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

 

 

 

Beach Bum Bliss

“Like seashells, we are beautiful and unique each with a story to tell.”

Sea shells, turquoise and sea-foam green waters, bronzed and glowing skin, sun bleached hair, freckles and the scent of Bain De Soleil Orange Gelee SPF, layered on top Coconut oil and Australian Gold SPF with instant bronzer… Ahhhh! A serene ocean setting and layering tricks for that perfect tan…. hey, layering products is the key to achieving that bronzed goddess look! Just make sure you slather all that on BEFORE heading out in the sun and BEFORE putting on a bathing suit. Throw in a good trashy beach novel and voila….total bliss!

Why is it that everything, EVERY thing, EVERY accessory, and EVERY piece of clothing looks better when we have that sun-kissed look? If you are a beach bum, like yours truly, then you know exactly what I am talking about. However, even a Beach Bum should know when to curtail the sun bathing, right? Operative word here, “should.”

Can you believe I actually had an appointment with the dermatologist on the heels of having been away for over three weeks? What was I thinking?!?!?!? As I sat in the waiting room, I realized it was NOT the ideal time to be seen by a dermatologist. Ooops! We had a good laugh though because she shared how, on occasion, her mom tells her how pale she looks, and asks her if she’s feeling OK. Case in point!

I truly admire how healthy, pale, ivory skin looks on some women. On me? I just can’t seem to do it for very long. Now having said that, like many of my fellow sun worshipers out there, I am paying the price for a lifetime of sun worshiping…wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and sun spots. Ughhh! As a matter of fact, whenever I see young girls with beautiful milky skin today, I urge them to stay out of the sun!!!! Now THAT is something I would have NEVER thought that I would EVER succumb to saying. Ah, the wisdom of the ages!

Years ago, I even tried staying out of the sun for a bit. This Beach Baby even sported long sleeves and long pants at the beach! My cousins thought I had lost my mind. For a while, I embraced that “pale” look.  I “learned” to embrace it, used exceptional facial creams and maintained a wonderful skin care regimen and was actually “OK” with it. Until…….I bought my Florida Sanctuary. Oh dear! I call it my “falling off the reformed, sun worshiper wagon”…..done and done!

These days, I no longer put in 10 hour days in the sun like I used to back in the day; however, I do allow myself to enjoy whatever time I have in the sun! Even if it’s for two hours, I bask in it while reading a fascinating novel and sporting a cute bathing suit, sun hat, sandals, beach cover up and perhaps even sipping a little bubbly on occasion (or a poolside cocktail). AND… lots and lots of water. Water is my all time favorite! You can also find me writing poetry and journaling while I am at the beach. That’s when I feel the most creative and inspired.

There’s some sort of magic that occurs when I’m at the beach, swimming at the pool or just working on my tan. Walking alongside the beach, or even riding a bike there, is blissful. It’s like a meditation in action. Just as I can read or write, swim or walk, I can just as well be silent and in tune to the sights, sounds and stillness around me. And lets not forget the people watching and occasional parade of lifeguards doing their morning routines…..hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little eye candy now and then!

If I could, I would swim every day! It soothing to feel that connection of oneness with the water. It’s mesmerizing! Right stroke, left stroke, right stroke-head tilt and breathe…left stroke, right stroke, left stroke-head tilt and breathe….when I fall into that rhythm, I just glide. I feel like a fish, a manatee, even a mermaid! Hmmmm!

Speaking of mermaids, I saw  a lovely quote by Anais Nin that made me stop, chuckle and ponder: “I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depth & a great fear of shallow living.”

Can you relate? Time spent in contemplation and delving deep within is never wasted. Neither is honest, soulful and meaningful conversation. What matters is finding that place and time for doing so. Whether it is at the beach, in your yard, in the shower or in the comfort of your own designated sacred space, the important thing to remember is that we are all unique and have our own stories to tell. Sometimes they are funny and light, other times they are deep and dark. Regardless, we can all embrace our uniqueness and the stories that arise when we are transported to our magical, blissful, happy place.

Do you have any stories you would like to tell? If so, get them out there! You never know who may be influenced, impacted and inspired by what you have to share.

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

Beach Baby

“Dear Ocean, thank you for making us feel tiny, humble, inspired and salty…all at once”

What is it about the cool waves, warm sunshine, hot sand, lovely seagulls, swaying palm trees, the feel of a soft breeze or, even sitting poolside early morning, that captivates me, enchants me, grounds me and allows me to inhale and exhale ever so deeply? Personally, there’s nothing like being at the beach, in the ocean and soaking up some sun to re-calibrate me, my senses, thoughts, feelings, energy, humility and spirit.

Well. I guess my childhood and upbringing was a huge influence. You see, I come from a family of “beach bums” as I like to say. My northeast family were the beach lovers. We were the ones that schlepped to Florida every year, rented houses on the Jersey Shore and eventually some of us owned second homes in the sunny state.

On the other hand, my southeast family avoided the sun like the plague! And this was long before sun block, UVA/UVB rays, long sleeve shirts, beach hats, and protective beach attire of all kinds….before all the warnings of sun damage and skin cancer… before the warnings to stay out of the sun between the hours of 12-2. Seriously? They wouldn’t be caught dead outside soaking up some rays! Needless to say, my aunts and cousins living in Florida rarely went to the beach and some never even used their pools. I guess they thought it made for a pretty decoration! Hence, the ivory, non-wrinkled, smooth and beautiful skin they sported well into their 80+ years young.

Oh well! I didn’t fall into that category! The only thing as while as Ivory Snow on my body are the areas beneath what the smallest of bathing suits covered over the years. For some reason, I’ve always detested tan lines. Perhaps it was all those baby pictures of me!?!?!?!

Throughout my childhood, my parents would schlep to Bear Mountain State Park, various lakes, down the shore and even to Miami Beach on a regular basis. I recall pictures of me up at Bear Mountain, in a wooden play pen and every other necessary item for an outing. There are pictures of me in ruffled panties, a bandana and sans a bathing suit top. I’d be playing in the sand, on a seesaw, or just parading around….without a top! Hmmmm…funny how some habits from when you’re 3-5 years old leave a lasting impression! Suffice to say, my parents succeeded in raising and training a full-fledged Beach Baby.

All kidding aside though, I really feel the magnitude of the universe when I am  by the beach. I feel like a tiny speck of sand on the planet. It is this feeling that humbles me and makes me see that we are all little grains of sand, side by side, and how we are all more alike than different. It gets me thinking about the intelligent force of creative energy out there in the cosmos. I can also be in the ocean for hours!  Being in the healing, salt water purifies me, and I feel connected to an entire underwater world and the beauty that resides there. I have a FB friend who does a lot of diving, including night diving, and she  posts the most majestic, colorful and enthralling underwater pictures. It makes me want to live in the underwater world!

Obviously, this Beach Baby feels at home when at the beach. And nothing depicts this captivating, enchanting, purifying and grounding feeling more than one of Doreen VIrtues’ Angel Cards:

The Ocean

‘The deep blue sea speaks to your soul, healing and soothing you. Even the act of imagining yourself dipping into its healing womb brings about desirable effects. better yet, spend time physically near the ocean. Allow its power and beauty to wash away away cares and concerns.”

Is there a special place that speaks to your soul, heals and soothes you?

Next up, a little Beach Bum Bliss and more confessions from the Beach Baby…wink, wink.

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

 

Your Creative Power

“Life is a work of art and we are its artists.” –Sandra Magsamen

I love Sandra Magsamen! A friend of mine turned me on to her art years ago. You’ve probably seen her plaques, mugs, books, cards, ceramics, and calendars bearing her signature images, motifs and messages from the heart. They are colorful, uplifting and make you smile. Just the other day, I pulled her book, Living Artfully, off the shelf. I haven’t looked at it in about ten years or so, and I think it’s about time to start perusing it again.

Her book reminds us that we are indeed the artists in our lives. The problem is that many of us have let our paints dry, we’ve put away our brushes, forgotten our dreams,  have let 24/7 electronic connectedness consume us and have forgotten how creative we were as children. We have forgotten the power of our imagination and the possibilities that dwell in our creative force field. It’s time we reclaim the dreams, possibilities and rediscover our creative power. Why? Because it’s fun, and I’m sure you will agree that we need to have more fun!

We all have creativity inside of us. It lives in our hearts and minds every single moment of every single day. When we were children, we lived in this field of creative energy. I invite you to take a moment to ponder these questions:

  • What did I love to do when I was a child?
  • How did I fill my days?
  • What mattered?
  • Who and what made me happy?
  • What are my most cherished memories?
  • What things and activities did I truly treasure?
  • What things did I really not like? 

Let your imagination run wild here as memories flood your mind. Allow all your senses to engage you. Visualize every last detail of those memories – the sights and the sounds. Connect with the feelings that these memories evoke. Think about the hours you spent playing, imagining and creating all sorts of things.

Even people who’ve had less than pleasurable childhoods used their imagination to create a life they would want to have someday. And guess what? Many of them did. They held onto hope and tapped into their dreams, strength and became resilient. Along the way, they learned the power of creativity, visualization and the law of attraction. At some point in all our lives, we must take the time rediscover our creative power. In doing so, we come alive…..in living color! Oh, and we must ask questions, a whole lot of them!

In Living Artfully, there’s mention of a UCLA study that documented the following: on average, at age five we engage in creative tasks 98 times a day, laugh 113 times a day and ask 65 questions. By age forty-four, the numbers fade to 2 creative tasks a day, 11 laughs and 6 questions. Keep in mind, this book was published in 2006. Also, I don’t know when that study was done, but I would be willing to say that in today’s world, where children as young as one and a half are already addicted to their parents phones and even have their own iPads, the numbers have really dwindled.

And on this note, please allow me to digress a moment. Sadly, a child’s creativity is already being squashed by overuse of these technologies. I believe there should be a designated place and time for technology use. Brain development is being affected and social skills impaired since technology makes it difficult for a child to pick up on social cues. Overuse of technology is keeping children from developing the ability to think critically or be creative. Oh, and the lack of exercise and physical play is causing us to see obesity in children on the rise. And let’s not forget about posture. Let’s face it, children will model what they see the adults in their lives doing! Hmmmmmm

All the more reason we must foster an environment of creativity, fun and play. And what better way to do it than to meet that head on, full throttle, and in hot pursuit! It starts with us adults learning how to be a child again and awakening our senses and lust for play, imagination, curiosity and invention…..each and every day. In doing so, we gain confidence, and it does wonders for our self-esteem! Tapping into our creativity encourages us to color outside the lines and to take risks. We become more flexible and open. We embrace mistakes and find creative solutions. More importantly though, we are able to live more fully as we actively engage all our senses and savor the beauty, magic and possibilities around us. Just think how inspiring this could be to the little ones in our lives!

How can we tap into our inner child, and our creative, artist Self? If you are at a loss, or need a place to start, here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Give yourself permission to be you
  2. Have fun and have a sense of humor
  3. Get curious and ask lots of questions
  4. Learn to meditate 
  5. Invite creativity to be part of your everyday routines and activities
  6. Play loud music and dance freely 
  7. Think of yourself as a creative person and you will become one
  8. Act as if everything you do is a creative expression of who you are
  9. Be innovative, recycle and reuse
  10. Look at things from a different perspective
  11. Get yourself an adult coloring book or download ready-made images for coloring
  12. Take dance classes
  13. Get together with friends and paint, make pottery or play games
  14. Go bowling, ride a bike, pick up a new hobby
  15. Play tourist in your own town
  16. Learn about crystals / maybe learn to make jewelry
  17. Learn how to knit / crochet / sew / play an instrument 
  18. Read the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
  19. Watch travel films / home renovation shows
  20. Redecorate by simply moving furniture around
  21. Experiment with color anywhere and everywhere
  22. Make “play dates” with friends, play dress up and do things that bring you joy
  23. Experiment with new recipes and different cuisines
  24. Start / join a book club…or any type of club
  25. Smile and laugh more and see what happens

Darlings, I hope this blog joyfully inspired you and that you discover more ways to live a life that vibrates with creativity and inspiration. Now go out and tap into your creative power and create away!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC