I Changed

Excuse my absence last week.  My baby boy died.  I miss him.  In his honor, I am committed to my practices, to being more present, to showing up for myself and self-care even more than before.  A few years ago, I quit smoking because of him and his brother.  I caught myself resentful of every moment I spent outside, doing something that, at its best, was making me feel marginally better but more often feel icky.  I wanted those moments inside with our boys.

I stopped eating animal products because of our boys and the rescue work that I do.  I remember finding a sliver of open counter space in the kitchen of our tiny house (which we moved out of one year ago today!) and preparing some meal involving chicken.  As I cut into the cutlet, I turned around and looked at Tater Tot and it was like a switch flipped—how was I spending all of my “free time” saving one kind of animal, then eating their cousins?  I’m NOT saying everyone or anyone should stop eating meat.  It just didn’t make sense to me.  I’ve been pegged as having a rigid sense of ethics.  So I stopped that day, first leaving chicken and the like and eventually all animal products.  For them. And I’ve never felt better, physically and spiritually.

When I sat down to write to you today, I readied my notes from my Spirit Junkie Master Class, as I share some gems with you every few weeks since I graduated from that course.  I thought that’s what I would write about today, but as it sometimes does, the words took a path of their own.  But I will share with you this.  At the top of the page from the morning of 6/3/17, as I sat in the SVA auditorium awaiting my teacher to take the stage, I wrote, “Be still and know that I am here now.  Nothing else matters.  I feel perfect in this moment.”

Take that sentiment with you today.  Much love.

Binky free, Tater Tot.  Good night, sweet prince.  Mommy loves you

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So Simple

I bet she didn’t realize, when she sent this simple text this morning, that C. would have such a profound effect on my day.  It’s been Crazy Town, as I affectionately call it, here at headquarters for the last two weeks.  Then, the impending storm gave me the world’s most epic migraine last night as I was in the midst of coordinating our incredible Rescue team who saved 5 abandoned rabbits in the dark.  The migraine came as a warning sign of the serious storm we are experiencing today.  I oiled up and suffered through the worst of it while my text alerts kept going off… one rabbit, two, three, four… please let that be it… five rabbits brought to safety.  In awe of our team, I celebrated the best I could while not being able to move my head.  I used to get weather-related migraines often as a child.  I didn’t enjoy reliving that last night.

I slept a little late today and woke up to a wave of anxiety: day job tasks to complete, sorting out the aftermath of last night’s huge catch, an event I committed to attending, laundry, breathing.

I texted C.  I started to rattle off the “stuff” like I just did for you.  She wrote back simply, “Just do what you can.”

Maybe it’s sad or silly, but it never occurred to me that I could do less than everything.  So every time today when the overwhelming feelings started to wash over me, I grabbed my Stress Away, breathed deeply and repeated “Just do what you can” until I felt back in control.  And I did get a decent amount of “stuff” done today.  The rest will be waiting for me tomorrow.

Thank you C.  You are the greatest gift.  You are the truth.

To donate toward the medical care of the 5 rabbits rescued last night, visit Long Island Rabbit Rescue and click “Donate” on the right.  Much love.

Retreat Yourself

In late June 2014, I wrote a note in my phone of three simple “I am” statements to set the tone for my summer.  Pushing aside the millions of things to get done and ways to make two months off from the day job count, I set these “I am” statements at the core of my desires for that time.  At the heart of all of the “stuff” I had to do and wanted to do that summer, my true intentions were in these “I am” statements.  I typed:

I am

-reading.

-practicing yoga.

-mindful.

I didn’t even know what mindful meant or why I typed it— it just appeared there on the screen.  I am mindful… ok.  Let that sit.

I found a yoga studio near to where we were living.  I signed up for a month unlimited and then another month unlimited.  I took classes 3-5 times per week for the entire summer.  I am practicing yoga…  finally.  For months before that, I was thinking about it.  And I was telling myself that I “should” be practicing yoga.  But I never seemed to quite get around to it.  I let everything else jump the line and take up my precious time.  All it took was setting that clear intention: I am practicing yoga.  Like magic, I was.

I found two teachers whose style and energy matched what I was seeking in my practice and made darn sure to show up at their classes.  I dove all in, as I’m prone to do.  One of those teachers offered free guided meditation after classes, as the schedule allowed.  I stayed.  She shared about her practices, her studies through UMass. Medical School in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and her “real life” applications of these simple-yet-complex practices.  She had something here.  I hung on every word.

A friendship blossomed.  At the time, I hadn’t consciously revisited my note in my phone with my summer intentions, my “I am” statements.  But I was learning about mindfulness, that word I typed without knowing why.  My new mediation coach and friend recommended books that she was reading.  We started to hang out.  We shared this glorious spark of brilliance.  I knew I found a soul sister in Debbie.  Toward the end of August 2014, while rolling up my yoga mat after one of Debbie’s last yoga classes for the summer, I opened the notes in my phone… and there it was: I am mindful.  I manifested a practice, a coach and a friend with three words.  Don’t question the process.  Be open to being guided.  Set the intentions that are in your heart and take the action steps as they unfold.

This past Thursday, I had the honor of sitting at a full-day retreat of over 100 educators led by my soul sister Debbie and her colleague in mindfulness Cory.  They led us through the practices and applications of this life-saving, life-expanding gift called Mindfulness.  They are the real-deal.  I, who often cannot exhale without checking my phone 17 times, did not even check the time from 7:30 am until 4:35 pm.  That’s the magic that Debbie and Cory shared.

We learned about our relationship to stress, how to be with what is here, how to develop our mental fitness… I could go on and on.  I took 17 pages of notes.  But, if I can share only one take-away with you, it is this: replace resistance with curiosity.  Approach your day with an element of awe and wonder.

Debbie, I bow to you.  I am mindful.

Yes

For those who’ve been following the tale: I didn’t finish the book before book club, but the 200 pages I read were more enjoyable than I thought they were going to be.

Just another lesson in being open, in saying “Yes!” to what presents itself.  I never would have picked up that particular book, but a beautiful friend presented it as our first selection for our new book club.  Beyond the emotional journey of reading it (if you really know me, you know I’d love nothing more than to stay home all day, every day and read), flicking through those pages allowed me to connect with some sweet and smart women on Friday evening.  Two of my bunny family, plus multi-generational representation from one of their families, great conversation, connection—much more spiritually fulfilling than my typical Friday night falling asleep on the couch while watching vintage seasons of RHONY.

I’ve been saying yes more these past few weeks.  It’s one of my “challenges.”  Some people do squat challenges or cut out sugar for 30 days type challenges; I give myself personal growth challenges.  Saying yes and being more flexible is the theme of this current phase in my personal growth and development.  I’m stretching myself to change or make plans last minute, to break one of my Cardinal Rules and leave the house on Sunday (only for VERY good reasons, should they arise) and to stay up past 8:30pm on a work night (again, the good reason rule comes into play).

I broke the bedtime rule last Thursday and spent the evening in Manhattan with four gorgeous friends and my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein.  I’m breaking the bedtime rule this coming Tuesday to see Marilyn Manson.  Yes, you can be a Spirit Junkie and enjoy some dark music—it’s all about balance, my loves.  These rules, and the bending of them, may seem trivial to the less wound and regulated but to me, these are some huge shifts!

Yes, I have a lot of rules for myself.  I’m super-structured, regimented to an extreme at times.  I attribute my success to my discipline and my grit.  As strange as it may sound, I’m disciplining myself to be a little less disciplined.  But fear not, I’ll still be here every Sunday (or thereabouts) with you.  Much love.

On Time

I’m bordering on a cliché.  I’m finally in a book club.  I’ve wanted to be in one for years.  I even tried to start one with my college friends post-graduation—no one wanted to participate.  But here it is, finally a formal yet casual setting for me to talk about one of my greatest loves: the written word!  Our first meeting is this coming Friday… and I’m on chapter two of the book.  So there’s the cliché and the reason I will keep this short today: I will not be the one in book club who didn’t read the book.

Reading a book takes time.  I don’t read as much when the day job is in session because the story we tell ourselves is often about a lack of time.  That said, I’m at a tipping point now because, with full gratitude to my mindfulness and Spirit Junkie journeys, I feel like time is expanding.  I’ve reach this glorious place where I don’t feel that manic grasping for time to get stuff done.  I literally feel like I have all the time in the world.  In reality, we all do.

I’m someone who has always been able to “feel” time.  Just ask Bestie—junior year of college, she lived directly below me.  I lived in dorm room 620; she lived in 520.  I’d IM her things like “be down in 3 minutes” or “7 minutes” and she’d often marvel at the precision of my arrival.  Most people flippantly say “2 minutes” or “a few seconds” or what-have-you.  I was born with a fastidious internal clock.  Maybe I’m part-Italian and part-Rolex.

Let me say it again—we have all the time in the world.  When we pay attention, on purpose and with purpose, that time expands for us to do our life’s work, to bask in complete happiness and hopefully combine those two concepts.  Now, it feels like the perfect time to start chapter two.  Much love.

Alexa and Josie 2

We kicked off September with a visit to sisters Alexa and Josie!  There’s something so special about repeat clients—to watch their growth and be part of their opening up and healing is so special to me.

I started the session with some lavender essential oil in my palms and Frankincense on my third eye chakra.  I worked with Josie first.  She hung back in her enclosure for most of our session.  She “showed” me the words family, strength and unity.  She “told” me that she loves the fall season, the upcoming holidays and the family that will be around.  Working on her crown chakra, she feels settled in and she’s calmer than our last session together.  When working on Josie’s heart chakra, I felt a cracking open—not in a bad way!  Strong blues and yellows swirled (I’m “getting” more and more colors; I should tune into that!) through this cracking open, almost like a release of past struggles, rising toward the future!

Alexa came out of her castle and I moved over to her pen.  She “showed” me the number 4.  We did a lot of work on her solar plexus chakra.  Alexa was much more open than our last session together but she’s still guarded.  She showed me a journey, more specially a road with one person walking on it.  She has a message for her mom, which I told mom to watch for in our post-session recap.  Alexa also gave me the number 333 or 9, depending on how you interpret the numbers.  Let’s talk about that for a moment…

Doreen Virtue’s Angel Numbers 101, a resource I use more frequently than I use a dictionary or even Wikipedia, shares that number sequences are the most common ways that angels communicate with us.  According to Virtue, 333 means, “You are completely surrounded, protected, love and guided by the benevolent ascended masters.”  Since I have the book out… 9 is about moving forward with your life’s purpose—the time to hesitate is through!  4 means that the angels are with you.

Such beautiful messages and beautiful work with two beautiful bunny girls.  Thank you Kim for allowing me time to work with them.  Much love.

Alexa and Josie
Photo Credit: Kim, Alexa and Josie’s mom

Topher & Co.

I had the honor of working with Topher, his brother Walter and their sister Nora last week.  Topher and Walter are friendly, active dogs and Nora is a beautiful kitty.  Their mom invited me over specifically to work with Topher but Reiki energy does not discriminate; it goes and flows wherever it is welcome and needed!  Upon my arrival, Walter and Topher greeted me with puppy-like fervor while Nora assessed me from afar.  I love cats for their moments like that—no nonsense, no pretense.  After we talked about some goals for our session, Topher’s mom left us to get down to business!

I anointed myself with Believe essential oil and sat on the floor in their living room.  As I started to tune in to the energy and my guides, Topher sat to my left, leaning his right side against my knee and crossed legs.  The color blue swirled around his energy.  As I worked on his crown chakra, I felt a sense of high alert and was compelled to send him the word “ease.”  When I worked on his throat chakra, I shared with him the message from my guides that he can tell his mom what he needs and she will always hear him.  I also connected with a heaviness on his right side, nothing to be concerned about per se, but just an awareness.

Topher bounced away after some time together and Walter walked over, almost like he had been waiting his turn.  Walter sat in my lap and we connected.  Both doggy brothers allowed lots of hands-on work throughout the session, probably the most I’ve ever had with new clients!  I “got” the “message” that Walter was a lawyer or some sort of negotiator in a past life or, if he were human in this life, that would be his career path.  I connected most with and worked on his sacral and root chakras.

Topher came back over and sat, somewhat at attention, in front of me this time.  I just do my thing and those who need the energy line up!  This time together, I was compelled to work more on his throat and solar plexus chakras.  I worked through his legs, hips and corresponding root chakra as well, sending to him that he is secure.  He “shared” with me that he senses a transition or a new family member.  In our post-session conversation, Topher’s mom confirmed that someone did recently move into their home.  Messages and connections like that are just confirmation for me that the energy is “working,” not that I ever doubted it anyway.

Nora stayed in the next room for the entirety of our session, regally grooming herself and never taking her eyes off of me.  I got a “den mother” vibe from her, as if she feels responsible to keep order in the house.  My closing messages, just from the space in general, were about a middle child energy and the number 7, all of which I shared with Topher, Walter and Nora’s mom in our chat after I closed out the session.  It was truly a beautiful hour with this happy, energetic family.  Topher, if you’re listening, just remember: ease!

Much love.

The Whole Crew
Photo Credit: Their Mom