Taking Charge of Our Own Healing

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls you.” -Akshay Dubey

I came across this quote today which is so on point given the conversations some girlfriends and I have been engaging in recently. They have been revolving around the work we’ve been doing and bumps, craters, landmines and struggles we encounter when we are committed to spiritual work and personal growth.

There’s nothing like those deep, soulful and soul-bearing conversations that are almost healing sessions themselves. The endless, meaningful, and stirring talks my girlfriends and I have are extremely therapeutic to say the least! They are enlightening, encouraging and sometimes even revealing. At times they serve as a compass, a lighthouse or  guideposts as to where we are in need of getting to but are lost in the murky and, oftentimes, rough waters. They may also reveal for us the waters we have yet to chart as we continue our journey to healing and come to a place where damage done to our inner child no longer controls us. Yep, it takes work! It takes patience, perseverance, and  practice…..and our commitment and dedication to do the necessary and life-altering work.

As we all continue to embrace the work we have yet to do, it’s important we take the time to honor how far we have come – acknowledge we’ve done the best we can with the tools we have been given. And, as we acquire more and more tools, we gain more and more resources to continue forging ahead on our path to healing, awakening and enlightenment.

Where do we start? Well, we must connect with our true Self, our pure essence: Love. That pretty much lays the foundation and charts the onset of our course. If you missed my blog, Choosing Love at All Times, you may want to check it out. It wil serve as a lovely blueprint for doing the healing work that will allow you to operate from a space of love.

Next, comes the art of forgiveness. Oh, I know what you may be thinking, “That “F” word”…wink, wink. Sadly, it’s word that tends to get a bad rap. Yet the art of forgiving truly keeps us in a stuck state…unable to make a move. Being unable / unwilling to forgive is the biggest barrier and obstacle keeping us from being able to operate from a space of love at all times.

Rather than being able to expand our heart and dissolve all the contractions that keep us from operating from a place of love, being unwilling or unable to forgive just constricts us even further…it constricts our mind, body and spirit. It clogs up our energy centers and keeps us unable to experience higher emotions such as love, joy, acceptance, understanding, compassion, empathy, tolerance, and peace. The peace that resides deep within us that allows us to brave whatever storm we encounter.

And where do these obstacles that keep us from forgiving come from? Well, as you can probably guess, they come from our childhood and have been stored in our subconscious memory, our cells and in our body. They are the programming we have experienced throughout our lives as far back as our infancy stage. If we do not address, accept, process, and release the emotions, betrayals and hurt our bodies have been holding onto, we essentially are allowing the damage we have experienced to control us…to hijack our capacity to love and our ability to heal.

There’s a section I came across when reading the chapter on forgiveness and betrayal in the book I’m reading (which I mentioned in Choosing Love at All Times) that is so on point and relevant for the crisis humanity is experiencing: “Victim consciousness and its opposite, the tyrant, are holding the whole world from ascending into the new paradigm of heart-centered consciousness. As we unlock the betrayal knot associated with the victim consciousness, we take a giant step forward in moving beyond the polarities of victim-tyrant, of power-powerlessness, of win-lose, and into the paradigm of love and of win-win consciousness.” Holy Cow!

Yep, so simple yet so difficult for some to do. As long as we come from a mindset of self-importance, of wanting to be right, seek revenge, and let the Ego-mind do the talking, we will be unable to get to the root cause of the problem, to let go and move on. We will get so clouded in grievance, resentment, revenge, regrets, anger, hate and who knows how many other self-destructive and self-sabotaging feelings, that we will forever be “lost at sea.” And this my darlings, is the ultimate betrayal…a betrayal to ourselves!

I mentioned earlier that the word forgiveness gets a bad rap. It is still often misunderstood. Some hold on to a belief that forgiving means condoning the actions or grievance that was done. However, it’s quite the opposite. It’s choosing to let go of our self-importance, letting go of the victim consciousness, leaving our ego at the door and releasing ourselves from the notion that we are separate from the “other.”

In choosing to look at things through a different lens, we are often able to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and better understand the unresolved hurt and pain they must be experiencing. It takes a certain amount of humility and generosity of spirit to let go of stories we have created for ourselves. When we do so, when we change the narrative, shift the energy, unclog those energy centers, actively participant in our own healing, and experience the freedom in letting feelings of hurt and betrayals go, we experience our true Self.

It is then that we re-establish our connection to our Self – that unbounded, vast energy and essence of Love. It is then that we experience a spiritual and divine awakening. Rather than allowing our hurts, illusions and fabricated stories to control us, we are taking charge of our own healing.

I find prayer very helpful in the healing process. Sometimes, I write my own and other times I reference some that I’ve come across. Sometimes I keep them, and other times I release and burn them. I especially love Marianne Williamson’s prayers from her book, Illuminata- Return to Prayer. The book I am currently reading, Returning to Oneness- The Seven Keys of Ascension, contains beautiful prayers to assist us along the journey. The following prayer is from the chapter on forgiveness and betrayals:

A PRAYER

Oh eternity, please take all of these states of mind which are unbalanced, and balance and clear them. Do this so that I may see more clearly and find my way home more easily. I offer up these feelings of betrayal, and I ask to be able to forgive and to live more in my heart. I give thanks, knowing it will be done.

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Love is Wisdom in Action

“Love is the impulse to embrace the innocence of life that brings spiritual harmony to the forefront of your experiences, Whenever love is poured into your heart or sent out as blessings to others, the light within all things awakens.”  – Matt Kahn

It’s not unusual for us to be reading a few books simultaneously, don’t you agree? Well, along with Carl Lentz’s book, OWN THE MOMENT, which I talked about in my previous blog, I am also reading a couple of others. Can you relate? Well, one of the other books I’m currently engaged in is Matt Kahn’s Whatever Arises Love That.

As noted on the back cover, the book is described as containing “groundbreaking teachings on ENGAGING LOVE as the MOST POTENT CATALYST for transformation and healing.” Another review noted that “the act of opening your heart is recognized as the timeless remover of obstacles.” When I read the words remover of obstacles, I paused. I paused for  quite some time. You see, that’s what Matt Kahn’s book does, and that is why it’s taking me an extremely long time to read. It seems like every page is a revelation and invitation to do just that – pause, take stock, go within and do some inner investigation. There’s nothing like good self-inquiry to dust off the cobwebs and move forward from a place of love and healing – rather than from a place of fear and separation.

This morning, I happened to be listening to Marianne Williamson’s talk on the Hay House World Summit and, naturally, she was talking about love and miracles. It got me thinking of all the ways that choosing love over fear has enhanced my life. How operating from a place of love is real, it’s indestructible and it is who we are. So how can we not operate from a place of love?

And miracles? Well, as she noted, miracles occur when a shift in perception occurs. How true is that?!?!?! The moment we shift from a place of fear and separation to a place of love, everything changes and everyone benefits. We change, our chemistry changes, our bodies change, our outlook changes and the people around us can feel and see the change. It is truly palpable!

Returning to a place of love is something we choose to do over and over again. It’s a choice we are faced with making every time something or someone shows up and ruffles our feathers. Just recently, I was faced with a situation that hurt my feelings. My call to action was to pause and tap into my toolbox. I relied on love’s wisdom to get me trough. Coming from a place of love, as opposed to from a place of judgement, allowed me to take my time and shift my perception. It allowed me to act and not react. When the going gets tough, I take action! I tap into the teachings, music, mantra, meditations, movement, visualizations, stillness, writing and a whole lot of inner investigation. You see, allowing feelings to arise and loving them without judgement is a healing process in itself. It’s something Matt Kahn talks about throughout his book. With each layer we peel away, we are able to clearly see love is wisdom in action.

It amazes me how much lighter we feel when we operate from this heart centered, inner knowingness…how connected, guided and directed we feel, and how our hearts just keep expanding more and more. One of the most powerful practices I have found is to send out my love as blessings to another during a challenging period / circumstance. The more love and light we stand in, and the more love and light we send out to others, the more we heal and the more collective healing that takes place. It’s a win-win situation!

There’s nothing like operating from a heart wide open. A closed heart, encased in a protective shield of armor, doesn’t work for me. It would make me feel like a fraud. It would announce to the world, or anyone who is listening, that I don’t trust anyone or anything. In my humble opinion, this just causes a whole lot of suffering. I can definitely see how abusive or violent circumstances would cause someone to guard their hearts from further pain. But doing nothing to address the situation can only cause more pain and suffering. Love is a healing balm. Showing ourselves unconditional love, tender mercy, sweet compassion, constant forgiveness, on-going understanding, and endless patience all result in unquantifiable inner peace. These are all practices that help us heal and reclaim our true innocent nature. How do we know this? Again, love is wisdom in action!

One of my favorite quotes, derived from A Course in Miracles, is “Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle. I relinquish all regrets, grievances and resentments, and choose a miracle.” I cannot begin to explain how empowering this is. It’s love’s wisdom in action. I’ve employed that mindset for many years now, and it always brings about a sense of clarity and harmony. It helps me tease out any remaining grievances that may still be lingering beneath the surface. It also allows me to see if my Ego has come calling. And, as you are probably very well aware by now, nothing positive, constructive or beneficial happens when we operate from the Ego. Instead, allow Love to come knocking at the door!

Love certainly came calling, and I opened the door nice and wide this week as I grappled with how to handle the situation that hurt my feelings. I greeted Love as an old familiar guest. Luckily, forever conscious.com generally has some good exercises, visualizations and meditations for clearing and cleansing, so I got to work. Below you will find a most powerful part of the activity I did that truly allowed me to accept, release and let go of any and all unwelcome feelings that were anything but Love. The activity also allowed me to peel away even more layers that led to some pretty powerful, empowering and insightful revelations. It showed me a couple of areas I still need to work on. However, I was able to fully embrace the beauty around the challenging situation with a humble and grateful heart while still honoring my feelings and emotions. More importantly, I was able to have a deeper conversation with my Self that allowed me to nurture my wounded inner child.

As with all sacred rituals, please take a moment to clear your space and ground yourself. You may also want to have pen and paper handy. For the entire activity, you can check out the Taurus New Moon Ritual May 2018 on foreverconscious.com,  and you will be guided through a very lovely and significant experience.

Close your eyes and place your hands over your heart center. Think about a recent change or something confronting that is coming up for you. Perhaps you are dealing with a bad boss, or perhaps you recently ended a relationship. Just think about whatever is troubling you, or whatever changes are making you uneasy. Try to just focus on one.

 Think about the situation you have chosen, feel into it. Go through it all in your mind while keeping your hands on your heart. Now find 10 things you can be grateful for around this situation. Really challenge yourself to think about the good that has come from it.

Once you have come up with 10 things that you feel grateful for around this situation, notice what thoughts and feelings have arisen for you now. Notice if any solutions or new ways of looking at things have emerged. Notice and feel that all things in our life have a beauty as long as we open ourselves to it.

When in doubt my darlings, turn no farther than your heart, for it holds all the wisdom you will ever need! Feel the love xoxo

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

Don’t Be Amazing…Be Available

“Through prayer, trial and error, surrounding myself with people who are better than me in so many areas, I am an example of what God can do with somebody who is not amazing, but available.” -Carl Lentz

Are you open to being used by the Divine? Interested in being challenged? Resigned to living a life that is continually out of your comfort zone? Are you a dreamer or a doer? Do you operate from a default setting in your life? Or do you believe you always have options? Do you believe you can overcome challenges? Will you use your story, or will your story use you? These are some of the things I’d like to explore along with you, as I write, and as you read. But first, a little background info on Carl Lentz.

I learned about Carl Lentz when I saw him interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. She called him a “rock star pastor.” If you can picture a guy with tattoos and sporting a motorcycle jacket, and who happens to be very easy on the eyes….yep, definitely NOT the picture of a pastor of any kind. Despite wanting to get to see him preach at Hillsong Church in NYC, where he is the lead pastor, I have yet to get there. Someday! So…the next best thing was having my physical therapist, Ed, happen to mention him during a conversation, and he lent me his book, OWN THE MOMENT.

Needless to say, I am glued to the book! Carl’s rawness, wit, wisdom, faith, grace, love, compassion and no-nonsense radical honesty fill page after page. Quite frankly, I think I am crushin’ on the pastor….wink, wink!!! I recall seeing him on Super Soul Sunday and remarking to myself that I needed to find me a man like him! What can I say?

I can say that I was glued to this book even before I opened it. Not only did the title resonate for me, but when I read the quote on the back, I knew I was hooked:

“This is our challenge as humans: to make the most of what we do have. I do not want to be so fixed on the future that I miss the power of the present. I do not want to be so motivated on what is next that I miss the joy right here, right now. And I know that it’s possible to maximize the days, the hidden moments. The parts of the journey that seem mundane can be turned in to memories that last forever.” 

Pastor Carl Lentz, you are speaking my language!

So back to the questions I posed at the beginning. I find that when I “prime” myself for my day ahead, take the time to get centered, pray and meditate, I ask the Divine to use me…to work through me…to send me whomever needs motivation, inspiration, consolation or an ear to listen. And guess what? There’s a special “delivery” each and every day. Sometimes there are a couple. But this is the beauty when we align ourselves to the Divine and the God of your own understanding. Our purpose is not is the role or title we have on the job, our purpose is to  demonstrate how we live from the heart. And to take it a step further, it’s how our actions and words are aligned with the power of Love.

I am willing to bet that, each and every day, each one of you reading this sentence right now is presented with a person, situation or circumstance that is challenging. It’s there for a reason, and you can bet it requires you to delve a little deeper into your heart and soul. In doing so, then and only then, can we can fully comprehend why our buttons are being pushed. And what is the result of being challenged? Simply stated, we grow. We awaken. We evolve. We expand. We transform. We ascend. We come home to our Self. We come back to a place of Love.

However, we won’t transform if we operate from the confines of our comfort zone. Comfort zones are stagnating. It’s a no-brainer. Growth cannot occur when we are confined to a prison we have crafted for ourselves. If someone or something is pushing you to step out of your comfort zone, I say leap! Leap as high and wide as you can. No worries, the net will appear.

In the safety of that net, you will find that it’s OK to dream. I’m a big proponent of dreaming BIG. But I also believe in chasing those dreams with a vengeance and making them happen. So don’t hang out on that net for too long! We can either be a dreamer and leave it at that….sulking when nothing happens, or we can be a doer……We can make certain our dreams take flight. What can I say? Fly, darling, fly! It’s our first class ticket to freedom and a life filled with unimaginable possibilities. As long as we are willing to be used for a higher purpose, we will always be met with opportunities that will exceed our wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, not everyone believes in the power of their imagination. Why not? Because it takes work, attitude, vision, intention, passion, grit, resilience and perseverance. To some, it’s just easier to act from a default setting. What does that mean? Well, someone who always has an excuse, finds a reason for not trying or doing something, prefers the status quo, or is not interested in shaking things up, and then complains when nothing changes / improves in their life, operates from that place. That is their default setting. For this type of person, it’s easier to list the reasons why they can’t succeed, forge ahead, take a risk or make a change. This is a person who is comfortable in their “stuckness.” In actuality, this person is NOT making themselves available for their greatness to unfold.

These are the people who feel they don’t have options. And if there is something we ALWAYS have, it’s options. We can always exercise our option to do better, be better, act better and live better. It’s a choice that only we can make. It cannot be made for us. And it’s not up to us to make that choice for someone else, regardless of how much we love and care for that person. We can plant seeds, light the way, and gently guide. But when met with resistance, it’s time to back off. It’s not our job to “fix” anyone.

However challenging it may seem, trust me, this is not a challenge you want to take on. There are challenges, and then there are challenges! We have enough challenges on our journey through life that continuously break us down…without needlessly putting ourselves in a situation that will not serve us. And trying to “fix” someone, anyone, is not a challenge that serves any of us. We can only fix and change ourselves. THAT is something you can bank on! The key to overcoming our challenges is to not allow ourselves to be consumed by them. By this I mean get “lost” in the story to the point where the story that we have created around our difficulty has totally taken on a life of its own and has consumed us to the point of no return. Yikes!

If we are lucky, we catch ourselves when we start to do this and quickly take a different route rather than depleting our energy…change the narrative….change the story. We have all been there at some point or another. The “shift” occurs when we catch ourselves, OR when we get so tired of telling the same, old story that it is getting us sick, and we realize it’s finally time to tell a different story… to use the story for our betterment and the betterment of others rather than let the story use us.

It’s also helpful to have a cadre of supporters and surround ourselves with people who are better than us, people who serve as role models and sources of inspirational. People to have lived, loved and lost and have the courage to forge ahead and excel in life where others may have just given up. In one of my earlier blogs I spoke about the importance of having our very own spiritual board of directors. These people are our moral compass. They are the ones who allow us to hold ourselves accountable. These are the people who we look up to as the wise sages they so rightfully are.

Everything I just wrote about came to me as I was reading the first few chapters of Carl Lentz’s book.  I am looking forward to finishing it soon because it’s such an enjoyable read. It’s real. It’s relevant. It’s funny. It’s inspiring. It’s life. And the message I keep getting, page after page, is that it is more important to be available than it is amazing.

That is a tall order and a difficult thing to do in a society, and time in our world where,  all too often, our self-worth is measured by the number of likes on social media and, as Carl Lentz says, “in a society that worships money, sex and fame.”  However, if we embrace each new day with intention, steadfastness, and integrity, and as an opportunity to inspire, love, serve, and willingly ask the Divine or the God of our understanding to guide and direct us, we make ourselves available. Available to be used for far greater things that we ever could have dreamed or imagined. Available to do amazing things!

Living in and for these moments sets my heart on fire. It’s what keeps me grounded, present and mindful of the impact I am able to make. It’s what brings me joy. It’s what fearlessly allows me to embrace the hidden, teachable moments that bring transformation and inspiration. It’s what gives me the fierce courage to go out into the world with a heart wide open. It’s what keeps be flying high. Living from a place of availability is what keeps me connected to the beautiful tapestry of life. Now THAT is amazing!

My darling, given the day-to-day challenges you are faced with, how do you prefer to live your reality? Do you prefer to be amazing or available? Just asking…..

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Guest Blogger

“How I Met My Yaya and Faced My Fears”

 by Shannon “Blondie” Green

Recently, while on a Yoga Retreat with my dearest people in this world, Yaya (as I call her but as you may know as the one and only Jo-Ann Carricarte, the driving force behind this blog) mentioned  that I should guest blog for her, as part of my Yaya mentorship (more to come on that at another time).  As we were discussing the “assignment,” I expressed my concern that I wouldn’t know what to write about. She suggested that I should start at the beginning of my journey.  So that is where this story begins…

Time: March 2013

Place: Lumeria, Maui, HI

Now I will admit that prior to this experience I was the quintessential worrywart and control freak. Reflecting back, I now see that I lived in constant fear. My life consisted of many “what-if” scenarios, and I believed it was normal to worry about things like money, health, cars breaking down, etc.  I set my watch ahead about 10 minutes so I wouldn’t be late, and I always had to wear it. I believed everything had to be planned, and planned, and planned some more. I did not have faith to just let things unfold organically. When things did not go as I planned, I did not handle it gracefully and with ease. I responded very emotionally and often had a difficult time resolving the problem. At this point in my life I was 36, and I knew that these behaviors were not serving me…and I certainly wasn’t happy in my life, but what I didn’t know was what I could do to change things.  Luckily for me, I had an amazing, life long best friend, Christy, who decided she was going to organize a weeklong yoga retreat to Maui. And luckily for me, my best friend from college, Claire, convinced me that we NEEDED to go!

As we began our first class, Christy spoke about being present and living in “Maui Time,” where it didn’t matter what time it was, where life moved a little more slowly, and the idea of being purposeful in what we said, thought and did while we were there. At this point, I did something that I will never regret; I decided to remove my watch for the duration of the retreat.

The second thing that happened was that Christy gave us each a small journal to use while we were there. Each day, she would give us journaling exercises and if we chose to do them or not was left up to us.  I soon became engrossed in writing in my little pink journal. My thoughts and reflections helped me realize that one of the reasons I was sad and struggling in my life was because I was filled with so much fear.

The third thing that happened was I met Yaya.  I honestly don’t remember how the conversation began, but there was some mention of her name “Jo-Ann” but how everyone called her “Mama Yaya”. Somewhere along the way I dropped the “Mama” part, and she just became “Yaya” to me.  Any of you who know Jo-Ann know just how “Yaya” she is. She is this vibrant being filled with love and energy. She is funny and energetic, but serious and very much about living her authentic self.  As the week went on, you would often find her “holding court” at the dining room table after we had finished a meal, sitting at the head of the table while me, Claire, and a few of the other ladies were bombarding her with questions about what books to read, what websites we should check out-  all the while writing down everything little thing she said…the list in my journal includes among them the following books, websites, and authors: Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, The Four Agreements, A Return to Love, The Law of Divine Compensation, Wishes Fulfilled, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, The Power of Now, A New Earth, Daily Om, Daily Love by Mastin Kipp, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Hay House Publishing, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and even more.

Who was this Yaya person?? How did she know all of this stuff and how could I get some of it??? I knew she held answers, and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to find the peace and energy and love she spoke of.  My journal is full of entries that talk about how I wanted to have an open heart and clear mind.  How I wanted to listen to the wisdom of my body, my desire to let go of fear and the things that frighten me. I wanted to make room for miracles and be open to abundance coming into my life.  I journaled about my fears of not becoming a mother, of not finding purpose, of growing old and unfulfilled and my desire to release these fears. I knew I needed to let go of my fears and somewhere during that week I began to learn how.

March 15, 2013:  Journal Entry

“Today I let go of what weighs me down.  I accept that my life is unfolding as it should be. I surrender. I am not afraid of what is not happening. I detach from trying to control that which I cannot control.  I surrender to the will of God and the Universe.  I open my heart to whatever may come into it. I welcome what may come in.  I am not afraid of things that don’t turn out the way I thought.  I will enjoy every moment as it unfolds.”

As I reread these words from my journal the other day, I can honestly say that I don’t know if I wrote them or copied them from someone.  They sound so wise and profound that I believe I likely stole them from someone else- except I didn’t note who said them, which I normally do if I write down a quote I like. Regardless, this was the point at which I surrendered and let go. As I continued to read my old journal, I can see how this day was a turning point where I decided to let fear stop running my life. One thing I know is that the girl who arrived in Maui on March 12, 2013 was not the same girl who left Maui a week later.

The journey hasn’t been easy, and it is still continuing. I won’t lie, it  has been a journey that has taken many years and a lot of work, but it has been wonderful and fulfilling. and I hope to share some of that with you as a guest blogger for Yaya.

So I leave you with the following few questions:

  • Looking back, do you see a turning point in your life where you surrendered and let go of the fears that were holding you back from being your authentic self? 
  • Was there an event that happened that made you realize you wanted to see things differently and live life differently? 
  • Was there a person you met that inspired you to make the change that you had been afraid to make?
  • What tools (journaling, authors, podcasts, etc) have helped you on your journey? 

Oh, and in case you are wondering about that watch, I took of in Maui. It has never been put back on my wrist. ☺

 

Bravo! Thank you, my beautiful Blondie (aka “La Bomba”) for such a beautiful reflection! You took the first step, rose up to the challenge and produced the first of many future blogs to come. I am so proud of how much you have grown, evolved and embraced your magnificence since Maui brought us all together! I am proud of how fabulously you are playing your own version of “Yaya” in your everyday life, both personally and professionally. Thank you for the reflection questions you posed. Thank you for making a difference and making the world a more beautiful place. Thank you for the light you bring to others. Thank you for your love. Lastly, thank you for choosing to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start! I look forward to reading more!!! Love, Yaya xo

A Revolution

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

“I doubt that anyone on their deathbed wished they had spent more time at work, on social media or holding grudges or feeling resentful. Your time and your energy are the currency of your life. How do you spend them?” Terri Brown

Greetings darlings!

I came across a brilliant piece on IG the other day that I will share with you at the end of this blog. It really called to me. Just reading and re-reading it is a meditation and a revolution in and of itself. And the quote above, which I saw in my lovely acupuncturist’s office, reminded me of some of the journaling I had done in Costa Rica while on my recent yoga retreat. I also felt it would be a nice counterpart to the piece at the end.

We are living in new times, there’s a sense of awakening and shifting in the collective consciousness that is taking place, and we are all participants in it. Some of us are doing it willingly, and others are having some difficulty with it. Nevertheless, we are all here to take part in the awakening of humanity and the ascension of our most beautiful and precious Earth.

As Marianne Williamson remarked in a podcast I was listening to the other day, “Our life is a platform.” I totally agree with it! We do not have to be a celebrity or a mogul to affect change. We do so in the ordinary way we go about our lives.  Whether it is through our jobs, careers, professions, hobbies or simply the way we conduct ourselves everyday. We are either presenting ourselves with a heart wide open or one that is closed…..closed to all the possibilities, magic and miracles that are always swirling around us and accessible to all… closed to our greatness, light, magnificence and purpose.

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was here for a purpose. Like many of us, it took me quite sometime to figure that out. I always loved talking to people, felt like a peace and love junkie and that I was part of something much greater…something I couldn’t name. But once I figured it out, I realized I was put here to inspire, love, serve. It’s how I want to live out my days. My time and energy are indeed the currency of my life, and I intend to use them wisely.

It is my deepest belief that we can all employ this mentality. The precursor to it is to lead from the heart…right from the startWe can’t go wrong with this philosophy because we come from a place of Love in doing so. We come from a place of truth. We come from a place of an innate knowing that we are part of that something which is much greater than all of us. A greatness we need to embrace wholeheartedly, own and act from it. We are amazing light beings in a miraculous symphony called A Revolution.

The cracks in our society, all the injustices and atrocities that are being exposed these days, and the light that is starting to come through as a result, via the modern-day awakened beings and agents of change of all ages, are shifting our perspective and we are seeing that all good is rooted in the principle of Love. We are the activists we have been waiting for. As Michael Kahn writes in is book, Whatever Arises Love That, “We have chosen to incarnate at a time when the entire planet is undergoing the process of awakening to fulfill the prophecies of every awake being who came before us.” 

I had to read and reread that line several times before I read any further. We’ve always had the prophets, the sages, activists and the change makers for centuries. However, we are these modern-day sages and light beings. Wow! Do we have a enormous responsibility, or what? What an honor to be following in the footsteps of all the light beings, sages,  carriers of wisdom and change makers who have paved the way for us.  I find it utterly humbling! When I take the time to sit with this notion, it connects me to the great love and sense of passion and purpose that beats widely in my heart.

And speaking of my heart, I guess that is why I am sharing this beautifully written piece by Julia Myers with you. Wild Woman Sisterhood had posted it and, when I read this precious work of art, it stirred that love, purpose and passion that resides in my heart. I suppose that is how this particular blog came to be.

I invite you to center yourself, allow yourself to land and arrive, and enjoy the read:

“The old threads are unraveling,
Get your needles ready.
We are stitching a new quilt
of humanity.

Bring your old t-shirts,
worn out jeans, scarves,
antique gowns, aprons,
old pockets of plenty
who have held Earth’s treasures,
stones, feathers, leaves,
love notes on paper.

Each stitch
A mindful meditation.
Each piece of material
A story.

The more colour the better,
so call in the tribes.
Threads of browns, whites,
reds, oranges
Women from all nations
start stitching.

Let’s recycle the hate, the abuse,
the fear, the judgment.
Turn it over, wash it clean,
ring it out to dry.
It’s a revolution
of recycled wears.

Threads of greens, blues, purples
Colourful threads
of peace, kindness,
respect, compassion
are being stitched
from one continent to the next
over forests, oceans, mountains.

The work is hard
Your fingers may bleed.
But each cloth stitched together
Brings together a community.
A world, our future world
Under one colourful quilt.
The new quilt of humanity.”

—Julia Myers

Pause….breathe…observe….feel! Remember, your time and energy are the currency of your life. How are you spending them?

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

PS: Please check back on Wednesday for a special guest blogger. It has been my deepest desire to motivate some of the people in my life to try their hand at blogging. You know what you know, and one thing I know for sure is that we all have a story to tell and people to inspire. Sometimes, someone has to nudge, cajole and even push them into seeing it….any idea whom that person may be? Just sayin’…… 

Driven to Distraction No More

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.”

Do you find yourself constantly distracted? How about constantly “connected” to your electronics? Do you find yourself constantly checking your social media and emails 24/7? Are you fearful of missing out? Is your phone always within reach? Do you sleep with it?  Is your phone on the table when you eat? Do you go to the bathroom with it? Do you shower with it?  Do you find your memory lapsing? Are you unable to have a meaningful, uninterrupted conversation when in the company of friends or loved ones? Do you respond to every single text and phone call regardless of where you are, what you’re doing and with whom? If you find yourself shaking your head yes to these questions, then perhaps it’s time for you to break up with your phone or, at best, dial back your phone use.

Doesn’t it seem increasingly more difficult to obtain someone’s undivided attention these days? In my world, and perhaps in yours too, there’s nothing more distracting, disturbing and disrespectful that being with someone who is in a haze of electronic / phone addiction. An addiction? Yep, that’s exactly what it is. Just think of all the dopamine and oxytocin our brain releases, leaving us wanting more, more, more!

In all honesty, it takes the joy out of an encounter or time supposed to be spent with someone. It turns a would-be meaningful and significant gathering into a meaningless, annoying and perhaps even an empty one. Here’s a powerful visual: If you can imagine trying to converse with someone, and having an intruder constantly tap you on your shoulder, interrupting you incessantly and trying to get your attention…well this is what it’s like being with a person who is addicted to their phone and every alert, notification and various rings. This is what it is like being with a person who has been driven to distraction.

The other thing I find very disturbing and so frightening these days is still seeing people texting while driving, walking, or at a light – oblivious of the potential danger that may be coming their way. Distracted driving is truly an epidemic. Accident statistics for distracted driving and distracted pedestrians have been on the rise over the years, yet we “don’t get it.” What’s not to get? Why do we willingly put our lives, or the lives of our children, grandchildren and loved ones on the line? The audacity…how dare we!!! How about we engage in  conversation with whomever is in the car with us? How about we give our undivided attention to driving in the first place and being accountable for the lives for which we are responsible?

If we want to own the privilege of being alive, truly blossom into our “humanness” and capture moments, we desperately need to pay attention. We need to be present. We need more face to face contact. Interacting with others, looking into each other’s eyes, listening deeply, reading each other’s body language, and connecting on deeper levels cannot, and must not, become a lost art!

How disturbing is it to see the lack of face to face contact among family members and even couples out in public? I swear sometimes I feel like we are going to start seeing a generation who will be selectively mute. Can we all agree there is definitely a difference in our intellectual and social skills when we are present and face to face with someone vs. when we rely on electronic forms of communications (which is often mis-communication)? I’d like to think so!

Our mental health and physical safety are really on the line these days. If we know the pitfalls of being driven to distraction, why is it so difficult to attain a healthy relationship with our electronics?

Here are a few tips for doing just that:

  • Notice what the first thing you do is upon opening your eyes in the morning 
  • Start your morning in gratitude, meditation or prayer 
  • Do not bring your phone into the bathroom other than perhaps to listen to music 
  • Refrain from answering the phone when you’re in the shower or on the toilet 
  • Pay more attention to when and how often you scroll through social media and check emails
  • Just for one day, take note of every time you scroll through social media and  length of time you were consumed in that task…physically write it down add up the time (guaranteed you will be blown away)
  • Try it for a week (you’ll be shocked)
  • Designate specific times of the day to check in 
  • Look up more often – especially when someone is talking 
  • Take notice of your posture whenever you’re engaged with your electronics
  • Set a timer throughout the day where you just stop and breathe (and if at work, walk away from your computer)
  • Challenge yourself to waiting 10-15 minutes before checking your phone each time you have the urge to look at it 
  • Disable unnecessary alerts and reduce notifications (news, pop-ups, posts, emails, etc)
  • Unsubscribe to unecessary emails
  • Put your phone on airplane mode when in a meeting, having meals, at the movies, in class or spending quality / intimate time with friends, family and lovers
  • Shut off your phone more often for an extended time – an hour or two or perhaps longer 
  • Place your phone in a drawer, another room or out of sight when you are reading, writing, meditating, having sex, etc. (out of sight-out of mind)
  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb while driving and encourage your children to do the same (key here is to lead by example)
  • Keep your phone in your pocket or bag when walking anywhere and be aware of your surroundings
  • Look people in the eyes and smile more – acknowledge their presence
  • Give yourself a curfew, unplug a couple of hours before going to bed and, as Arianna Huffington encourages in her book, Thrive, “Politely escort your electronics out of your bedroom”
  • Take a digital detox and spend valuable time doing the things you say you never have time to do 

The idea here is to set some healthy boundaries for ourselves. In doing so, we remove unnecessary distractions, alter our brain chemistry and feel more relaxed and at ease. When we take the time to assess how we are utilizing our time for needless activities, we come to appreciate how precious time really is. We start looking up more,  we come to realize that all we have is time, and what we choose to do with it is the game changer. As Wayne Dyer was known for saying, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” 

And on this note, have you ever seen the YouTube video, Look Up, by Gary Turk? The official video is about three years old, and it’s billed as a “spoken word film for an online generation.” How about the one by Max Stossel called This Panda is Dancing – Time Well Spent? It speaks to the “architects of the digital world” and is pretty cool and so on point. Check it out, check it out, check it out!!!

It is my sincere  hope that you take away from Driven to Distraction No More whatever it is you needed. As always, feel free to share and pass on! Oh, and remember to find ways to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Embrace the Teacher Within

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

You’re Not Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

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

 

 

 

Setting the Tone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good vibes, darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC