Missing Piece

I am no longer allowing this missing piece translate to missing peace.  I am telling a new story.  You are the first to hear about it.  Grateful to you for “listening” today.

I’ve been holding back from truly stepping into a component of this work and of my personal development because there is a piece to my story that I’m not ready or maybe not willing to tell.  I struggle with the idea of telling my story without telling that story.  Can I be authentic and leave out a big piece?  My answer to that was no.  I’ve held back so much because I didn’t think I could share my light fully without sharing that piece.  And I do not want to share that piece.  I’m not going to share that piece.  There’s no secret link embedded here.  I’m not going to do a big reveal at the end of this entry.  These types of thoughts and the struggle arriving here has robbed me of some peace and have stunted my healing.  Thus, I’ve felt stunted in sharing healing.  It’s cyclical.

As I sat down to write to you today (or do I write this to me and you just peek over my shoulder?) I opened to a page in my notes from the Spirit Junkie Master Class that I attended last June.  On that pink page I wrote, “Be not afraid— be empowered.”  Gabrielle taught us how our inner guides are begging use to release our resistance.  I’m sure hearing that six months ago, I interpreted that as a call to reveal my missing piece.  Now, I see it as permission to release the expectation of telling it all, the expectation of being as transparent as many others seem to be.  Gabrielle taught us to step into the darkness so we can dive into the light.  I am.  I am finding my peace privately.  I can do that and still share healing publicly.  Today I give myself that permission.

Gabrielle imparted on us, her Spirit Junkie disciples, that we look at our stories from a place of power.  My missing piece deals a lot with shame and guilt.  I will find the power.  You all help to lift me up.  Forever grateful.  Big stuff coming… Much love.

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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.

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.

 

It’s been a Year.

This isn’t about rabbits or Reiki.

A year ago, we said goodbye—well, sort of.  I said I would see you later that week.  I said we would talk more then (and I silently promised to turn my damn phone off at our next visit—no pointless distractions).  I walked out of your front door, it was a Saturday, fully intending to be back maybe on Wednesday, silently promising myself that I would not let the week go by without making time for a visit.  Just like this year, last August was zooming by.  About an hour after I left, you died.

I wonder a lot.  You know my brain is always going, barreling perhaps.  We only knew each other for a touch over two years.  Why was I the second-to-last person to see you in your earthly form?  Do you know how much you changed my life in a span of two years?  Can you fathom just how much you taught me?

If you didn’t leave this dimension when you did, would we still be friends?  Or would I have said something, done something, been something that you didn’t want to be around?  Would we be on the phone right now on this super-cloudy day?  Or would I be sitting here, telling myself that I better make time for you before my long vacation ends?

Ours is one of those friendships that didn’t seem likely but just makes so much darn sense.  16 years apart in age, vastly different families and upbringings.  You, tiny in stature, secure in purpose.  Me, average in size, barreling toward my purpose—you helped me find it.  It’s all your fault, that I’m finally living my dreams.

We bought the house I told you about, but you know that already.  We live so close to you now.  We actually have space to have people come inside the house!  I’m getting better every day.  You helped guide me on this path.  I hear your voice in my head.  I see you in yoga classes still—remember the lady whose pants were inside-out?!  I love how the same things annoyed us.

You were supposed to teach me to sew.  But let’s be serious, I wouldn’t do my own sewing anyway.  Did I teach you anything?  Is there anything you didn’t get to tell me?  Well, besides the messages that you are flooding me with now… shout out to my Spirit Junkies and other spiritual running buddies who have helped me further develop my gifts over the past year.  I “hear” so clearly now.

Your babies are doing great.  MM clipped their nails on Saturday.  Your garden is gorgeous.  Your world misses you.  You are screaming in my left ear right now—I hear you, love!!  I will keep living the dream for us both.

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