22
April

11 – Love I

gratitude picThis image and words of Rumi remind me of the Love that I am consciously deepening in with myself.  I have come to understand and believe that all that I feel, in every moment, is in direct relationship to the Love that I am experiencing with myself.  If I am embracing who I am, being gentle and kind with myself, accepting my choices and letting it all be okay, I experience grace and ease.  I feel lighter, see brighter and feel at peace.  If on the other hand, I fall asleep in my head :-) and forget that I can do this and choose this and I awaken feeling tired and grumpy and I judge that because I wanted to feel a different way when I woke up, then chances are the person driving in front of me isn’t doing it right.  I am keenly aware of how it’s tough to find parking on my street and that train of thinking ensues.

It’s that simple.

I am not saying it is always simple to make the choice.  I am saying it is simply about how much Love will I share with myself that day.  Love makes all the difference.  When I choose into the Love, I am essentially emancipated from the self-doubt, from fear, and the notion that I am in control and need to hold tight to that.  When that awareness of surrender is in me, I am empowered, enormously creative, joyful and my energy is magnetic – meaning it is reflected back to me in all those I encounter and that is amazing.  That is Love.

What’s is gonna be for you today?

For your consideration…

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21
April

12 – Hospitality

I just spent the last 24 hours being hosted like nobody’s business.  And I guess I am making it all of your’s. :-)  It was the first time seeing my friend’s new place since she moved last year.  We had spoken about the apartment with the 25 foot long terrace and the amazing view. I imagined and it totally outdid my greatest visions.  It was indeed AMAZING and spending just those few hours there was so replenishing.  Thank you, dear friend!

On to the point of this post, hospitality.  My friend’s apartment is pretty spectacular due to it’s specs and it came to life because of her brilliant design aesthetic and her architectural eye.  Beautiful.  What was even more memorable was the way in which she and her partner hosted me.  The drinks I like, space made for my belongings, fresh yummy towels, a succulent dinner of Wagyu beef skirt steak, lobster tails, and arugula salad.  All of which were prepped before I arrived and then prepared with such grace, and in minutes.  There was a delicious dessert of raw chocolate cake which she decorated with fresh berries and then there was the introduction to my new love, the Nespresso machine.  Oh, dear!  The decaf doppio macchiato was served in moments!!

Of course, the time reconnecting and catching up, while taking in the view was the best part, and I couldn’t help but notice all the details my friend went to, in creating such a lovely experience.  Later in the night when we were bundled on the terrace, they set up my bed with cozy linens and a glass of water.  As I snuggled in, feeling such abundance and gratitude for my experience it occurred to me that hospitality is an artform.

I have to say I learned so much of that from watching my mother and the joy and excitement she took and still takes in creating an atmosphere that surprises and delights her guests.  Everything from a water jar at your bedside table and one of the most beautifully made beds you will ever encounter to individual butter pat dishes and place cards at the dining table.  My mom sets a stunning table and she doesn’t hold it for special occasions only.  I have continued to appreciate these experiences, taking in the time and energy that was offered up to create them.   And isn’t that what life really is, a series of experiences?  It is so nice when they are sprinkled with intention, love, and beauty, yes?

I admire these two women in so many ways, this is just one, and I am so glad I got to share it here.

P.S. I remembered this Martha article I read so many years back and found it on the web.

For your consideration…

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20
April

14 – Meditation

I am a newbie when it comes to meditation and I spent many years thinking and claiming that I didn’t know how.  I understood the concept of creating stillness and emptying my mind and I thought since I had little luck emptying my mind, I was definitely not meditating and therefore, I did not know how.  What I have come to find out, –  that was meditation. The intention, focus, and pursuit of stillness leads exactly there.  It might be that I actually experience ten seconds here and five seconds there where I found some emptiness of the mind, some stillness.  And the sum total is meditation.  The experiencing of quieting, even intermittent with interruptions of the mind, is meditation.

Listening to my breath or even focusing on deepening in my breath by filling up my lower belly, my lung/rib area, and then my chest has been another gateway to experiencing meditation.  Doing that process five to ten times in a row will bring on a quieting.  I understand there to be all kinds of ways, methods, modalities to deepen in meditation.  I have read that true meditation is complete stillness and I have such better results when I play my “Calm – Meditation” station on pandora, set my iPhone alarm for fifteen minutes and fade away to the melodious sounds.  If I find a little mind chatter I try to go back to listening for my breath until I am no longer consciously thinking about anything.  It’s doable with some time and attention.

I recently participated in the Deepak + Oprah “Perfect Health” 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It was a nice process and it had me wishing I could receive one of those daily emails forever.  I found that my days were just more fluid and soft.  I was able to relinquish any charged energy to the process and sink in to each day.  Because I chose to commit to the 21 days, I deepened in my overall meditation process.  One tip on that is, I threw away all the rules.  If I felt like listening to the meditation laying down in my bed, that is what I did. It was the journey and how I was going to be a passenger on it that created the foundation for a deepening, a place I could recognize and return to.

A few more benefits I would add from meditation:

inner peace – you will just feel more quiet and calm

space – is created within that can directly affect how we respond to life and living – things happen and instead of reacting, you pause before responding or better yet you don’t feel the need to respond at all

feelings of joy and abundance – in the peace and quiet we are left with our innate nature which is simple and easy to please – when you are at peace, you “need” very little.  That feeling of realizing you are whole, is pure joy!

transcendence – things that may have a had on hold on you, lift, diminish and fall away completely

gratitude – the humility and humbleness come front and forward when we gift ourselves with this time; we can be in gratitude with ourselves for doing something we didn’t think we knew how to do and this simple awareness creates such gratitude inside of us

overall mindfulness – which can directly affect the unconscious things we can do like overeat, drink or other non-self-honoring decisions

the list goes on and on…

So I offer up a new meditation offering, beginning this Monday, April 23 for 21 days.

Please join me.

For your consideration…

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16
April

17 – Peace

We are all feeling so many emotions as a result of what occurred in Boston this past Monday.  I have read many posts, Facebook updates, news articles, and prayers.  This one soothed me today and I had to share.  I hope you will take a moment to listen and take it in.  And do share it.  Those that come across it will be touched and inspired.  Thank you from my heart to Beautiful, Anita Coats!

 

 

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11
April

23 – Affirmation

I learned about creating affirmations so many years ago and they continue to support me in calling forward the experience I am seeking.  After I clarify the quality or qualities that I would like to make a focus, I play until I find an affirmation statement that captures the qualities that I am intending to manifest.  This year they are Surrender and Grace.

Words are so powerful and they can be quite evocative and compelling when crafted together in a way that has heart and meaning for you.  Last year it became clear to me that a new pathway into greater fulfillment and expansion would be in my ability to surrender, to turn over whatever illusion of control I was holding and to trust that God and the universe have my back.  And, the only way I would be able to experience that is if I stepped forward with my heart in my hands and the willingness even when I was challenged to let go.

Grace, as you can see from the name of this blog, is an anchor word for me.  I experience and see grace as equal to peace, elegance, softness, beauty, and a presence of purity.  Embodying grace fully is equal to what some may call a Zen moment.  It is kind of my “namaste.”  When I am honoring myself with grace, I can easily do the same with you.

And then woven throughout my affirmation statement is the connecting it all to God, to Spirit, and my ability (should I choose) to listen inside to the God voice within me, the one that knows all that I truly need to know at any given moment.  Learning to exercise this skill and way of being is the purpose of my affirmation statement.

I am so grateful for this tool and I share it with you. Love.

jh affirmation 2012

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2
April

31 – Embrace

The purity of this word signals love and we often relate it to as an outward physical gesture. To embrace another, open our arms to someone we love or care for. Or it has even been used as a sophisticated colloquialism, as in how we might receive something – information, direction, knowledge, a way of being. What came forward for me today was the thought, am I embracing who I am?  Or am I spending my precious energy attempting to change who I am, because another way of being is a better way?

Up until now, I have lived many years consciously and unconsciously being pretty heavy handed in my expectations of myself and the various “shoulds” that created my self-reflection.  Of course, there were some acknowledgments along the way of my contributions, accomplishments, and growth.  And I am aware, that I am just now learning to truly embrace who I am, what I am, and the what is-ness of my life experience.  I don’t mean this as a resignation, more as the willingness to step into the fullness of all that I am and in that release the judgments and “shoulds” to make room for the clear-headed, heartfelt, Being…who I truly am.

Bundled in the word embrace – which as I shared signals love (for me), is a loving acceptance of my Self.  To be able to embrace who I am, in each moment is my Willy Wonka Golden Ticket!  I am not implying that I won’t sometimes channel a little Veruca on myself.  Rather, I am calling forward the realization that it’s Charlie I am relating to more these days, with myself.  By embracing who I am, I can experience the joy that is available, I can leverage my energy in more uplifting ways, and this way of relating to myself opens up a whole new reality.  In a nutshell, it’s much more efficient.

So I offer… Are you embracing who you are?

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1
September

hold

I started to write a post about a year ago titled “Wait.”  What was present for me then was a context of waiting, that I was on the receiving end some how of my life keeping me waiting or that I was waiting for something to happen, to show up, to lead me, to tell me what to do.  Here I am today and sitting in a new place, one of holding.  For me this feels like a completely different energy line.  I choose to hold.  I am holding as that is what my inner guides are telling me.  Just be, Jennifer.  Listen.  Be quiet so that you can be ready.  I don’t know exactly what I am holding for and I am totally okay with that.  I have an awareness that all will be revealed to me in time and actually that is the perspective from which I choose to live my life go forward.

I spent the first 39 years of my life becoming an astute reactor.  In some cases, usually more emotional, with family and loved ones, I was not always so graceful and yet in my professional life, I was taught, trained and nicely compensated to be able to react on cue, with a plan and steady.  I am not saying I always did that perfectly either and it was the skill I consciously and unconsciously chose to develop.

Now that I am a bit more settled in myself, I feel a great deal of confidence in my ability to react and respond with ease.  And I also recognize that skill really did not become what it is now until I started to learn to hold.  To truly hold in the moment.  Imagine being able to take dominion over your thoughts and actions in the most elevated and stress-filled times.  I am no Buddha, don’t get me wrong, and I do hold the intention ongoing, to hold. :-) Holding creates a gift of time.  Time is our most precious commodity.  So many of us are not connected to that thought because our lives are completely over filled with stuff, responsibilities, commitments and then there is all of our digital devices filling up any free moments we might have had.  (Recently I moved my phone out of my bedroom at night so it’s not the last and first thing I engage each day.)  We have overlooked that by filling every moment up in essence we have co-created time as our most universally valuable resource.

Let me be clear.  I am not professing or advising.  Your world may work perfectly for you.  I love being connected via the internet.  It’s a blessing beyond.  And, I also realize that I still have all  I really need inside myself.  I also share this because it is a behavior I have spent a few years consciously developing.  Like going gluten-free, becoming vegan, creating a meditation practice or learning to play an instrument, I have dedicated energy, thought and time to developing my ability to hold.  The Joy that can come from realizing an accomplishment is no less with the ability to hold.

It’s probably important for me to share what I have experienced as a result so you understand why I felt called to share it here.  Of course, there is the gift of time that I mentioned before and then there is peace of mind, recognizing the value of being able to be thoughtful about what I want to say and do, less regrets of what I wish I had said or did or wished I hadn’t said or did.  The self-judgments that typically accompany regrets, the time spent there, all can now be saved by holding.  The anxiety that use to come forward and sometimes consume me when big events or choices came up has dissipated because I now have the experience of knowing I can hold, pause, think through, and choose my response when I am ready.  I have even learned to say I don’t know if I don’t or ask for more time with an ease.  I am not overly concerned with pleasing you or doing the right thing because I know that by holding and listening inside, I will please all and inadvertently do the right thing anyways.

Being able to support others is also a beautiful gift of holding.  When I can be that presence for others, to support them, or by holding being a healing agent to them, the blessing is all mine.  We don’t have to truly experience things too many times to get the learning.  By holding, I am encouraging that opportunity for any and all near me, whether they are aware or not.  It’s possible that just you choosing to read this today (assuming you are still reading…) and something in what I shared spoke to you, you will now become more conscious of your opportunities for holding.  And by my choosing to share this, I believe I have more deeply supported myself to continue in this practice.

That’s all.

For now.

 

 

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12
December

sigh….

I have been taking this 7am yoga class at this sweet studio, Rising Lotus Yoga.  Yoga is all about the breath.  If you have taken a few classes from a reputable studio or teacher, chances are they have discussed the importance of breath, our ability to be connected to our breath and to breath easily while holding poses for sometimes up to five breaths.  Actually if you find that you are holding a pose and also holding your breath because it is challenging you then you really have left the practice of yoga.

Yoga has taught me so many things, first and foremost, paying attention to my breathing.  In this studio, to which I am fairly new, I am finding that not only is there the common reminders of breath and breathing but also putting volume to the breath.  It’s funny how putting noise to one’s breath can bring up some funny feelings.  When I say noise, I mean that it is more like a full sigh, open mouthed, releasing of the breath.  Being in these classes has given me great opportunity to practice this and move through the funny feelings and really feel a sense of release.  The 7am class has been especially useful as there is sometimes only 2-3 of us with the instructor so you can’t really hide the sound of your breath or lack thereof.

It made me start to think about how many of us forget to breathe or are not connected to our breath all throughout the day.  Bringing oxygen into our bodies and receiving a full inhale and exhale is something so many us take for granted and are not aware of it’s powerful effect on our experience and state of mind.  I was wondering if we could start a revolution tagging on to the yawning effect.  Perhaps if I start sighing out loud more often it will encourage others to do the same….take in a breath and let it out with some volume.  Do you think it will illicit more breathing or will they just wonder if something is wrong with me?  Like when you are upset and your breathing can get heavy, especially if you want to pout.  Maybe if I apply a big ole genuine smile while I am doing it, it will catch on…..hmmm, will you try with me?

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20
June

balance

I began this blog a few years back to allow myself a creative outlet and but also to call forward this idea of achieving balance.  In many ways I judged my life as being “out of balance” to what I thought it should be.  I have huge aspirations, can be terribly driven, most often miscalculate just how many things I can complete in one day and that M.O. just continues every day.  I am rather productive yet the time seemed to focus completely on my job.  Since my career in retail left a never ending basket of tasks, I could constantly rode that wheel.  Now, I need to be clear.  It has been awesome!  I never knew I was capable of the things I am until I found myself growing up running retail stores and growing brands.  It has been an amazing school of entrepreneurship and self-development.  I have been in my element and been pretty successful.

However, this balance stuff is much more of an intangible for me.  I do believe that more balance between all parts of my life will be good.  However, I also believe we are where we are for a reason.  Hence the subtitle, “grace is the forgiveness for judging we are out of balance.”  At the same time I want to ponder this subject and/or create a space, here in this blog, to have other “stuff” in my life, I also know that placing judgment and criticism of myself won’t get me there faster.  I’ve discovered this awesome online mag titled Fearless (so worth downloading the issue) and this interview of a woman named Hiro Boga.  She is an intuitive business strategist among other and quite inspiring.  She talks a bit about balance and the misnomer that the art of being still isn’t where balance is achieved.  She shares that the balance comes in your response to the changes, movement that is always occurring in our lives.  I relate that back to not only the judgment I can feel but also how the flow of my life is affecting all parts of my life.  I know I have been missing out on other parts.   With that, I discerned that I needed to fully separate from the job in order to move in this new direction because doing both is just not in my tool box.  Yet.

My intention on this journey is to give myself some space to not only find what my next steps will be (as I know they need to be different) but also to manifest more of the life that I desire in all areas.  Rather than fit my world into and alongside my job,  I am clarifying what is most important to me and co-creating a different reality.  I seek a reality that leverages and maximizes my unique strengths, those things I am most passionate about, providing opportunities for significant contribution.  By the way, in that is a ton of joy!

More on the beginning of my first project, next.

Until then….

jenn

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