Mind over Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look for the answer inside your question. Rumi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breathe…

Inhale Love and Light… Exhale Grace and Gratitude, JTC

College Admissions Scam

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

Greetings darlings!

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

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

Enjoy the read and share if you care!

Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Teenage years should be a time of discovery. 

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

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

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

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

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

• How can we give back to the world?

• I love you.

Kahlil Gibran reminds us that:

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

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

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

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Ease and Effortlessness

“If you align in any moment with the flow of life as it presents itself, it will unfold in the right way at the right time with spontaneity and ease.” -Tosha Silver

There was a time in my life when I had to make sure that I was in control of every little thing, what would happen, when it would happen, how and with whom. The OCD in me maintained such a tight schedule, that the possibility of any sort of magic, spontaneity or synchronicity to occur were less than likely.

No wonder I was stressed! If I was going to entertain a large crowd, I would obsess over it for the weeks leading up to it. If I was hosting a dinner party, I would be setting the dining room table days in advance and making sure every little detail was “perfect.” I would let all the details consume my every waking moment. By the time the day or evening came, I’d already be exhausted.

At times, I’d be so hell-bent on something happening a certain way, that I would struggle when it appeared that it would not work out. And when it didn’t, I’d have a meltdown. I was like a fish swimming upstream. A part of me never paused long enough to notice that perhaps I was being “divinely guided” in another direction.

Whew! When I look back, it’s almost as if I do not recognize that person. Thank goodness those years are long gone!

By no means am I saying to throw planning and scheduling out the window. A certain degree of planning is always necessary. If we don’t plan, we are actually planning to fail. Any solid educator or highly successful person will attest to that. What I am saying is to be aware of that ever-so fine line between planning and obsessing.

Once we cross over the border to obsession, we’re doomed. We often have physical symptoms or get sick. But the sooner we come to that point in our lives where we realize that we cannot control everything, we are on our road to OCD recovery.

That’s when we start learning to sit back, chill out, relax, and have faith in knowing that everything will work out…as we see it happening with our own eyes. Before we know it, we have mastered the art of letting go and just letting life happen. Struggles be gone… how sweet it is!!! There’s absolutely no turning back once we’ve learned to have faith in the process.

For me, there is no better reminder of ease and going with the flow than when I’m on my yoga mat or when I sit on the beach and look out at the ocean. I love watching the waves roll in. Even when the waves crash, they do so ever so effortlessly. It’s as if they just melt into one another. There’s no struggle, no pushback…the pattern just repeats itself over and over again.

Letting go with ease and effortlessness is what we can do when faced with a decision, situation or problem we are unsure as to how to address. We can either get stuck ruminating in our heads or align ourselves with that power that is greater than us. Aligning ourselves with Source, is where faith comes in.

The faith in knowing we do not have to take on that decision, situation or problem and do battle with it in that very instant. We know, deep in our souls, that it’s already being handled. The lovely and delightful book by Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness- Letting the Divine Take the Lead, is a perfect read in that it opens our eyes to the myriad of ways the Divine is always handling the details and conspiring in our favor. Through the often funny, poignant and practical vignettes contained in the book, we are delightfully and creatively shown how we can release the exhausting pursuit that has us seeking everything from perfection and control to safety and security.

The book club I belong to decided to pick this book last month. While I had previously read it when it was first published, I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it again. It allowed me to reflect and rejoice!

Tosha Silver’s Book a gem. As one of the reviews states: “By allowing the Divine to lead the way, we can finally put down the heavy load of hopes, fears, and opinions about how things should be. We learn how to be guided to take the right actions at the right time, and to enjoy the spectacular show that is our life.”

Darling, if you feel your life is lacking a fair amount of ease and effortlessness, and you feel exhausted and keep hitting dead ends, then it’s time to do something about it. If you feel like your life is a constant struggle and you’re tightly wound up and ready to snap, it’s time to snap out of it!

Know there IS a better way. You don’t have to go at this thing called “Life” alone. Actually, we aren’t wired to “go at it alone.” We are all wired to a path of enlightenment, and this is NOT a solitary path. The Divine is always there to guide us and show us how to live with ease and effortlessness.

All we need to do is be open…. outrageously open!

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

 

 

 

Full of Truth

Darling, you feel heavy because you are too full of truth. Open your mouth more, let the truth exist somewhere other than inside your body.” -Della Hicks-Wilson

Greetings, my darlings!

I was listening to a meditation recently that got me thinking on the subject of joy, creativity, and truth. These are a few ways in which we can manifest and cultivate happiness at all times.

We all know the famous saying, “Happiness comes from within.” Unless we take the time to sit in stillness and cultivate each of these areas, we will always be searching for happiness “out there.” Exactly where is out there? That’s an easy one to answer. Out there are the places and the vices that we turn to when we are not plugged in and connected with our Self, our essence, our creativity, our voice and, most importantly, our truth.

I invite us all to ask ourselves how we feel, and what are the things we do and say, when we are not plugged in and connected? How do we feel knowing we have truths, gifts, creativity, joys as well as sadness that are in need of expressing but are sitting dormant in our souls? What do we find ourselves thinking? How does this translate to our daily existence, habits and patterns?

Personally speaking, I know I do not make the most evolutionary choices when I am not connected and in my flow. However, I’m also aware that, at any given moment, I am able to self correct and make a better choice that is for my highest good and the highest good of all parties involved. That’s when magic happens!

Who doesn’t want a little bit more magic and happiness in their world? I’ll share a little secret with you… the magic of happiness occurs when our truth and creativity are aligned. It’s a win-win situation!

I invite you to take a moment and ponder the following questions. You may even want to return to them later on and jot down the thoughts that have shown up:

  • How do you use your voice?
  • How do you express yourself throughout the day?
  • How do you express yourself on social media?
  • Do the words you use unite and bring together, or divide and separate? Do they express love and creativity or fear and hatred?
  • What gifts do you have that can be of service to others?
  • How do you honor of yourself and your creativity?
  • What are your creative outlets?
  • What words do you use with your Self?
  • Does your throat feel constricted when you are not speaking your truth or coming from a place of authenticity?
  • What sensations do you feel in your body when your truth is being compromised and your creativity stifled?

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that it takes a great amount of energy to restrict the natural flow of our creativity, thoughts, and feelings. We’ve all been there, and it’s fatiguing! This, my darlings, is what zaps the magic and happiness out of our lives.

This is the heavy weight we feel dragging us to to deeper and deeper levels of despair. And when we are in the depths of despair, we say and do ugly things. But…. despair no longer! For this is a wonderful time of the year to review and assess any and all areas of our life that could use a little more truth and joy. All we need to do is to get real with ourselves. Perhaps even tap into a friend to help us stay accountable. Any step in the right direction is the right direction!

Having said that, the first step truly involves going within. And if you are new to this, it could be a tad scary. This is the time when we get to identify any areas in our lives that may be out of balance or in conflict.

It’s a time we ask ourselves if we are living to our highest potential and feel that whatever it is we are doing is of value and purpose. It’s a time we take a good hard look at our relationships with the people in our lives. It’s a time when we examine our jobs or careers and how they are impacting our state of mind, health and well-being. It’s a time we assess, get clear, and move towards articulating exactly what it is we need and want to do. It is the time we let the truth exist somewhere other than inside our body.

I’m not going to lie… it’s hard work, darlings. but only we can do it for ourselves. If you feel compelled to dig and delve a bit deeper into your heart and soul, you may want to check out my blog Now I know my ABC’s. The questions contained in that blog really require us to get to the core of who we are…both our light and shadow side. And my previous blog, New Beginnings, contains a vision board check list if we want to get creative with our intentions, goals, dreams, aspirations and to the truths of who we are. Personally, I find images and pictures help me to articulate my intentions in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Here to us, our journeys and our truths!

Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

Defy Age…Quality of Life

“There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defied age.” -Sophia Loren

If you happen to be doing Deepak Chopra’s current 21 Day Meditation Experience, Energize Your Life, you too came across this quote on the day the meditation dealt with anti-aging being a skill you can master. That meditation inspired this blog, as I thought it would be an appropriate follow up to my previous blog, Aging or Ageless…What are You?

I’m a big advocate for quality of life. This from someone who used to be a workaholic.  When we have experienced so many losses in life, some of them tragic and others long-lived, we tend to have an awakening of sorts and start to connect the dots. We come to realize that it’s not solely about the job, career, the big house, over consumption and consumerism, living life in the fast lane and money, money, money. What good are all of these things if we don’t have the quality of life and the energy to live life?

Who has the energy you may ask? Well, according to Deepak, it’s the people who are mastering the aging process that radiate life and energy. And how we do that? By the choices we make. He further went on to share that studies have shown that the most effective anti-aging results come from a holistic approach that minimizes toxic and unbalancing influences on our bodies, minds and emotions.

If we take a long, hard look at the people around us, those in our lives, and perhaps even complete strangers, we can pretty much tell by looking at them if they radiate life and energy. Further examine their eating habits, social habits, hobbies, outlook on life, social/familial interactions, listen to their tone and conversations, and we have a good indication if they are on the fast track to aging and whether or not they have any semblance of quality of life. Obviously, it’s just as important to take a good look at ourselves to see if there are any areas we can improve on.

Here are some questions that came to mind as I was writing:

  • What are your energy levels like?
  • Do you look at the glass half full, or half-empty?
  • Do you feel you are taking life for granted?
  • What are your talents?
  • How do you express your creativity?
  • How do you exercise your mind?
  • Do you live to work, or work to live?
  • What type of physical exercise do you get?
  • Do you eat genetically modified foods, processed foods, foods out of a box or whole, organic, clean and green foods that are not genetically modified?
  • How would you describe your relationships in general?
  • What is the quality of your friendships?
  • Do you partake in any self-destructive/self-sabotaging behaviors?
  • Do you drink, smoke or do drugs?
  • How do you minimize the stress in your life?
  • Can you identify the stressors in your life?
  • What mindfulness resources or tools do you employ to maintain the calm in the chaos?
  • Do you drink plenty of water and get at least 8 hours of sleep?
  • Can you identify the areas of your life which you feel aren’t being lived to the fullest?

Why so many questions? Well, because these types of questions help us identify areas that need further examining, cultivating and nurturing. It’s that simple! No hidden agendas or complicated formulas. And what is even simpler? The fact that people who age well have the following seven things in common:

  1. Meditation
  2. Wide social support system, friends, family and community groups
  3. Close emotional and familial ties
  4. Take multi-vitamins and mineral supplements daily
  5. Good sleep alternating with daily activity
  6. Life-long curiosity
  7. Willingness to undertake new challenges

As with all things, habits, attitudes, activities and practices in life, it primarily comes down to balance. And speaking of balance, I will leave you with something one of my nieces (and hopefully a future guest blogger) posted on Instagram a while back. It spoke to me so much that I had her print it on card stock, and I enclosed them in my birthday thank you cards. As you should know by now, I love anything motivational and inspirational!

Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don’t forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday night and walk barefoot on Sunday morning. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are. Be brave, bold, spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence, patience, modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and follow your own path and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.

Remember, my darlings: quality of life, quality of life, quality of life… and in the process, you will find yourself defying age!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

Hello Love

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart” – Confucius

Hello Loves! Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing Ten Thoughts on Whole Living with you. I believe that each one of those thoughts / affirmations / power statements are ways we can treat ourselves with a little more tender loving care. They are ways for us to open the door and say, “Hello Love” in ways that no one else can do for us. Why? Because we are the ones holding ourselves accountable.

When we become accountable to ourselves and for the love we give ourselves, a major shift occurs in our psyches, body language, actions and outlook on life. We become more grounded, confident, skillful, vibrant, jovial, aware, alive and have a zest for life….joie de vivre!  No one, or nothing, can disturb our peace regardless of whatever madness is hovering above and waiting to make landfall. There is a sense of steadfastness and undisturbed equanimity that come with loving ourselves and owning it. At least that’s how I can personally best describe it.

We’ve all looked for love in the wrong places. Why? Because society and consumerism have brainwashed us into thinking that love is something we can only find outside ourselves…like lasting happiness and peace. We now know better. We have the tools, practices, resources and life experiences to show us the way back to our true Self. THIS is where love resides…..Hello Love!

We are now better equipped and more knowledgable than our parents, grand-parents and past generations. We’ve learned to fall, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and forge ahead. And no one better stand in our way! Like the saying goes, “Everything you need to know is already inside of you.” Now THAT is something I wish I would have told my younger self!

Here are some more Ten Thoughts on Whole Living that you can explore, work with, act on, and use along your journey. As Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.” Can I get an Amen?

  • When you commit your dreams to paper, you give them a place to take root.
  • Be mindful of where you put your attention. The shape of your life will follow.
  • When you view your health as a non-negotiable, your priorities naturally shift.
  • Positive change starts with truth, and no one knows it better than you.
  • You’re more than just what you do for others.
  • Before you react to an emotion, first consider the source.
  • Learning to let go begins with understanding why you’ve been hanging on.
  •  Do more than understand stress reduction; put it into practice.
  • There’s no way to grow without taking a few risks.
  • Setting boundaries doesn’t keep others out. It defines where your life begins.

Carry on darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

Finding Your Passion

“What lights you up more fervently than anything else in your life? Listen to whatever immediately comes to you – these are the signs leading you to your true passion, your heartfelt desire and ultimately, your destiny”  -Desire & Destiny Meditation Series

 

Some of the things that show up in our lives aren’t all warm and fuzzy. These are the hard lessons that oftentimes break us open, bring us to our knees and leave us in an extremely vulnerable state. A state that can be such a blessing when all is said and done. It’s been my experience that the more I’ve been brought to my knees, and have been broken open, the more that my heart expands and blossoms. Being in that vulnerable space allows for our hearts to blossom like a ten thousand petal lotus. It also takes those times for us to stop and listen to what our heart is trying to tell us.

Such times tend to lead us toward greater opportunities and are meant for us to find what sets our souls on fire. It makes us ask questions like: What are my gifts and talents?What brings me joy? What excites me? What do I have the most fun doing? Where do I feel like I belong? What makes me come to life? What makes me feel like I am being of service? How can I serve? And, what is at the bottom of all these questions? It’s passion. Passion is what drives us to be the very best we can be. It’s our soul expressing itself through our intention. It’s that spark in our eyes, the skip in our step and the opportunities that allow us to shimmer and shine.

Unfortunately, there will be people in our lives who may attempt to extinguish our light as a result of their notions of what we “should” be doing. Other times, our internal dialogue will keep us from living our passion because of the stories we have created for ourselves. Part of the journey is looking at those stories as well as the situations and circumstances that have broken us open and ask ourselves, “What is this situation here to teach me?” I always say there are lessons and blessings to be found in each challenging moment. They may not look like what we may have imagined, but they are lessons nevertheless.

When we do what we are passionate about, our dreams, desires and successes come to fruition. We feel alive when we do what we love. We feel aligned, productive, and creative. We don’t feel like we are working. It feels more like fun!

If we aren’t having fun doing what we love, then we must examine our situation. We’ve all had experiences where the thought of going to work the next day was sickening. How about constantly getting sick on the job (and boy can I speak to that)!?!?! Or feeling like our life energy is slowly being drained from us? Is this a way to shower ourselves with love? Obviously not, but it certainly is a way to get our attention!

These situations allow us to determine what we are no longer willing to compromise. And it usually boils down to our health, well-being and quality of life. We cannot put a dollar amount on our mental, physical and spiritual well-being. What we can do, is live our passion – for it will most definitely lead us to our calling. It may not all happen at once but, taking the initial steps of determining and following what our hearts and souls are tugging at us to do, will always put us on the right path. We are telling the universe that we are ready!

For many of us, the second half of our lives presents us with the opportunity to do redefine ourselves and how we want to live out this time in our lives. Our life experiences and wisdom have brought us to a place where we no longer do anything we do not want to do. It’s a time where we want to focus more on being of service in ways that only we can do via our unique creative expression of who we are. It’s a time in our lives where we’ve learned what happens when we don’t take care of ourselves and the importance self-love, self-care and self-respect play in all facets of our existence.

So darlings, to keep us in a constant state of showering ourselves with love and affection, I leave you with another dose of Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. When we take the time to pause, breathe and shift some of our thoughts and actions, magic tends to happen!

  • Rather than muscle through your day, take a moment to breathe and go with the flow.
  • Personal growth is a winding path. Expect to revisit the same issues and the same mistakes.
  • Empower your decisions and your self-esteem by learning to say no.
  • Tune into your sense of smell. It connects you to your emotions and your health.
  • Surrender isn’t about giving up. It’s about letting go.
  • Listen to your body; it knows what it needs most.
  • Balance is self-improvement with self-acceptance.
  • Invest in your work space. Inspiration and fresh ideas bloom in a positive atmosphere.
  • Use your vacation as an opportunity to engage your creative side.
  • In everything you do, align your actions with your personal philosophy.

Here’s to keeping the passion and the magic flowing!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Love the Little Things

“It’s amazing how the little things – like your smile – can lift my spirits and remind me I am loved.”

Just in case no one has told you today that they love you, I will…..I LOVE YOU! Now, tell me THAT didn’t bring a smile to your face!?!?!?! You see, it’s those little things, those subtle nuances we sometimes overlook, the smallest gesture of love and affection shown to us, the wisdom shared that brightens our day, a chance encounter with someone who left us feeling high on life….the little things that lift our spirits!

It’s good to just hit “Pause” at times and take stock. Examine the little things that show up in our lives that we sometimes tend to overlook or give a second thought. There is so much love, joy, grace, humility and gratitude to be found in those moments! We can take it a step further and examine the ways our presence leaves other people feeling as well. The smallest of gestures, like a smile, can literally save a person’s life! We’ve all seen and heard examples of that over the years. Sometimes, just looking into a stranger’s eyes, or having someone look into our eyes, affirms that we have been seen. That is a powerful act in itself!

I’ve been hitting the pause button a lot these days and taking the time to love the little things. I’m taking the time to savor the beauty around me, the acts of kindness shown to me, even the unwelcome inconveniences that show up. There’s beauty in each moment should we choose to subscribe to that mindset. Despite the crisis and calamities around us, we can choose how to respond to them…..we can find little things to love even in times of crisis, death, and other tragic life circumstances. It’s all in the perception, and our perception is mighty powerful!

In keeping with the Love theme this month, I will continue to share Ten Thoughts of Whole Living with you. These power statements / affirmations allow us to shift our perspective and put us in a different head space. Ten Thoughts present us with opportunities to not only love the little things, but it’s sends our brain the subtle message that says, “I am taking the time to love my Self.”

  • You already possess all you need to stay calm. It’s just a matter of practice.
  • Food isn’t just fuel; It has the power to heal.
  • You can’t slow the aging process by getting tough on your body. Be gentle instead.
  • Breathe deeply. Healthy, strong lungs fan the flames of well-being.
  • Pay close attention to the patterns in your life. They’re the keys to doors only you can open.
  • No one likes a lecture. Inspire by example.
  • You don’t need a lot of time to get fit; you just need consistency.
  • Real authentic change emerges only from a place of deep focus and intention.
  • When you really listen, without reacting or judging, things become a lot more clear.
  • Bad news gives us the rare chance to pause and reflect on what matters most.

 

Love thyself darlings, and all the little things that come with it….oh, and remember to keep smiling!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

Start Wherever You Are

“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed, so is your destiny.” -The Upanishads

Wherever YOU are…not where someone “thinks” you should be, how long it should take you to “be there” or doing what THEY deem is the “appropriate” thing for you to be doing. Just be…..BE YOU, in all your glory, divinity and magnificence! How about just making and taking the time meet your Self  and start wherever you are?

I recall the first time I decided to do just that: take the time to meet my Self…really meet myself and decide who I was. It was the first time I had decided to be in a relationship with me. Invest in Me. Become intimate with my Self. Explore my life. Assess my assets and re-assess my core values. Take a hard look at my core beliefs. Examine how I was living, breathing, eating and conducting myself. Trust me when I say this did NOT sit well with some people.

You see, that’s what often happens when we break free from the status quo and break from the mundane,  the routine, jump off the stressful carousel of life and look for ways to come back to our Self. It’s what we do when we want to live a deeper, more meaningful life. It’s work that some people may be uncomfortable doing because it brings about a certain level of change. Let’s face it, not everyone is comfortable around the face of change! Others may just not “get it” because they are on a totally different path or have a very different level of awareness. We may even find others who feel the need to poke fun at us…..and it may even be a family member. Regardless, we shouldn’t let any of that take us from going on whatever life exploration journey we feel called to go on.

Little did I know the life journey I was about to embark on when I took my first step onto a yoga mat. Little did I know the changes that were awaiting me. Little did I know how life-altering a yoga practice would be. Little did I know how expansive my mind, body and soul would become. Little did I know how I was about to enrich my life. Little did I know of the impact that yoga philosophy would have on my life, values and core beliefs. Little did I know that I was going to have the most fulfilling soulful relationship of my life. Little did I know how peaceful and happy my life would be. Little did I know how critical, judgmental or weary some people could be when we are living a life that doesn’t mirror theirs. Not that it mattered to me because there is only one person I need to be accountable for, and that person is Me. At the end of the day, we are the only person that matters. How we love and honor ourselves should be the one investment we are all committed to making…always and in all ways!

However, at the time I was embarking on this journey, I didn’t have the words to accurately describe the how, when, what, when and why I was undergoing this change. All I knew was that it was the ultimate form of self-love and ecstasy I could have ever imagined. I felt like I had come home to my Self. When I finally did find the words, it was magical!

That’s what happens when we meet ourselves…really meet ourselves for the first time. It requires us to put and end to all that external and internal chatter and criticism and own our authenticity, bravery and courage. I can’t think of a better way to meet our date with destiny than choosing to own our truth, authenticity, bravery, courage, divinity, fiercelesness, grace and vulnerability! Oh yes, and with a sense of awe, adventure, magic and openness to the infinite possibilities, love and abundance that is always available to us.

Darlings, when we take full-on responsibility for who we are in the face of scrutiny, you will not believe how it stops some people dead in their tracks. There is this one woman I know who, whenever I would see her (which wasn’t often), would always insist on asking if I was dating anyone and why I was not doing so. Well, when I finally felt comfortable enough in my skin, owned my truth, bravery, courage, and found the precise mindful words…..it shut her right up. Now, I wasn’t a bitch or anything. Remember, it’s all in the delivery. I am a firm believer that we should always speak our truth kindly, clearly, calmly and compassionately… and with a smile. I recall feeling so at home when I said something like, “I AM in a relationship with me. I AM taking the time to fall in love with me.”  Yep, it was priceless, and she was speechless….and has never brought up the subject again. Period. The End!

So my darlings, let’s continue showering ourselves with some good lovin’… Ten Thought on Whole Living sets the stage for us to do just that. These thoughts allow us to meet ourselves where we are, open our minds to new ways of thinking and being, and give us new ideas and practices that allow us to approach our life, our self-love and self-care in more mindful, enriching and enlightening ways. Here are some more Ten Thoughts for you to consider:

  • When you believe in an abundant universe, your world feels more plentiful.
  • A healthy diet is about how you prepare, not just choose, your food.
  • Walk, run, dance, and jump a little every day.
  • Explore your inner adventurer. Try things that excite you.
  • Sustainable living goes beyond a single action; it requires a shift in our philosophy.
  • Your limitations aren’t flaws; They are opportunities to cultivate self-kindness.
  • Think of smarter, greener ways to stay warm and dry this winter.
  • The most motivating thoughts spring from gratitude.
  • Become aware of what you are eating…and why.
  • A resolution isn’t what you “should” do; it’s a chance to move your life forward.

Start wherever you are, and come home to You.. to your mind, body and spirit…it is the most important date you can ever have! Finding my Self was my deepest desire. What’s yours?

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC