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

Conscious Self-Love

“Everything in life is most fundamentally a gift. And you receive it best and you live it best by holding it with very open hands.”  – Leo O’ Donovan

We are each a gift. Our presence in this lifetime is a gift to those around us. When we stand in that knowingness, in our power, see it, feel it, smell it, taste it and embody it wholeheartedly, we are in alignment with our essential being. We are better able to honor our role in this cosmic carnival of life. We are better able to embrace our life, take juicy bites out of it, celebrate it and be more conscious of the love, affection and attention we first give ourselves. Showering ourselves with conscious self-love is an intentional act!

So, as we continue moving through this love-filled month, a month that I hope is filled with radical self-love for all of us, I will continue sharing with you Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. If you missed my previous blog, Radical Self Love, I encourage you to check it out before going any further so that you will know the focus of my writings throughout this month.

  • Forgiveness is more that a one-time choice; it’s a whole approach to living.
  • Develop a consciousness of your body. You’ll more effectively maintain balance.
  • Make your workout anything but routine.
  • Embrace the full spectrum of energy, from charged-up thrills to moments of calm.
  • Family traditions are a screed practice- they affirm our deepest values.
  • The best gifts are infused with intention.
  • Sometimes the situations that make you most vulnerable offer the greatest rewards.
  • True beauty can’t be applied from the outside; it must emerge from within.
  • Think simpler. Less fuss equals less waste.
  • Living well requires a focus on the present, not just a promise for tomorrow.

As we read these thoughts on whole living, we can examine how they each play out in our lives. We can think of ways we embody these practices. Some may stand out more than others. Perhaps some strike a chord. We can look at the feelings that arise as we read them, and take some time to sit with these feelings, name them, and describe them.

The more we honor the gift of our life, and everything else that shows up in our life as the divine gift that it is, the more we will be able to fully embrace our greatness and be more conscious of the love, affection and attention we first give ourselves. It’s never to late to start….the point is to start wherever we are.

Approach the act of conscious self-love as the most intimate relationship you will ever have….Enjoy and savor every moment!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Soften Your Edge

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating- these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do.” -Wayne Dyer

Soften your edge is another term we hear in yoga class a lot and one that can be applied to our everyday lives. When I heard my teacher-friend, the lovely Tara, say these words in class the other day, I once again thought it would be a good topic to write about (much like a previous blog, Just Linger, inspired by yet another wonderful teacher, Erin).

We can go though life in a state of perpetual conflict, grievance, sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment, resentment and constantly hit brick walls, or soften our edge, sink in, open up and flow with effortless ease. And it is this state of calm, ease, peace, expansiveness and flow that allows us to be in balance. The more we tap into practices that keep our mind, body and spirit in that state of balance and effortless ease, the more we realize we don’t have to struggle or force anything to go our way. It just happens. The disciplines of  Yoga and Ayurveda teach us that the path to perfect health is learning to maintain balance……in mind, body and spirit. And that is why I LOVE YOGA. It changed my life!

Yoga philosophy can be traced back more than 5,000 years. This practice is much more than physical poses. It encompasses physical, mental and spiritual practices which allow us to “unite” our mind, body and spirit. These practices, or disciplines, are based on moral and ethical principles that allow us to align all parts of our being with our thoughts and actions. They afford us tools that will allow us to approach life from a place of equanimity and equilibrium.

The practice of yoga offers us opportunities for self-reflection, self-regulation, the practice of kindness, self-compassion and self-awareness. It’s an inside job! A job that is not dependent on external circumstances; yet, it rewards us with much success and is one that enhances our performance in ALL areas of our lives.

Since I’ve been immersed in the world of yoga, I’ve heard sooooooo many people say,  “I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga.” Unfortunately, that is a false perception and misunderstanding. There was a time in my life I had a limited range of motion due to surgery as a teen and, I too, subscribed to that limited mindset. Over the years, there have been times I’ve been more or less flexible as a result of subsequent orthopedic surgeries and joint replacement appliances. However, we do NOT have to be  contortionists to do the “physical” practice of yoga.

Yoga is so much more that those physical postures. It requires us to tap into ourselves, our minds, emotions and belief systems. It’s about meeting our body where it is, honoring what it can and cannot do, exploring our edge, and respecting it. Much as in life, when we engage with others, we should be able to meet them where they are, explore our similarities and respect our differences. In order to do so, we need our spiritual toolbox and resources.

The practice of yoga restores harmony in our mind, body and spirit. It’s about going within and loosening every thought pattern and emotion that grips at us and takes over our minds and, oftentimes, makes us act unskillfully. The inner work and exploration we do as a result of our practice allows us to relinquish the grievances, resentments, anger and unresolved issues that are holding us hostage and keeping us stuck at every turn. It frees us! It’s not uncommon to hear a yoga and meditation practitioner say that they felt “at home” when they found yoga. That’s what yoga does, it brings us home to ourselves….to the very core of who we are. It brings us back to a healthy and renewed place of calm, ease, equanimity, loving-kindness, compassion and self-awareness.  Yoga softens our edges.

Our breath is another tool that allows us to soften our edge. It’s brings us back to the present moment instead of being stuck elsewhere. And that “elsewhere” is usually a dark, anxiety ridden, self- induced little shop of horrors. Something as simple as connecting with our breath diffuses the volatile diatribe waiting to explode within us like projectile vomit. Not a pretty sight!

When we are in the present moment, and have a clear head, we realize that we are the ones making something the struggle that it has become. We have been the ones adding fuel to the fire. There is absolutely no need for that – we can remember that at any given moment, we can connect with our breath and make a different choice. How liberating is that? Bringing ourselves back to the present moment allows us to shift our perspective from being “stuck” to one where we are able to see the infinite possibilities and choices that truly exist. As Deepak Chopra says, “We gain access to the creative and nurturing flow of our own nature.”

And on this note, I will leave you with a passage from the book, The Golden Present, for you to ponder.

“Health is your birthright, not disease; strength your heritage, not weakness; courage, not fear; bliss, not sorrow; peace, not restlessness; knowledge, not ignorance. The person with health and strength of body, soundness of mind, with morality and spirit is a real gem among all humanity. Such one possesses the true treasure.”

 

Wishing you a relaxing, peaceful, blissful, free-floating kinda day xo

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Year…A New You

“The mind and body are not separate. What affects one, affects the other.”

The beginning of a new year is when most gyms are packed, everyone is purchasing new memberships to health and fitness clubs, attendance in yoga classes is on the rise, resolutions of all kinds are made, and new sorts of diets seem to be the “trend du jour.” However, studies show that within the first couple of months everything falls by the wayside. Why? Well, in my humble opinion, it is because it’s just that – a trend – as opposed to being a “lifestyle.”

Routine, practice, patience, wisdom and consistency, as well as willing to do the work of inner reflection, are the keys to living a healthy life of balance and well-being. It’s really a lifestyle. If we don’t deal with the gunk that is clogging our energy channels, and deal with the emotions that are the “root cause” of the unhealthy life style, all the resolutions and hours at the gym will not do a thing. Yes, we may see the scale drop a bit; however, before long, it will climb right on up there and may even surpass where we started. We may even burn out along the way. If you aren’t sure where or how to start the inner work and self-observation, I invite you to check out my previous blog, End of Year Review & Rituals. It contains some good questions for reflecting and writing.

True transformation begins from the inside out. And while a new year is the perfect time to start a transformation process,  just remember that transformation does NOT occur overnight. It is a journey of sorts. There will be the highs and the lows, the twists and the turns, the pretty and the ugly,  and the comfortable and uncomfortable feelings that are sure to arise. Stick with your commitment to your Self, and please don’t short change your Self! Remember, we are all here to learn the necessary lessons that will help us to transform into the highest and best expression of our true Self. These lessons will be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ones, so addressing one with out the other is fruitless. That is why so many people give up those first few months of the new year. They approach the physical aspect of the journey and ignore the other important components of their being.

It is my belief that, in addition to becoming the best version of ourselves, we are here to also help others do the same. When I look back at some of my journals from years ago, one of the things I would sometimes end my writing with would be “Inspire Love Serve.” Is it a coincidence that I chose that as the name of my blog? I think not! It was part of my approach and purpose in my quest for being of service to myself and to others.

If you’ve been following my blog, you can see I have been trying to do just that – Inspire. Love. Serve. If you are new to my blog, Welcome! Since I started blogging in September 2017, I believe I’ve written over 40 pieces. It really brings me joy to know that in some way, shape or form, someone reading the blog may be touched, inspired or impacted by something I wrote or shared. I write from a personal perspective and also include lots of “tools” and resources available for us to use in our quest to truly transform from the inside out.

Mantras and affirmations are  powerful tools when stated and released with purpose and intention. They key word here is “intention.”  Resolutions are typically punitive and restrictive, whereas intentions are pleasurable for our mind, body, soul and our senses. By shifting our perspective and operating from a place of intention, we have a better chance of adhering to our desires.

As I was looking through some of my notebooks, I came across mantras for perfect health from a meditation series I did a while back. I believe it may have been from one of the early Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21 Day Meditation Experiences. Below, I will list for you the different aspects of perfect health that were featured and a Mantra  / Affirmation / Intention to go with each one.

  1. The Journey to Perfect Health: “I commit to living perfect health.”
  2. The Nature of Perfect Health: “Balance is my true nature.”
  3. The Intuition of Your Body: “My Mind and body are in perfect health.”
  4. The Wisdom of Your Body: “I trust the wisdom of my body.”
  5. The Rhythm of Your Mind & Body: “My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.”
  6. The Perfection of Your Body: “I am perfection. I am healthy. I am strong.”
  7. Honoring Your Body:  “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to spirit.”
  8. Restoring Balance: “With awareness, I create healthy habits.”
  9. Creating Balance: “My outer world reflects my inner world. Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.”
  10. Breathing for Balance: “I am one with the breath of life.”
  11. Eating for Balance: “I choose foods that help me thrive.”
  12. Connecting for Balance: “I cherish my every connection. I am the other in myself and myself in others.”
  13. Moving for Balance: “I am flexible, powerful and balanced. My life is in balance with cosmic law.”
  14. The Balance in Silence: “I intent to take steps each  day toward perfect health.”
  15. Living well: “My little changes amount to big benefits. Everything I desire is within me.”
  16. Living Nature: “I am an exquisite expression of nature. I am absolute existence. I am a filed of all possibilities.”
  17. Living Creatively: “Through rest and play, I open my creative channels.”
  18. Living Passion:  “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm….How can I help? How can I serve?”
  19. Living Optimism: “My life unfolds in Divine order. My actions achieve maximal benefit with minimum effort.”
  20. Living Agelessly: “I am ageless and timeless.”
  21. Living Perfect Health: “I create my perfect health.”  

I hope these are helpful to you in some way. May you find comfort and ease, and may these mantras / affirmations help guide you through your own transformation throughout 2018.

Here’s to a New Year and a New You…Now let’s go out and live with intention!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

 

New Normals and Self Acceptance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

The Warrior Goddess in You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

 

If Not Now…When?

Boundaries allow me to take care of myself. Boundaries enable others to take care of themselves. Boundaries create freedom of choice. To give, share, or support need not mean taking care of. I can say no and still give love and support. Boundaries keep me in my divine, right space.” Iyanla Vanzant

Do you find yourself getting irritated, being unforgiving of your slip ups, questioning your self-worth, giving away your personal power, giving too much of yourself to others, not valuing your time, being too self-critical, feeling compromised, and perhaps even feeling fatigued, drained and exhausted? Well, then someone needs to work on setting boundaries! We all need boundaries darlings. As children we needed them, and we need them even more so as adults. Why? It’s quite simple. We need boundaries because we need our mental, emotional and spiritual health in tact.

Today, more than ever, the art of setting boundaries needs to be honored if we want to face each day with grace, hope, inspiration, kindness, understanding and ultimately engage with others in the best way possible. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like we are on “fast forward” and everyone is just scurrying around. The minutes, hours days, weeks, and months feel like they’re just slipping away and into some black hole somewhere.  Despite all the wonderful self-help tools and resources out there, a great many of us are still giving more and more of ourselves away and doing less and less to honor our Soul’s needs. As a result, our quality of life is deteriorating and will only worsen unless we stop, take stock of the things we know we should be doing to take care of ourself,  look at the areas of our life that are out of balance and are being compromised, identify areas in need of healthier boundaries, and love our Soul enough to finally draw a line in the sand…”If not now, when?”

Back when I was working with establishing boundaries (circa 2005 shortly after I found my yoga practice), I’ll admit it was a little challenging. Not everyone around me, especially loved ones, were very happy. However, it was about my mental, emotional and physical well-being and not about them. I was working on myself and changing; unfortunately, that didn’t sit well with everyone. Sometimes people aren’t comfortable being around someone who is changing and morphing before their very eyes. People can be very set it their ways and would never dream of stepping out of their comfort zone and rocking the boat. And others simply may not be able to understand because they have a different perspective.  However, I will tell you this – I felt better and healthier once I learned to set boundaries and was very clear and committed to what I was willing to do if the line was crossed. My mental, emotional and physical health improved by leaps and bounds!

Our life is a miracle, a precious gift, and we need to honor our own sacredness. Imagine if we all made that a  priority?  Think of it as your moral and spiritual obligation to the miraculous gift of life and love you were given. One of the best ways you can do this is to take care of yourself. If you aren’t already doing so, then I humbly ask you, “What are you waiting for?”  If you answered “yes” to some of the questions I posed at the beginning, I am certain your physical, emotional and spiritual body have been sending you signals and trying to get your attention.  Are you listening? What has to occur to you before you start to shift and make changes? Right now is a great time to just pause, reflect and make a list of the things that are keeping you from taking care of yourself. No excuses, no blaming, no shaming, no judging…..just the facts! Take time to be still and listen to what your body is trying to tell you, feel it, see what shows up, maybe even journal on the thoughts and emotions that arise. It may not be as easy as it sounds for you personally. After all, every one is different. Regardless, be as truthful, authentic and open as you possibly can, and remember to be patient with yourself! Furthermore, ask yourself this: If your life isn’t working, whose responsibility is it?

Next up….loving yourself….. Check back on Friday for more ways to be good to yourself,  inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart… right from the start.

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC

 

The Unexpected Shift

“Perfection is an Illusion”

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely source and arrives in the midst of chaos. Can you relate? It was circa 1998-99, I had just turned 40, my father was dying and my mother was having a breakdown. Caregiving was taking its toll on me, and I experienced my first and only panic attack. Where was my breath? I knew how to breathe….after all, I was a gym rat at the time, cardio queen, spin master, and had run many races leading up to the NYC Marathon. You could say I knew a thing or two about breathing. Nevertheless, it was extremely alarming as I fought to understand what was happening to me. Shortly thereafter, my then husband, Jorgie (such a beautiful, thoughtful and caring soul), decided to “take me away” for the weekend.

I recall going over the Tappan Zee Bridge and being able to see the tower belonging to the Castle Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. It was so beautiful! We were shown to our room which, by the way, resembled an Upper West Side NYC apartment….we could actually see the Hudson River from our windows. Needless today, the room was beautifully appointed and topped off with not one, but two, four poster beds complete with spectacular bedding, linens,  and luxurious treats of all kinds. Aside from a few mishaps such as leaving incense burning in the room, setting the fire alarm off, and our waiter accidentally giving me a “regular” cappuccino (instead of decaf) which kept me totally sleep deprived and awake most of the night, we had a lovely stay. Oh well…stuff happens…So much for much-needed R&R!

At some point upon our return home, I guess my brother and I were having a conversation where I must have mentioned my panic attack. In typical Jules fashion, he proceeded to ramble on an on about mental illness statistics and how my “quest for perfection” was MY mental illness, and there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION! You know how you turn on a light switch? Well, I immediately felt the flip of a switch in my head. It was an epiphany! Who would have thought that “Bro” would have been the catalyst for the shift I was about to embark on !?!?!?!?!

I had gone to therapy on and off over the course of a few years to work on certain things, and I remember the analogy the therapist gave me that has stuck in my mind since then. It’s one I often find myself sharing with others who are at crossroads in their lives. Imagine you are on a boat with a toxic person, and the boat is sinking right along with this person. Are you sinking with them? Or, are you jumping ship? I don’t know about you, I am certainly not going down with a sinking ship. This act, like all self-care acts, is called self-preservation! The heavy weight on that boat can be a person, belief, attitude, situation, or circumstance. My quest for perfection was drowning me, and some of the toxic people around me were keeping me from coming up for air. I quickly started shifting and learning the art of letting go!

Letting go is freeing! Letting go of the need to be perfect, to control, or anything associated with the notion of perfection is liberating. Letting go of anything, or anyone, no longer serving us is the best gift and the highest form of self-love  and self-care we can give ourselves!

I’m sure you all have a story of someone who shifted your perspective, how it impacted and shaped your life, and how it may have saved you from further pain and suffering that you were causing your Self……and we do know a thing or two about the subject of pain and suffering. All the great masters will tell you, pain is an inherent part of life, but suffering is optional! I am forever grateful for that lesson my brother taught me for it allowed me to shift, let go and live life more fully and at ease. I said good-bye to the A- Type characteristics and my OCD tendencies that, unbeknownst to me at the time, were causing me so much suffering. Wow!….Talk about life-altering!

We now know how dis-ease in the body manifests into full blown diseases (I did not know this at the time). Just pick up the timeless treasures and international best sellers Louise Hay wrote, Heal Your Body and/or You Can Heal Your LifePeruse a catalog from Omega or Kripalu, or anything from a mind, body spirit wellness organization and see all the different healing modalities being used to treat all these dis-eases and diseases in the body. Look at all the books on the topic of health, well-being and mind, body and soul connection. There’s so much research out there on the mind/body connection and how our bodies intuitively know how to heal. I also like Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book, You are the Placebo –  Making Your Mind Matter. The point is that our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, actions and beliefs impact our well-being. Our thoughts and emotions can, and do, affect our body and well-being both positively and negatively. The choice is ours. Hopefully, by now we have mastered lessons on conscious choice making, self defeating beliefs and other habits of mind that either support us or get us sick. One thing I learned for sure is it all starts with being more loving. kind and compassionate with ourself.

Darling, is there something that’s causing you suffering: a behavior, habit, belief, emotion or attitude that is weighing you down and no longer serving you, impacting the people / relationships around you, or getting you physically sick? Is there an area of your life you would like to experience more balance? As with many things in life, the art of letting go is a practice, so be patient with yourself should you want to give it a much needed try. The “unexpected shift” you will undergo will be like being in that sinking boat and having a life preserver thrown your way!

You are the artist, now go out and create a new masterpiece. Remember, we are always a work in progress. Embrace the shift, and watch others also want to Inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart right from the start! 

Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC