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

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

 

 

How Can I Serve….Synchronicity

“Giving to others through service is simply recognizing what you do best in any given moment and offering that to someone else” Deepak Chopra

If there is one thing you can be sure of, is that nothing, not a thing, happens by chance. It’s said that we cannot connect the dots looking forward (if anything that will cause you anxiety). However, we can look back at events and connect those dots that got us right to this moment in time. The Now. Well darlings, these “dots,” this synchronicity, has been divinely charted for us by our Maker (God, the Universe, whatever entity resonates for you). This beautiful, infinite organizing force in the Universe is always conspiring on our behalf and for our greatest good…. even if we do not “see it” the way we “expected it” to look like (ohhhhh expectations……that”s for yet another blog all together).

A few weeks ago, I was on Day 15 of the Deepak and Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience. I’ve been taking part in them since the inception of the meditation series. Day 15 was “How Can I Serve.” As I listened to it, journaled the questions for reflection (this is the meat and potatoes of the “work” by the way), and reflected on what it means to be of service, what I have to offer, my gift, etc., I knew I had to get moving on the Blog I had wanted to create for years. You know when you just know??? After all, blogs and books are outlined in my head and journals, and notebooks and more notebooks contain a plethora of material in them to fill volumes upon volumes. Remember, I am a student of life, so I take lots of notes!!

It’s customary for me to post something inspirational or motivational on Facebook in the morning either before or after I meditate. I usually go with the flow and see how it unfolds. Sometimes I post things in the evenings as food for thought. I believe it was the morning of Day 15 that I posted something, and my friend, Mary, commented that I needed to start a blog. When I replied that it was something I have been wanting to do,  my neighbor, Annie, followed up my comment with the link to WordPress. Are you following me? Synchronicity! The time came for me to step up my game and take it to the next level. I had to put on my big girl panties and take action!

Needless to say, I eventually made my way onto WordPress, didn’t have a clue what I was doing and somehow purchased the domain. Then, I attempted to start writing. Easier said than done when you have no clue as to how to even navigate the site that is staring you in the face! I tried and tried and got tired of trying. If there is one thing I’ve learned along the way, is that when you try and try and get no where, it’s not the time to do it. So, I decided to just leave it alone. I didn’t judge, moan or get annoyed…..I knew that exact moment wasn’t the time. I also knew that the “right” time would present itself.  I happily went along my way. A few days later, since I’ve also learned to ask for help, I reached out to my friend Jenn (SHIFTFORWELLNESS.COM). I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sitting with me for an hour or two and give me a brief tutorial. The ever-gracious Jenn sat with me, guided me through WordPress and I took copious notes. Just enough though to get started.  Oh, and we had yummy snacks and a delicious salad prepared by Jenn, the hostess with the mostest….snacks are always good, don’t you think?

So, back to the topic of Synchronicity…I’ve also learned to pause, take note of what is unfolding and how, and proceed accordingly. When I was working, I called it “wait time.” Someone, some-thing, is guiding my boat, and I’m not about to mess with that higher power! Not everyone acknowledges these divine messages / messengers. Not everyone is open, aware, awake or enlightened…..and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. It’s just a fact of life. There are many people among us who are close minded, rigid in their thinking,  and essentially sleep walking their way through life. It takes years of learning, stumbling, falling and picking ourselves up before we actually acknowledge there IS a “better way” and start making evolutionary choices that better serve us and the good of all. Being flexible, open, mindful and present to what is unfolding in front of our very eyes is a finely tuned gift. It is intentional and magical!

For those of you who know me well, you know how much I like rituals, ceremonies, celebrations…any and all things sacred that mark new beginnings and special occasions. Like service, it’s something we do for others as well as ourselves. That is why I announced inspireloveserve.blog in September, the start of a new school year for many and on the day of the glorious full moon.  If you are struggling with ways to serve, I’d like to offer you this: reflect on your gifts, your talents, the things that bring you joy and fulfillment …..you know, those things that make you happy when you’re doing them and can do them for hours!?!?!?!? Tap into that and let your creativity take you on a magical, mystical ride. I love this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic:

“What is creativity? The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration”

Darling, what sets your soul on fire?

I challenge you to go out and do it…Inspire, Love, Serve AND Lead from the heart….Right from the start!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Why Blog?

“Our task is to choose to live our own life as an example of grace and humanity, and to surrender to both the light and the dark, and to create a space within for beauty and devastation and for all that life will reveal”  Seane Corn

Unbeknownst to me, the idea of starting a blog came to me around June 2012. At that time, the seeds were already being dropped into my head and, subconsciously, I began watering them with my beliefs, actions, intentions and, yes, compromises I had made years past and over the next several years. I recall being so sick with an upper respiratory thing and a looming migraine that was threatening to take me down. At the time, I was an assistant principal in an elementary school, and there was a Saturday workshop being conducted for administrators. Additionally, we had to bring in our laptops for something (swapping out? re-imaging? You get the picture). I was so sick that I considered staying home and have the laptop issue resolved at school. However, something was pulling me to go. Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days of Change, was the featured speaker at our workshop.

Now, if you know me, I LOVE CHANGE…It’s what keeps us alive, thriving, growing and ever-transforming into better versions of our old selves. Something (my internal GPS) was telling me to go despite how violently ill I felt. Through “divine intervention,” the Universe used a dear friend and co-worker of mine as a messenger. My friend sent me a text along the lines of this speaker being someone that would be of interest to me. I immediately googled the author…there it was! I picked myself up, armed myself with some herbal remedies, tissues, water, etc., and I headed to the workshop / seminar.

Our stories and journeys are not only our lessons but they teach others as well. What we do and how we do it has the power to light the path for others in need and can serve as a great source of inspiration, motivation and consolation. We are all on the same path, returning home to find ourselves, our true self, the connection with that force that is greater than ourselves and that resides inside each and every one of us…..and to light and pave the way for others. How we live out our purpose is as unique as we are. It is our responsibility as a human being to want to contribute…to inspire, love, serve and leave behind a legacy of love and service. Let’s be clear, what I just mentioned is our purpose; However, it is up to us, our passion, and our willingness to be vulnerable, broken open, courageous, brave, fearless, fierce, intentional and deliberate that will allow us to grow, transform, flex our resilience muscle, make an impact and affect change. In the end, it’s all about healing ourselves, helping others to do the same and, in turn, helping humanity to heal. I know, without a shadow of a doubt,  we are here on this earth to love, serve and uplift each other.

Oh, and did I mention ask for help? Yes, you heard it…..Ask for help. If you are that rock everyone comes to, the fixer, the handler (come on now, we all have a little Olivia Pope in us), you know how difficult it is to ask for help. Well, my darlings, if we do not learn to ask for help and allow others the joy of helping us, you can be sure the Universe is going to deliver some hard lessons and get us to utter the word help;  I need help; Can you please help me…. Get the picture? Trust me, this will teach us to leave the EGO at the door!

Towards the last several years of my career, I was fed up with what I saw and experienced first hand: fed up with the big egos, the abuse of power, politics, lies, bullying, harassment, intimidation, a system not doing “right” by its clientele and personnel, the back stabbing and everything else that comes with working in a toxic work environment. I felt that my talents and my gifts weren’t even being tapped into. My creativity and light were being zapped! Nevertheless, I was committed to impacting and influencing others by continuing to “work the work” of self transformation, talk the talk and, more importantly,  walk the walk. I committed to living my yoga off the mat. The more my yoga and meditation practice deepened and flourished and the more I studied yoga philosophy, the more that I felt morally compromised and suffocated. The more I spoke my truth, operated from an authentic and transparent place, the more I saw that I no longer fit in that organization and that my soul needed, and was craving, expansion……Be careful what you wish for……that will be for another post!

The only thing that got me through those last few years leading up to 2012 and the last few months on the job, were to Lead from the heart….Right from the start, always and in all ways. And, boy, can I give you ways to do that!!!!!

Hence…….the Inspire Love Serve Blog.

Please stay tuned!

Inhale love….Exhale gratitude, JTC