing uglier and more frustrating than opening a closet and finding a disorganized mess everywhere. In my humble opinion, we should treat our belonging with respect and loving care. Ahhh, the feeling I get when I open a closet or drawers and everything is displayed as if it were a boutique! Talk about chills, thrills and vibrations!

Some of my friends like for me to come over periodically and help them with their closets. In an effort to help one “shop her closet” and stop buying (she’s still buying), we created an actual accessories boutique in one of her spare rooms. I can’t tell you how much fun that was! I wore down Ms. Yvonne and even got her to  put up a small chandelier in the room. That room is now complete with a nice comfy chair, 2 ottomans, a tray for cocktails, tea or coffee and a couple of  motivational / inspirational books. It’s a beautiful space for her to pause, collect her thoughts, sip some tea, look around and admire the beautiful items on display and put together the outfit of the day / evening. Creating sacred spaces is something I thoroughly enjoy doing (more on that topic some other time).

If your overall organization skills need help or your home is in need of major decluttering, then Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is the book for you. It’s fabulous! Trust me, this book takes the art of decluttering, organizing and tidying-up to another level. Marie Kondo gives us very specific and detailed guidelines to follow. And, when it comes to clothing and certain items, unless it “sparks joy” then it has no business being in our possession.

Darlings, we can be fashionable without spending tons of money. In addition to being organized, it only takes a little creativity and imagination or maybe even the help of a good shopping buddy (there’s nothing like a shopping partner in crime). Our sense of style evolves over time and with experience. If we have a fairly good sense of who we are and our self-confidence is in check, then half the battle is won. The other half is to be a master mixologist and play around with pairing things up a little differently. My latest inspiration and style obsession is this woman Shauna. You can check her out on Instagram @ Chicover50.

What we wear or don’t wear and how we carry ourselves speaks volumes! We have 365 days a year to make wise, as well as entertaining, fashion-sense decisions that have the power to lift us up or drag us down. The use of color is also instrumental in determining our moods and the impact it has on others around us. Furthermore, our choice of clothing can inspire and motivate all on their own even before we open our mouthes to speak. So, over the next 362 days, I want to have fun playing dress up. There are so many occasions and opportunities to treat the world as our own Personal Runway, so why not make each day a fashion show? Let’s allow the Goddess in us come out and play more often! Just saying”….wink, wink.

What is inspiring your sense of style these days? Remember, presentation, presentation, presentation…. be your own style icon and accessorize away!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

Goddesses Never Age

“Taking all the right supplements and pills. or getting the right procedure done, isn’t the prescription for anti-aging. Agelessness is all about vitality, the creative force the gives birth to new life.” Dr. Christianne Northrup

Today, I am going to literally take a page out of one of my favorite books, Goddesses Never Age- The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality and Well-Being, by Christianne Northrup. I mean literally take a page…..you see, I spent so many hours and days writing my previous post, On This Day, that I was unable to schedule a few posts in advance. And birthday celebrations have taken up quite a bit of time too…wink, wink. Total transparency here my darlings!

This book is one that I highly recommend. I can’t tell you how many copies I’ve bought over the years and given away to the Goddesses in my life before finally keeping one for myself! As a matter of fact, the inscription I wrote in my own book was, “Finally! A copy for myself (smiley face) The journey to agelessness continues. Bring it on you beautiful Goddess (heart).” The page I am sharing with you today is one on using affirmations. I especially love the ones I am going to share with you. They’ve been a big part of my orthopedic rehabilitation. At some point, I photocopied this particular page from the book, and I keep it folded in one of my prayer books. I like to say them as part of my morning ritual.

Using Affirmations

Affirmations are the strongest when they’re in the present tense and are completely positive. Here are a few you can use – but think about writing some of your own too, based on what you’d like to manifest in your life and what you’re grateful for. Say affirmations with meaning and passion. The emotions behind them, the repetition, are what change our biology over time.

  • I am health, strength, peace, happiness and prosperity. Divine Love, expressing through me, now draws me to all that is needed to make me happy and my life complete.
  • My life is unfolding perfectly in ways that are exciting and uplifting.
  • I love taking care of my body. My body responds beautifully to this loving care. 
  • I am a magnet for wealth, health and true love.
  • When I say yes to myself and my needs, my energy always increases, and I feel wonderful.
  • I awaken each morning feeling the promise of a new day and a new beginning.
  • I love moving my body. I love getting stronger and more flexible every day.
  • I am a divine ageless goddess, and I am dearly loved! 

Dr. Northrup suggests to us that we write down our favorites and say them out loud several times a day. As she noted, we can say them while exercising, while driving to work, when cleaning the sink, or whenever.

I will leave you with an excerpt from the book which, I believe, puts us in Goddess mode.

“Remember this: you have the power to be an ageless goddess and to be a living, breathing embodiment of joyful, ageless living – no matter what has gone before. As the saying goes, ‘What you are seeking is also seeking you.’ So who do you really want to be? Who would you be if your age weren’t a factor? Ask yourself these questions every morning and throughout your day. Make that ageless goddess within you feel at home. Bless her, please her, welcome her. Little by little she will show up more and more until one day soon, you will look in the mirror and see a whole new woman smiling back at you. This is your new chapter, your new life. The best is yet to come. I promise.”

My darlings, if there is one thing I’ve  learned about aging, is that we should never say we are “getting old” for it is a privilege and a gift to be alive! Besides, age is a state of mind. I know 80 year olds that have more energy than people decades younger than them. Me? I may have just turned 59, but my mind tells me I’m 35…wink, wink!

Here’s to you….you beautifully radiant, joyous and ageless goddess of a woman reading this!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

On This Day

“On this day, the Lord gave you life. May you use it to serve here.” Snatam Kaur

On this day, October 25, 1958, a baby girl was born and was given the name Jo-Ann Theresa Carricarte. Yep…..me! Apparently, by what I’ve been told, it was a happily anticipated event (I was late) and my birth brought much joy because a baby girl was born into our family. You see, most of my first cousins were males, and the few female cousins were already much older than me. So, I guess I was like a new toy…a doll.

My mama told me that I drew a lot of attention in my early years. If you saw baby pictures you’d understand why.  Suffice to say I have her to thank for my fashionista ways (among so many other things, of course). She dressed me up every single day. I mean really dressed me up…to the nines! When she would take me out in the carriage or stroller, people asked her if she was taking me to a party. Can you imagine?  Mama was every bit the fashionista herself. Those were the days! Everyone dressed up at all times. Women wore fashionable dresses, shoes, hats, gloves, broaches, necklaces and earrings, stunning coats and furs….you rarely saw them in pants. As a matter of fact my only living grand-mother, at the time, passed at 102 never having worn pants. Can you believe that? And the men! Oh the men were dapper in their slicked back hair, structured suits, ties, bow ties, sweater vests, sports jackets, overcoats, hats and polished shoes. Looking back, all my aunts and uncles were every bit fashionistas too! Guess it’s in my DNA! My favorite picture of me, probably around the age of 3, is sitting on a little stool with my legs crossed and sporting a spectacular pair of black lace high heels belonging to my mother. I can still see them in my mind’s eye. They were absolutely gorgeous and stunning! I’m willing to guess that’s how and when my life-long love affair with shoes started. Shoes are my beloved children…wink, wink!

Now onto lessons and blessings. As I look back at every decade in my life thus far, I can clearly see the lessons I was meant to learn and the people / teachers who were instrumental in my learning, growing, evolving and enlightenment – especially in the area of romantic relationships, which is what I will share with you now. I’ll start with my early teens. They were difficult. I really didn’t feel like I “fit in.” I had a strict mother and the strictest of aunts, and my high school years weren’t as fun as you would imagine. As a matter of fact, my high school years were mortifying! Don’t get me wrong, I tried to make the best of those years. Did I mention I went to an all girl Catholic high school and that we lived two doors away from the school? And that I had a super jealous and possessive Cuban boyfriend? What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?

High school was truly mortifying – I wasn’t even allowed to hang out with girlfriends at night and had to have a chaperone when I went out with the boyfriend! In addition, the “tape” that was running through my head at the time was that of when  I was little and my aunts saying, “What’s wrong with that girl? She can’t sit still. What’s the matter with her?” Now darlings, we know JUST how destructive those tapes can be! In one way, shape or form, they become part of the limiting beliefs we start to construct for ourselves. Regardless though, my mother instilled in me the will, desire and drive to be “different” when it came to how I presented myself as well as when it came to fashion, of course. She used to tell me to be a leader and not a follower, and that  I shouldn’t want to “look” like everyone else in a room despite the current fashion trend. Like I said earlier, she was grooming me to be a fashionista (with out me even knowing it). Seriously though, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the influence my parents, grand-mother, aunts and uncles who are no longer with us had on my life. They were made of substance, integrity and dignity and taught me to live my life in that manner. I’m proud of the legacy they left behind, and I try my best to be conscientious and mindfully uphold the values they instilled in me.

So what brought me comfort? Journaling (surprise, surprise), music, and our Saturday shopping trips to Alexander’s in Paramus. My dad would drive, peruse the store, buy himself some cashews, and sit outside on a bench as his ladies had their shopping fun. And boy did we have fun, and did I enjoy putting outfits together! Presentation, presentation, presentation…Thanks, Mama! And Honey-Honey (that’s what my dad and I called each other), cashews are still my favorite, and I always think of you when I eat them. By the way, when I finally did start to think, it was bye-bye boyfriend!

On to the “trying twenties.” I always joke and remark that a nice Cuban girl leaves the house in either a wedding dress or a body bag (pregnancy being a BIG taboo and don’t even THINK about going away to college). So what did I do? I got married after my freshman year in college to get out of the house. I was “in love,” he looked like John Travolta, cool as could be and came from an absolutely amazing and wonderful Italian family. They took me in as if I was one of their own. Good Italian in-laws always put their daughters-in-law before their own boys. I learned how to cook and keep an uber-clean house. Oh, and they were big into fashion as well!!! My most valuable lesson though, was Respect….especially between two romantic partners. Once that line of respect is crossed, whether by lying, cursing, arguing and screaming to out-do / out-say one another, you’re done. You can kiss your relationship good-bye. And that is exactly what we did.

The “terrific thirties” was a very fun and exciting time for me. I was free and self sufficient. It was a time where I relished being extremely independent and dedicated to my career (my career is for yet another essay altogether). In addition to teaching, I was an adjunct professor at a local community college, tutored on the side and even worked as an optometric assistance – fashion was a hobby I was very committed to, so I had to pay the bills!

During the first half of my thirties, I was in a relationship that commenced in my late twenties and one that worked for both of us. We had the best of both worlds. We each enjoyed our individual alone alone time  and then enjoyed the time we had together. That was an important lesson in itself. What was the other one?  Don’t loose yourself to another person. You see, when we were together, a lot of it revolved around what he wanted to do, when and how. Don’t get me wrong, we loved each other deeply, but there were times I should have spoken up and didn’t. Speak up, or you will lose yourself! You guessed it, I started to lose myself. More lessons learned!

My “fabulous forties” brought a whole lot of change, challenging and stressful situations and, by the same token, were very enlightening. Allow me to rewind a bit and set it up for you, The later part of my thirties brought an unexpected surprise to me, my families and my friends. Little did any of us ever, ever, ever expect me to say I was getting married again….and to a Cuban guy! You see, I had sworn off Cuban men after my super jealous and possessive high school boyfriend. That man I was marrying was a gem! I loved our relationship, the way he loved me and how he showed it. I always remarked that he reminded me of my cousin Al and the relationship he’s always had with his beloved Sheryl Ann. My then husband-to- be may have had an over-bearing, possessive, and jealous mother, but I was always his priority as was our relationship. Truth was first and foremost – as it should be. I always remarked that I felt that I could fall backwards off the Empire State Building, and he would be there to catch me. That’s just who he was…..honorable, respectful, sweet, hard working, a man of integrity and of his word…..and an amazing dresser who loved to shop! You know the feeling when someone has your back? Well, he did. And boy, did I ever enjoy our “hug therapy,” as we coined what we would do the second either one of us walked in the front door. We were always very supportive of each other’s goals, dreams and ambitions.   Sadly, the one guiding principle that was a mainstay in our relationship –  truth, was the one that I failed to honor in the end. I guess I was still grappling with finding my voice on some level and didn’t have the words, courage, confidence or the skill-set to adequately explain what I was feeling and experiencing.

Hindsight is a most powerful tool and, years later when all was said and done, I realized I was peri-menopausal in my early forties. I came to realize that my emotions were all out of control. I was fighting hard to stay in control and even control the behavior of a man I knew for 20+ years when our worlds collided. I ended up dating him and tried to change and save him too. We all know that does NOT work! The only person we can change and/or save is ourself – and that is only if we choose to do so. Another lesson learned! In a last-ditch effort to salvage the relationship, I moved in with him for what I called “my limited engagement of broadway.” You see, I knew it wasn’t going to work, so I was wise enough not to give up my apartment. I still recall my mama saying it was the smartest thing I had done!

The next person I dated for about a year in my mid-forties was like a knight in shining armor. A big lesson I learned from him was that I didn’t have to do it all by myself. I didn’t have to be Wonder Woman, so I took off the cape. I was so exhausted and worn down from what I had put myself though in the previous relationship, that I actually allowed myself to rest and to let someone take good care of me. I remember sleeping a lot. This man would cook for me, watch me sleep and knew what I needed and when I needed it. Sadly, the emotional reality of what I had previously put myself though was starting to take a toll on me and on our relationship. That emotional reality was actually the catalyst for me to do something entirely differently. THAT is when I came to the realization that I needed to be by myself for a while and get to know Me. I had always been in relationships and knew who Jo-Ann was as a daughter, sister, cousin, friend, aunt, lover, wife, teacher, school administrator, colleague, caregiver – but who was Jo-Ann deep down at the core? The other lesson I learned from this man was to do things “the right way” no matter how painful it may be, so I prayed to God to give me the skillful words to honestly convey what I was feeling and why I needed to end the relationship. I asked, and the words were delivered!  This man may not have understood or believed my reasons for ending what “appeared” to be a wonderful relationship at the time, but it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with ME.  There’s that famous line in Sex and the City where Samantha tells Smith, “I love you, but I love myself more.”  Yep, that’s what I was feeling! It was a “conscious uncoupling” and the right thing to do in my heart. I was able to put my head on the pillow at night and know that I did things the “right way” just like we had promised each other we would always do. Lesson mastered, wink wink!

It was also at this time when I found my yoga practice. It saved my life! Yoga opened me up in unexpected ways, softened my heart and started to change me from the inside out. The more I studied yoga philosophy and delved deeper into the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which are ethical precepts / guidelines for yourself and how you interact and show up in the world, the more that I felt like I was coming home. The more I studied and practiced, the more my soul was set on fire. The more self-inquiry and inner investigation work I did, the more I was able to be mindful and present in the “now” and for the people in my life.  Another HUGE lesson I learned at this time was to be in relationship with my Self first (this also prepared me for how I was to “show up” in my next romantic relationship months before I was turning the big 50). Honestly, I had not learned to do that. It was circa 2005 when I went on what I called a “self-imposed tour of celibacy” and dedicated that time to working on me. My sacred living space became my own ashram, my own sacred dwelling place, my own church. I found myself in a relationship with the Divine, Spirit, the Source in unimaginable ways. God is not solely in a building. He/She is in every living, breathing thing we say or do, how we say or do it,  and is ever present in the magnificent beauty around us and in us. My main goal was to be in a relationship with myself, the Divine and learn how to truly love myself unconditionally – the way the Divine Creator has done since the day I was born. This is what allowed me to show up 100% ready, willing and able when “Scandalous” blew into my life (Scandalous needs a blog all to himself…wink, wink). What I will share is that unconditional love, patience and leaving my ego at the door were the fruits born of this relationship. So were detachment, letting go, surrendering and non-judgement. What wonderful tools to have as I was entering my fifties!

Fifties are freeing and filled with much fabulousness! That’s what I always heard the women around me say. I can personally vouch for the fact that they are. However, it requires work. When we work on ourselves, find ourselves, find our path, purpose, and passion and, more importantly, our voice to speak our truth, we are FREE! It requires so much gut-wrenching, heart-opening and soul-bearing painful work; nevertheless, the benefits are all worth it. My fifties were a time of just that. I grew into my authentic Self and loved it. I was able to look back, connect the dots and see how every single life experience led me to this wonderfully freeing and liberating decade, the work I was doing and how I was being of service to my Maker. My goal wasn’t just to talk the talk, but to truly and authentically walk the walk. I have been able to show up this way because I learned how to first make the time to show up for myself. “Lead by Example” became my mantra both personally and professionally. Truth, authenticity, transparency, discernment, integrity, steadfastness, reconciliation, resilience, gratitude, joy and balance have been my guiding principles throughout my fifties. They’ve been valuable lessons and blessings for which I am eternally grateful. As I look back, I see how much love I was blessed with having and how each romantic partner was instrumental in weaving this tapestry of a masterpiece I call ME. I would not change or alter a thing! I approach each new day from a place of  reverence and the deepest gratitude possible that fills my heart with endless love and joy. No one is doing that for me….I AM doing it for ME! My daily request is to be used as an instrument of peace and for the ability to be of service to whomever needs motivation, consolation, inspiration, an ear to listen or some sage advice.  You can bet that God and this most beautiful, whimsically magical, oftentimes mysterious, hilariously comical and infinite organizing Universe always delivers on all counts!

The relationship that has been the most lasting- one even life-long, and others spanning 20-30+ years has been that of my Tribe of Girlfriends. And let me not forget the “Lovelies” that came into my life during this fiercely fabulous decade! The constant, ever supportive, entertaining, amusing, special, creative, passionate, and sacred girlfriend relationship is one I value more than anything. Having said that, beware of women who don’t have female friends and/or their own tribe for that speaks volumes!!!  And if there is one additional piece of sage advice I’ve learned and can share with you regarding “that new special person” in your romantic life, is that Your Tribe Knows Best. SImply stated! Throughout our life, our girlfriends have probably known us better than we’ve even known ourselves for they have seen and been there through it all….the good, the bad, the ugly, the highs and the lows. Remember, they are part of our Spiritual Board of Directors; therefore, they need to be consulted!  FYI though, you may have to ask some of them for their input. Not everyone may be as forthright as you would be or expect them to be. Your Tribe knows when you’re not being yourself, when your energy is being depleted, when you seem overwhelmed, compromised, not being true to your Self and not in a good place. Just ask! I will say no more on the subject other than to quote my lovely Linda Lou, “Period. The end.”

As you know, I like rituals and celebrations, so I am thinking of a word I want to work with this coming year. Maybe even two words. What keeps showing up for me, time and time again, is Grace (and my confirmation came when my yoga teacher was sharing the word she wants to work on as she embarks on a new year as well). I want to find Grace in the places that I never knew it existed. I want to dig deeper than ever before and help others do the same. The start of the InspireLoveServe blog was a good starting point. I want Grace to revel itself in unexpected places, the dark as well as the light places, and I want to be able to share those places with you so we can linger together in those moments of Grace.

Now that I’ve unlearned things I learned, only to relearn them in a way  that better serves me, I also relearned how to be a child again and approach each new day with a deeper sense of wonder, awe, magic, creativity and playfulness. This is something we should all do more of, don’t you think?  We should all want to spend more time in nature and do more of the things that bring us joy and nurture our mind, body and soul….things that bring us a sense of calm, ease and deep peace, and encourage all those around us to do the same. Just look at small children and see how open, loving, free and inclusive they are. They are fearless, open and accepting…they don’t see color, race or religion. They are so spirited, carefree and vibrant! I want to live in that kind of world. It is my deepest desire that we all re-learn to approach life and others from a place of love, compassion and kindness and that we see our souls reflecting back at us when we look deeply into another’s eyes and deeply listen to their words. Another thing I know for sure is that in order to heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. We must move from a place of fear and separation to one of love and oneness.

I’ve recently taken to looking more and more at the life vision board that I created just before going into surgery in January of 2016, and seeing that I am living and doing most of the things I included. More importantly though, I want to continue growing, evolving, serving, learning, deepening and expanding my practice, inspiring mindful seeds of change, making a difference in the world and in the healing of humanity, helping others grow into their best self, empowering and supporting young girls, paying forward, celebrating with friends and family, going on adventurous retreats and cozy getaways, loving deeply and passionately….to sum it up –  Living With Intention! And as far as romantic relationships go, who knows? I am perfectly happy in the most fulfilling and intimate relationship I’ve ever had, and that is the one I’m in with Me. If that realization isn’t a moment of Grace in and of itself, then what is? What I do know for sure is that the appropriate soulmate will show up in divine time, and we will be able to reap all the beautiful benefits of having “worked the work” over the course of the time it took for us to come together. I’ve learned not sweat the small stuff my darlings…I have arrived!

Sixty is virtually around the corner. I’ve heard “60” described as seismic, sensational and spectacular. Starting tomorrow, each new day will bring me closer to that mountain top called 60. Each new day will bring me new opportunities to serve here. I mentioned Snatam Kaur’s song, On This Day, in an earlier post. Please take a moment to listen to it if you haven’t already done so. She has such an angelic voice! Listening to that song is an absolutely sacred and meaningful way to start the day! It allows us to settle in, ground, root, re-commit and set the tone for the way we’d like to approach the day, shine our brilliance and magnificence, and honor that life we’ve been given.  Each day we open our eyes is our birth day. We are given life again. How can we not ask, “How can I serve here?” Yep…Grace it is, and Gracefully is how I’ll do it!

“The ghosts of all the women you used to be are all so proud of who you have become, storm child made of wild and flame.” Nikita Gill

 

This essay is dedicated to all the women, ancestors and guides that paved the way for me, walk along side of me and have made it possible for me to carry out their legacy. With infinite love, grace and gratitude, Jo-Ann Theresa Carricarte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s Flexing Her Hustle

“The purpose of  life is to live a life full of purpose” Michael Franti

Another person who I am very proud of is my niece, Alexis (not blood related but  nevertheless my niece). She is 31 years old and an attorney who learned early on, by the time that she was approaching 30, that she was unfulfilled, stressed out, exhausted from working unit late hours, on the weekends and not a happy camper. Her job was not bringing her Joy. I commend her for taking the chance to make a change before her health would force her to do so. Not only did she change jobs but, in addition, she is using her social media presence to be a source of positivity and coach / inspire people in the areas of health, mind and body wellness. Alexis focuses on the self-care and self-love components of weight loss and her goal is to inspire, motivate and educate her followers along their wellness journey while being accountable to them and to herself. Check out Alexis’ Instagram page @flexingmyhustle.

It all comes down to living a life full of purpose and using whatever platform  / role we have on the job, in school, at home, socially and in our overall community to inspire, motivate, serve, make a difference and affect change. We are all creative geniuses and have our own unique and individual gifts, talents, strengths and drives to make a difference. Social media can be used as a positive media outlet to counter all the negativity and toxicity out there. We can all contribute by using our own creative genius to do so. The key is to do it from a place of love and passion!  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, empowering and celebrating women is one of my all-time passions. It’s always been. And it’s one of those things that I was doing, and didn’t realize I was doing it, way back in the day when it was some something that was not even talked about, embraced nor encouraged.

Miss Alexis, and her friend Katie, are doing their fair share of supporting and encouraging others. They started a Facebook page – Knockout Negativity. Katie and Alexis created this community “for anyone who is looking to create balance and build healthy habits that will relieve stress and improve the way you are living.” According to them, “It is a space for like-minded people who are interested in generating positive vibes only in their lives. It is a place you can come to feel inspired, empowered, motivated and challenged to be the best version of yourself.” I just love this…YES! More youngin’s taking and making the time to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start.  Kudos to Alexis and Katie for seeing a need and acting on it! By the looks of the videos they post, and activities they encourage their followers to do, they are having fun. They are passionate about what they are doing and enjoying the process. Whatever we do in life, however we do it, and wherever we do it, should bring us Joy!

A while back I did an online webinar with Claire Zammit, Ph.D. that supplied us with 7 practices and power statements for stepping into and living our power. In my humble opinion, these practices and affirmations help us to live purposefully, mindfully intentionally and fully present in our lives. The also make us accountable to ourselves. Hopefully, you will find them empowering as well!

 

  1. Be the Heroine not The Victim of Your Life. In any situation you are in, focus on where you have power rather than where you don’t.  POWER STATEMENT: I’m a powerful creator. I have everything I need to organize the greatest possibility of my life.
  2. Live the Truth of Who You Are. Shift who you’re being and how you’re showing up to reflect the truth of who you are, and you will forever be liberated from the patterns of the past. POWER STATEMENT: I’m a powerful, capable woman and I turn on all of my wisdom, compassion, wisdom and resources towards the parts of me that need to grow up so that I can show up as my most empowered self.
  3. Stop Strategizing & Start Listening. Listen to your deepest desires, they are the whispers of life’s wishes for you. Take action on your inner guidance. Trust that life is organizing around your success. POWER STATEMENT: I live each day as if everything is rigged in my favor.
  4. You Can’t Become Yourself By Yourself. When you’re experiencing a challenge, rather than feeling inadequate, say to yourself “Who can I call to ask for help?” POWER STATEMENT: The more support I receive, the more powerful I become.
  5. Be the Light & Reflect the Light. The next time you meet a powerful woman, rather than being intimidated by her or feeling competitive, befriend her. POWER STATEMENT: I celebrate the radiance and power within myself and other women. I expand to create the space to welcome my own and others’ greatness.
  6. Be Who You Would Be If Your World Changed. Create your future by showing up in your present as the woman you would be in the fulfillment of your desires. POWER STATEMENT: My consciousness, not my circumstances, creates the future of my life.
  7. Like it Or Not, You’re the Leader. Rather than be victimized by the disempowered behavior of others, or breakdowns in the world, see yourself as the leader in every situation with the power to empower and influence the outcome of events. POWER STATEMENT: This is my world and I have the power to shape the future.

 

“You are light, love and poetry in motion darlings. Now go out and shine your light, spread the love and be the change” JT Carricarte

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Be Okay With Not Being Okay

“A revelation that puts things into perspective” 

Today’s writing is inspired by an Instagram post that my niece wrote earlier in the week. Before I get to that though, let me just be honest and tell you I have no idea what direction this post is taking. You see, sometimes I read or hear something that inspires me and other times I just ask the Divine to inspire me, connect the dots, speak through me and just guide me in whatever direction I can best serve the people reading my post…some of whom I know well and others who are complete strangers. Sometimes, I furiously type away, look at what I’ve written, and wonder where the words came from. You get the picture, right?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I like sacred rituals that honor, respect and celebrate the divine that lives inside all of us. So, I will share my writing routine with you. In most instances, I come home from yoga and meditation, grab a bite to eat then start my ritual for writing. I burn some delicious incense ( btw Maur I LOVE the Communication and Wisdom one you got me – you are now my official supplier), light a candle that has beautiful red hearts on it (thanks Ms. Kath), say a little prayer, and put on the lovely moonstone and lava mala beads that the amazing Daria Montferrante made for me (many of my near and dear friends have received custom malas that Daria has made for them). Since I’ve just come home from class, I feel like a totally open vessel and channel for communication And let me tell you, it can be very overwhelming having thoughts, words and ideas just filling my head. Whew! It leaves me no choose but to let go and surrender to the Divine, knowing that what needs to be communicated will flow seamlessly.

Getting back to the topic at hand, Be Okay With Not Being Okay…..this is truly a wonderful example and extension of my previous blog on Authenticity. If you missed The “A” Word, please check it out. However, my niece’s post inspired me for a number of reasons, primarily being the fact that she is 29 years old and is already on the “path to self-awareness and self discovery” at what I consider a fairly young age. She has found her voice, her feelings and is using them wisely. I had a “proud auntie” moment, shared her post with some of my closest friends and remarked how I wish I was that wise at her age (Thanks Maur for reminding me that I was just where I needed to be at 29 and learning the lessons I needed to learn). We all learn at different rates, have different feelings at different times and act on them warranted by the circumstances / situations in our lives and where we were at such time.

Megan’s post had to do with the revelation she had as she read the words Be Okay with Not Being Okay in the book she was reading by Latesha Randall with Sebastian Walker called The To-Be List – 70 Reminders that Life is About Being, Not Doing. What I was most impressed with about her writing was that she was able to dig deep and find the words to authentically and unapologetically be herself and acknowledge the fact that she was “allowing” herself to feel things she’s never allowed herself to do. She was actually sitting with her feelings, allowing them to arise and, more importunely, be Okay with them. Now if that is not an “aha” moment and a valuable, instrumental lesson to learn at her age!!! She further went on to explain how her past conditioning has been to bury her feelings and not ALLOW herself to feel them  because the magnitude of those feelings would “destroy her.”  In actuality, my dearest Megan (and I know she will be reading this because she is my number one supporter and encourager of my blogging)  allowed herself to be broken open and transcended to another level of self awareness and evolution. Megan, a true Empath, also found the words to express how deeply she feels every little thing. Can you imagine being able to express this at her age?????? It takes many of us until adulthood to have this awareness (that is if you allow it – remember, some people are still walking around in a sleep-like state). As she stated, “It reminds me that it IS okay not to always be okay and you can CHOOSE to be okay with that.”  Now THAT is authenticity and transparency at its best!

As a result of Megan’s writing,  I’d like to address the 20-30 something year olds aka”youngins” reading this essay (feel free to share with the youngin’s in your life). Many of you beautiful souls have come into this lifetime with a very specific mission and purpose. Therefore, there are many, many “sensitive” empathic and compassionate souls on this earth who are here to shine a light on the darkness this world is experiencing and to help heal humanity through your own healing, You are the healers, light workers, peacekeepers and future spiritual leaders. The key, is to have this realization and understanding, surround yourself with supportive individuals who “get it,” and “like-minded” friends who will be your allies in doing the work you came here to do. Some of you are fortunate enough to have parents and family members who are “open minded” or perhaps healers themselves and understand your path.  They are able to guide and support you as well as encourage you to embrace the beautiful “gifts” you have been given. Some of these gifts are painful ones albeit if you are an empath, like my niece, because you actually FEEL deeply and have the ability to feel other people’s suffering. It’s a double edge sword that can be viewed as both a curse and a blessing. What you “choose” to do with this gift is your choice and one that only you can make for yourself. And don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay!

There are so many resources available today unlike decades ago. Magazines and books of all kinds, the internet, positive social media outlets, podcasts of all types and on-line webinars to meet your every need, online yoga, meditation, pranayama, guided visualizations, retreats, an overabundance of yoga studios and meditation / mindfulness centers, schools and college courses, metaphysical centers, mediums, intuitives, shamans, energy healers, life coaches and spiritual advisors…just to name a few!  They are all resources to guide you along your spiritual journey here should you choose to fully step into your magnificence, power, purpose and light. I encourage, invite and urge you beautiful souls out there to embrace the gift of You and the gifts you’ve been given. Develop them, understand them, expand on them and put them to good use. You don’t have to have all the answers, just trust the process and be passionate about what it is you choose to do, knowing that it may change, evolve and look differently over time. It’s all okay!

I took a short break and perused the new issue of Mantra Magazine (one of my faves – if not my favorite these days). It’s all about yoga and health, and every single product they advertise is vegan. According to Maranda Pleasant, Editor in Chief, she believes that  the magazine is actually a “movement.” In her words, “Media should be a force for good. Now more than ever, media matters. The stories in the magazine and the causes we champion need to be louder, brighter and stronger. We will defend and create a new culture for women that outshines negative cultural programming. Sticking together, all of us – yogis, creatives, pioneers – changing the world for the better.” These values, ethics and integrity is why I love this magazine so very much. It is diverse, inclusive, so rich in content, creativity, short and brief articles and interviews, aryuvedic recipes, life around the globe, self-care practices, design and loads of wisdom for everyone, especially the youngin’s making their way on the path. So why bring up this magazine? Well, since I wanted to address the youngin’s in this post, it just so happens that the section called The Wisdom of Women asked several women what they wished they had known when they were 20.

So, I will leave you with various beautiful, heartfelt, soulful, sound and sage advice from some of the women featured in this particular issue. Here’s what they wish they had known when they were 20:

“I wish I would have known how OKAY it was to not have everything figured out when it came to my career path and what I wanted to do with my life. Life has a funny way of taking you down paths you least expected, and you experience things that shift your perspective tremendously. All the things I wanted to do at 20 look nothing like what I’m passionate about today.”

“I wish I knew at 20 that my life was just beginning.  I thought that if I didn’t have a list of goals and plans for my life that my life would fall apart. But guess what? My life fell apart with the plan anyway! I wish I knew that no amount of planning will protect you from life and all that it offers. Goals are good, but life teaches the lessons that cultivate character and wisdom is born.”

“That true love grows from having a deep and intimate love of your whole self (the pleasant, neutral AND unpleasant aspects of yourself). It’s OKAY to spend time alone and if necessary developing yourself and this love before focusing outward on loving relationships with others.”

“It’s really okay to say no and not feel guilty. Using my voice does not mean being loud. I do not have to prove myself to anyone. If someone sees you struggling and offers assistance, accept it. Self-care is as vital as oxygen. The more disconnected we are for the rhythms of nature, the more discontent we feel. Rise and rest with the sun, be fluid like water, purge like fire, root down and rise up like trees.”

“I wish I had known the power I had to create a life that was filled with peace and joy. I had not yet been formally introduced to yoga or the power of intentional and mindful living. I suffered, thinking the entirety of creation was working against me. What I now know is that it was preparing me for my current experience.”

“At 20, I wish I would have known that having an ample body with curves is a beautiful body, that comparing myself to anyones else’s body, spirit and soul is absolutely futile.”

And one  that really resonated for me….“Holding on too tight can be destructive. Surrender isn’t weakness. You have to love and accept yourself fully first before anyone else can and will. Doing it all is not a badge of honor. It’s a fast track to illness. Take off the super-hero cape and burn it! You will voluntarily take the time on this life to slow down and stop, or you will be forced to stop. Life is precious”

I invite you to take the time to read over these quotes, let their authenticity marinade in your beautiful souls and head space, see what feelings arise and the revelations that may just change your perspective!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

PS: Thank you, Megan, for the thoughts you shared and inspirations that arose for me as I read your post. You are wise beyond your years, and I’m blessed and grateful to be on this journey with you. I can’t wait to see all the magical places it takes you and the difference you will be making in peoples lives (as you already are). Continue to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start. It’s in your blood! xoxo