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.

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Autopilot

I don’t know if there’s a name for it… that experience where you’re driving but your mind is completely somewhere else and you kind of shake your head and snap back to the present moment, having virtually no recollection of getting where you are, like that total autopilot moment… that’s August for me, every year.  I just realized it last night, as we got into bed and I shook my head fiercely and thought, “Holy stuff, it’s almost over.”   This is my brain on August, autopilot, struggling to get back to the present.

My mindfulness practices are inconsistent—but that’s why they call it a practice and not a perfect, right?  I am routinized and committed to many things so it’s not like I can’t; I just haven’t yet.  But I will.  The struggles are thematic (and I almost blush at calling them struggles because it’s really not so bad in the grand scheme of this whirling world).  I hit speed bumps and roadblocks at similar places and phases, the same way, I imagine, a serial dieter does.  I am aware of my patterns and my inclinations.  I’m here, trying to balance acceptance and growth.

Again, it’s a practice.  I’m finally at a place where I don’t feel like my vacations are too short (those of you who don’t get the number of weeks off that I do can continue cursing at me now—I can’t hear you anyway).  I don’t feel like the days or my life is racing by because I am paying attention on purpose, with purpose.  I’m making it count AND giving myself a giant break that I denied myself in the past.  I’m consciously shutting down the August Autopilot now.  So today, or even just for the next hour, give the autopilot a rest.  Let it recharge—after all, we need it in its highest working order in times of necessity—and be present with yourself.  Take it all in.  Accept your patterns, your habits, your predilections and grow through the elements that could use change.  Be here now.  Much love.

 

More about Masterclass

Gabby tells us to step in fully.  And I’ve been doing that, every day.  I’m stepping in and up, creating opportunities for growth in the day-job realm, going big in Rescue, arms locked with the most dedicated team, and establishing weekly classes for the summer to share our incredible wellness products.  I’ve stepped in fully, basking in the light from root to crown.

Today, I want to share a few more sparkly gems from my massive collection of notes from our Spirit Junkie Masterclass:

  • Lean into appreciation when you see yourself comparing.

Especially when we are flicking through our social media feeds, it is easy to start comparing, which breeds judgement, envy, annoyance, a host of negative emotions.  When you catch yourself comparing her experience, her presentation of her relationship, her possessions, etc. to yours, lean into appreciation instead.  Stop.  Breathe.  Be happy and proud for your friend (and if she’s not your friend, why are you looking at her stuff?).  Find gratitude and appreciation for what you have and what you are experiencing.  Make and execute a plan for change and growth for yourself.  Appreciate your opportunities rather than compare and judge.

  • A movement within creates a movement in the world.

We are making a difference.  It’s easy to miss that, especially if you watch “the news.”  But I know darn well that the light I stand in and spread to everyone I come into contact with is facilitating positivity.  It’s a domino effect, in a good way.  Is there a term for that, because domino effect is making me think things are falling down?  I haven’t had my coffee yet.  But you get me.  Make one person smile and they make another person smile.  It’s network marketing for the spirit.

  • Outside resistance reflects our inner resistance. Dissolve it with love.

When you are getting push-back, when doors aren’t opening up for you, when stuff seems impossible… all that is holding you back or telling you no or standing in your way starts from within.  When we are faced with rejection and we let that stop us, that stems from inner resistance.  When nothing seems to be going our way externally, that is rooted in something internal.  But please don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up.  Find that inner resistance and dissolve it with love.  Literally sit down, close those pretty eyes, and envision that inner resistance.  Give it a face or a symbol.  Then envision surrounding it with love, pouring love all over it and through it.  Dissolve it with that love.

Oh!  Now I’m inspired to lead a guided meditation and/or Aroma Freedom Technique session about dissolving our inner resistance with love… let’s make this happen.

Much love.

masterclass stuff

Do What you Dream

I don’t hate Mondays, not one bit.  There’s not one day of the week that I dislike, dread or groan about.  It wasn’t always like that for me, but I found some ways to make all 365 magical and I’m sharing the groundwork of that with you today.  Some of you are groaning at reading that, but drop the judgement and follow me for a few minutes here.

It crumbles my heart to see posts on social media from people I know and love bitching about what day it is, counting down to the weekend or to some other day, event, whatever that they label as “better” in some way than what they are currently doing.  Are you seriously miserable five days a week?  How is that worth it?

And I can hear you through the screen right now with your objections of “I have to work at this job because (insert reason here)” and stories of bills, debt, responsibilities, etc. abound.  I get it, but your reasons are perceptions.  And I’m here to help you perceive something different, something better.

To start, I’ll paraphrase one of my gurus Gabby Bernstein: Find a way to bring more joy into that day job!  That goes beyond hanging pictures in your cubicle.  If your lunch time crew makes you anxious, uncomfortable and anything less than energized for the second half of the day, STOP HANGING WITH THEM.  I did that two years ago and that simple change, as awkward as it was to start, was the beginning of a better journey for me.  I no longer felt angry at things that were said to me or in front of me.  I no longer felt depleted by the negativity that swirled as I just tried to eat my pasta and drink my afternoon coffee.

Once I created that space for myself, took a bold step in walking away from 45 minutes that eroded at my spirit, the space opened up for positivity to enter my day-job-life.  I shed the parts that didn’t feel right to the best of my ability.  There were certainly parts of the day that weren’t bringing me joy but that I couldn’t change on my own.  Yet, as that aforementioned space opened up, those other things shifted into place.  My work space was moved far away from people and situations that were causing me distress.  I didn’t complain, didn’t ask to be moved, didn’t even know moving was a possibility.  But the opportunity presented itself right after I did my part in separating from the “bad energies.”

Each of these small shifts has opened up opportunities in my life to do what I dream, to do more of what makes me energized and all sorts of fired up.  When my head and heart aren’t consumed with the negativity from others, I can get my work done with more focus and purpose.  Now that my time is spent with more intention, I bring a greater passion to my work, which translates to the young people with whom I work.

Making the time I spend at the day job pleasant and purposeful is the foundation.  From there, the tower of great days, days doing what I dream of, has built itself.  That tower is a high-rise for sure and I envision more floors built every day, ever-expanding.  The mindset shift and the physical shifts that go along with it make what I “have to do” no longer feel like a burden AND those shifts have created space in the realms of time and energy for me to spend with Rescue and with sharing wellness, abundance and purpose with others.

You can absolutely, unequivocally do what you dream—but it takes belief and action.  If you chose complaining and complacency over belief and action, you will stay stuck.  Of course, my way is not the only way, but I’ve shared with  you today how I first cracked the door open that seemed bolted shut.  When you’re ready to know more about how I busted that door down, those parts of the story will come your way.  Much Love.