Love Who You Are

Kiss your own body, and hug your own curves. You are made of LOVE and honey and hot peppers, when it’s necessary. You are a Wild Woman Goddess!”

Happy Valentine’s Day, my darlings! I hope we are all taking some time today to shower ourselves with lots of loving-kindness!

Let me start by saying that I had a most beautiful draft finished for today’s blog but, somehow (and unbeknownst to me), I failed to save it AND accidentally discarded it. By the looks of it, and by what I have read online, it appears that it is gone.

Apparently, the universe did not want me to publish that blog. So on this rainy day in South Florida, the day before Valentine’s Day, I have spent most of the day deleting 16,000+ photos and videos from my phone. And wouldn’t you know I came across some beautiful quotes and ideas for this blog you are about to read. I know, I know… I’m taking the easy way out here; nevertheless, I want to remind us all that we are beautiful, spirited, strong, talented and powerful Goddesses!

We’re powerful alright! We each possess gifts and skill that allow us to be whomever we want to be- without needing anyone’s approval. Not that the road to this place in our lives has been an easy one for any of us. But on a day like today, a day we celebrate all things love-related, we need to fully embrace the road that got us here as well as celebrate our MAGNIFICENCE. We need to own our GODDESS POWER!

Some of us are full-blown Goddesses to the core, and others of us are Goddess-in-training. For those of us who are not quite sure what authentic Goddess Power looks like, allow me to share something I came across as I was clearing out my photos:

  • Authentic Goddess Power is knowing who you are: Your Beauty
  • Authentic Goddess Power is knowing what works for you and what does not: Your Truth
  • Authentic Goddess Power is being your own best friend: Empowered Relationship with Yourself
  • Authentic Goddess Power is being connected with your soul and I AM presence: Spiritual Power
  • Authentic Goddess Power is having the courage to do what is right: Making the Tough Choices
  • Authentic Goddess Power is living from Your Creativity: Not the competitive ego

As any true Goddess knows, the other key piece is to make sure we surround ourselves with people who are authentic, inspiring, passionate, motivated, grateful and open-minded. And most importantly, those who see the greatness in us!

As if right on cue, when I was working on my ill-fated blog, my dearest and loving friend, Kat, sent me a beautiful prayer/ affirmation. We’re unsure where it came from… perhaps Louse Hay???? The moment I saw it, I knew it needed to be part of my Valentine’s Day blog.

Since I’m all about sharing the love and paying forward, I will share the prayer/ affirmation with you as MY Valentine’s Day gift to YOU. As with all prayers and affirmations, you may want to further tweak it to suit your needs:

“I am willing to see the magnificence of me. I now choose to eliminate from my mind and my life every negative, destructive and fearful idea and thought that would keep me from being the magnificent Goddess that I am meant to be. I now stand up on my own two feet, support myself and think for myself. I give myself what I need. It is safe for me to grow. The more I fulfill myself, the more people love me. I join the ranks of women healing other women. I am a blessing to the planet. My future is bright and beautiful. And so it is!”

My Darlings, on this day, and every day, we must make sure we put ourselves at the top of our to-do list. For when we do so, we TRULY step into our AUTHENTIC GODDESS POWER and become UNSTOPPABLE and LIMITLESS!!!

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Wholehearted Living

“No one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world” -Wayne Dyer

Yes, I am a Wayne Dyer junkie! As a matter of fact, in the third blog I wrote last year, The Power of We…Who’s Your Tribe, I mentioned that Wayne Dyer sits on my spiritual board of directors. If you have not read it, I invite you to do so. Of the 120+ blogs I’ve written, that one is still one of my favorites. If you do not have a spiritual board of directors, I highly encourage you to form one…wink, wink!

Having like-minded supportive people whom we can connect to, without being judged, is vital to our spiritual and emotional growth. Whether dead or alive, the wisdom and life experiences we obtain from our support network is both therapeutic and validating. Our community of like-minded individuals help us see and process our world. Over time, our perceptions and thoughts change, we move from a scarcity mentality to one of being and having enough, we learn to lead with an open heart, we embody the power of vulnerability and authenticity, we shift from fear to love, we learn to flex our courage, we build our resilience muscle, we value our connections and learn the secrets for wholehearted living.

All of this takes time, energy and a life-long commitment to change, growth, expansion and transformation. We must have that burning desire to learn and push beyond our boundaries. More importantly though, we must learn the art of letting go.

The art of letting go requires us to live and lead from the heart. It requires us to leave our egos at the door and silence the nasty and obnoxious roommate we have living in our heads. It is recognizing everything that is holding us back and learning the skills to move forward. It is the utilization of every tool in our spiritual toolbox. It is when we live and work from that space in our hearts that we are better able to engage with ourselves, our friends and family, our communities and the world at large. That is what the art of letting go and wholehearted living look like.

In Brené Brown’s Book, book, The Gifts of Imperfection,  she designed “guideposts” for living wholeheartedly. These guideposts also make a cameo appearance in her book, Daring Greatly, and I will share them with you a little later. As I read each guidepost, I realized that each and every single one personifies what life here in “Earth School” is all about.

You see, Earth School always brings us people, circumstances and situations to learn from. A lot of the learning comes from the exchange of information we have when we take part in meaningful and enriching conversations with others. These conversations allow us to share our insights, questions, speak our truth, share our wisdom and embrace new ways of looking at things. It goes beyond the nagging and complaining and having the same meaningless, dead-end, and shallow conversations that leave us feeling empty, without purpose, hopeless, negative and maybe even worse off than when we started.

Whether we like it or not, no one is exempt from Earth School’s curriculum or its classes. The lessons may be tailor-made to suit our own individualized curriculums, but the over-arching themes are what lead us to wholehearted living. How we process our world throughout the process of living wholeheartedly is what spiritual awakening is about. Wholehearted living, in my mind’s eye, is about living a quality life AND thriving while doing so!

I will leave you with the ten guideposts that Ms. Brown defined and encourage you to spend some time thinking long and hard about each one. Perhaps share them with your tribe, discuss them and maybe even journal about what may be keeping you stuck or may need tweaking. It is a good way for us to access where we are with our individualized curriculum. 

These guideposts are just that….a guide. Their purpose is not to create negativity or stress. We do enough of that for ourselves! Instead, look at the guideposts as tool to help us dig, delve, excavate and reveal the parts of our lives we may want/need to work on. Oh, and we must remember to acknowledge and celebrate the ones we have under our belts!

  1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear
  5.  Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion and a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control

Darlings, consider the guideposts your “cheat notes”….do with them what you please, or do nothing at all. As Wayne Dyer would say, the choice is yours by virtue of how you process your life….Change your thoughts, change your life!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Flowing with Sensitivity

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” – Edgar Allan Poe

One of my new favorite magazines is called Breathe. My dearest and oldest friend, Ili, turned me on to it. The issue I recently purchased (well a couple of months ago) was The Well-being Special. This particular edition contains numerous articles for each of the following categories: Wellness, Kindness, Mindfulness and Inspiration. As you can imagine, this magazine is right up my alley!

I can’t begin to tell you how much content this magazine offers. There must be about 10 articles for each of the featured categories. And the visual graphics are extremely soothing. The featured  quotes cannot help but to touch us in some way. Here’s the welcoming one from the Wellness section: “Whether you’re working, resting, or playing, treating yourself like the guest of honor in your own life will lead towards inner peace.” Just how lovely is this quote? It makes me stop, inhale deeply and let it all out with a sigh…And let’s not forget how true it is!!!!

One of the articles that I especially enjoyed was the one on highly sensitive people titled, “Sensitive People; the Untold Story.” We’ve been talking a lot about this topic in one of my yoga classes, so the timing of this article was spot on with where my thoughts have been recently traveling.

You see, I never considered myself to be a “highly” sensitive person as I was growing up. I don’t even think I had that vocabulary or knew how to express some of the things I would feel. As I have gotten older and wiser, I have learned to embrace the fact that I am a sensitive soul (maybe not Highly, but sensitive to some degree). It’s like meeting a new me for the first time. It’s also allowed me to look at other people though a different lens, be more patient, compassionate and better understand them.

Needless to say, highly sensitive people (HSP) are often misunderstood, judged and even poked fun at. As noted in the article, sensitive people “perceive and process the world at a deep level, are often incorrectly labeled shy or deemed overly dramatic and told to calm down. But being fine-tuned to their environment isn’t something they can throw off – it’s part of the nature of the internal system of the Highly Sensitive Person.”

We tend to have a picture in our heads of what a “sensitive” person looks and acts like, but we have learned there is a wide spectrum of highly sensitive people in the world. “The HSP trait manifests on a sliding scale and to varying degrees of extremity.”  Also, the reality is that some of us may know we are highly sensitive, and some of us may still have no idea other than knowing that we feel very deeply to the point of sometimes feeling weighed down or depleted.

 The truth of the matter is that “there are certain people who are predisposed to perceive sensory data more deeply because of the nature of their internal system.” What does this mean? Well, it means that such individuals tend to experience  the world rather differently than the rest of society.

Since I am such a self-care advocate, student of life, and love writing / sharing  ways we can continue to grow, evolve and help ourselves and others, I thought it would be beneficial to summarize and share the tips offered in the article for grounding and setting boundaries. Grounding is an important aspect for all of us to do on a daily basis. It allows us to feel deeply rooted and supported. It is especially necessary for HSP do to because of the nature of their openness and ability to unwillingly take on someone else’s pain or energy which, in turn, leaves them feeling dehydrated, depleted and exhausted. Setting boundaries is equally as important and something we do for ourselves and for others. Here goes:

Grounding:

  1. EAT GROUNDING FOODS such as root vegetables, leafy greens and nuts. These types of foods rebalance and regulate the body and its ability to heal.
  2. ENERGY CLEARING at home, in the workplace and especially after visitors. You can burn/ smudge sage, Palo Santo or even use ready-made clearing sprays infused with essential oils.
  3. GET OUTSIDE IN NATURE walk barefoot in the grass, talk to plants or hug trees.
  4. LET NATURE IN and open doors and windows because it resets the energy to neutral. Have plants in  commonly used spaces, especially near electronics as it purifies and recycles the air.
  5. WATER is known for its healing powers. Take baths using bath salts for added detox, take a swim, wash hands when leaving places, and drink lots of water.
  6. RELAXING BREATH is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. Connect with your breath and feel grounded. Controlled breathing techniques help to reset and regulate the nervous system, inducing an increased state of calm.

Setting and Holding Boundaries 

  1. SAYING NO is a critical part for establishing boundaries and for one’s sensitivity to external factors. Be clear about what not to do or where not to go. Comfort comes first.
  2. PROTECTING PHYSICAL SPACE by having a designated place and space that’s just for you. It should be somewhere you can retreat to, to center and ground.
  3. LIMITING TIME WITH SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS is key. Learn to leave a place or situation when ready. Disconnect and take quiet time to relax.
  4. LIVING IN LINE WITH NATURAL ENERGY whenever possible try to work, socialize, exercise and eat when it best suits you, and wake and sleep naturally. Choose spaces and places with natural light and get outdoors regularly.

Whether you or someone you know is a sensitive soul, there are wonderful resources out there. You can visit hsperson.com or look into some of Dr. Elaine Aron’s work. She is the author of the following books:

  • The Highly Sensitive Person
  •  The Highly Sensitive Child
  • The Highly Sensitive Person in Love
  • The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook
  • Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person

In retrospect, I wish I had known of the existence of these books early on in my life journey. They would have answered a lot of questions for me. It’s taken me a lot of life experience, personal growth and learning about energy to come to a point in life where I am extremely discerning as to where, when, why and with whom I choose to expend my energy. Self-preservation, darlings!

Also, I think these books would have prepared me as I embarked on my teaching  profession. After all, educators and administrators come across highly sensitive children and staff all day long. And all of us, in every profession and calling, come across people whom are highly sensitive. The more we know, and the better we are able to support HSP, the better prepared we are to be in any kind of relationship with such beautiful and deep feeling souls.

I hope to share a few more articles and tips from Breathe magazine in some upcoming blogs. By now, you should know I’m all about the sharing and anything that calls our souls to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude.

 

Who’s in Charge Here?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now go take charge, and enjoy yourself!

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

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

 

 

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