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angels Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose

Spirit Junkie Live: The Afternoon

In August, I shared with you three takeaways from the morning portion of Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Live. As we are just a smidge over a week away from the release of Gabby’s new book Super Attractor, today I am sharing with you my three favorite takeaways from the afternoon session of that beautiful day.

  1. When you’re “blocked,” you’re feeling unworthy of love.

You can blame it on outside circumstances. You can blame it on the government, the economy, the attitude of your partner… heck, you can even blame it on the rain (great, now you’re singing…) but the blocks you are experiencing are rooted in feelings of unworthiness. Most likely, these feelings are subconscious and those subconscious feelings and beliefs are the ones that put up the most intensely rooted blocks. Feeling unworthy is a separation of love.

Reprogramming time: This is not the time to beat ourselves up even more. This is a time for awareness. Recognize those feelings of unworthiness when they show up. Instead of just writing off another week of skipping the gym or of putting everyone else first as just how you are and how things will be, take a moment today to get quiet and dig deep. It is likely (I’m learning for me that it’s definite but I have to let you unfold your own journey) that your blocks are an absence of love and an absence of faith in yourself. Just get aware today. When you’re ready to release the blocks, I’m here.

  1. Trust that you don’t have to do it all.

Controlling is a block. The need to do it all for yourself, for everyone, the need to make it all happen… when Gabby was talking about this, I felt like my spirit was on fire. This is my story! How did she know?! I don’t need you. I don’t anyone but my parents and my uncles. Those last two sentences are programmed so deeply in my subconscious. And I completely honor and love that I have those four people who never let me down and taught me to never let myself down. But, darn… doing it all is a lot of pressure…

Reprogramming time: Let your support in. This is my biggest block, so we can work on reprogramming this together. Gather around, superwomen who do it all. Just for this moment: give it all up. Surrender. Trust that you don’t have to do it all. Trust the universe. Trust that there are other people who will support you… you just have to learn how to pick ‘em. And, yes, I have some guidance on that too, when you’re ready. But for now, just take the next moments to let tasks go undone, to let someone help you, to exhale with an audible sigh and say “Universe, I let your support in.” Repeat as needed… and watch the magic happen.

  1. Quotable moments

I leave you with some quotes from Gabby, sans Denise-commentary. Drink them in. I want you to feel these words without my interpretation.

“You will be taught what you’re meant to teach”

“You don’t have to have pain to have purpose”

“In that imperfection, you have more to teach”

 

Local loves: The spiritual/personal development book club that I co-host will be reading Gabby’s new book Super Attractor over the next 2 months. We’d love to have you join us! Message me for information.

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Coaching Healing Purpose Teacher Life

Back to Ms. B

Summer Denise is a legend in her own mind.

I go back to work Tuesday and by Wednesday afternoon, it will feel like we never left… but for the first time in my recollection, I really feel restored, renewed and rested. Yes, it is possible to have two months off from the day job and feel like you haven’t had a break (I’m sure those with human children are nodding emphatically). For me, achieving this restored feeling is all about mindset—deciding in July that I had to slow down, committing to myself to be here now and not barreling into the next project, launch or endeavor! I spent a lot of this summer glued to the couch and more time on the yoga mat than I expected… pleasantly surprised with myself.

In the spirit of transitioning from Summer Denise to Ms. Bertolotti, I want to share with you some of the ways I keep it festive through the school year.

  • Seasons & Episodes: Yeah, it’s weird, but follow me here. You know I love a good metaphor. I count the years and days of school as seasons and episodes. This silly tradition started when I was working towards tenure, as a way to cope with the pressure. I thought of myself as a guest star on a show, probably a long-running soap opera. I had a contract for 183 episodes each season and it was my job to rock the role so well that my character would become a series regular and star. It worked. I’m entering into Season 15 this week!

 

  • It’s not a classroom; it’s a disco: There is always music playing in my classroom, just like there is always music playing in our house. In the morning before the first bell, I listen to whatever I’m in the mood for, usually something heavy. Once the din of 7:28 am sounds, every day has a theme, as follows:
    • Hair Metal Mondays
    • 80s Tuesdays
    • 90s Wednesdays
    • Guilty Pleasures Thursdays
    • Disco Fridays

I’m revamping the playlists, so please share your song suggestions. And yes, I dance in the hallways. Judge all you want… or join in the fun.

 

  • First Day Massage: I book a massage for 4 pm on the first day of classes. I started this tradition in Season 1. If I have a tough day, I know there’s relaxation coming. If I have a great day, this is the perfect cherry on top.

 

Okay, loyal readers, it’s back to my book and my lounge chair for two more days. May the spirit of Summer Denise flourish… see you in 10 months! Cheers to Season 15!

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose

Spirit Junkie Live, Part 1

I had the blessing to work with one of my greatest teachers Gabby Bernstein earlier this month. I got that blessing by saying yes to what my heart and mind called for, rather than make excuses or sit on the curb, eating a plant-based sandwich, watching opportunity cruise on by.

You gotta go for it, my friends. Buy the ticket. Get on the train. Sign up for the course. Just go for it. The resources are there. They’re wherever they are now… and they are on their way to you, if you truly align with your desire (and if you’re already lost, it’s time to set up a call with me!).

To sit in the audience and be led by Gabby is nothing short of magic. Loyal readers know I’ve written about this several times (and expect more because we have VIP tickets to Gabby’s Super Attractor book tour in NYC next month). So, dear ones, here are my three bestest takeaways from the morning session of Spirit Junkie Live.

  1. Confidence comes from my ability to rely on a power greater than me.

Gabby opened up the morning with an anecdote about confidence, weaving the tale to define confidence as I’ve noted above. Often we mistake dominance or showing off for confidence. The loudest person in the room isn’t the most confident. We know this logically, but emotionally or subconsciously, we sometimes find ourselves playing small or leaving the situation entirely when the loud one starts up.

Reprogramming time: Let them do their thing and you do yours with your quiet, humble, calm confidence. You got this… and you don’t need to scream or overshare about it.

  1. Sometimes you have to show up broken.

Real talk. No filter. Zero Fs. All of these colloquialisms we use… and then we hide our reality in shame. We only post perfectly staged pictures. We back out of commitments if we aren’t at perfection. We hide our tough times, even from our inner circle. Gabby said, “Don’t be ashamed of your difficult times. It’s a disservice to the world when we allow our shame to keep us silent.”

Reprogramming time: Get real with yourself first, then release and share when you are ready. Let go of the need to call yourself stupid and feel embarrassed if you took your receipt but left your purchases on the counter at Staples on Thursday (me). Now, I know that’s not technically a broken moment… but I felt ashamed when that happened. I’m the one who teaches people to pay more mindful attention to their lives and I was so distracted that I left my construction paper and markers (I swear I teach high school) on the counter. I felt so dumb that I almost didn’t go back for the stuff. I seriously contemplated leaving it, even knowing in my conscious mind that no one in Staples knows or cares who I am and that leaving something behind is not a big deal. At all. But the thought of going back triggered my need to appear a certain kind of put-together.

I used my coaching skills on myself, talked it out with my best friend and ultimately went back to the store. The action of picking up the purchase was nothing— the broken was in the mind-mess that cropped up. I’m certainly not “fixed” now, but I feel like a piece was put into place by the mind work that happened around this moment.

  1. Scarcity of any commodity is an illusion.

This gem of wisdom came from Gabby’s coach Rha Goddess. We are abundant, people! Stop feigning like you don’t have time, like you can’t sleep, like there isn’t enough money. When you rock that mindset, more scarcity comes to you. We are programmed to be busy, tired and broke… but Rha said that’s all an illusion and if you’ve ever heard Rha speak, you know that her words are truth.

Reprogramming time: Pick one area where you feel lack or scarcity. Take an honest look at what you have in that area and if it really needs change for you to feel better and function better. Start with affirmations. Then, maybe you’ll incorporate habit changes and formation. Like everything else, this starts in the mind, in believing you can. Rolling your eyes? Feeling defeated? Then it’s definitely time to schedule that call with me.

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More from Spirit Junkie Live soon. Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Energy Healing Purpose Rescue

Why I Stopped Eating Meat…

and why I’ll never bug you to do the same.

You know those memories that are like movies in your head? This is one for me.

I was standing at the counter of the kitchen/living room/bunny room combo in our first house, sometimes referred to as The Little House. I was cutting a packaged chicken breast and I stopped. I looked over my right shoulder at our boy Tater Tot, our first born. The thought flashed through my mind: Why am I spending all of my free time saving one and now I’m slicing and eating another?

Taking meat out of my diet never, I mean never, occurred to me. Paradigm, our mental programming, has meat as a part of our diets. That’s just what we eat, right? I never thought about it beyond flavor and enjoyment before. It never had a face before.

At the time, I was volunteering for maybe a year or two with the Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group. At this point, I was spending 7 or more hours per week volunteering, between answering emails and phone calls, covering shifts at foster homes and other various tasks. In addition to working full-time, 7 hours is a big chunk of “free time”—that’s more time than I was watching shows on Bravo in a week! So, there I was at the counter, one hand on the chicken breast, one hand on the knife, one heart and one mind at a turning point.

From that day, I gradually removed animal products from my diet. First went the white meat, anything remotely resembling the little loves we rescue. Then, everything else started to go. I just didn’t want it anymore—just didn’t make sense for me anymore. I could no longer make a value distinction between a dog and a cow, between a rabbit and a chicken, between a cat and a pig. I value them all the same now.

And that’s just the thing. I value them… my values. And my values do not have to be yours. I will never bug you to eat the way I do. I would have never made this change and definitely would not have stuck with it so faithfully if I didn’t have a meaningful reason, a true “why” behind it all. Please, do what feels right for you. Eat foods and make choices that take you to the best version of you, that make you feel happy and energized. If you are eating something that causes you physical pain afterward, it might be time to put that down and make a different choice. And that applies to what it is and to quantity!

Making the change to a plant-based diet was far less difficult than the paradigm will have you believe. And I’m happy I made my transition before this influx of processed “vegan junk food” hitting the mainstream shelves now. Delicious, sure… but not necessarily nutritious. My label-reading-ninja skills come into play with food as much as they do with personal care and household products.

Living my life my way… and always respecting your choice to live your life your way. That’s really all it is. That’s simply why I’ll never bug you to stop eating meat, to foster an animal, to do anything that you’re not necessarily interested in doing. Trust, I am nothing but delighted when I hear that someone is making a choice that honors the life of a living thing, but I know darn well that if anyone tried to force this way of eating and thinking on to me, it would have been repulsive. To paraphrase my coach Melissa, people don’t dislike change but people do not like to be changed. And to quote the guru James Hetfield, “Life is ours… we live it our way.”

Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose

Now Read This!

My dream life, which I live from time to time and will live full-time some day, consists of coffee, quiet, sunshine and reading. I’m often asked for book recommendations and am known to ask people what they are reading.

“What are you reading?” will be a standard question on the talk show I’ll have some day.

As Summer Denise gets extra time to turn the page, I thought this is the perfect time to share three must-reads from my mental list of approximately 6 million books that I think everyone should read!

  1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Have I gifted you a copy? If we are close in real life, I probably have. This little book is such a life-changer. The content, the agreements, are so straightforward that you almost feel like you must be missing something when you first read it. You are not missing anything—these truly are four simple agreements that, when you hold them with yourself, your life just feels lighter and better. The people around you will notice it too.

If you’re not super-spiritual, fret not. I think of this book as entry-level spirituality. And I’ll be surprised if you only read it once.

  1. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

Loyal readers, you knew Gabby would make an appearance on this list. She’s my teacher, my friend-in-my-head… I have the honor of working with her in person again next month and I’m beyond inspired. Her work has set me on this beautiful path of living in my authenticity and becoming one of the happiest people I know.

Recently, someone asked me how I first “found” Gabby and, while I pride myself on having an exceptional memory, this I cannot remember. I guess the universe just put her work in my path. I’m glad I listened.

  1. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

I had to get a work of fiction on here and this is one that has both literary merit and accessibility to the non-English major. It is also the only work for which I can say without hesitation that the movie is as good as the book. For real. So treat yourself to both.

 

Once you get through those three, let me know; I have 5,000,097 more books to recommend to you. Oh, and while I have you… what are you reading?

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angels Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life

My Wings

Sharing one of my most vulnerable and treasured stories, originally published by University of Wellness.

I am unafraid to talk about my struggles, probably because I don’t view them as struggles, problems, hurdles or even speedbumps. They are just factors of or moments in my journey.

Do you perceive a hurdle in the distance and just stop running, for fear that you won’t clear it?

Yes? Ah… that’s what those wings are for.

A surface view of my journey looks like a fairy tale, the only child with adoring parents who, after nearly 50 years together, still hold hands with each other. The girl with the solid upbringing in a safe, middle-class town, who attended a private university and soon after graduation landed a high school teaching job on Long Island, NY… cue the Happily Ever After music.

But that’s just the surface. Do you ever feel like what your life looks like on the outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside?

A deeper dive into my journey reveals bouts of depression (common) and living someone else’s dream (even more common– am I right?!).  I’ve been working with my therapist since 2005, when I was student teaching. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem at the time– I was supposed to be so happy, so satisfied with how everything was falling into place in my life!– but my spirit was feeling the crush of living someone else’s dream. Even as I write this, the anxious lump in my throat is returning, the lump I lived with for decades.

I was tired all of the time. I was overwhelmed. I was unsure about what I was doing and why I was spending every waking hour doing it. I see you nodding along as you read this.

14 years later and I’m stepping into my greatness. I made the conscious choice to find a better way.

In therapy, the great and patient E. guides me as I work through the “stuff.” Because I’ve committed consistently to doing the work on myself, I feel better than I ever dreamed was possible.

Now I have energy. Now “stuff” feels manageable (and I know what to do and where to healthily turn when it doesn’t). Now I am sure. Now I know my dream.

I found my wings– they were back there the whole time! Are you ready to find your wings?

Enter coaching– a modality to help harness and implement my gifts. Just like my T-ball coach helped me learn to swing a bat at 5 years old, just like my senior English teacher taught me how to “show, don’t tell” in my writing, coaches I work with now help me align my gifts and my dreams. They help me set a plan for success and accountability. They help me clear a path to fly.

Now that I think about it, I am living a fairy tale– but for the fairy tale to feel “right,” I had to position myself as the hero. I am not a character in someone else’s story. And just like in the fairy tales of our youth, the hero soars when she lets others, in those stories talking squirrels or fairy godmothers, in my story, coaches, help her plan, execute and follow through.

Now I coach to pay forward the invaluable gift that was granted to me. I am committed to helping others find their true happiness.

Much love.

~Denise

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life

Stop. Pick One.

I woke up this morning and before both feet hit the ground, my mile-long To Do list starting scrolling in my mind. Within a minute of being awake, the overwhelm kicked in and I felt like I had just so much to do that I had to start now and not stop (probably forever). I felt like I needed to take action on 10 different things immediately. You’ve felt that, right? Maybe you’re even feeling it right now.

It wasn’t easy… but I stopped myself. I pulled the emergency break on the mind mess. I decided that, if I were to get anything done today with the excellence that each task deserves, I needed to stop and take a moment, take the time to open up my best self. Less doing, more growing. Less mania, more ease. Less overwhelm, more grace. Less how, more why.

Basically, I needed to take my own advice.

So I grabbed the iPad, popped on a Yoga with Adriene class and took my first half an hour awake for me and my practice. I guarantee that taking that 27 or so minutes this morning to open my heart and hips does not translate into me getting “nothing done” today. In fact, taking that 27 minutes translates into me approaching every task I do today with greater focus and poise, the excellence that each task deserves. Hey, if it doesn’t deserve excellence, why am I taking time to do it at all?

And another secret to squashing the overwhelming the mind mess: do one thing you’ve been avoiding or putting off. Here’s a list of suggestions, if one thing doesn’t come to mind for you on your own. Pick one and do it as soon as you’re done reading this. If you’re feeling called, share with me which you’ve picked and executed.

  • Empty your purse. Clean out the non-essentials.
  • Clean out your email inbox. Delete. Delete. Delete.
  • Unsubscribe to 5 emails that you never open anyway.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter (had to throw that in there).
  • Make that call or send that text to that one friend you’ve been missing.
  • Empty the dishwasher. If yours is already empty, come empty mine.
  • Close your eyes for 4 minutes and let your mind wander.
  • Grab a book or magazine and read for 15 minutes.
  • Is it “nice” out? Walk around the block without your phone.
  • Go get that pedicure, especially if it’s nice out.

Remember, you are just picking one. No need for more overwhelm in our days!

Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Healing Purpose Rescue

Paddington

For everyone celebrating something today, I wish you and yours a happy one.

I had the honor of spending yesterday with a very special boy, local celebunny Paddington.

 

In a town in central Nassau county, about two months ago, a woman found a domestic rabbit in her yard. She was able to pick him up and bring him inside. She bought him food and cared for him the best she could for a few weeks. In the interim, and completely unrelated to Paddington’s arrival, this kind woman lost her job. She reached out to us at the Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group when she noticed she was running low on food for the rabbit she found. We coordinated a volunteer to bring food and other supplies she may need while she was fostering. We also planned to start the process of finding this rabbit a forever home.

Our volunteer went to the finder’s house that evening. She texted me shortly after she arrived there and said, “I’m taking him.” I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for sharing this… but she was crying. And this is a volunteer who works in animal rescue and rehabilitation professionally, someone who sees extremely tough stuff on a daily basis. One look at the rabbit we now know as Paddington brought her to tears… because of his ears.

Our volunteer remarked to the finder about the rabbit’s ears and the finder acknowledged that they are very short (I love and protect her innocence… she didn’t realize why). She found Paddington that way. By the time she found and saved him, his ears healed from being crudely chopped off. Sorry to hit you with such a stark reality on this Sunday, and for some holy, morning.

Paddington

In case you are wondering if this wasn’t a result of human cruelty… in Rescue we seeing plenty of ear injuries caused by other animals, endured before rescue and safety. Check out Shark, for example. Then compare his ear to Paddington’s ears. This is what moved our volunteer to tears and to take him with her. The finder was very grateful as she was struggling to care for the rabbit she found.

Despite the trauma he endured, Paddington settled in quickly and comfortably at his foster home. When I put out the call for a spokesbunny for an education and photo event at Pet Supplies Plus in Deer Park yesterday, Paddy’s foster mom volunteered him… and what a great choice he was! He was comfortable, even when three St. Bernard’s pounded into the store, and friendly with all of his fans. He enjoyed snuggles from store patrons and staff and even showed the Easter Bunny who is the boss!

Paddington 2

From her plans to drop off food and assess supply needs to becoming Paddington’s foster mom in a blink of time, my incredible colleague and her family have embraced this dear little one with pure love. I suspect, after Paddington’s neuter surgery tomorrow, that they just might make him an official part of their family.

LIRRG Family.

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Believe Bunnies Energy Healing Purpose Reiki Rescue Uncategorized

Friends? Friends.

It wasn’t that long ago when I had no friends. I can remember the first time I said it out loud. It felt… shameful. It felt embarrassing, even though I was saying it to the Bunny Daddy, a man I can say anything to, without judgment.

Yeah, there were people around… but I felt alone. That theme wove itself through my story over the years. I would do anything to pull in anyone, nice and close, trying to fight the feeling of loneliness… desperately trying to find acceptance.

I can look back and realize that there was no way I was going to find authentic friendships when I wasn’t being authentic with myself.

The turning point came right around the time when I said it out loud: I have no friends. That also came in a tornado of being miserable at work and having no hobbies, pastimes or things to do that brought me joy. At all. I was a literal ball of tears on our living room floor.

I cracked open and let the light flood in. I took steps, small at first, to find a sense of peace in my head. I started volunteering, not to fill the time, not even for a second considering that I would make friends that way—just volunteering to help a little rescue group with a big mission. I found that my weekly volunteer hours were times where my anxious feelings were non-existent. I found a place to let my gifts (organization being one) shine.

I started listening to myself more, giving myself that permission and honing that skill through holistic and “alternative” routes like Reiki, yoga, therapy… getting down to it. Facing and embracing what made me feel good, great and beyond. Dropping the need to fit in, to live someone else’s dream, to fit an image that felt suffocating.

As I listened to and “found” me, some darn wonderful people started to show up. I often say to them, when they compliment my growth and my courage, that I am merely a reflection of them. And I mean that they can only see and love this light in me because it is a light that shines in them too.

Last night, I celebrated by 37th birthday. The girl who had no friends is now the woman who was surrounded by 16 women, each blazing their own gorgeous, inspiring trail. I know they love me. Despite the size of the group surrounding me over the years or the length of time we were “friends,” I never knew that for sure before. But these women… they love me. And I love me.

A big cheers to the rest of the crew who couldn’t join us last night… I am utterly amazed by the quantity and the quality of friends that are in my life—all because I took (and still take) the time to find my joy and purpose. Much love.

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Believe Energy Healing meditation

She’s In There

For years, I’ve heard great things about psychic medium Paul Saladino. Yesterday, I had the honor of attending his Inner Child workshop. So. Darn. Good.

Paul started the workshop asking us to rate our childhood happiness and to assign it a color. He talked us through the different numbers and colors, “translating” numerology to inner child work and connecting the colors as symbols (the English teacher in me swoons).

I was able to pick a number right away… but oddly, the color was eluding me.

Paul talked to us about emotional ages and how blocked energies create illness. He encouraged us to be playful and nurture out inner child. How often do we get caught up in the obligations and routines, forgetting to play, even when we have little people asking us to play with them? Loosen up. Step out of the realm of acceptance.

Paul talked us through visualizing and connecting to our inner child. He shared about fears that we carry into adulthood and their origins in our childhood. He reminded us that what you had as a child will follow you your whole life until you do the work to release it. And that’s what we were there to do, or at least start doing.  Time to recognize and embrace the inner child.

Paul guided us through a meditation. When it was over, I grabbed my notebook and wrote, “I no longer seek acceptance from people who do not reciprocate love. I share love and friendship with those who align with my light. I surround myself with love.” I’m breaking the pattern. Growing up with so much unconditional love… I labeled my childhood at home a 10 in the beginning of the workshop (Paul said 10s are pretty much impossible, and I get that). Growing up in a 10 family made me expect 10s everywhere… and I sure didn’t get that outside of the happy little family unit. I’m working now to heal her disappointment.

I rely on being in control in most situations. When I’m in control, I set the number. The last thing I wrote in my notebook yesterday is a paraphrase of something Paul said toward the end of our 2 hours together: Control is often a deterrent to vulnerability.

Helen Keller wrote, “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” Taking part in workshops like I did yesterday helps me do just that. I am grateful for people like Paul who share their gifts and wisdom and for Bella who encouraged me to join her there.

Little Denise… you’re in there. And I’m working to nurture you as much as you deserve… and you deserve it all. Much love.

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