5
June

Ms. Angelou

She had a voice that penetrated my consciousness. The wisdom was heard in each intonation. And her candor was delicious. She was a truth teller in every sense.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

I remember reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in my 10th grade English class.  I was so intimidated by this book. It was the first time I really began to learn how to dig into an author’s meaning of not just words but their grouping of words. The way she strung them together was not only powerful; it was deep and provocative. I am so grateful her book along with a few others (Kaffir Boy, Native Son) were selected by Mrs. Jones.  It was in many ways my entry into learning how it felt, rather than how it was reported, to live as a young black person during those gruesome times of inequality.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

I have to admit, I didn’t really know how full of a life Dr. Angelou lived. I understood she sang and did some film and theater, and was even engaged with the Civil Rights Movement.  I knew her as a literary change agent and a one of a kind, and compelling female role model.  I didn’t know she was raped as a young girl and after the perpetrator was murdered she didn’t speak for several years blaming her voice after having testified against him. I didn’t know Martin Luther King, Jr. her friend and colleague, was assassinated on her birthday and that she then didn’t celebrate her birthday for years following.  I didn’t know that she joined with Malcolm X prior to that to support his efforts only for that to be shortened by his assassination.  And that she lived in Cairo and Ghana and spoke more than 5 languages all while raising a son that she delivered at 16.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.”

Her life story, what she experienced, and then what she did with her life is beyond inspirational.  I am not sure we celebrate the courage of the human spirit enough. Her resiliency was unwavering and it’s evident she didn’t know any other way.   Ms. Angelou‘s life is an example of what is possible for any of us. Her exampleship and memory will serve us for generations to come, and I hold that if nothing else, her choices give us, most especially women, permission to live our lives fully. To not hold back. To not waste time. To not miss opportunities to shine because we don’t want to upset or ruffle feathers. To stop telling ourselves bullshit stories about what we can’t do or what isn’t possible.

She drove impossible out of the game, completely.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically but nothing consistently without courage.”

Thank you, Ms. Angelou. You will be the rainbow in the clouds for many.

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1
February

Powerful Reflections for a New Year

When the new year approaches I find myself having all kinds of feelings. There is nostalgia for the holiday time, heart-opening for the spirit of Christmas and the warmth of the season, excitement for gatherings of friends and loved ones and even some pondering and pause for what the next year will bring. Its inspiring and sometimes daunting. So many of us are thinking about what new commitments or resolutions we will make, we wonder if we will actually see them through this year or perhaps we don’t even partake in that dialogue because we’ve given up on the idea years ago.

Choosing a mindset of optimism I tend to lean into all energy that can move me up and out of my comfort zone. However, I too like to reinvent things and apply a new approach if it seems fitting. I have recently become more aware of energy and how we have a choice to step into that or duck it, both of which may be a good idea depending upon what is going on in our lives at the time.

That being said, I’ve been mindful of the amount of energy that is swirling around this time of year. We may be in different time zones and we may even celebrate different holidays all over the globe but it is the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new, everywhere. This creates a lot of energy on the planet.  In an effort not to get caught up in the frenzy, overwhelm or even disappointment, I put my new years thoughts on a pause.  Instead I chose to just be in the day.  I wanted to give myself some time to reflect on what I learned last year so as to ground the learnings and perhaps avoid creating new situations to learn them again.

It’s not an accident I waited until the end of the first month to write and share this. :-)

So here are some learnings from 2013 for 2014 and beyond:

My learnings are my blessings. This is a bit of what I mentioned above and I got more clear this year that I have an opportunity as I close out each year to spend time being in gratitude for the gift of my life.  As I become more aware of what I discover and learn each year, I am able to anchor those experiences.  It is often what we choose to be conscious of that soothes us, enlivens us, and propels us.

Family first. It’s taken me awhile to get here and I almost cannot contain how much loving I have in my heart for my family.  It is so easy to judge our families because they are such an awesome and consistent mirror to our own stuff.  All I can really say here is, it’s imperative to do the necessary inner work to remove any blocks from enjoying our families.  If not, we often are working through regrets later when the option is no longer available.

Fear is a compass telling me where to go…if I let it.  This was a new paradigm for me this past year.  As I stepped into creating a business, I began facing some challenges and obstacles.  In that endeavor, fear became a real factor and an indicator of things I needed to look at and walk towards.  Of course if we are in imminent danger, fear is a compass telling us to run in the opposite direction.  However, in this case, fear was really reflecting to me the opportunity I had to walk towards that which I wanted to avoid.  The challenge or thing I felt fearful of was exactly the thing I needed to face, to engage with, and to move through.  By doing so, I would release the fear because the mere act of experiencing it would remove the charge.  Fear is usually a feeling that comes with something unfamiliar or where there is risk involved.  Once we step into and go through it, it’s no longer unfamiliar and the risk is replaced with truth.  We now know by first hand experience what it was we were fearing and the fear diminishes.

The journey can feel as good as the destination.  Who knew we didn’t have to delay a life of joy and peace while we were trying to get there?  This powerful statement was offered to me by Ms Danielle LaPorte as she re-launched her website and The Desire Map.  When I heard her say this and I think she even said it “should” feel as good as the destination.  I thought to myself, “Of, Course!!”  Why wouldn’t we be intending for the journey, meaning today and each present moment to be feeling as good as some forecasted state of being or dream to be realized or goal to be achieved.  I vote for happiness NOW.  I choose Loving today.  It’s not just my future desired state.  It’s my daily intention.  So, if the journey feels like shit, don’t kid yourself that your going to arrive at some point in the future with happiness.  Find your joy in your NOW.

Rebirth each day.  Begin anew.  Why not? This was such a revelation for me this past year.  As I have let go of old beliefs or limiting patterns, I became more experientially aware of what is available to me.  Choice.  This simple word is so powerful.  I realized through some awesome mentoring and coaching that I could start fresh every day.  I could take each day as a brand new gift.  I could lay down whatever got in my way yesterday and choose a clean slate.  No one was really holding my past misses or grievances over my head – just me.  How refreshing?  If you need permission to do the same, Here it is!!

Expectation and worry will zap freedom, creativity, and joy every time.  This was another gem that was reflected to me in various ways from my coach.  As I got into my head about what was next or how to figure out the latest and greatest challenge, that inevitably landed me with anxiety, restless sleeping, or anger and frustration.  To alleviate that I began practicing being more aware of my breath, spending a minimum of 5 minutes a day meditating and envisioning myself being more in my heart instead of my head.  That looked like placing my hand on my heart and taking a few breaths or thinking about things that fill up my heart – my love for my family, my neighbor’s dog, or my best friend’s kids.  There are so many ways to get out of our heads and into our hearts AND it does require choice and action.  My coach taught me the simple and powerful acronym, LSD.  When in doubt try LSD.  Laughing. Singing. Dancing.  Do any one of these and then go create your life.  Pandora serves me in this pursuit daily!

And expectation.  Ugh!  The land of expectation is the surest way to be in disappointment – which stems from judgment of self and others.  It’s really a lose-lose proposition.  If you catch yourself feeling disappointed and you trace that feeling back inside it almost always leads to an expectation that you have placed and if you are like me, it’s often placed unconsciously.  Again, making what was unconscious conscious can be liberating.  Let go of the expectations and BE in the moment.

Healing is the application of loving.  I learned this beautiful principle for the first time in 1998 at the University of Santa Monica and I am really living into it these days.  I think most of us, when we see someone hurting or upset we feel something inside of us, often sympathy or empathy, depending upon where we are at.  And I even believe most of us feel a sense of compassion and yet, most of us do something that is the opposite of loving when we get hurt.  It might be that we judge the way we are feeling – which is the predominant human plague or we stuff it down with some excess, food, drink, exercise, etc.  We don’t want to appear weak or whiny or helpless so we don’t feel it at all or we hide it or hide from it.  Imagine the alternative.  If when we felt bad, we just gave that part of ourselves a little love, a little care, a little breath, a little space to BE.  If we learned that this was okay when we were little ones, I have a feeling there would be a lot less victimhood and self-abuse going on.  Here is a brilliant passage from Geneen Roth’s book, Women, Food, and God.  I read this just this week and thought how freakin’ revolutionary.

“Can you imagine how your life would have been different if each time you were feeling said or angry as a kid an adult said to you, “Come here, sweetheart, tell me all about it.”  If when you were overcome with grief at your best friend’s rejection, someone said to you, “Oh darling, tell me more.  Tell me where you feel those feelings.  Tell me how your belly feels, your chest.  I want to know every thing.  I’m here to listen to you, hold you, be with you.”

“All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness.  It wants room to unfold.  It wants to relax and tell its story.  It wants to dissolve like a thousand writhing snakes that with a flick of kindness become harmless strands of rope.”

BRILLIANT!

That which you seek is seeking you.  Thank you, Carrie Doubts!  Carrie has reflected this wisdom to me on various occasions and it was also reflected to me from the awesome Rich Litvin when I attended his Prosperous Coach weekends.  Rich shared with us, “you are so much closer to what you want, (what you seek) than you realize.”  That can sound like a cool proverb or positive statement, but I have experienced example after example for myself and others where this is true.  What I really take from it is a sense of calm and excitement at the same time.  The calm that I don’t need to try so hard.  Where I place my intention and energy is also moving towards me or I probably wouldn’t be seeking it. And the excitement for the same reasons – that I am closer, that I can relax into it.

An open heart creates an abundant life.  I sense this doesn’t need much explaining and I also recognize the power of stating the obvious.  This came to me when I recently heard Steve Pavlina speak and share his story of challenge, growth, and now pretty awesome success.  Steve shared many pearls of wisdom and the one that was the most profound for me (probably because it was one I was ready to really get) was the power of an open heart.  He shared that he began to recognize where he wasn’t open and/or was closing himself off to certain individuals.  In his reflection of the notion, when we close ourselves off to one person, we close ourselves off to all, something inside me clicked.  I was immediately called forward to how I embrace certain parts of myself and other parts I diminish and judge.  What I got was the revelation that I was essentially canceling out my loving by withholding my loving in other ways.  And that when I chose to close off to anything, I was closing my heart to myself.  When acceptance is present, I can be free to create, to play, and to move forward.  For me, this is where abundance lies.

What were some meaningful learnings for you in 2013?

Now is a GREAT time to call them out and leverage their energy! :-)

 

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12
July

Trust vs. Fear

My sweet friend reflected to me today that I am doing a trust walk in my life right now. I thought to myself, “yeah, feels more like a trust run!” I am wanting to run to the finish line to keep from feeling the discomfort of the fear and unknown. I bounce between trust and fear it seems, by the hour. I experience total acceptance and confidence in myself and in what lies ahead and then fear sets in and I have these mini panic attacks..where trust, faith, and belief allude me. Of course, I could also bucket it within my mind and say “reason sets in.” And maybe that is partially true but I’ve never gone about things the way most do. I take risks. Sometimes big ones and they don’t always pan out. But I learn and I have no regrets. (Ok, there is one and I will write about that soon.)

Anyways, the motivation for this post is just to call it out for what it is: trust, fear, reason, risk, success, failure or all of the above. My intention is to remember to be in it. To respect the process and to stay awake to the beauty of it all. I’m alive. I’m blessed. I’m in choice and I’m aware of all of that. When I sink back into the fear, my intention is to feel that too. There is no need to reject it. It only holds me more deeply when I do.

Do you know what I mean?

Are you letting fear hold you back in someway because when it’s present you reject it, ignore it or better yet distract yourself from feeling it by engaging in some other behavior that isn’t necessarily serving you? (Unconscious eating, internet mind numbing or TV engrossment?)

I get it. Doing it or done, all the above.

And I’m just putting it out there.

For your consideration…

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11
July

Pushing Your Limits

What’s the most unusual, some what “out of character” thing you’ve done?

Lately?

Are you willing to reach outside your comfort zone? To step into a reality or way of being that isn’t necessarily comfortable for you?

Why?

Why not?

When we allow ourselves the space to reach, to stretch, and to move towards unfamiliarity we are growing ourselves. When we grow, we expand, when we expand we open up more fully to what is possible in our lives. There is so much fruit there.

To have an experience of observing your own expansion is like watching a time lapse video of a beautiful flower blooming. I’m not speaking about patting yourself on the back, like a job well done. (Although there is nothing wrong with that in my book.) I’m bringing forward more, the idea that there is something extraordinary to experience when you step out and up and you consciously recognize that you’ve done so.

It’s the best kind of esteem builder you will ever have and it requires only you.

So take the challenge. Write down 1-3 things that you’ve considered or thought about doing that perhaps fear or discomfort have kept you from. By the way, procrastination is often fear in a bunny suit – it might be cozy and safe and it’s just a resting spot. Create a space to move towards one of the three that you captured. Perhaps tell a trusted friend what you plan to do so you have some internal accountability. See what happens.

For your consideration…

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2
July

Who are you?

Have you ever really asked yourself this question?

I participated in a workshop this past weekend that was life transforming. I experienced a knowing of who I am in a way I never have before. It was profound and beautiful. I am just letting it assimilate in my consciousness. So that is all I can really clearly articulate about the experience.

However, I wanted to share a little experiment that anyone can do. If you were to sit in a comfortable space, close your eyes, maybe light a candle to clear the energy where you’re sitting and put your hand on your heart. If that sounds strange just remember we’re doing an experiment. With your eyes closed and your hand on your heart, ask yourself, Who Am I? (You can say it silently or out loud whichever works for you…remember it’s an experiment.)

Pause.

Listen inside.

Hear the response in your consciousness.

And repeat this for about 10 minutes.

As you go through this experiment be aware of how you feel in your body and what is coming forward. No evaluation or judging is necessary here. Just be in neutral observation of what comes forward when you ask yourself the question, Who Am I?

After about 10 minutes (you can use your phone as a timer) write down in a journal or on a piece of paper what came forward.

Sit with that for awhile and see where this experiment into your heart took you.

Were there any surprises? Maybe something came forward you haven’t thought of for awhile? An expression of yourself you haven’t given permission to for some time?

Just be with this fresh insight and consider taking one action step that will bring you closer to expressing more of who you truly are.

Come on! No one else can do you like you! And, the world needs more of you being authentically YOU!

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31
May

Love III

Over the long weekend, I had the privilege of spending it with good friends in a beautiful place – the bay area, enjoying good foods, experiencing good company, all of which created blessed memories. :-)

What was most profound to me during this time with my friends was the love that I was aware of, that was surrounding me, filling me, and overflowing from me.  Call it mid-life, emotional or just conscious living, I was acutely aware and filled up by the love I have for these individuals, my dear friends.  I mean they are good people and there are many things/attributes to love about them and it was more pure than that.  It was like I was so connected to the bond that we have created over the years, the ways in which we have held for each other – our hopes, our dreams and the ways in which we have encouraged each other – through life changes and disappointments.  We have experienced a lot together, even though we are not in each other’s daily lives and I am so enriched by our friendship.

I could feel in their presence the sweet admiration, respect, and joy I feel for each of them. It was deeply fulfilling to steep in this realization and my immense well of gratitude came bubbling up as we had our last meal together.  I may not see them all the time and yet their presence fills me; the realization that I am blessed to have such beloved connections with wonderful beings is a gift and it is my gift.  I am so grateful.

I write about this love as a means of honoring and acknowledging it and it’s value to my life experience.  I know this experience and awareness of great friends and the bonds shared is felt by many, and I am not sure enough us take the time to reflect on it, while we are in it so that we can experience it and not just remember it later.

For your consideration…

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2
May

1 – Writing is my Art!

I have a yearning in my heart to write.  My grandfather used to acknowledge my writings and his praise was such a wonderful encouragement.  I began to believe in myself as a writer from him.  He was actually a beautiful writer himself and some of the letters he sent me via snail mail and email are of my most treasured possessions.  He had a way with words in that there was such clarity.  His tone was jovial, light, honest and yet he shared things that ran deep – his feelings.  He was a man that gave himself permission to be vulnerable in his writings and he took you on a journey.

I believe we are all artists and are making art all the time, we just don’t always realize it.  It might be in the way that we listen to a friend, tell a story, lead a conference call, make a bed, teach something to our child, or organize our house.  You know those things that when you do them, there is such grace.  It’s often effortless and you typically have a moment inside where you know you are shining, even just for a bit.  You feel good and that humble sense of fulfillment fills your belly.  It’s really beautiful.  Those are the moments of life.  That is the nectar.  And I say that with such a full heart.  We all deserve to experience that and begin teaching through our example that way of being.

I hold for all of us that it becomes more natural to pursue those experiences and to give ourself permission to not only excel in them as we naturally do, but also to recognize in ourselves, our art and to do more of it!  You see, we have been living in a world where we’ve been conditioned to be “good,” to obey, be quiet, fit in, and definitely, most definitely not to toot our own horn and be conceited! God forbid!  Our world is different now.  We need to stand forward in our strengths, in our art, because it gives others permission to do so and also because it creates the experience of Joy and Love. Spreading Joy and Love is in need and it is so vital to our evolution.  If you are hiding behind some false sense that you don’t have art in you or that it’s not okay to be amazing and brilliant.  Please, just knock it off.  We don’t have time to stay in that place any further. The world is changing rapidly and seeing your art, giving yourself permission to stand in it, is now.

For your consideration…

p.s. this was my 32nd post…more to come soon. :-)

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30
April

4 – Goodbyes

This will be short and sweet.  It’s more an ode to a past way of being.

I am not good with goodbyes (in the past).  But not in the way you are thinking.  I am not openly afraid of goodbyes and therefore avoid them, you know those individuals that say, “I cannot say goodbye so I’ll say farewell or see you later.”

Rather, I have been so afraid of goodbyes (in the past) that I unconsciously would obsess over there impending inevitability, in turn co-creating them sooner.  Either that or I (in the past) would create reasons to part and fulfill the goodbye because at least then I am aware and in control of when the goodbye is occurring.  Nuts, right?  I know you relate, though. At least one of you do. :-)

Here is the thing.  I experienced a lot of goodbyes when I was young.  Although I didn’t realize the effect this had on me until I was in my 30’s, that is the bottom line.  As a little girl, those goodbyes were hard.  Because I was a resilient little girl, I swept those feelings under the rug, had no conscious idea they would later formulate aspects of my personality and went about my business.  Fast forward 35 years later and I can see now how instead of waiting for an impending goodbye, I would instead quietly, slowly, unconsciously (in the past) instigate the goodbye.  Better sooner than later.  Ha!

It gets better.  I cannot really keep to the goodbye.  I have to go back and go back again because goodbye never meant forever; it was temporary then, so why wouldn’t it be temporary now?  Right?!?  Right.

Here we are now.  I am letting that go, that way of being.  I am no longer afraid of a goodbye since all of life is an impending goodbye at some point.  Our time here is temporary.  I know this and I would much rather be in it, fully in it, not consciously or unconsciously focusing on when I may not be in it.  That is just silly nonsense.  Whew!  I am so glad we cleared that one up.

Who’s next?

P.S. I release my parents from any liability or responsibility.  The therapy bills are paid and talking to God is free. :-)  I am a Soul having a human experience and all of it, all of this, is exactly on purpose.  No mistakes, no regrets.

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26
April

7 – Asking

I recently committed to a fundraising goal of $1000 for something I wholeheartedly believe in.  Last year, I committed to $500 and because I had more monies than I do now, I just paid it myself.  I wasn’t really sure how I was going to raise the $1000 this year and there was a knowing inside myself that I was ready to go for it.

I have to say that I realize the only difference between this year and last was my learning how to ask.  In the past, I could have fallen into the category of a person that “does a lot for others” and didn’t always feel that being reciprocated.  I see now that I was challenged at asking for what I wanted.  Sometimes the things I want or need are things that come from within and then there are those other areas where it is okay to ask for support.  I am learning that skill and with this fundraising effort it was so much fun to ask and watch it easily come to fruition!  It was awesome to see people I have not spoken with since high school donating to my goal. I realized that we all want to be called forward to support and it cannot hurt to ask.  Many times, by asking we are providing an opportunity for another to stand up and participate. This point is demonstrated in some beautiful fundraising that is occurring supporting individuals affected by the recent events in Boston.  Check this out!  And here are few more.

I am so grateful for the generosity that was demonstrated to me in raising this $1000.  I am absolutely more inclined to fundraise again and more importantly, I am excited to respond to others that ask me!

 

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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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