Vortex of Appreciation

Sunday morning.  I’ve been out as a morning person for quite some time now.  Even the word morning sends a tingle through me.  Know thyself and embrace those strengths.

Just before these manicured fingers began to dance across the keyboard, I was listening to a podcast recorded by my teacher Gabrielle Bernstein, available through her Miracle Membership program.  The podcast was on in the background as I was organizing some of the piles of work on my desk and my conscious mind heard my teacher say the phrase “vortex of appreciation.”  I put down the pile, paused the podcast and began writing to you.  As per usual, these love letters come from divine inspiration—rarely do I have a plan.

Now, I have an idea for you.  Close those beautiful eyes.  Visualize yourself in a cup, a beautiful container large enough for you to feel comfortable and cozy enough for you to feel safe… surrounding you, cushioning you, pouring all over you are the things you love and appreciate… the people, places, things and ideas for which you feel gratitude… the elements of your day that light you up.  Sit there.  Soak it in.  Splash around in it.  Pick it up and toss it like some glittery confetti.  Feel the appreciation surrounding you.  Bask in it.

Flutter those beautiful eyes back open.  Do you feel that?  That glow of everything you love all around you?  You can access that feeling anytime and anywhere.  It is within you.

What’s in my cup?  (And no, I don’t know where the cup idea came from.  I heard Gabby say “vortex of appreciation” and I got a visual of myself in what I can best describe as a stemless wine glass.  We just roll with these things).  My cup overfloweth with you, dear readers, with my furbabies, with my family and my famOILy, with abundance, with mornings and sunshine, with beautiful things.  If your cup feels empty or if it has sprung a leak, I’m down to pour some of mine into yours or you can even dive into my vortex— plenty of space in my cup for you.  Plenty of gratitude to share.

So take a moment to feel it, emotionalize with the vortex of appreciation.  And anytime today you feel yourself slipping out of appreciation and gratitude, know that you can visualize and dive back in.  Some days, I stay there with ease and other days I have to dive back in many, many times.  Big smiles.  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

The Great Slow Down

Alternate title: How We are Crushing Our Goals

As I write this, the Rescue group with which I volunteer is processing its 40th adoption in 2018.  40. 4-0.  In 2016, we completed 51 adoptions.  For 2017, we set a goal of 52 adoptions; we completed 55.  For 2018, we set a goal of 56.  Here we are, less than 4 months into the year, and we are CRUSHING our goal.  Every adoption is another life saved.  Every adoption is another family made complete.  Here’s how we are making it happen, from my perspective.

We, the collective of volunteers, supporters, adopters and foster families, believe so deeply in our mission.  Just above my desk is my vision board.  At the center of my vision board: Domestic rabbits are safe and protected.  That is the center of all of the action that I take.  Our group is rich with like-minded people who will stop at nothing to carry out this mission.  Belief and inspiration in action.

On November 30, 2017, I went to hear my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein speak at her “SuperAttractor Workshop.”  In talking about her principle of taking spiritually-aligned action, Gabby said, “You speed up by slowing down.”  That struck me—and not just the juxtaposition of words.  Do you mean to tell me that I can accomplish even more if I just slow down?  Even me, who needs to go-go-go (and maybe go some more) so I don’t feel like time is precariously wasting away?  Ok… I’ll give it a shot.  I’ll breathe.  I’ll stop working with a sense of frenzy and choose a peaceful mood.  And I’ve made it part of my practice to work on one task at a time, to use my laser-sharp focus with more grace.

In early 2018, I started reading You2 by Price Pritchett.  I wrote to you about it.  Plain and simple: it works.  It was recommended to me by my business mentors and the Universe started showing me its power immediately through the Quantum Leaps in Rescue.  I even wrote on the bottom of page 1 of my copy: “Slow & steady is not necessary!  Rescue had a leap in January 2018 to show me the possibilities.”  Now, I am in no way taking full credit for 40 (any minute now!) adoptions in 107 days.  But I sit at the hub of this incredible group and we energize each other.  We made a committed decision to save as many lives as we possibly can.  Radical honesty: some of the team wanted to set the 2018 adoption goal much bigger than 56.  Fear-based, I thought, let’s just add one more to last year’s record.  I was playing small.  The Universe has shown me that we can add more than +1 in a year.  I may be going slower, but the Universe is not.

So, here’s to slowing down.  When I slow down, I get even more done.  When I slow down, I receive clarity about what needs to get done.  When I slow down, the Universe speeds up and brings my vision to me.  We are crushing our goals with ease, belief and inspired action.  I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.  Much love.

Even More from Masterclass

I’m glad I decided to break up these entries as it forces me to stop spinning and to bust out my nearly 40 pages of Masterclass notes… revisit the magic, with purpose.

Feelings… how often do we find ourselves forcing our feelings down or trying to make our feelings fit into some conventional box?  To paraphrase Gabby, have no agenda of what you’re supposed to be feeling.  Let it flow.  You don’t have to feel (or not feel) anything or experience life with the feelings and reactions that are thrust upon you by societal perceptions and “norms.”  Feel what you want!  Feel what is speaking to you, what is speaking from you.

I hear of more and more people identifying as empaths.  I am not one of them.  I, in fact, have a strong shut-off valve.  It comes naturally to me.  If I could box it up and sell it, I would.  Gabby talked about shifting toward compassion rather than empathy so we can heal, serve and not take on other’s energy.  My Rescue family, please print out the preceding sentence and tape it to your wall.  Read it every day.  Revisit it before opening your Rescue email, our volunteer FB group or going out on Rescue calls.  Compassion allows us to feel, heal and serve without the crushing moments that sometimes come with empathy.

On the first evening of Masterclass, Gabby urged us to write our stories and to call on our stories as our expertise and our wisdom.  Reading this line in my notebook is resonating strongly with me today, three-fold.  First, because I’m writing to you now.  Second, in business, we encourage each other to write our stories, to share why we use our products, the magic that these little brown bottles have brought into our lives in the areas of wellness, abundance and purpose.  People often hesitate to write or share their stories because they feel silly about it, they lack confidence in their writing or they don’t think anyone wants to hear their stories.  Culture and community is built on stories!  Write them, draw them, rap them—something!  Share your story; be proud of your journey.

Oh, and third… our Rescue newsletter would not exist without stories from our bunny families and volunteers.  Deadline for the next issue is rapidly approaching and I’ve been gently begging for stories.  Remember, sharing our stories will help save more rabbits and will continue to spread our mission.

The last line of the page of notes I’m reading and reliving says, “Lots of little right actions.”  Isn’t that what our journeys are?  Lots of little actions… some right, some wrong in the moment that eventually lead us to right.  Right being joy or purpose or learning or love.  The next page of my notes starts with me, my stream of consciousness flowing, “I feel perfect in this moment.”  And I do.  Much love.

Magnify

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

Curiosity

Often I’ll get a book as soon as I hear about it, like this mad dash of NEEDING this book in my life… but then I won’t read it for a while or forever.  I saw Brian Grazer on “Super Soul Sunday” with our Earth Angel Oprah probably a year ago, maybe even longer.  I downloaded his book A Curious Mind shortly thereafter. I started reading it last week.  I think that the delays of this nature are very purposeful—the information comes to us when we need it, when we are ready, when we can best benefit from the message.

Curiosity is more than just an adorable notion (or an annoying notion, depending on its source).  Grazer writes, “…one thing I know about curiosity: it’s democratic.  Anyone, anywhere of any age or education level, can use it…. even if your curiosity is suppressed, you can’t lose it.”  At what age or stage do we stop wondering?  I’m inclined to ask people a lot of questions.  I often joke that I want a talk show when I grow up.  I love doing Facebook Live talks with my oilers or my Rescue team.  Curiosity can level the playing field.  Listening to someone’s curiosity, the questions they ask of you, the things they read and share about opens up the possibilities of connections.  Those of you who live to help others, you’ll help them so much more if you listen to their curiosity, interests, needs, rather than just dictate what you think they need to better their situation.

Grazer talks about the efficacy of curiosity as hinged on the ability to pay attention to the answers to your questions and the willingness to act.  Curiosity is as much about wonder, asking and exploring as it is about listening, thinking and acting.  How many times have you asked a question, then completely tuned out the answer?  Did you not really care about the answer?  Did you have a “squirrel moment” of distraction?  Did you ask the wrong person or source?  Were you afraid of the responsibility warranted through the answer?

Grazer highlights an element of leadership, putting words to a sense that I’ve felt for a while now, a sense that has helped my day job life, my Rescue life and my Reiki and wellness life flourish: “I’ve discovered that even when you’re in charge, you are often much more effective asking questions than giving orders.”  Think about the effective teachers, coaches and mentors in your past (or present).  Who reached you best—the one barking orders or the one questioning, thinking about what will help you reach your goals and milestone?  Rescue life—I can “yell” at people who want to “get rid of” their rabbits or I can ask them how we can best help them either make their rabbit a source of joy in their family rather than a source of strife or how we can assist in helping them find a loving home.  The questions, rather than the chastising, are the only way people will potential recognize their responsibility in the matter (and life) at hand.  And in Reiki/wellness life—I’ll help facilitate far more healing if I ask, wonder and listen than if I prescribe and dictate.  Always.

I’m only 17% through the book but it’s cracking so much wide open for me that I was compelled to write about it already, rather than wait until I was done.  This just might join the ranks of the books that I buy copies of for “my people,” (The Four Agreements by Ruiz, The Happiness Project by Rubin, May Cause Miracles by Bernstein).  So, stay curious.  And don’t apologize for it.  Don’t feel weird or annoying for asking questions (but don’t be afraid to do some research of your own too!).  Let’s reignite our sense of wonder, our questioning and thinking, together.  Much Love.