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.

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.

 

Perspective

You’ve heard it or read it a thousand times before… “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. W. Dyer

That concept has swirled around me the past few days.  (Look at Summer Denise, writing on a Tuesday instead of Sunday… scandalous!).  I’m getting more and more comfortable with change, especially the changes that I didn’t necessarily invite into my life.  I’m shifting my perspective with an intention to see the value in the change for myself and for those with whom I share love.  I’ve always been the type to take words and promises very literally, particularly because I keep my own without question.  Not everyone is like that.  I’ve always assumed their breaking their word, and subsequently our trust, was purposeful.  I’m working to change the way I look at that.  I’m working, because this is wholly MY ISSUE, to see that everyone’s definition of loyalty and friendship is different.  And that’s cool.  Acceptance.

When I go to yoga classes, I rotate where I roll out my mat.  I used to be the type to want the same spot (middle row, side of the room) for every class.  When I switched studios two summers ago, I decided to change that habit.  Now I never get stuck in a rut, as I’m consciously shifting my perspective.  I’m able to be more present because the change in physical space keeps my brain more engaged.  I don’t shift into autopilot, then careen off to what I have to do after class “monkey mind” as easily.  I change the way I look at things every time I step into the studio.  Try it.

It’s not easy to move your spot, to say no, or to walk away from certain people, places or things.  Whether it be habit, pattern or sense of obligation, we sometimes find ourselves going places we don’t want to go, getting into conversations that feel “wrong,” or surrounded by elements that make us feel stifled, fake, even in pain.  Honor yourself.  Walk away.  Drift away.  Run away.  Whatever pace suites you.  I promise, I’m living proof, that when you surround yourself with the people, places and things that match your level, frequency, and power, your happiness, soul and success will soar.

Flip it on its head today.  Change that perspective.  Shed the confines of relationships and situations that no longer serve your highest good.  Hop into something that feels better, that feels right.  Then watch the miracles fly.  Much love.

 

Gimme a Break

I sit here in the closing hours of a week off from the day job.  I’ve shared with you before about the (unnecessary) pressure that I put on myself to make the days off count… Of all the chunks of time off from the day job, I feel like I was better to myself over the past 9 days than I typically am—looks like all that personal development actually works.  I’m mentally beating myself up too much over what did and didn’t get done this week.

I’m a quantifier by nature.  I’m the one who keeps score, who keeps copious notes, who has the memory and the records of it all.  So here’s a run-down of what I made happen over the past week-plus:

  • babysat our friends’ daughter for 3 days
  • completed the last course for my +75 (75 graduate credits above my Master’s degree)
  • co-hosted a LuLa Roe and Young Living party
  • various doctor and spa appointments (self-care is super important!)
  • volunteer time and community outreach daily for Rescue
  • hosted a business dinner (and ate everything on the menu from 3 Brothers)
  • went to my favorite yoga class
  • reconnected with a friend (Love you S)
  • spent time with the uncles
  • hosted a wellness talk
  • had a private reading with the amazing Calise Simone (I highly recommend her!)
  • finished reading 2 books
  • watched 2 seasons of “Schitt’s Creek”

And yet I sit here with the anxiety of “going back” tomorrow.  And before I sat down to write this, all I was thinking about was the messes I didn’t clean up (this desk!) and the things left undone… but holy carrots!  Look how much I did do in the span of one week plus the bookends of weekends!  I’m not sharing this with you to brag about how much I did but as a reminder for you to shift your focus (if you need to) and recognize the good.  Celebrate the tasks accomplished.  Luxuriate in the moments, hours and days (if you’re lucky) of relaxation.  Appreciate what you can do rather than bombard yourself with what’s left undone.  Yes, I might be talking to myself more today than I’m talking to you but writing this is often as cathartic as it is instructive.

I need to recognize the breadth and depth of the list above.  I’m in awe—I legitimately felt like maybe I didn’t do enough to make it count this past week.  So, when you’re beating yourself up, grab your notebook and engage in a retrospective.  Make an I Did It list, rather than a Things To Do list.  Celebrate.  Recognize.  Give yourself a break or a pat on the back or both.  Reality is, there will always be “things” left undone.  When we are “done,” then there’s really nothing left.  So, while I’d love to get this desk cleaned off today, I promise to give myself a break and appreciate all the accomplishments, in and out, of the past few days.  The days will tick by, regardless of my action or inaction.  Like Calise told me yesterday, I must “create space, calm and structure.”

Much Love.

 

Mallory

Hoppy New Year, Bunnies and Bunny Friends!

My final Reiki session of 2016 was shared with Mallory, a darling Dutch girl whom I helped rescue in 2015 and was adopted by one of our volunteers, my friend Lauren.  Mallory recently lost her husbun Benjamin, so Lauren asked for me to come over and check in on Mal.  Prior to losing Benjamin, Lauren and Mallory went through numerous changes in 2016—a volatile year for many, but hey, if we don’t change, we don’t grow.

I settled in to Mallory’s pen, anointed my third eye chakra with Magnify Your Purpose essential oil and my palms with a few drops of lavender.  Lauren had the diffuser going with a relaxing blend to support our energy work.  As I flowed through my meditation, calling on my guides, Mallory’s guides and angels and all workers of light and energy to join us, Mallory tossed a cardboard tube at me— her way of acknowledging that she was ready to communicate!  Through our hands-on work, Mallory shared with me that she feels in good health.  She has a cautious spirit, which complements Lauren’s adventurous spirit quite well.  Both Mallory and Lauren share an energy, a bond through the adventure of life and bring balance and care to each other.

Mallory tossed her wood and rope toy 5 times.  She also “showed” me the numbers 6 and 4 in combination to create 10 a few times during her session (check out Doreen Virtue’s book on angel numbers to translate Mal’s message!).  When I asked Mallory about her past, she hopped away and turned her back.  She remembers the horrible life she lived before rescue and wants it completely behind her, so I focused the Reiki energy to send healing, forgiveness and forward movement.  Mallory confirmed with me that she loves to snuggle, loves to be wrapped in a blanket as a tangible sense of connection and security.  Who doesn’t love a good snuggle?!

She “showed” me oranges, specifically the fruit and not just the color orange.  When I asked Lauren about this in our chat after the Reiki session, she burst out laughing.  Lauren and a friend were eating oranges in that room just the night before!  Messages like this are confirmation to me that Mallory was receiving the energy and communicating with me.  I don’t question the gift—I just embrace it and share it.

Our Reiki session closed with the theme of surrender and riding out the changes in life, as more are to come (soon!) to this adora-bun family.  Mallory is a protectorate and a symbol of strength for Lauren as much as Lauren is for Mallory— they are truly bonded souls with such a wonderful and needed balance for each other.  I am honored to share Reiki with Mallory and Lauren.  Thank you, my friend.

Progress

I’m living parallel story lines in my personal life and my Rescue life.  Both of these story lines are unfolding at their own pace, despite how much I might try to control them.  Patience was never my strong suit.  Some people like to brag about how few effs they give or how unfiltered they are; I was always quick to tout my quick fuse.  That trait was of little value, other than some entertainment of course, so I’ve been working my self-improvement make-shift program to channel those energies into something more positive.  I spent much of the summer patting myself on the back for just how patient I was with this personal life story line.  I know that I show up and I do my part immediately as it is warranted.  Expecting the same from others (individuals, businesses, and municipalities) has resulted in a range from disappointment to frustration, with the occasional pleasant surprise sprinkled in the mix.  Just send good vibes and you’ll be alerted when all of my patience has paid off… sorry for the vagueness.  Just know that, even as I type this, things are progressing.

In Rescue life, some of the team has reached out to their legislators, proposing that Long Island follow suit with NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, etc. and ban the sale of domestic rabbits.  Yes, there are volunteers who disagree with this idea.  And they are allowed to feel that way.  But for me, I am a data collector.  I reflect on that data.  I do some, albeit informal, analysis of that data.  In 2016 alone, we’ve been contacted via email about over 400 unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused rabbits in our two counties.  Whenever possible, I ask the source of these unwanted buns.  The answer is always a pet store or a breeder.  Always.  Add to this 400, the rabbits about whom we are contacted on social media, via phone, contacts to individual volunteers and, of course, the ones we plain just don’t hear about… the number will surely reach 1,000 by the close of 2016, if it hasn’t already.  You don’t have to be alarmed by this… but I am.  And I’m doing something about it.

Amazingly, we’ve already made progress!  I received a phone call from the aide of a local legislator last week.  Because of our efforts, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters were added to a proposed bill in Suffolk County that will regulate the sale of cats, dogs and the aforementioned animals.  This isn’t a ban, but it is progress.  This progress will protect those who are sold in pet stores.  This progress will put an end to the harsh, neglectful situations that some animals face while waiting to be purchased.  This progress holds those who do sell animals accountable for the treatment of what they deem as product, what I deem as living, loving beings.  To me, animals are not a commodity.  I fully acknowledge that they are to some people and I’m not looking to argue that.  I’m just here to dance in the metaphorical confetti raining down on me and the squad who are advocating for the safety of domestic rabbits across this island and around this world.

So, it’s about progress, steps.  The personal life situation will work itself out, as long as the bunny-daddy and I keep doing our part… and staying on top of those other parties who need to do their parts as well!  And the Rescue life situation… I am overjoyed to be a part of a step in the right direction.  I just got off of the phone with the Legislator who is helping us advocate.  I’m proud to know her and proud to be a part of the progress she’s making.  Just do the next right thing, my friends.  Much love.

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Grab your party hats and celebrate progress!