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Wake Up and Live Your Life May 19, 2010

Posted by admin in : Life 101, People, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

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I frequently refer to my life as a journey because there is no destination. I’m on a continuous path of self-discovery and transformation. I use to worry about what other people  thought of me and fell prey to expectations because I wasn’t empowered enough to know better. I finally stopped living my life as a puppeteer when I realized mainstream wasn’t really going anywhere.

Of course I knew this as a child, but when you’re young and uneducated, you have no choice, as we don’t have the same free will living under the roof of another. As we find our way out in to the world and begin to make choices that reflect our own personal values, we find a sense of independence and freedom that leads us on a journey in to our deepest self.

The problem is we are so programmed we don’t even know what our own values are or what’s important to us as individuals. There is no sense of freedom because we are trapped in the minds of our predecessors following in the steps of society as a whole. How can we live an authentic wholesome life when our spiritual growth is inhibited by our predisposed minds?

We need to wake up as individuals and start making conscious decisions based on our own life experience. The change we need to see in this world is the change within ourselves. We are walking around as victims and taking no responsibility for the suffering our ignorance has created. We have to change the under current of past conditioning and start to live in accordance of our higher selves where we make decisions consciously from a place of inner knowing. The more we understand ourselves, the more in tune with life we become because we are no longer living from a place of fear, but from a place of joy.

Once you live from a place of center,  you no longer need the false sense of security we get from following the herd of lost souls who need us to be someone other than ourselves. As we explore the depths of ourselves, we begin to heal from the past, but this process can’t begin until we stop blaming politics or religion or the actions of others and take some responsibility.

Take charge of your life and watch how differently the world unfolds. I guarantee you if you’re unhappy with someone in your life it’s because you’re unhappy with yourself so use your relationships and moments  of unrest or pain to get to know yourself better. Use others as a map to your spiritual center. Let go of what’s happening around you and get in touch with the feeling it ignites or the behavior in yourself, as therein lies the answer.

Find the gift in the argument or the compliment in the judgement or the kind in the hate. Find peace in anger and joy in sorrow. The despair will only grow darker and make you weaker so find the light and bask in your inner radiance, as the world lights up around you.

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Feeling Pain April 24, 2010

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To be able to feel pain is an extraordinary gift. Human suffering manifests in many forms taking shape in our bodies, minds, and hearts. Sometimes it just brushes the surface of our existence and other times it takes on a life of its own. Whatever form it takes or vessel it ensues, pain is meant to be a guide. It is not our enemy, as there is so much to gain from sitting in the midst of a taxing endeavor.

A couple months ago I found myself at an impasse and had to walk away from a romantic relationship. It was a tumultuous time and my heart ached, as I loved this person dearly. I did everything in my power to move on, but the pain weighed me down like a cement block shackled to the ground. Life as I knew it turned grey and bleak. Tears were plenty and many nights unrested.

Had I not allowed myself to fall in love, I could have picked up the shattered pieces of my heart easily and moved on without feeling such intense emotional pain, but instead I was left with the void he once filled. I struggled, as I tried to understand why something so beautiful had to come to pass. I knew it was suppose to happen because it happened. I just didn’t understand why. My thinking mind was tormenting and I fell powerless under the dark cloud that loitered my soul.

My heart felt hollow, as I ached to know why. I felt abandoned and my ego rejoiced in being the victim. How did I end up here and when would the destructive forsaken cycle end? When would loss cease to affect me and was it possible to let go of the past mental conditioning and create a new path for myself?

As I asked these questions, I began to become painfully aware of what was going on beneath the surface. I thought I was angry at the man who broke my heart. I wanted to be mad at him, but it wasn’t he who broke my heart. It was I who broke my heart. In losing myself to the relationship and taking up residence in his life, I disconnected from my own life leaving my inner child to fend for yourself. It was a pattern of self-abandonment I came to know well, as it was familiar and safe and deeply rooted in my psyche.

Losing someone I loved was simply the catalyst, a trigger if you will. The despair and pain I felt over the loss had taken me to my knees in order for me to truly see the deeply embedded issue of emotional neglect. That is what I needed to resolve and I knew I had compromised myself for the last time. I couldn’t change what was happening in the moment, but I could listen to the inner child screaming out and come to her rescue. She had been trying to reach out to me for a really long time, but it wasn’t until my heart was raw with grief that I finally heard her.

You can’t heal that which you are not aware and pain makes you conscious and gets you in touch with your inner most self, but you have to stop looking outward because the answers come from within. There was sadness around losing the man I loved, but the true heart-wrenching pain was from losing myself and in reconnecting to myself I was able to release the fear of abandonment, which opened me up to a much greater love than I ever expected and that is the love of myself.

It is our responsibility to seek out the greater truth in what we feel, but that means being with the heart and not being afraid of feeling strong emotions such as fear, hate, anger, sadness, and/or jealously.  We have to stop self-medicating or distracting ourselves from the disquiet, as we are not truly living and growing spiritually if we brush our unease under the carpet or give it away unfairly. We have to own it, embrace it, and then rise above it.

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Creating the Life You Want March 10, 2010

Posted by admin in : Fun Times, Spiritual Growth , 1 comment so far

People have a tendency to get lost in relationships, as it takes special attention to keep one’s individuality in tact. I think we all lose ourselves to some degree, but it’s not always apparent until the relationship ends and you have time to reflect. It’s easy to get caught up in your partner’s life, putting his or her needs before your own and forgetting about the things that matter most.

I love to nest so I enjoy lighting all the candles in the house, turning on some music and cooking dinner at home. I like waking up to the smell of coffee brewing and having some time to chill in my own space before I head out and meet the day. It brings me a lot of joy to be in the sacred space of my own home and it keeps me grounded and centered yet I allowed my relationships to take me away from what mattered most. I was either with someone who preferred to eat out all the time or with someone who didn’t cook or like to cook or had the audacity to judge what I did cook. Instead of fighting for what I needed, I just shut down.

I wanted to share the experience of being at home and cooking a meal with my man, but instead, I allowed his schedule to dominate. I wasn’t secure enough to stand my ground and fight for some kind of balance so I gave up my power and became a resident of his life. It was easy to make excuses when I was in the relationship, but then I found myself single making new excuses. I would tell myself how silly it was to cook for one person or how nice it would be to finally meet a guy who liked to stay at home and cook.

The reality was I didn’t need a partner to fulfill my dream and if I sat around waiting for prince charming, I would be doing myself an injustice.  It was time to honor my journey and create the life I always wanted so I picked out a recipe, drove to Whole Foods and bought a bunch of groceries, and then went home and lit all the candles. I turned on some music, rolled up my sleeves and got to work. As I chopped, shredded, diced, stirred, and finished preparing the ingredients, I came alive and felt like myself for the first time in a long, long time. I found myself smiling and dancing around the  kitchen in my goofy toe socks having a romantic love affair with life.

To honor myself and do something I really wanted awakened something powerful beyond measure. My need to nest literally manifested right before my eyes and it was invigorating and empowering in a way I can’t describe. The only way to build self-confidence is to get out there and do something that scares you. Face your insecurities with tenacity and be proud of yourself, as you reclaim your power. Explore yourself and come alive from the inside out.  You will feel genuine joy in your heart and be at peace with the world.

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Valentine’s Day February 14, 2010

Posted by admin in : Relationships, Spiritual Growth , 1 comment so far

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Hearing the word “Valentine”  use to send chills down my spine. All the fascination around a holiday of love use to leave me feeling weary and disappointed from all the miserable years I spent alone. Love and flowers and chocolate and an upsurge of romance on television and stores left me jaded and bitter and hating Cupid and his stupid holiday. All I ever wanted was to love and be loved yet there I was single while the rest of the world was submersed in public displays of affection.

This want  and need for some display of affection was simply a result of me not feeling loved as a child. I spent years of wasted time and energy trying to get people to love me. I struggled because it seemed the more I wanted it, the more unavailable it became. I did everything right. I became an obsessive compulsive perfectionist all to get someone…anyone’s approval. It was a desperate attempt that left me feeling even more abandoned and emotionally exhausted.

It wasn’t until I had no energy left to be perfect anymore that I was finally able to let go. I finally got to a point where I didn’t care what anymore else thought of me or whether or not they approved. I was tired of beating myself up for nothing. I had become my own worst enemy; criticizing and judging myself for everything. Being hard on myself for not living up to my own expectation of having to be this perfect person.

I couldn’t keep punishing and blaming myself for every little fault and the irony was that when I finally let go and surrendered and started the journey inward, people started showing affection and love towards me and it all seemed foreign. I didn’t know what to do with it because by that point I had already given up and no longer needed it because I was learning to love myself.

The more I got in touch with my higher self and started to live my life more consciously, the more alive I became and the more love I felt from the world around me. That’s the thing. You have to reconnect to your center and love yourself before anyone else can truly love you and if you sit around waiting for someone to come save you, you’ll be waiting a really long time. You have to save yourself and then the world becomes an ocean of love and light in a way you never dreamed possible.

So I say to you on this most beautiful delicious day of love…”Love yourself and don’t sit around sulking and feeling sorry for yourself. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, let go of any expectations. This is just a day of love  to love and be loved so start by loving yourself. Do something special for yourself whether that means going shopping and buying yourself something special or taking yourself to get a massage or cooking yourself a nice meal or taking a walk out in nature. The world is your oyster!”

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Hiding Behind the Mask of Addiction February 6, 2010

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As a culture, we hide from ourselves in an attempt to mask the deeper truths that exist within us. There are old wounds, trauma, heartache, loss, and other forms of suffering trapped in the body. The brain, central nervous system, and other parts of the body are effected by our senses and by our emotions and thoughts. Judgments and criticism have reined the human psyche for years. The need for validation and approval have left us insecure and weak. The loss of control as a society and as individuals have left us scared and vulnerable. The evolution of technology and luxury of electronics have created a society where communication has become superficial. We have become sheltered and exposed to the kind of suffering that makes us shrink in the face of our corrupt government and the destruction of our divine mother.

It’s no wonder we tune out and detach from ourselves and the intimacy of another. We find one distraction after another to conceal the damaging affects life has had on us and yet we don’t even realize it. We’re all addicted to something that shelters us from seeing the truth and if we don’t do something about it, we’re going to be destroyed and there will be no one to blame, but ourselves.

We have to remove the barriers and stop self-medicating. We need to get out of our head and stop listening to the stories we tell ourselves. We must get quiet and listen for the only way we are going to hear the truth is to be still and uninhibited by the false sense of self . This takes dedication and perseverance and isn’t always easy, but if we want to evolve and clear the baggage out of our life, we must do some personal work. It’s no wonder we’re not at peace. We need to stop hiding behind our addictions and technology and be more willing to be vulnerable and open and willing to let go of the past.

Remove a bad habit out of your life for a month and see what comes up for you. Whether it be turning off the television for a month or not drinking or eating sweets, make a commitment and stand by your promise. Stuff will come up and the ego will try and pull the mask back on. You might find yourself irritated or sad or relentless in your pursuit to defy the “stupid” idea of letting go of something that has been so satisfying and rewarding for so many years, but don’t judge it. Simply stay with it and observe and see what happens. You will get a lot of clarity and insight about yourself in a way you never dreamed possible.

All the answers are within us and there is peace and love and a lot of light in our heart, but we have to be willing to reconnect to our center by clearing out the congested energy and come out from hiding behind the comforts we’ve put in to place in attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt. Take off the mask, open your heart, and dive in. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, give yourself permission to be emotional, and embrace the freedom that comes from such inquiry and self-exploration.

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Validation as an Obstacle January 31, 2010

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Why do we find it necessary to seek validation? Why can’t we be good enough without the approval of another? These are questions I pondered, as a result of reading, “The Artist Way.” The book is about unblocking the creative channels that prevent us from taping in to the ultimate creative source. Who knew there was actually a road map to reveal the creative genius within? I’ve spent my entire life trying to convince my artistic friends that I wasn’t creative…that I was “left-brained” and not a forward non-linear right-brained artist.

I actually believed it because that’s what I was made to think of myself as a small child growing up on a farm in a strict Fundamentalist Independent Baptist environment. Girls were meant to be seen and not heard and had no place in a man’s life except to cook his meals and conceive his children. This is the kind of brain-washing that gets programmed in the physiology of the body, which takes deliberate effort to heal and reprogram. Being aware and recognizing the blocks in your life is the first step to overcoming them, but it takes effort and a commitment to the journey within and it’s not always easy.

After years of self-exploration, I came to understand that some of the social and cultural influences of my life were actually blocking me from living a healthy and fulfilling life so I was determined to set myself free from that which hampered the flow of creative energy. Through various exercises in The Artist Way, I discovered my need for validation as one of those obstacles because I use to say I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, but then I would turn around and let judgments and negative feedback of others influence how I lived my life. Measuring success by the validation of others was clearly not congruent nor aligned with my higher purpose and it was obviously preventing me from writing without second-guessing myself.

I was too caught up with how other people might feel about the things I had to say so I was actually writing with an intention not to hurt anyone’s feelings, which was ultimately preventing me from writing at all. In the process, I realized I would never get  the world’s stamp of approval, as we are all on different journeys with different perceptions and different influences and upbringing.

If every author wrote for someones approval, there wouldn’t be any books to read so I can only write for myself and let go of what other people might think because what happens if I successfully publish my book and still don’t have every one’s approval? Does that mean my book was a failure? No. I can’t judge my writing based on what other people think. I have to be authentic and write for me because I love to write and love to share my experience in hopes that others will learn something about their own authentic self and grow in a similar way.

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Accept the Ignorance and own the Anger January 18, 2010

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I spoke to a good friend the other night and she was really upset with all the anger she was feeling towards her mom. She just wanted it to go away so she could be happy again and I could relate to what she was saying. It’s frustrating not being able to understand some of the choices or decisions people make in their life, but there’s nothing you can do about it because each person is on their own journey exploring life through his or her own eyes and only acting in accordance to what he or she knows. It may not make sense to you, but that’s life.

You will only exhaust yourself trying to understand so have faith that everything happens for a reason and everyone is interconnected and a part of the greater whole so every person and every being has its place in the world. If your consciousness expands and someone else’s doesn’t, whether it be a partner, a family member, a friend, or colleague, you probably won’t be able to connect with them in the same way, as we are only able to operate within the capacity of our past experiences and social and cultural upbringing. You simply can’t explain the way you see life and expect everyone to “get it” because we’re all in different places spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You can only love them for who they are and the path they are on and know they are doing the best they can with the tools they were given.

And you can’t take it personally because there’s a lot of ignorance out there and a lot of people sleep walking through life. Some people just don’t get it and will never get it…not in this lifetime any way and there’s nothing you can do about it so just accept what you’re feeling and be present with whatever arises. Every time I try and understand people and some of the choices they make, I get angry and I feel alone in my thoughts and beliefs and it makes me wish I never started down the spiritual path, but I would never go back…not for anything in the world.

I just have to honor my feelings as they come up and not label them as good or bad. Feelings are a part of life and we need to allow and accept all that is within us, which is why I laugh when someone asks how I’m doing and I say, “angry” and they look at me like I’m crazy. People think I’m always “happy,” but I’m human and I get downright mad at times and I’m not going to suppress my feelings and pretend they don’t exist because I know the anger or sadness or whatever I’m feeling will subside a lot sooner if I just allow myself to feel whatever it is I’m feeling.

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Developing a Home Yoga Practice January 14, 2010

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A home practice can empower you beyond measure, but the only way to truly understand the power behind it is to try it and see for yourself. Just make sure not to take on too much, too fast because often times we set good intentions to start something new and then never follow through with it because our goals were too too high or unrealistic.

The first hurdle I stumbled upon, as I set out to create a home practice was the time constraint. Getting up and doing yoga every morning  for 20 minutes wasn’t a realistic expectation for someone just beginning, but my ego was stuck in the more is better mentality and my unrealistic expectations made it just about impossible for me to practice every day. After years of struggling to understand why I couldn’t incorporate a daily routine in to my life, I decided to try and do it for just 5 minutes a day and not only did it work, I inevitably ended up practicing longer because once my body started to move, it didn’t want to stop and I was okay with it since it was my choice and not something I was forcing myself to do.

The second hurdle was locking myself in to a certain time frame. People say meditation and yoga practice should be done at the same time every day because our bodies demand routine and certain rest periods in between periods of activity in order to receive the full benefits of a spiritual practice. Well, it wasn’t initially realistic for me to lock down a specific time so I gave myself freedom to practice whenever I wanted.  I had to trust and listen to my own inner teacher as to what would work best for me and setting up a strict schedule in the beginning wasn’t best for my rebellious inner child.

The third hurdle I had to get past was thinking I wouldn’t get anything out of a shorter practice, as I was so conditioned to the all or nothing mentality. My ego kept creating excuses not to practice until I changed my frame of thinking. What I realized was that even 5 minutes a day was good for my body and mind and doing it a little each day was better than simply doing one long practice a week.

Good habits take time and patience to instill so be kind and gentle with yourself. Set realistic expectations, give yourself freedom and room to make mistakes, and let go of how it’s suppose to look. A home yoga practice is like brushing your teeth. It’s not something you think about or question, right? You do it because it keeps your teeth healthy and clean. It’s a minimal investment that will pay off for years to come so roll out your mat and have some fun!

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Love Interrupted December 11, 2009

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About a month ago, I posted a piece about letting go of the dream to have a family, but in letting go, I realized a higher truth…my truth. The only two things I’ve ever known for certain were that my feelings were real and that I wanted a family, but somewhere along the line I allowed other people’s jaded views on relationships to interfere with mine. I’ve been told that moving in with someone or marrying someone or having a child with someone changes everything. The romance, the excitement of being together, the relationship; everything. Well of course it does…that’s life. We’re meant to evolve and grow and change is a part of the process and if the relationship doesn’t work out, so what? Move on.

If I were afraid of being hurt, I would have missed out on some really beautiful relationships. I don’t regret anything I’ve done because I’ve always jumped in headfirst and really lived whatever experience was before me regardless of how it ended. And maybe I’m not meant to be a mother or a wife, but I want to know that I at least have the option…that it’s a possibility. And if I’m not meant to exercise the option to have either, I, at the very least, want to know I’m with someone who loves me enough to want to share his life with me under the same roof…to share space with me and all my imperfections.

Sure, nothing will ever be as spectacular as the first moment you met or the first kiss you shared, but there’s something to be said about really getting to know someone and loving them that much more. I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now living in my house with my boyfriend living in his. I want to spend every night beside his warm body and wake up to the soft morning whisper of his voice. I want to have coffee with him and see each other off, as we begin our day. And I want to be there when he comes home from work to hear about his day and life and everything in between. I want to be there to support his dreams and share in his journey. I want to play and laugh and explore and live life together and I’m not going to settle for someone who would rather be alone than to take a chance in love.

We all have a past and we’ve all been hurt, but if you hold back your heart, then you are living in fear and you are living in past experience. How can you create new experiences and grow spiritually if you are not willing to take a chance and move forward? Life is too short not to open your heart and love like you’ve never been hurt, but perhaps some people are just not capable of the kind of love I have in my heart. I don’t know. I just don’t understand why someone would let the person they love walk away because they’re afraid of repeating the past. Only one of two things could happen. Either the relationship would work or it wouldn’t and if it didn’t, then you would be alone any way so why cho0se to be alone without giving it a chance. If it did work, then you would get to experience a love greater than you ever expected so why not at least try?

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Be Your Own Teacher November 11, 2009

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Why isn’t there more peace in the world and for that matter, why isn’t there more peace in each and every one of our hearts? I think it’s because we are afraid…afraid of not being good enough…afraid of failure. Of course we don’t want to live in fear so we reflect our pain on to others by blaming and judging. We throw ourselves in to our work and relationships and get caught up in other people’s drama. We overeat, drink, or find some other addiction to satisfy our inadequacies. We sit mindlessly in front of the tv or the computer and it’s only taking us farther and farther away from ourselves.  

A couple days ago I walked in to a bookstore and as I looked around, I couldn’t help, but notice all the books on Religion, Diet, Self-help, and Fiction. Where were all the books on Science, Spirituality, and other practical applications? Of course they were there, but not to the same degree. I got to thinking how this ironically shows up everywhere in our life. Think about all the reality-based television shows people obsess about or all the people that fill their time with everything and anything just to avoid spending time in their own skin. Why are we running from ourselves? Are we just scared of what we will see if we take a really good long hard look at ourselves and is this because of what media and social and cultural programming has done to our culture?  

Why should we just take the word of another mortal instead of listening to our own authentic selves? We put more trust in the media, medical professionals, and our peers than our own truth. We have lost touch with what’s really important in life and we’re being led through life like puppets and doing nothing about it. As a culture, we are constantly releasing negative energy and continue to contribute as taker instead of seekers. We can’t continue down this path for very much longer, as people need to start taking accountability for their own lives and awaken to something greater. We need to start trusting ourselves and listening to our inner teacher. We’ve all had our fair share of turmoil and there is a lot of suffering in the world, but that can’t stop us from honoring our inner most being and listening to our higher selves and moving through life more consciously. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s just an excuse not to learn or grow spiritually. 

The mind and body are so powerful that all we have to do is want change…want growth…want to let go of baggage and old programming. Put it out there and let your intention start as a seed and then cultivate it through some kind of spiritual practice and watch how fast and abundantly your flower grows and once it starts to sprout, there’s no turning back. You will be engulfed in more joy than you ever dreamed possible.

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