Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Is It a Past Life or an Ancestor's Memory?

Strands of DNA Photo: ALAMY
I often wonder if this is what people experience when they have past life experiences. Could they be actual memories passed down creating multigenerational trauma? Either way, when it is brought to our awareness what we do next to stop the trend is key. This article is worth a read: 

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors

Memories may be passed down through generations in DNA in a process that may be the underlying cause of phobias

A Philosophically Spiritual Question about Emotion



What are your thoughts on observing your emotions and using emotions to empower, inspire and motivate you?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Goddess in You

Micah - Goddess Photoshoot by SeguraPhotos
Today is September 6, 2015, the day that Venus begins to go direct (it will remain in shadow until October 9th) and coincidentally it's also World Goddess Day. I'm not sure how seriously I would normally take this but today I feel as if someone is screaming at me and I can't hear them. Is it my Higher Self? Is it God? I believe we have aspects of all of these archetypes within us. I relate more to the Goddess archetypes so I created this blog as a sort of exercise for others; a way to step outside of ourselves as observers without attachment to see how we would interpret our current situations, feelings, relationships and goals and what perspective we would offer ourselves through each unique filter.

These are four that help, hinder and haunt me. What they have taught me so far is at the end. If you try this exercise, please share any insights in the comments!

Venus of Urbino by Titian - 1538
Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus) - Goddess of Love, Beauty and Regeneration - protector of sailors. Her and I have had a love / hate relationship for a very long time. As Venus was retrograde many relationships were challenged and a lot of people ended relationships or did things in order to explore love and where they fit in the universal dance that they never imagined themselves doing. The greater the surprises were the more disconnected we were from recognizing how we have been showing up in our relationships, how our love expressions may have been off balance and how open we are to having healthy relationships (in general) with healthy boundaries with like-minded individuals. Whatever we have been avoiding, we have been forced to face. Now what do we do with that?

I have a love / hate relationship with this goddess because on one hand it feels wonderful and powerful to embrace our beauty (internally and externally), to have it recognized, valued, appreciated. It also feels wonderful to be in love but the act of love - doing love - can become a challenge. Words and actions can fail to match up. Expectations increase as do disappointments and resentments. The longing to be accepted for who you are and for exactly where you happen to be, all while being emotionally and spiritually encouraged and supported as you strive to be a better you becomes more and more elusive. It seems the more elusive a thing is the greater the desire for it and the further we push it away.


Athena statue at Parthenos

Athena (Roman name: Minerva) who for years I related to most. Goddess of Wisdom she was skilled in the art of war and negotiation. She was just and always sought peace. She was also Zeus' favorite.

Athena was with me when I did the goddess photoshoot the day after my Grandmother passed away. I felt the strength of this woman who had always faced every perceivable tragedy with a wisdom and soft giggle that could quickly ease the greatest of fears. Athena has been with me as I struggled to find a home to live in, I committed to being the first person in my family to complete a degree against all odds and as I fell in love again after a painful marriage. The shadow was probably becoming overly focused on survival and just getting through each day to the point of closing myself off from my true self, those I loved and others.

Athena and her wisdom are part of who I am but I lose myself and my ability to connect with others when I become overly ruled by my head and my ideals. In her wisdom I believe she is inviting me to connect with the other goddesses now in order to become my own version of a goddess.


Hestia
Hestia (Roman name: Vesta) - The gentlest of the gods she was the goddess of the hearth. Without realizing it I have longed to embody this goddess the most since I was a little girl. In the book, The Alchemist it is referred to as a "Personal Legend". This quiet and gentle goddess finds the greatest value in a warm fireplace that loved ones can gather around and warm their bodies, hearts, minds and spirits. Embodying being-ness and healthy connectedness, this is who I have most longed to be deep down but my excitable nature begins to get distracted by the gifts of the other goddesses instead of embodying all of them simultaneously. This is why the archetype of Hestia continues to elude me.

Hera campana
Hera (Roman name: Juno) - Goddess of Marriage and Queen of the Gods with a serious jealous streak. I have known this archetype. I have known justified jealousy but have known great restraint in these moments (thank you, Athena). I was far from a goddess when married. I did not honor myself and therefore could not honor my household.


Micah - Goddess Shoot by Segura Photos
There are more goddesses and I encourage you to look them up to research them as archetypes, possibly meditate on the ones that resonate with you the most; even use them when creating visualizations or scripts for healing sessions. Here's what I have taken away from my meditations on these four women that have ruled my life with and without my awareness:

1. When you forget your Personal Legend (The Alchemist), that one thing you knew you were put on earth for since your earliest recollection, that one thing that makes you feel whole, you forget yourself. It becomes buried in fear and excuses and digging it out can mean countless loss the more piled up these fears and excuses become.

2. A goddess can show up in many ways without you realizing it. For me, I wanted Hestia to show up a certain way. Each time I get a little closer to realizing that hope it slips further away from my grasp. So redefining that image in your mind can help you feel complete. For me, my home is warm by my own fire. I can invite as few or as many people into my home and make them feel as warm, loved and accepted as possible each time, as little or as often as I'd like without compromising myself.

3. Venus loves love and so do I. Sometimes the love that is most demonstrated for us is by people we least expect it from. What a powerful lesson in detachment from expectations from those we say we love most! Why do the greatest loves come with the greatest expectations? Love ought not be heavy. Love is restorative and regenerates. It may not always look like you hope it could but the less you hang on to that particular expectation the more abundant varieties of love come pouring in. Virtuous, compassionate and accepting love.

4. Only when you can truly commit to yourself, what it is you know you need to be doing and making your well-being a priority, only then will others who treat themselves with the same dignity want to spend time with you. 

5. Be courageous. Risk losing what you fear losing the most. Release attachment to your ideas of how things "should" be or look and celebrate what they are. When you embody all of your archetypal, goddess-like strengths you will be and feel unstoppable and any set backs will feel that much more temporary.

6. NO ONE CAN TAKE ANYTHING FROM YOU THAT YOU AREN'T WILLING TO GIVE!


Become your own god damn goddess!!







Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pursuit of Self-Acceptance



"When I accept myself, I am freed of the burden of needing you to accept me." 
~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

When we journey into ourselves for whatever reason, to improve our health, wellness, spirituality or for greater understanding and empathy for ourselves and others we begin to reference a lot of interactions with other people as mirroring. It can help us learn and grow when we ponder people or circumstances that seem to make us feel something extreme. The idea that if we see what is being reflected at us that makes us feel triggered in some way, (regardless of whether we perceive it as "good" or "bad"), often causes us to believe or feel that we can find resolution around something within our selves that we may be suppressing, denying, battling, or even allowing to control us (patterns). Often times this also comes up when we feel a deep connection or resonance with someone else and what intrigues us about them is quite possibly something we want to delve deeper into within ourselves so we choose to invest in this other person on some level because we see them almost as a means to our own greater and deeper wisdom and quite possibly a deeper sense of self-acceptance. It can be easy to forget that something familiar in someone else doesn't necessarily equate to a healthy relationship, regardless of the type of relationship. Sometimes familiar is an unhealthy pattern we can relate to and have related back to us. Two unhealthy patterns joining rarely grow into healthier patterns.

The process of self-discovery is a seductive one and we can become so enamored with it that it becomes more of a cycle and less of what its original intention was when we decided to begin the journey. In one of my Cranial Sacral therapy classes a couple of my instructors would remind us, almost as a way of preparing and cautioning us, that people can become addicted to their own process. This is profoundly real. We can strive so hard and develop such an intense longing to accept ourselves that we pursue anything that reflects something in us that we want to explore no matter how much awareness we already have around it. We become seduced by our reflection in others and begin to rely so heavily on what we see in someone else's eyes - even spirit or sense of self - that we begin to lose ourselves in them (if only for a moment or long-term). This, I believe, is the 'burden' stated in the quote above. The burden is simply the amount of importance and value we place on others to reflect what we want to see (or feel), light or dark, good or bad, so we can explore ourselves from a safe distance and not really ever have to BE with ourselves. Instead we avoid our true selves further, distancing ourselves from our own ability to accept who we are without the attachment to defining this "thing" or experience as "good" or "bad", light or shadow; becoming distracted by the attachment of longing to define ourselves and find validation outside ourselves. Remaining a victim to the self-perpetuated cycle and drama of the ongoing search, ignoring what we already have.

To me, it's radical self-acceptance to see those reflections, feel those connections, notice the triggers and BE with them without becoming seduced, entranced and distracted by them because those moments are when we can be the least accepting of ourselves. It also means that we can see our desirable traits and our less desirable ones, our light and shadow, talents and challenges and witness them as they show up and dance with one another in our everyday life. We can sit as observers and at the end of each day we can note what things we want to enhance within ourselves and what opportunities we were shown to help us there. Then we can wake up each morning with a fresh intention and a rebirth, accepting ourselves free from the burden of wondering who we want (perceived need) to find to help us accept who we are as well as becoming free of the fear of what happens when we meet someone that intrigues or triggers us in a powerful way.

These interactions do have value but it's how desperate our longing to attach meaning (our identity) to them and how consumed we become by them that becomes more defining and even defeating as opposed to love and acceptance of self. Time invested in exploring ourselves through others compared to time alone - comfortable, without the need for distractions, entertainment or another person speaks volumes on your level of self-acceptance. No one else can give that to you. We don't need anyone's permission to accept who we are except permission from our selves. Do you give yourself permission to accept who you are today, right now in this moment? Are you willing to look in the proverbial mirror reflected in your interactions with others free of attachment to any specific outcome but merely as a witness, reflecting on what you observe when you make time to be alone at the end of the day?

What if we replaced the word "happiness" in the following quote to "self-acceptance"?

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Then perhaps you won't be one of the people Thoreau references when he says, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Follow Your Rage - Own Your Place in this World



I've recently realized that following your passion can leave you bewildered and overwhelmed when you have so many. The heart pounds with passion but it also pounds with fury. I'm going to follow my anger - my passionate anger. What pisses me off the most? What do I want to change more than anything? Knowing the answer to those questions makes my direction clearer than any of the 'love and light', 'what are your gifts and talents?', 'what types of things show up in sessions', and all the other warm and fuzzy suggestions I've received from well-intended individuals. Sometimes love is fierce and fueled by a deep anger that has been growing as you observe your own and other people's complacency, denial and avoidance. Today is the day to say 'NO MORE'.

When I hear women complain about a patriarchal society (or anything else that appears patriarchal) I can't help but think of how many ways women accept roles that encourage patriarchy and then they complain about men having trouble committing or being "man enough"... whatever that means. If patriarchy makes you angry then stop trying to assume the roles of men! That does NOT make a woman equal, it makes her a conformist. If you don't want to be in a patriarchal relationship then don't expect a man to "take care of you" as though you are beneath him, financially, emotionally, psychology or any of the other "_______ly's". Gender equality is about an equal exchange of support, love and appreciation. You take care of one another equally.

 I will never settle for any relationship where I am not held accountable. To be my best possible me I need people in my life that call me on my sh*t. THAT is what shows me they love me, they don't want to be "above" me or "below" me, they want to work WITH me. Relationships that are symbiotic and beneficial for both parties with healthy boundaries and clear communication are for me.

A woman's contributions to society have the privilege of morphing significantly depending on her age, whether or not she has had children and how she wants to show up in the world. As the wonderful article I posted below reminds us, women of a certain age need to be more nurturing as they raise children but how can we use any dissatisfaction in our lives at any age to fuel us and remind loving nurturers? It is possible!

STOP neglecting yourself under the guise of having to take care of other people first. Practice what you preach, show people what it means to be empowered by taking care of yourself. Martyrdom based on self-neglect and perpetuating your own victimhood has no place in anyone's life anymore. See the healer in everyone, including your children and help others learn how to heal themselves. STOP basing your self-worth on other people's pain and drama. SHOW them the light they struggle to find, hold it for them when they are tired but don't ever, EVER take it from them or assume you are the only person that can help them with their light. Allow others to embrace what pains them, makes them angry and show them how to channel that into something powerful. And please, do not allow anything outside of yourself make you question your value. Accept challenges and allow them to peel away more layers of unnecessary fears.

Now is the time for me to crack myself open without fear and surround myself with people who are willing to do the same. Now is the time to love the things that piss me off because those are the things that show me where I can make a difference. I feel that part of my value is based on my ability to love myself and others and when I'm angry it's because I see where love is lacking, either for self or others.

Complacency, denial, victimhood, complaining, avoidance and unhealthy relationships, thoughts and behaviors are all unhealthy fear based patterns that hold us back and are cowardly excuses to not step up and make a difference. Are your desires based on what things piss you off and what you KNOW you can do to change it? Or are your desires based on avoiding truly connecting with yourself or others creating faux relationships and feeding addictive patterns? I believe anyone who is honest about the answer already knows their worth and doesn't need me to say anymore.

If you want to feel as fired up as I do, read: Rising Into The Storm: Women Who Burst Open with Age.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sins of a Mother - What Instagram Doesn't Show You

http://www.elinorcarucci.com/mother - *Nudity
The article on Elephant Journal, Motherhood Uncensored: What We Don't See on Instagram had me thinking about my time as a young mother and as I looked at the uncensored, artistic and raw photos of Elinor Carucci and her family I felt remorse, guilt and even some shame for a number of reasons. I will share two.

First - I was reminded of a discussion that took place on Facebook regarding women being allowed to have the same right to go shirtless as men. I was not part of this discussion, it was actually something my partner had showed me when he decided to defend his friend for her beliefs. His friend is currently a breastfeeding mother who has other children to take care of, (from my understanding anyway). This woman was attacked by many who claim to be religious, god-loving people who would preach about not judging others in one sentence as they judged her for her beliefs and very honest and raw feelings as a mother. My partner reminded those people that the only reason this is even an issue is because our culture has overly sexualized women's breasts and their value as something erotic has surpassed their value as life sustaining and nurturing gifts that only women have the privilege of choosing to experience - or not (in so many words anyway). I immediately imagined a woman having an orgasm strictly through nipple stimulation eons ago and she was meant to feel shamed for it and it quickly became something shameful for a woman while it simultaneously became, for a man preaching wholesomeness and purity, something to secretly long to experience; kind of like early day porn. Of course, this is all just me and my overactive imagination but still, you have to wonder.

If boobies make you uncomfortable, if realness of life in it's purest and rawest forms makes you uncomfortable or if you fear you may twist these images into something sexual, then please save everyone the trouble and don't view them. Read the Elephant Journal version to feel safe. If you want to experience a glimpse into the realness of motherhood and can observe without offense or judgement - including observing your own reaction physically, psychologically, spiritually or emotionally - then click and learn.

Second - As you may have surmised from the first point, society in general (including myself) made me feel remorse, guilt and some shame. Then those feelings hit closer to home as I viewed images of frustration and exhaustion in the mother's face. I only had one son and I have regretted my role as a mother almost his entire life. This is not fair to him or to me but I find myself reflecting often on how unprepared I was to be a mother at such a young age. I had not known life, I did not know how to be married and I especially didn't know how to be ME. I am often flooded with memories of moments that where wrapped in opportunity to connect with my son more, to learn how to be interested in his interests, to help him feel like he mattered to me as much as he really did.

It's so hard to remove one's self from the personal drama and connect with your children when anything in your life is riddled with the bullets of poverty, abuse, trauma, neglect or everyday stresses we bring home creating trauma, and then you realize that your inability to know how to change it only delivers the same toxic bullets to your children. Even now that he's a young man, whenever I see him I can FEEL my old feelings when I was with his father and he was so young and I have to consciously remind myself to be present; present in time and present in mindfulness with my son. I look at these images and the time I have with my son now as an opportunity to not change what's done but to start a new chapter and make new and healthier memories.

Social Media doesn't always share the realness of life, more the idyllic version of life, almost like an online vision board whose reality we feel close to reaching with every post.

What about you? Anything you feel compelled to express when reading the article or viewing the images?


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Clarity of Purpose


This quote makes me think about purpose a lot. How much time does any one of us spend trying to figure out our purpose or connect with what we believe our purpose may be? I found myself in conversation with a stranger when I took myself out for breakfast one morning. It was one of those synchronistic moments with someone you don't know and will probably never see again that offers exactly what you need at the perfect moment. After a few kind questions he simply stated "You're a Renaissance Woman. What a gift!" Funny, I had never looked at myself that way. I have spent my life seeing how heady I get about everything and how I need to learn as much as possible about every topic that piques my interest before I get bored and want to move on to the next topic. I thought something was wrong with me!

Clarity of purpose continues to elude me. Sure I can see how my existence offers value in different aspects of life for people in general or those closest to me but having a clear purpose, to me means that it can be stated simply and directly. Like Einstein said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it enough."

Here's what I do know though; life has taught me that when you are on the right track with something, anything the less you have to talk about it. For example, when I had to talk about my marriage or any relationship thereafter with friends to "process", "vent", or get clarity I was really avoiding what I knew to be true for whatever reason. When I became aligned with what I knew to be true, accepted it and became willing to allow it to unfold in the best way possible for everyone involved then everything would fall into place. It was like I was watching my life happen around me. My actions were visceral and yet in harmony with everything and everyone around me. Even if others didn't know, understand or like my choices or actions, I knew I wasn't doing anything to intentionally hurt anyone. To let go of controlling the outcome, to let go of pain, anger, the need for my idea of justice or vengeance freed me from the control of others and the chains of my own thoughts and behaviors that had gotten me in those situations in the first place.

When we are stepping into purpose, whether it's your purpose in someone's life or your life purpose you will begin to recognize the moments when you feel despair, judgement of self or others, confusion or any other unsettling emotion and you will recognize the moments when you know something to be true. When you are quiet you can hear it, feel it viscerally, see it in your mind and if you aren't living it you will know that too. Notice what it is you hear yourself saying to others when processing or what it is you're writing over and over when processing. The key to what you are avoiding is in there.

When you realize what it is that needs to be done, when you don't need any feedback or input from anyone else, when you are tired of hearing yourself think or talk about the same thing over and over again, everything shifts. I have known this moment and it is life changing - maybe that's why we avoid it - fear of change? fear of the unknown? fear of success and/or failure? - The latter doesn't resonate with me because when you know something that deeply you don't even worry about success or failure, that isn't relevant. Now I am witnessing the man I love stepping into his purpose with bravery and confidence. And honestly, I don't think he would ever talk about the possibilities of success or failure either. He knows he is on this planet to make sure every human being has equal access to the food that they need. He doesn't question this, ask for anyone's opinion on it, he just lives it and the more and more he lives it the more people flock to him to support him, offer business advice, mentoring and anything else he may need to reach more and more people. He only has to have a new awareness about what is needed to get to the next level and within days (or less) it happens. He doesn't focus on manifesting, he doesn't worry, he doesn't get all stressed out about anything, he just plays his part in the symphony he's writing adding new instruments as he goes along.

That's the way it is when we are still, we are aware, we are clear, we know what we need to get to the next level, people who are meant to help us along the way just seem to be there right when you need them. No matter how deep this may feel in the moment or however many people help you there is never a doubt "am I doing the right thing?" it all just flows, even the rough spots are easier to get through. I may not be as clear on my purpose as my man is on his but I am clear on my purpose for each day and for now that's enough. When I stop writing about purpose I suppose that's when I've realized it. :) I imagine it will be like this little girl that gets to see life in a clearer way for the first time. It reminds me of when I was in optical for years and how I was moved to tears every time a child could see the world with clarity for the first time; especially when I would put contacts on their eyes for the first time and they would cry with their parents. Nothing in my secular life was ever more fulfilling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Makeup, Mercury Retrograde and the Lessons They Bring

Boundless by ineedchemicalx

I have been having some intense dreams for the past few weeks and have been weepy for even longer. I didn't realize Mercury was going retrograde, I just felt like my subconscious was trying to work out something really intense. I felt as though I was stuck trying to make sense of it all though, I needed help connecting the dots and making whatever this was move in a productive and healing way. I didn't even care what it was as long as I could learn and grow from it. I needed relief.

After another tedious night of disturbing night terrors and wading through massive floods I reached out to my fellow community of practitioners for feedback and ideas on what could help me move this gunk that felt like it was drowning me with my tears when I was awake and my flooded dreams when I was asleep. The loving and compassionate responses began to help me pull out of my funk. The biggest thing I noticed though was that a LOT of people were feeling very similarly to me. We discussed shared feelings of being stuck, wondering why we haven't gotten further in life, grieving something (or someone), major changes that we are trying to adjust to... You name it and we all seemed to be feeling it. One of the messages I received privately was from a woman who had known abusive relationships before, had battled cancer (unlike me), and now did Coaching around dreams. She helped me understand so much about my flooded dreams in just one message those dreams stopped that night. Watching a classic movie (I Love You Again) that made me laugh probably helped me sleep better too. :)

The morning was May 18th, 2015; the first day of Mercury Retrograde - although I hadn't realized it yet. I slept a little better although the dreams were more complex and vivid. The one thing I did take away from my dreams that night was that I was afraid to face myself... OR there was something keeping me from being honest and authentic to myself. Determined to figure out what this all these dreams were trying to tell/show me I decided to go to work without makeup on.

Now I know this doesn't sound like a big deal to most of you but to help you understand how serious this decision was for me try to understand that I was first employed in October 1989 and I have never EVER gone to work without makeup on. I had such anxiety my heart was racing all morning. This was a type of vulnerability I had never attempted before. Only since my current relationship began over three years ago did I feel brave enough to go out in public without makeup on and that would be a quick errand to the grocery store. I have a partner that tells me all the time how beautiful I am without it and practically begs me to go without it more often but my fears are more powerful than his words of encouragement. I'm pretty sure he finds it maddening. He was confident I was going to break down and put makeup on but I didn't, I braved it!

Here's what I learned from one day at work without makeup:
  1. The number of strangers that ignore you, check you out, and look at you with any other variety of emotion does not change.
  2. When someone who is used to seeing me everyday with makeup on laughs at me and tells me I look tired and offers me coffee all day it actually makes me feel prouder of myself, not ashamed.
  3. I may not be as brave without the encouragement of others, like my young and beautiful little co-worker who mentioned to me more than once how good I look without makeup and I have nothing to worry about. Like she said, "You're pale but you're pale either way so who cares?!" Haha. I liked that perspective from my little feisty and much younger Latina friend.
  4. Last but most importantly, I heard my mother and her mother (who even wore foundation on her neck and sometimes her d├ęcolletage) in my head all day. I heard what I was told growing up (or basically what I interpreted from what I was told), expressions like, 'You have to always wear makeup so your man doesn't tire of you or cheat on you', 'opportunities happen for women who take care of themselves'. 
 I had to face all the programming I had about my self-worth based on my looks. I had to face all the people that influenced it from the fears of the women in my life, to the kids that would tease and bully me as a child to the relationship I had in the past where I was lucky to only be called Casper when I had makeup on. All these people had trained me to fear showing my face, my REAL face, as if it was something to be ashamed of. The voice of one man who loves me now could not drown out all the voices from my past; I had to do that for myself.

Without realizing it, I had began Mercury Retrograde facing one of my oldest, deepest and arguably, maybe one of my most superficial fears. After my first consultation with the coach I mentioned earlier I realized that what I did that day was probably one of the most loving things I could have done for myself. I love makeup, it keeps me from nervously touching and picking at my face and it's one of the few really feminine things I get a lot of joy out of doing but I learned that I don't NEED it. I wear makeup when I respect myself, take pride in myself and want to amplify what I see in the mirror. Now I can go without makeup whenever I want to and feel those exact same things! I wear the makeup, it doesn't wear me. I don't have to hide behind or allow it to define me and going without doesn't make me any more or less of a beautiful woman.

Does any of this have to do with Mercury Retrograde? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? Not really. When it's time to face things and begin to change old patterns and get the courage to face old fears then it's just time. If the cosmos, universe, planets, or whatever happens to support you in that moment or even helps facilitate it then so be it. Awareness is key - in all things. None of things have to define you but they can help guide you into getting closer to being and living authentically.
For a dash of added bravery, I took a selfie before work sans makeup. EEK!



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Before I Die...

I saw this Ted Talk on Mother's Day (because all I wanted to do was relax and stare at a T.V. for ONE DAY) and I wanted to share it with you because if you do or have ever felt less than you I highly recommend this brief talk.


She gave a few examples and two were my favorites; one was something like, 'before I die I want to be tried for piracy'. The other one yanked a teary emotional release I could not have predicted, 'before I die, I want to be truly me' - or something to that affect (watch it and correct me if you so desire). It hit me like a freight train and made me face how much I am still avoiding living completely as me and I don't have anyone to blame but me.

As she points out in the talk there is a lot of value in reflecting on death in order to know how to truly live. I haven't lived truly authentically at any point in my life because I'm not sure I ever really knew what that meant. Life for me was defined by other people's beliefs and fears so much of my life that when I left my marriage in 2009 I swore to figure out who I was without other people's influence overpowering me again. I've hit another plateau however, and I need to push through to the next level of being who I know I'm capable of being.

This got me to thinking that maybe for me the best way to figure out how to be more authentically me was to make a list of all the times I catch myself changing something for the sake of someone else, whether it's because I'm afraid of what they may say or think or it's because I am compromising a part of myself I don't want to compromise in order to meet someone else's expectations of me. I stand up for myself better than I ever have but I know I need to be better at it, especially in my own head and recognize when I'm getting hostile because I am holding ME back - there is no reason to take that out on people around me.

The Before I Die project has made over 550 walls in over 35 languages and over 70 countries. It will help you reflect and find the courage to be creative and to express what it is that you are holding back.
over 550 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa
over 550 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa

Monday, January 12, 2015

Forgetting Yourself

In exactly three months I will be 40 years old. This has had me in deep reflection on how far I've come and the lessons I've learned.

I have had an obsession with quotes for years. Other people's perspectives have helped stretch me beyond my own limited beliefs and binary ways of thinking. Now I believe it's time for me to share my own personal realizations and awarenesses - truths if you will. I will not number them because I believe in natural flow of things and if I write anything that says "10 personal truths" or "40 awarenesses you get by 40"... No, I don't want to be a modern or new age cliche. I don't believe in limiting anything to a particular number. The universe is a mathematical wonder but growth - to me - can be as vast and limitless as that same universe.

So here is my first truth because I'm going to be hosting my first Qigong class this month.

When I have forgotten my body I have forgotten peace and calm.
When I have forgotten my brain I have forgotten my wit and gumption.
When I have forgotten my heart I have forgotten myself.
When I have forgotten myself I have forgotten everything I value or hold dear, including my loved ones.
All of these things connect me to myself, to others, and to the vastness with love and not fear. 
When I forget anything I fear everything.