So Strong

I have not underlined this much in a book since graduate school.

Bright Spirit, the spiritual book club that I co-host with Dina of Crystalicious NYC, studied Rising Strong by Brené Brown as our most recent pick.   This book quickly became a part of my soul.  I, too, struggle with vulnerability.  I was the girl who knew all of the answers in elementary school.  That girl became the young woman who never asked any questions because she didn’t want anyone to know that she didn’t know something.  That girl-turned-young-woman equated knowing and being right with being accepted and loved.  She may not have been able to do it all, but she sure knew her stuff.  And no one could peek behind that all-knowing curtain.

Rising Strong is the first of Brown’s works that I read, although I was already familiar with her through Her Royal Highness Ms. Oprah Winfrey.  I enjoyed Brown’s talks that I watched but didn’t really “get it” until I read the book.  It’s always about timing.

Here are just a few of the thousands of words I underlined…  literally picking these for you by opening to a random page and sharing.

On “reckoning with emotion,” Brown directs the reader to, “Give yourself permission to feel emotion, get curious about it, pay attention to it and practice… awkward, uncomfortable practice.”  For me, this was a clear reminder of what I teach but don’t always remember to implement myself.  We must attend to our feelings, emotions, joys and pains if we want to grow.  If we are good with sitting exactly where we are right now, then just ignore the tough stuff.  Stuff it down.  Keep busy and try not to feel.  But, when we are ready to thrive, we must examine those feelings, white, black and every stormy shade of gray, to work, heal and flourish.  That often takes help.  Remind me to ask for help when you see that I need it.

Brown writes, “…our silence about grief serves no one. We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”  When we lose someone or something, it’s like there’s this designated period we are supposed to be sad for—no longer and definitely no shorter.  At my day job, we get 5 bereavement days when a family member dies. I have a sinking suspicion that it will take me more than a week to get my head together after one of my parent’s passes.  In that same vein, if someone is back after 1 day, I’m not sitting in judgment.  I’m just hugging in support.  Face it on your own time.

Brown enforces from C.R. Snyder’s research that “Hope is not an emotion: It’s a cognitive process… Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our abilities to act.”  Hope carries varied connotations.  I’ve heard people instruct others not to hope because that’s giving an option for something not to happen—like I hope I get the promotion vs. I will get the promotion.  While I agree that we should manifest our desires with unwavering certainty, I feel like hope is a beautiful thing.  I hope for a beautiful future for everyone on the planet.  I hope everyone can find the peace that I feel right now.  It’s kind of mincing words… but that’s what we do, isn’t it?

After this… I’m jumping (albeit backwards) into Brown’s Daring Greatly.  Join me?  Much love.

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Going Back In

In four days, I’m going back.  I’ll sit in a blue and teal chair on an hour long trip to the greatest city in the world (arguably, of course, but that’s what we’ve told to call it).  I’ll walk several blocks, check in to my hotel, and head to the SVA Theater. There, I’ll sit in a red upholstered chair and soak it all in, taking copious notes over the course of our three days together.  Yes, this weekend is Spirit Junkie Masterclass.

As I look over my nearly 40 pages of notes from last year’s class, I see a beautiful parallel between my teacher’s “Steps to Stepping into the Fear” and the experience with and lessons from our rescued rabbits.  I’ll list Gabrielle’s steps below and annotate my rescue musings.  My rescue colleagues reading this can nod along…

  1. Honor your wounds.

These abandoned, neglected and abused rabbits did NOTHING to deserve the treatment they got (or didn’t get) before they came into our care.  We celebrate, love and care for their backgrounds.  We work tirelessly to ensure they will never be wounded again.

  1. Stop trying to outrun fear.

Dear ones, let us bring you to safety.  We are the good ones.  I promise.  The only thing you have to fear now is the Shop Vac cleaning your enclosure.

  1. Show up for your assignment.

Once they are “ours,” these rescued rabbits have a big job.  They are tasked with completing families.  That said, it is NEVER their assignment to teach children responsibility–that’s the job of human adults.  But it is their job to soak in all the love.   I’m smiling so big, thinking of all the ways my boys have been there for me over the past 6.5 years, showing up for their assignment.

  1. Build new momentum to create confidence.

With this step, I’m thinking of the shy ones.  The scared ones.  I’m thinking right now of Aspen.  She was rescued last year, and shortly after, gave birth to 8 babies.  Aspen is the softest and was the shiest rabbit I’ve ever met.  In a series of foster homes she wanted nothing but to hide.  And then… she moved in with a new foster family, where she’s an only rabbit, and her personality is shining!  She’s flopping, she’s running and she’s posing for pictures with sass!  She’s come into her own, created that confidence.  It’s incredible what a change of surroundings can do.

  1. Affirm what you want to feel and who you really are.

Oh, these rabbits have personality.  I have a 4-pound lion with the attitude of a 420-pound King of the Jungle.  He’s the King of the Living Room.  When we pay attention to what they are “showing” us, our rescued rabbits are all sorts of perfect and loving.  Some, like Aspen, need to be solo buns to shine.  Some, like my Peanut, need to come to you on their own terms and not be approached quickly.  Trust, they always affirm what they feel; sometimes, we need to listen better!

  1. Be more you.

Here’s where rabbits (and any animal for that matter) can really show us the path.  They know no other way than to be themselves.  Just like little kids, they show and share how they feel.  Take a lesson from the furry ones.  Be silly when the mood strikes you.  Take multiple naps a day, if that’s what you’re craving.  Chew the molding in my living room… wait.  Scratch that.  But seriously, use those instincts—don’t squash them!

 

Spiritual Running Buddies:  I’ll see you on Friday.  Rescue Fam:  You inspire me.  Much love.

I’m Telling

I’m telling on myself today.  A friend who is relatively new to the DB Fam called me yesterday.  For every ounce Out There, Open and Tell It Like It Is that I am, she is Reserved, Private and Keep It to Yourself in counterbalance.  I take our new-found friendship not only as a treasure but as lessons for me to learn to protect and preserve myself and my energies.

While we were on the phone, New Friend asked me a question about someone we both know.  Not a gossipy question or even a judgmental question—just a question.  And there I went, shady as all get out in my answer.  The words felt icky coming out of my mouth… yet there they tumbled.

Our conversation ended shortly after.  I felt unsettled with myself, as I spoke from a place of spiritual misalignment.  There was nothing in my response that was constructive, helpful or even that answered her originally question.  I caught myself falling off of the Judgment Detox wagon.  Old me would have relished in the negativity.  Current me corrected course with humility.

I texted New Friend and said, “I feel like I was super negative. I apologize.”  I then answered her original question with a more appropriate, yet still honest answer (all of this personal development has not taken away my honesty!).  I started to justify and judge myself in reaction.  I even wrote, “Insecure low moment.”  All of my Spiritual Running Buddies who are reading this are yelling at the screen for me to witness my judgment without judgment.  I hear you.

It’s a work in progress.  It’s a practice.  I’m proud of myself for sharing the missteps with you, dear readers.  I teach this work.  I live this work.  And foundationally, I do this work… so it’s not a perfect dance for me where I slay every step.  It might not ever be.  I decided to tell on myself to you today because I grow when I share the journey and because I’m so grateful for the lessons that New Friend imparts on me through her kindness and the way she protects her own energy with ease.  Much love.

JD humility

Big Picture Master

A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk on organization to a group of entrepreneurs in the wellness lifestyle industry.  In pure irony, the notes I prepared for this talk look like a scrambled ramble of ideas.  The organizer appears messy but gets it all done.  Here are some gems from my notes for you, dear readers:

The key to my success: I know exactly what I want and I let NOTHING get in my way.

I’m a Big Picture Master, a Results-Driven Red (see The Four Color Personalities for MLM by “Big Al”).

I know nothing about running a non-profit organization, but I make a non-profit run.

Take an honest look at yourself and your habits or get a coach to assist you in doing that— it is from here that you get organized.

It’s really cute when people tell you to follow your dream or your vision if you don’t know yet what that is—it’s like telling kids in school to pay attention without ever teaching them to pay attention.  Check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic for more about this.

Play to your strengths.  Not mine.

I’m never going to be a runner but I run s…

You don’t get organized from a book or from anyone else’s system, if you want to lead.  I don’t know how to get your organized until you know your vision.

Once you have your vision, your dream, your goal, then (and not a moment before) you need:

-executable steps.

-consistency and routines.

-to stop doing stuff that doesn’t work.

For me, it’s committing one hour per day to my business, regardless of how active the day job and/or Rescue was that day, it’s keeping a consistent schedule and it’s TONS of personal development.  That’s how I stay organized.  That’s how I’m the Big Picture Master.  That’s how wellness, abundance and purpose continue to flow freely to me and my family.  Much love.

I Don’t Know What to Say

I write these stories to you best when I don’t think about you.  When I think about you, I think about what you want to read about.  Then, I get all judgy with myself that you won’t want to read about the things I’m inclined to write about.  Are you here for the Reiki and spiritual tales, so you click away from the Rescue stories?  Are you a bunny person, but the spiritual stuff turns you off?  It’s a quick mind-spin and I almost don’t get my fingers on the keys when that “stuff” is the stuff swirling through my brain.

That’s judgment.  And projection.  That’s self-sabotage.  Consciously, those aren’t choices I would make.  When I stop, breathe and think, I want to write what I’m thinking or feeling in the moment.  Maybe if it’s not for you, it could be for you or you or even you.  But it’s always for me.  Writing this is part of my personal development, walking the walk of what I teach, putting in the work on me.

Our brains click into this judgment mode as a form of protection.  If you believe in science, our brains have evolved to keep us safe.  We judge the stimulus around us based on past experiences, past hurts.  Go to the old “hand on the hot stove” adage—we learn not to touch it again because we remember getting burned.  Some of us love to keep our hands pressed firmly on the hot stove, even after multiple burns… but that’s a topic for another day.

I sat down today and I didn’t know what to say to you.  What if you don’t like it?  I have to figure out where that all comes from… and I have just the tool to help me get started… Much Love.

JD

Masterclass

Where do I even begin?  Maybe this will be a 12-part miniseries…

I am a certified Spirit Junkie.  I completed the level one Spirit Junkie Masterclass training with Gabrielle Bernstein.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday surrounded with like-minded, amazing women and men.  On Sunday during the lunch break, I texted one of my dearest friends to tell her that although I was ready to come home, I never wanted to leave how I was feeling, never wanted to leave the place my heart, soul, spirit and mind were in.  Talk about pure bliss…

Masterclass cert

So I’ll grace you with some of the highlights from my 37 pages of notes.  Forgive me if some of my words and some of the speakers’ words blend together.  I tried to paraphrase and quote with accuracy, as my formal training dictates but in the flow of the weekend, some elements mushed together.  And believe that I feel a shift for which words will do no justice.

In her opening talk, Gabby circled around humility, love and transformation.  She, in certain terms, told us all that we have to do this work and must step in fully. She prompted us to lean into appreciation when we see ourselves comparing our journeys, our experiences and our concepts with those of others.  Powerfully and frequently throughout the weekend, Gabby urged us to be unapologetic about what we’re here to do.

Proudly, I introduced myself as an animal Reiki practitioner and rescuer to my new-found sisters—I didn’t hide behind the day job (but shout out to the Spirit Junkie who described herself on mic as a spiritual teacher disguised as a school teacher… because I’m so using that line!).  I’m fully stepping in.

And as I sit here, I realize that it is time to fully step out.  I am tired.  So there’s just a taste, a teaser of sorts, just the opening chapter… stay tuned for the next installment.  Much love.

Take Action

People sure seem to find a lot to complain about.  Now, I can get all cliché-crazy here (You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind!) but I’ll try to keep it my voice, as much as possible, today.  Through Rescue, I don’t hear many complaints from the volunteer team, but when I do (or when I’ve made them myself in the past!), those complaints generally center around the perception that someone wasn’t contributing as much as the others were contributing.  But I’ve been able to shift my own focus and the focus of the team as necessary, reminding myself and reminding them that we all play different roles.  Some roles are more public, more obvious time working with foster rabbits or educating the community.  Some other roles, the behind-the-scenes roles and even the sending of positive, supportive vibes and spreading our Rescue message, may not be as obvious but are just as important as the physical tasks.  We treasure help in all its forms, from all givers.  We are all taking action, whether you can see it or count it or not.

Also through Rescue, I’ll have the occasional “dumper” (someone who is trying to “dump” his/her rabbit on us) complain that we aren’t helping them.  No, I can’t just take your rabbit.  We do offer help, to anyone who asks—just not necessarily the kind help they anticipated or wanted.  I’ve found that posture is huge with handling and even avoiding these complaints entirely.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned about posture from my entrepreneurial reading and mentors and applied it to Rescue.  I never tell anyone we can’t help them.  I clearly and firmly show them how we can help.  Then, if they still complain, that’s on them.  I can’t control that crap.

So, let’s shift this idea into our lives, our experiences in general.  Are you complaining?  About what?  Why?  Or, perhaps the better question: Why aren’t you doing anything about it?

You can wish, want and whine forever.  But change comes through action.

Are you surrounded by complainers?  At work?  Walk away.  On social media?  Unfollow.  At home?  Well, spray some White Angelica and do something uplifting for yourself.  That positivity will spread, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll be in a good space.  In Miracles Now, Gabby Bernstein writes, “Say to yourself, ‘I choose to remove any negative energy I’ve been holding onto.  I choose to retrieve all the positive energy around me and within me.  My intention is to share my positive energy with the world.’”  So start there.  Take action through your intention.  Speak it into existence.  Keep it as positive as possible.  There is nothing, seriously NOTHING, about you and your circumstances that cannot be met and overcome with action.  Much Love.

Now Ang