My Guest Blogger… Act III

Sister Mother Friend

by Shannon Green

Sister: Technically I AM a sister. I have an older brother, but growing up I always wanted a sister. My brother was into sports, and I liked dolls and dress–up. Occasionally, we would play games together, ride bikes, do sibling-type things, and we would get along; but he would also tease me endlessly, and I remember tears flowing on many occasions.  Because we were not very close, I learned to play alone and entertain myself. As we got older, the teasing stopped and we just became two people living in rooms next to each other.

We were a grade apart in school and, once I started high school, we sometimes even shared classes. I definitely got the feeling that my big brother did not like me being in any of his classes. I don’t remember him ever taking me under his wing, showing me around, or introducing me to people. What I do remember are other kids coming up to me in the hallway asking me why I didn’t come with my brother to a certain party… feeling a little embarrassed and let down I would reply, “because he didn’t tell me about it.” I knew other sibling combinations at school where the older sibling looked after the younger, brought them to parties, acted like friends, and it definitely made me sad to realize that my brother seemed to prefer not to have me around. We were more like strangers who just happened to share the same last name and live in the same house. I distinctly remember being incredibly happy my senior year because my brother was going to be at college and I would now have the bathroom all to myself!  I can honestly admit that I did not miss him while he was gone.

As the years passed our relationship continued to change, and we grew a bit closer.  There was even a time in my late 20s when my husband and I lived with my brother in California. This time period probably brought us closer than any other, and I think we now even have a friendship, albeit a strange one where we rarely talk and still don’t share personal feelings. My brother even surprised me one time by calling me his “best-friend.”  Wow! I felt honored.

My brother is a very busy person, and we don’t see each other often. We mainly talk when I call him, but occasionally he surprises me with a phone call or random text message. I worry about him living alone, eating right and exercising enough, but I know he will never listen to his little sister. So, while I technically am a “sister,” I still  feel like I missed out on something by growing up with a brother. I always wished to have a “sister” of my very own … someone I could talk to about “girl” things, ask advice, share clothes, etc… older, younger, doesn’t matter. In my mind there seems to be a special bond between sisters, and I have always longed for it.

Mother: Yes, I have a mother. NO, I am NOT a mother. Growing up I remember always wanting to be near my mother. I wanted to cuddle and hug her. I wanted her affection and to feel safe. I was often shy, especially in new situations, and I remember I would try hiding behind my mother’s legs so people wouldn’t talk to me. I also vividly remember hearing her say things to me like “stop hanging on me” or “stop being so sensitive”.… I wish I had more memories of us doing things together and having special “mother/daughter” time, but I don’t. I do remember her taking time to be my Girl Scout Leader and that she volunteered as a Class Mom at my elementary school, but one memory that never seems to fade is that, during the four years I was on our High School Swim Team, she never came to one of my meets. This always makes me sad when I think about that.

I have a lot of hang ups about my relationship with my mother. I don’t feel like she has ever known who I am or ever tried to get to know me. Probably the most painful memory is the time I called her extremely upset about a very personal incident that had occurred. My husband and I had been hoping to start a family, but it just was not happening. As you can imagine, this was an upsetting time in my life and very emotional and stressful. On this particular day, we had just received news that my husband’s younger brother had gotten his girl-friend pregnant. I was devastated. I had dreamed for so long of starting a family and having the first grandchild in the family, and now it seemed like my dreams were crushed.

My heart was broken, and I felt like it had literally been ripped in two. I called my mother to talk to her, hoping to get some motherly love. As I was telling my mom the situation and waiting for her to offer me some compassion and love, the only thing I remember her telling me was that I needed to “get over it.” That is the memory I have… Those are the words I remember…  Maybe there were more words in the conversation, but I think I stopped listening after that. My heart was broken, and I was crushed by her words and lack of empathy and love. At a time when I really needed love and support, my own mother seemed to be invalidating my feelings as she told me to stop being so sensitive and just “get over it.”

That was the day I stopped telling my mother anything personal about myself. I tried for a while to see if I could change our relationship and make it more a little more friendly.  I knew people who talked to their mothers daily and had nice friendly conversations about life and personal issues, so I made it a point to call her frequently hoping that she would start to enjoy talking to me and reach out to me in return. But she never did. At one point, I was so distraught as to why my mother just did not seem to love me that I reached out to my brother. Since he was the only other person who knew her like I did I figured he might have some insight.  It was that conversation that made me realize she did love me and that she was loving me, but in her way, and I accepted that she was probably doing the very best she could. It was just that our styles of “love” are so completely different and, unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t the love that I craved or needed.

That conversation with my brother changed the way I viewed my Mom and helped me release the resentment I felt towards our relationship. Sometimes. we may not think that people love us when the reality is that they are doing the best that they can with what they have. The truth is that she is giving me the love she is capable of giving me, and I cannot be angry with her for doing her best. We may not have the mother/daughter relationship that I have always wanted, but I accept it for what it is and have released the belief that she does not love me. Arriving at that realization shifted something inside of me and helped me accept our relationship for what it is rather than what I wished it was.

Friend: Some people don’t like the kind of friend I am. Maybe I scare them off with my personality? I believe that I can come off as too needy, too bossy, and a bit of a know-it-all. Over the years I have realized these harsher parts of my personality, and I have worked on them. I think I have become a “softer” version of myself as I have matured. I have realized that I can be a bit much to handle, but I have also realized that some people just aren’t meant to be in your life for the long haul, while others are with you for a lifetime.

As a result, the friends I have are limited in quantity, but are of EXTREMELY HIGH quality. To say I love them like family is probably an understatement because I think I love them more than my family. These are the people who “get me.” They are the ones who stick around through the ups and downs. They know my struggles and successes. They are the ones I call crying or with whom I want to share good news.  They are the ones who provide support and bolster me up when I am having a rough time.

Over the years, we have stuck by each other on our respective journeys and evolution as human beings. We are miles apart in location but always just a phone call away. Throughout the years, our shared interests have brought us to similar paths as we explore the meaning of life and our purpose on Earth. These amazing women have become my “soul sisters.” In them I found what I was always craving as a child. I found big sisters and little sisters. In them I have found mothers and have been able to be a mother as well.

Recently, I read something that really helped put things into perspective. My friend Christy encouraged me (rather enthusiastically) to buy the book The Archetype Diet by Dana James. In the book the author talks about 4 archetypes of women. Very interesting stuff…I highly recommend the read. Upon reading the book and the description of the various archetypes I discovered, surprisingly to me, that I would be classified as “The Nurturer.”  The following passage describing the Nurturer Archetype really hit me, like an arrow in a bullseye:

“Because she was deprived of the maternal attention young girls need, she learned to fill this void by protecting and nurturing others, especially taking on the role of mother she lacked. Although the recipients of her nurturing could not make up for the failing of her own mother, she depended on them to give her the acceptance she so craved. By showing love to others, she hoped to get it in return.”  

After reading this passage, I realized that it described me to a tee! It was as if my whole life now made sense! Why I always wanted to check in on people and make sure that they were doing well. Why I always wanted to help my friends be successful, even back in high school helping them with homework or studying for a test. In college, I would be the one to drive to a party to make sure everyone got there and home safely. Why I always double checked that no one left anything behind, made sure people had enough to eat, and weather-appropriate clothing. Why I always felt drawn to take care of people and why I want to be there for them when they are having a difficult time, needing advice, needing to vent, needing to cry, or needing a hug.

According to Dana James’ chapter, The Nurturer:

Showing affection for others and caring for them is your gift and it should be celebrated. But choose the recipients wisely. Pause before you bestow your kindness, time, love, or money. Ask yourself if this person genuinely needs your help or if they can handle things on their own.”

It suddenly made sense. Why there were some people who seemed put-off when I tried to offer help. They didn’t want it. They didn’t need it, but I couldn’t see it. These past few years have helped me to understand many things about myself and, as I mentioned earlier, I feel like I have become a “softer” version of myself. I am working on my “hard edges” and learning to develop things like patience, managing expectations, and letting go of things I cannot control. I am filling my tool box with the help of Yaya and her book suggestions, but also with the time I set aside to read, journal and meditate. I have taken myself on as a student, teaching myself as I am learning and honestly trying to be the best version of myself I can imagine.

As a result, I have found that my relationships have improved. My friendships have deepened. I have become able to offer my help to those who genuinely seem willing to accept it, and it fills my heart with such love knowing that I am able to help… whether it is on the receiving end of a phone call or creating a spreadsheet. I told my friend Christy once that I did not know what my purpose in this life was, and that the only thing I wanted most and that I enjoyed the most was helping those I love. She was quiet for a moment and then said, “That is your purpose. Your purpose doesn’t have to be your job.”  I have to say that I think I absolutely agree with her.

I do not think it can be better expressed than in the below passage which closes out “The Nurturer” Chapter in The Archetype Diet:

“Embracing the positive attributes of the other archetypes will help you achieve balance and rise to the crown… When you layer in these attributes, you will transform from a Nurturer seeking to heal your childhood wounds to a woman who heals the world with her loving presence, compassion, dignity, and nobility.”

Sister Mother Friend….I have found these. I have become these. In my “Vibe Tribe” (the named bestowed to our retreat group back in April from the outstanding owner of the amazing Pranamar Villas Yoga Retreat Center in Costa Rica), I have found my FAMILY.  I feel loved. I feel understood and accepted in a way I never did before. Even more importantly, I feel these things from myself.

I now realize that I cannot put expectations on my relationships with people, whether it is my brother, mother, or friends. I must accept that what they are giving to the relationship may be the very most they have to offer at that moment. The most important person whose love I need to feel, and whose support I need in my life, is ME. In giving my love and support to others freely and openly, with no strings and expectations, I have found the love I always felt was missing. I have found a peace in my relationships and appreciate them for what they are –  not what I wish they would be. By letting go of how I thought things should be and accepting things for what they are, I have been able to find joy in those hard relationships that used to bring me pain.

You can’t be everything to everybody, and they can’t be everything to you. Sometimes, you find the love of a mother in someone who was just a stranger to you five years ago, and the relationship of a sister in a friend you have known for over two decades. Blood does not make the relationship. Accepting people for who they are, and releasing the expectations I set on them. created what I can only call “freedom” for me. By accepting situations for what they are, I now find myself less worried over outcomes and more able to enjoy the present. I find there to be far fewer conflicts in my relationships and much more peace and harmony.

Relationships, whether family or friend, are never easy. But I truly believe they can be made more harmonious.

  • Is there someone you wish you had a different relationship with?
  • Are you willing to try things in a new way?
  • Are you placing expectations on the relationship that is creating discomfort for you?
  • Can you release those expectations and instead accept that what is being given to you is the very best that can be given at the moment?
  • Have you examined your relationship with the most important person in your life, yourself?

Wishing you peace and love in all of your relationships!

I’m here if you need me…Your sister mother and friend, Blondie

 

 

Get Clear on the Why

“You may very well be the only obstacle separating you from your greatest desires.” -Tegan Trovato

Why do we sometimes self-sabotage our efforts? Why do we sometimes feel we are not enough? Why do we live to work instead of work to live? Why do we exhaust ourselves trying to prove to “someone” that we are capable, able and more than qualified to do the job? Why do we seek external validation? Why do we focus on what we have not done rather than celebrating all our accomplishments? Why can’t we give ourselves permission to cut ourselves some slack? Why do we find it hard to step into our greatness? Why can’t we accept, once and for all, that we are MORE than enough?

These are the questions that came up for me as I was reading an article by Tegan Trovato on my flight home from Dallas this past week. She is the founder of Bright Arrow Coaching. The article was titled, “What if You’re the Only Obstacle?” and was featured in Mantra Magazine (one of my faves). I’m going to have to scope out the work she does!

The article really got me thinking about the career I had, the people I worked with, the people under me, above me, the qualified, unqualified, healthy, unhealthy, stable ones who were a pleasure to work with,  as well as the unstable and challenging ones who were my greatest teachers. It got me thinking of some of the “higher-ups” I worked with who didn’t even know what they didn’t know. It got me thinking of my transition from an elementary school teacher to vice-principal of an urban, at-risk, high school in a very politically charged school district, and the unfathomable number of hours that would be the “norm” for me to put in on any given day. I’m talking 12-15 hour days, some days longer, and the hours some of us put in on the weekends due to sporting events, etc. It got me thinking of how physically sick, and how often I was sick, during the last 12 years of my career. Talk about exhaustion! Why? For what? Approval of course. Acceptance. Validation. What a waste of energy! All because I was not validating my Self. Instead, I was my own obstacle!

All these thoughts arose, I think, because I’ve been doing some intense writing exercises and journaling as a result of the book I am reading, which I mentioned in two of my blogs: Taking Charge of Our Own Healing and Choosing Love at All Times. Additionally, I’ve been having some pretty deep and healing conversations with a few girlfriends, and we have all been doing a lot of processing and excavating in an effort to get to the root cause of our past and current behaviors, pain, fears, suffering, exhaustion, obstacles, and self-sabotaging limiting beliefs that do not serve anyone. In essence, we were working to get clear on the why! And, by the way, if you missed the previous blog, My Guest Blogger Returns, check it out and see how “Blondie” got clear on her why. And it all started with a little red lipstick…wink, wink!

Getting clear on the why is necessary if we want to live our fullest and best life and own the greatness that is our birthright. It also offers us a sneak peek into the “why” behind other people’s behaviors. By this, I mean those behaviors that are less than nice and outright mean. Behaviors that we sometimes can’t wrap our heads around because that is not our operating system.

As I was reading the chapter on forgiveness and betrayals in the book I’ve been working with, I found myself digging deeper into my subconscious mind. Here I thought I was in the clear; that I no longer had any resentments nor was there anyone I needed to forgive. Surprise, surprise! I thought about the betrayals of those “not so nice” colleagues with whom I worked. The colleagues who were my peers as well as higher-ups like some principals, supervisors, assistant superintendents and even a few superintendent of schools. Some of these people were the unhealthiest people I have ever seen: unhealthy in mind, body and spirit. One could see and feel it.

Having worked my way up the ranks in a primarily patriarchal system, there were certain behaviors of men that, sadly, you could typically expect. Over time, more and more women, like myself, were holding positions that only men once held. The behaviors I had a difficult time understanding at the time were that of the women in power.

Power in the wrong hands is not a good thing. It’s disastrous! It is detrimental to the work force, the work place, humanity and to society at large. We see that everyday in every industry. But being a woman who has always been about supporting and lifting other women up, I looked back at the toxic and hurtful behaviors, and I saw how destructive they were- to say the least. More importantly, I came to the realization that I needed to forgive these people. Why? Because I was now in a place to better comprehend and get clear on the why they behaved, said and did the things they did.

What kinds of things? Well, let’s start with intimidation, bullying and harassment. Oh, and yelling, screaming and carrying on! And let me not forget the lies and the back-stabbing. Some of these higher-ups belittled and disgraced many of the qualified, dignified, smart, respected, and empowered women (as well as men) who knew how to lead, how to engage, how to relate to the community and to families, how to solve problems and, yes, how to love. Now that is authentic power if you ask me!

They would just squash, defame, insult, and disrespect anyone their ego and/or wounded / deprived child was threatened by. God knows I worked with plenty of women whose default setting was to tear a woman down instead of lifting them up, who took credit for the work others did rather that celebrating each other’s successes and accomplishments, who set people up for failure rather than encouraging others to live  up to their highest potential, who were the obstacle rather than the remover of obstacles which, by the way, is the job of a true leader. Rather than illuminating the path for others, these colleagues and higher-ups darkened one’s trajectory. How on earth could they put their head on the pillow at night? Didn’t their souls feel compromised? Did they even realize they had a soul? Did they sell their soul to the devil just to get to where they got?

It is my firm belief that people act out of their state of consciousness. That is why I try to always choose the miracle over the grievance, anger, resentment and regret. However, as I reflected on how the different types of loss has shown up for me in my life, and how it impacted my own behaviors and beliefs, I found myself wondering how damaged, wounded and scarred these men and women were/are.  I was able to see how the dis-ease in their lives is showing up/ has shown up as disease in their bodies. I was able to see how they feed their “hungry ghost.” I was able to get clear on the why.

In getting clear on the why, I was also able to release them. I was able to forgive myself for subconsciously holding onto some type of grievance or resentment. Like truth, karma always prevails. We are all living out our own karma in this lifetime. My own karma has allowed me to excel and succeed in ways I never thought possible, and I am forever grateful for all the lessons and the blessings! Speaking of blessings, I even wrote a prayer of thanks in my journal for those people, and in it I prayed for them to awaken to the light of their true nature, so they can heal their lives and the lives of those around them.

So, back to the questions I posed at the beginning. I think the answer to all of those questions comes from a valid point that Tegan Trovato pointed out in her article: we seek approval and validation from other people rather than granting ourselves the permission tostep into our own power and take action.” As she notes, “I can tell you from spending thousands of hours with adults in the growth and self-development mode that many of us are waiting for some kind of permission.” 

Darlings, we must accept the fact that we do not need to seek permission or validation from anyone other than our Self. Whether we want to or not, we must also come to the realization that we may just be our own obstacle. Yes, there will be people on our path who will be our greatest challenges, but it’s up to us to take on that challenge. A challenge that calls for us to be courageous, brave and stand in our authentic, able, capable and more than qualified power and not allow the unhealthy behaviors of others to dim our light. In doing so, we cease the need to seek outside ourselves for the often misunderstood and detrimental validation of others. As the saying goes, “Everything we need to know is already inside of us.”  Furthermore, we can finally accept the fact that we are MORE than enough!

I will leave you with the following questions and invite you to sit with them for a while. You may want to journal, talk to friends about them, meditate on them and maybe even journal some more:

  • What is something you need to get clear on?
  • Do you have any unhealthy habits you need to break?
  • Are you thriving or barely surviving?
  • What are the fears that are limiting your potential?
  • Is their something, or someone, who is keeping you from being your best self? Whom you need to forgive?
  • How / When do you give your power away?
  • Do you always seek outside yourself for answers, approval, validation, or permission?
  • When was a time that you remember being your own obstacle? Your own worst enemy?
  • In what ways are you committed to personal / spiritual growth and self-development?
  • Do you know what your greatest desire is?
  • Do you know just how powerful beyond measure you are?

When in doubt, just get clear on the why. In doing so, you will be better able to inspire, love serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start!

Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC

 

 

Let Your Love Shine

“Do not chase love, choose love. Do not need love, share love. Do not fear love, embrace love. Do not seek love, become love.” -Creig Crippen

Darlings, this will be the last blog for the month of February, and it brings us to the conclusion of Ten Thoughts for Whole Living. I hope that, over the course of these past several weeks, you’ve found Ten Thoughts useful in some way, shape or form. I am a firm believer in that whatever we need shows up at precisely the time we need it most. Like the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This is one of my favorite quotes that I’ve learned to love and embrace over the years!

Don’t be fooled though, the teacher isn’t always a person. Many times the teacher could be horrible working conditions, unimaginable horrors, tragedies, world events, social injustices, atrocities,….and the list goes on. And, unless we are behind closed doors with someone, we never know exactly what they are going through at that particular moment in time. As a matter of fact, I am still blown away when someone shares how a particular blog was exactly what they needed on a given day. It’s serves as a reminder that everyone is fighting their own battle. Most times, we would not know that from looking at someone, especially if they are faking it until they make it. Sometimes, all we can do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one breath and one moment at a time…..and let our love shine!

That is why it is so important to nurture ourselves with love. Stressful times call for stressful measures. Measures that soothe our soul, excite our spirits and give us hope. Hope that we will come out the other end standing taller than before. When we love and nurture ourselves, we can handle the tough times a little easier. It’s a skill we’ve cultivated along the way. We’ve learned to laugh out loud, with others and at ourselves. It brings a little fun into our lives, and we can all use more fun and laughter!

So on this last day in February, I leave you with the last of Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. I hope they’ve enriched the quality of your life and your love of Self!

  • Stress can push your internal resources to the breaking point. Make time to unwind.
  • Your core supports the whole body. Explore ways to keep it strong.
  • Just because a task is important doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
  • Missteps are part of any process. Stay focused on where you’re headed.
  • Cultivate the art of knowing when to move on.
  • Don’t shrug off compliments; honor and remember them.
  • Resist the urge to overanalyze every experience. Live each moment instead.
  • Generous acts are more than simple gestures. They’re a way of life.
  • Let pleasure expand your perspective.
  • Make this the day you stop dreaming and start doing.

Darlings, remember to choose, share, and embrace love… and let your love shine!

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

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

Radical Self-Love

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Greetings, darlings! Since my last two blogs dealt with relationships, I figured I would delve a little more into the most important, authentic, up close and personal relationship we can ever have – the relationship with oneself. And since February showers us with all things love, everywhere we turn, I thought it would be nice to place ourselves in the spotlight for a change. After all, we deserve it! If we don’t shower ourselves with radical self-love, who will? What images does the phrase radical self-love conjure up in your mind?

Love is our divine birthright and, in my humble opinion, we should unapologetically own it. Yep, stand tall, proud, open-hearted and grateful for the unconditional love that supports us and is always available inside of us – the Divine life force that brought us into this existence. The love that oftentimes shows up at unexpected times. The one we call by many names….Father, Mother, God, The Creator, Divine Being, Celestial Being, Allah, Spirit, The Almighty, Great Mother, Divine Source  and all other names denoting a Supreme Being. We are an extension of this divinity! How can we not shower ourselves with love knowing the great love that resides in us? How can we best honor the Source? How can we be more gentle with ourselves? How can we be more loving with ourselves?

Some people have mastered the art of loving others but have lost themselves in the process. They have forgotten about themselves, their needs, desires, wants, dreams, and aspirations. They are quick to meet the needs of everyone around them but wouldn’t know where to start, or how to start, taking care of themselves. They are barely getting by. If you are one of these people, I encourage you to think long and hard as you ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What happened to me?
  3. How did I let this happen?

Whether you have forgotten how to shower yourself with love or not, I am certain we can all practice a whole lot more radical self-love. Let me ask you this? If you could spend an entire day showering yourself with love, and taking care of your Self, what would it look like? How could you carve out some time for some self-care practices or routines that would allow you to amp up your livelihood?  What is your soul calling you to do or not do?

For some reason, I felt compelled years ago to rip out certain pages from Body and Soul magazine (not even sure they are still in publication – perhaps under another name). They used to have a monthly feature called Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. Now I know why I kept these pages – because some day I would be able to share them with you! So, throughout the month of February, I will be sharing some of these thoughts on whole living with you to help you get jump-started on some major self-love, self-care and mindfulness practices and/or enhance your already existing practices.  Being mindful of our needs and attitudes towards ourselves, our thoughts and actions greatly impact our quality of life. My heartfelt wish for you is that you feel inspired and motivated to shower yourself with a whole lot of love and affection!

  • Ease into the day slowly: take a few minutes each morning to gently wake up. 
  • Be straightforward. An honest response often trumps a clever one.
  • Discover new ways to share the things you love. 
  • Worry breeds anxiety; intuition invites calm.
  • Create habits that help you live sustainably – wherever you are.
  • Don’t second guess; sometimes the best idea is the one that comes first. 
  • Respond to life with openness and curiosity.
  • Don’t wait until you have no room left in your day to breathe; make space now.
  • Anger has a way of evaporating in the face of compassion. 
  • Find pleasure in the simplest of tasks. 

Another great way to work with these Ten Thoughts on Whole Living is to use them as journal prompts. You can set the stage by lighting a candle, centering yourself, connecting with your breath, and anything else that helps you to feel grounded. Read and think about each one and how you can apply them to your way of being. When you are ready to write, don’t over think; just write from the heart and see what comes up. As I like to say, lead from the heart….right from the start. You may just surprise yourself!

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