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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life Young Living

The Essence

In the gaps of time this weekend, I’m watching season three of Netflix’s Atypical, a show that has given me more perspective about teaching individuals with Autism than any graduate or professional development course ever did. In the episode I finished this morning, protagonist Sam is tasked with an assignment about essence. Specifically, he has to depict the essence of a chosen animal, not just draw what the animal looks like. This throws his logical mind into chaos. Just what is the essence of a penguin?

As the episode spun on, I got to thinking about the little amber glass bottles that sit atop by bathroom counter, aside my kitchen sink, inside of a pouch in my purse and upon my desk and my bedside table. Essential oils. The essence of plants, some singular, some blended, all simply the best. I wasn’t surprised when Sam’s art teacher rolled on some lavender essential oil, saying it calms him. Girl… if you only knew what these essences have done for me.

Don’t get it twisted—the contents of these bottles cannot treat, diagnose, cure a darn thing. What they have done for me… how do I put this? The essence of these plants help me to slow down, look around and see this life for what it really is… and just how sweet it can be, if we chose to participate from that perspective. These aromatic liquids have been a tool for me to ground into my body and to use my senses and my higher faculties with clarity. They’ve reminded me that I don’t have to sprint through life complaining from Sunday through Thursday like so many choose to do. They’ve allowed me to find a way through the mind mess and into a place of peace… and they help bring me back into alignment when I fall away from that peace.

As Sam searched for the essence of his chosen penguin using his thoughts, his notebook and the support of his teacher, family and best friend as tools along the way, I couldn’t help but think of my journey, searching for the essence of me, of how I want to show up and serve in this world. I use my thoughts, I have many notebooks and I am surrounded by incredibly supportive people, many of whom I met through the essential oil community. I look up from my laptop and see these little bottles, donning labels like Humility, Acceptance and Hope, like Light the Fire, Sacred Frankincense and Harmony, like Lemon, Geranium and Peppermint… the essence of these plants helping me get to the essence of who I am, what I want and how I want to be in this world.

Take a moment today. Breathe deeply. Close those beautiful eyes. Listen to you. What is at your core? Drop the “stuff” and get down to the essence. Give yourself permission to shine in that truth.

And, if you need help getting down to it… I sure have a way to help you. Much love.

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angels Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life

My Wings

Sharing one of my most vulnerable and treasured stories, originally published by University of Wellness.

I am unafraid to talk about my struggles, probably because I don’t view them as struggles, problems, hurdles or even speedbumps. They are just factors of or moments in my journey.

Do you perceive a hurdle in the distance and just stop running, for fear that you won’t clear it?

Yes? Ah… that’s what those wings are for.

A surface view of my journey looks like a fairy tale, the only child with adoring parents who, after nearly 50 years together, still hold hands with each other. The girl with the solid upbringing in a safe, middle-class town, who attended a private university and soon after graduation landed a high school teaching job on Long Island, NY… cue the Happily Ever After music.

But that’s just the surface. Do you ever feel like what your life looks like on the outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside?

A deeper dive into my journey reveals bouts of depression (common) and living someone else’s dream (even more common– am I right?!).  I’ve been working with my therapist since 2005, when I was student teaching. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem at the time– I was supposed to be so happy, so satisfied with how everything was falling into place in my life!– but my spirit was feeling the crush of living someone else’s dream. Even as I write this, the anxious lump in my throat is returning, the lump I lived with for decades.

I was tired all of the time. I was overwhelmed. I was unsure about what I was doing and why I was spending every waking hour doing it. I see you nodding along as you read this.

14 years later and I’m stepping into my greatness. I made the conscious choice to find a better way.

In therapy, the great and patient E. guides me as I work through the “stuff.” Because I’ve committed consistently to doing the work on myself, I feel better than I ever dreamed was possible.

Now I have energy. Now “stuff” feels manageable (and I know what to do and where to healthily turn when it doesn’t). Now I am sure. Now I know my dream.

I found my wings– they were back there the whole time! Are you ready to find your wings?

Enter coaching– a modality to help harness and implement my gifts. Just like my T-ball coach helped me learn to swing a bat at 5 years old, just like my senior English teacher taught me how to “show, don’t tell” in my writing, coaches I work with now help me align my gifts and my dreams. They help me set a plan for success and accountability. They help me clear a path to fly.

Now that I think about it, I am living a fairy tale– but for the fairy tale to feel “right,” I had to position myself as the hero. I am not a character in someone else’s story. And just like in the fairy tales of our youth, the hero soars when she lets others, in those stories talking squirrels or fairy godmothers, in my story, coaches, help her plan, execute and follow through.

Now I coach to pay forward the invaluable gift that was granted to me. I am committed to helping others find their true happiness.

Much love.

~Denise

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Believe Coaching Energy Purpose

We Need You.

Imagine if a flower decided not to bloom because there were so many other flowers in bloom already?

That doesn’t even make any sense, right?

So why are you holding back on your dream because someone else is “already doing it”?

Tell that to the four yoga studios in a two-block radius in the town just west of here. Tell that to the two dollar stores in one shopping center in the town just east of here.

Tell that to the four tattoo shops within a nine-minute drive or the over 25 nail salons (I stopped counting) in the town in which I grew up.

The world needs your gift.

The rest of this post is a Choose Your Own Adventure. If you know your gift/dream, keep reading. If you don’t know your gift/dream, scroll down to the next paragraph.

You know your gift/dream: I already told you that we need you. I believe in you (even if I don’t know you yet). But you have to believe in you. If you aren’t rocking that gift or living that dream, it is likely that there is fear holding you back. Yes, fear, even if it doesn’t feel like your typical definition of fear. I held back for so long (and still hold back in many ways) because I was afraid to leave what’s viewed as security, afraid of judgment, afraid no one would care. I got over that when I realized that judgment will happen and that helping even one being live a happier, safer, more purpose-drive life is worth the risks. Identifying those fears and finding courage through them takes daily work. Start by getting quiet with yourself and thinking about your “why nots.” If you need to talk through it, you know how to reach me.

You don’t know your gift/dream: Been there. We’ve all been there. I remember, clear as this beautiful June day, sitting on the living room floor in our previous house, feeling so empty because I didn’t know what I wanted or even, to some degree, what I liked. I asked the Universe for an answer. I listened for the answer and took action. If you would have told me then that I’d be doing any of the projects I’m rocking now… I would have insisted you were talking about another person, perhaps from another world. Oh, but this isn’t about me. Sorry. Only child syndrome. Your gift. Your dream. It’s in there. It’s just being bound and gagged by paradigm, by other people’s thinking, by what you think you should be doing. Time to break free. If you need to talk through it, you know how to reach me.

 

And here, my dear readers, the adventure does not end; we’ve only just begun. Go bloom. We need you.

 

 

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Believe Coaching Energy Purpose

You say you want it…

We do a lot of talking and thinking about our goals, our “gets”, our dreams and wishes… and we say these are things we want, conditions we want to experience, situations we want to manifest.

But do you even remotely put in the work? You might think you do. But let’s break it down. Let’s dig deep.

The depth or perceived difficulty of the work will almost always be in direct relation to the size of the goal. If I say my goal is to make a cup of coffee (not quite a goal but follow me here), the work isn’t too arduous. I live in a first-world country, blessed with modern conveniences. I walk into the kitchen, water magically spouts from the front of my refrigerator, I plug in the coffee pot, press two buttons and the goal is achieved. If, say, tragedy strikes and the power is out or I’m out of K-cups, Dunkin’ Donuts is a 4-minute walk from my house.

Now, think about your actual goal… not just your “gets”, your cup of coffee, your next weekend-get-away. A goal. Something that scares and excites you at the same time. Something you are obsessed with. Something you don’t know how it will be yours, but you just know it will be. Get that in your mind. Toss those “yeah, buts” and other noise away. Sit in that goal.

You say you want it. You think you want it. But what are you doing about it?

This morning, I was listening to a replay of The Jason Ellis Show. Ellis and the guys were talking with professional MMA fighter Michelle Waterson. I was half-listening, half-making that cup of coffee, and I heard Waterson talk about living in the gym while training. I paused, rewound and sat down. This was not a metaphorical living in the gym she was talking about. She literally LIVED in the gym when training and starting her professional career. She had a living space upstairs. She would awaken to the sound of fight bells.

She didn’t sit home in the town where she grew up, doing the same thing as everyone else, wistfully thinking of a pro career. She moved and lived in the darn gym. Ellis, former professional skateboarder, shared about living at the skate ramp at a point in his career, sleeping under the ramp.

So, you say you want it. You pine away for it. Maybe you catch feelings in a cycle of excitement, frustration, feeling invigorated, then feeling deflated. But what are you doing about it?

I’m not suggesting you go sleep in a gym or under a skateboard ramp. But I am demanding of myself to take a clear look at my goals and what it truly takes to get there. If you do the same and your first instinct is to sigh and think you’ll never get there, you’re right. But if you write those dreams down on a fresh piece of paper, then close those beautiful eyes and envision your life as it will be when you are in possession of the goal, you will be shown the way. Exhale, flutter those lashes open and take action!

 

I must thank the incomparable Melissa Poepping and the legendary BASi6 program for opening the door for me. But it was up to me to walk through the door and onto the path.

What path are you stepping down today?

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angels Energy Purpose

My Chosen Godmother

I call her my godmother but she didn’t hold me as a baby while a priest blessed me. There’s just no better term that I’m familiar with to explain who she is to me. So, almost 10 years ago, I asked Kathy to be my godmother (with all due respect to the one my parents chose for me in 1982) and Kathy immediately said yes—makes sense, because she’d been assuming the role for a while and will be forever.

I met Kathy’s oldest son when I was in 7th grade. He was one of the cool, older boys that was friends with my temporary best friend’s older brother. We hung out in similar circles throughout junior high and high school, peripherally acquainted. After I graduated college and moved back to New York, he and I started hanging out a lot. I met his mom and his younger brother. The bond those three have… it’s hard to put words to. They are love. They are family. And they scoop you right into the family.

I’ve spent many, many hours sitting at their kitchen table. We have inside jokes that have been running for almost two decades, clipped from little moments of joy, often with cards or Scrabble tiles in our hands.

When I was betrayed by a “friend,” I ran to her. When my heart was stomped on, I leaned on her. And I know there are dozens of people who can share similar stories about Kathy. As special as she makes me feel, I’m not “special”—she cares for everyone she meets this deeply. Just don’t do wrong by one of her sons!

Last night, we sat around that white and light wood kitchen table and laughed until our bellies hurt. That’s pretty much a guarantee when we get together. Outside of my immediate blood-related family, I can’t think of any other people as loving and loyal as Kathy and her sons. I’m glad they inherited that from her. I’m grateful for all of the love she continues to pour into our connection and, of course, to the universe for sending my godmother (and her family) to me.

Who’s your Kathy? Call her/him today or connect with them in some way. Share your gratitude. Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Healing Purpose Rescue

Paddington

For everyone celebrating something today, I wish you and yours a happy one.

I had the honor of spending yesterday with a very special boy, local celebunny Paddington.

 

In a town in central Nassau county, about two months ago, a woman found a domestic rabbit in her yard. She was able to pick him up and bring him inside. She bought him food and cared for him the best she could for a few weeks. In the interim, and completely unrelated to Paddington’s arrival, this kind woman lost her job. She reached out to us at the Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group when she noticed she was running low on food for the rabbit she found. We coordinated a volunteer to bring food and other supplies she may need while she was fostering. We also planned to start the process of finding this rabbit a forever home.

Our volunteer went to the finder’s house that evening. She texted me shortly after she arrived there and said, “I’m taking him.” I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for sharing this… but she was crying. And this is a volunteer who works in animal rescue and rehabilitation professionally, someone who sees extremely tough stuff on a daily basis. One look at the rabbit we now know as Paddington brought her to tears… because of his ears.

Our volunteer remarked to the finder about the rabbit’s ears and the finder acknowledged that they are very short (I love and protect her innocence… she didn’t realize why). She found Paddington that way. By the time she found and saved him, his ears healed from being crudely chopped off. Sorry to hit you with such a stark reality on this Sunday, and for some holy, morning.

Paddington

In case you are wondering if this wasn’t a result of human cruelty… in Rescue we seeing plenty of ear injuries caused by other animals, endured before rescue and safety. Check out Shark, for example. Then compare his ear to Paddington’s ears. This is what moved our volunteer to tears and to take him with her. The finder was very grateful as she was struggling to care for the rabbit she found.

Despite the trauma he endured, Paddington settled in quickly and comfortably at his foster home. When I put out the call for a spokesbunny for an education and photo event at Pet Supplies Plus in Deer Park yesterday, Paddy’s foster mom volunteered him… and what a great choice he was! He was comfortable, even when three St. Bernard’s pounded into the store, and friendly with all of his fans. He enjoyed snuggles from store patrons and staff and even showed the Easter Bunny who is the boss!

Paddington 2

From her plans to drop off food and assess supply needs to becoming Paddington’s foster mom in a blink of time, my incredible colleague and her family have embraced this dear little one with pure love. I suspect, after Paddington’s neuter surgery tomorrow, that they just might make him an official part of their family.

LIRRG Family.

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Equivalent Advantage

Members of our Rescue team were on two missions today: one squad was out on a catch and another squad was conducting adoptions.

The catch was unsuccessful and the adoption didn’t happen. The abandoned rabbit was super scared and elusive. The environment in which he’s been abandoned is complicated. The adopter came to meet adoptable rabbits but decided to wait before making a decision. She left with an empty carrier. It would be easy to feel defeated, to feel like we lost today. We didn’t lose. We are experiencing temporary defeat.

The only way we lose is if we stop.

In Outwitting the Devil, Napoleon Hill asks and the “Devil” answers:

Q: Is failure ever a benefit to man?

A: Yes. Indeed, learning from adversity is the third of the seven principles. But few people know that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. Still fewer people know the difference between temporary defeat and failure… If they knew the difference between temporary defeat and failure, they would not quit when they meet with opposition from life. If they knew that every form of defeat and all failures, bring with them the seed of unborn opportunity, they would keep on fighting and win. Success usually is but one short step beyond the point where one quits fighting.

My fellow volunteers are the most persistent people you’ll ever meet because they work with purpose. They experience emotional and physical hardships in our work. They push through heartbreak, through thorny bushes, through dismissive comments, through bitter winds.

They lean on each other, they regroup and they plant the seed of equivalent advantage acquired through each temporary defeat. Conversations tonight have not been ones of frustration. They’ve been about fresh approaches to catching this terrified little rabbit and about best practices for communicating with potential adopters.

When you need inspiration to persist against all odds, look to our team. I am honored to work with them, to organize and communicate while they are on the frontlines, impressing the stuff out of me seven days a week.

Our work is rarely easy, but always rewarding—the reward is saving and protecting animals and building character and community beyond expectations.

Local? Join us: Volunteer with LIRRG

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Believe Healing Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Who am I to…

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on a blue and teal seat, facing forward (although facing backward doesn’t bother me) on the Long Island Railroad. I was Manhattan-bound to see one of my spiritual advisors, psychic medium Calise Simone. On my journey, I read from The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brene’ Brown. This is the book we’ll be discussing at book club at the end of this month. If you’re local, you should join us.

Somewhere between the Merrick and Freeport stops, I read this passage. Then I re-read it, highlighted it and wished my Kindle had a print feature. Taking a picture of the screen would have to suffice. Dr. Brown writes:

Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives. As it turns out it’s not merely benign or “too bad” if we don’t use the gifts that we’ve been given; we pay for it with our emotional and physical well-being. When we don’t use our talents to cultivate meaningful work, we struggle. We feel disconnected and weighed down by feeling of emptiness, frustration, resentment, shame, disappointment, fear, and even grief.

There it is, in a block quotation—me, before Rescue rescued me. The years of feeling directionless, of feeling purposeless in a career that felt like I was squeezing my foot into a shoe two sizes too small. The annoyance and resentment that manifested as anger, as buckets of tears because I felt stifled, like those walls were somehow crushing my insides.  The moments of disappointment in myself for playing small, for holding back to fit in with the rest of them. The days on end where I slept, masking depression.

What I was doing every day, the same stuff I was told I would be doing for 30 or so years, just didn’t feel like enough for me. I felt empty because the system does not allow me to use or grow my gifts. I felt frustrated and resentful because I was told, down to the literal shoes I was wearing, how I should best try to conform with the system and the rest of them. I was disappointed in myself for squashing the little girl with big dreams, afraid that this was it for me forever and grieving the contributions I wasn’t going to make to the world.

Tears are coming now, but they aren’t sad tears. I am no longer squandering my gifts. I’m still in the same career but I rock it differently. Don’t worry—I teach to the state standards, but I’m unafraid now to season the work heavily with texts and activities that will foster confidence and empowerment in my students. I take the time, when appropriate, to have purposeful conversations, to address their world and their experience, rather than just stay on the curriculum schedule for that prescriptive schedule’s sake. I teach people.

At school, I lead young people to find their joy. In Rescue, I work alongside incredible volunteers to protect and care for those who need it. In my wellness business, I coach people to live their healthiest, happiest, safest lives. I am no longer squandering my gifts!

I don’t just have to be a teacher and like it. I can flourish, in multiple areas. I spent so many years holding that back, playing small. Thank you, Dr. Brene’ Brown and your colleagues whom I study, for putting on paper what I’ve been feeling since I was a little Denise, walking around the house with a notebook, a pen and big dreams. Thank you for affirming in black and white that my struggles were very real and that I absolutely must cultivate my gifts. Much love.

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Believe Energy Healing Purpose Young Living

Why. My Young Living Story.

Why… because I can’t not.

Ooooooooo the English teacher just rocked a double negative!

Because I don’t define myself as an English teacher. I am not my job. But society will try to force you into labeling and identifying as what you do.

That never sat right with me and, for years, I wouldn’t tell people my profession. It felt like one of those Halloween masks from the early 80s, the plastic ones with the uncomfortable, thin elastic band around the back and the barely-there cutouts for breathing. They don’t make those masks anymore… for a reason.

Like those masks, the school system feels stifling to me. The prospect of working at this job for 30+ years as is, following everyone else’s way, put a literal lump in my throat and a clawing in my stomach. Try feeling like that every day. Maybe you already do…

I needed something else, something different. But I didn’t have a clue what or how.

I could resign myself to keep at what I was doing and consequently feeling how I was feeling or I could make a change. I didn’t think I could or should change my job. I decided I could and would change myself.

I remembered how much better I felt physically and mentally when I practiced yoga after graduating from college so I found a yoga studio near our house. There, I met my acupuncturist. During our sessions, she used Young Living oils. I was feeling more and more peace with every healing I experienced.

I couldn’t take those needles home but I could take those little brown bottles with the colorful labels home. I ordered a Premium Starter Kit. I enrolled in Essential Rewards the next day. I ordered a kit for my father the next day. I was all in.

The more at peace I felt, the more energy I had, the more people began to ask what changed. There was no missing and no denying that I’d shifted.

I shared about the oils and products just like I would share about a delicious new restaurant I found or a hilarious new show I stumbled across. Some friends wanted what I had. I was in business.

From this business, I’ve found community. I found people who are authentic. I can say, without hesitation, that I am happy. Happy… a simple word for a multi-faceted concept. If I, a woman who was in physical pain from emotional conditions, could feel happy, vibrant, powerful… how could I keep that from people?

I share Young Living because it led me to feeling free, free from the pressures placed on me by a system that doesn’t serve me, from pressures that I placed upon myself to be the best to have the best and to never take off the mask of achievement. Like I mentioned earlier, those stifling plastic Halloween masks have been banned and are long-forgotten. Through the community of wellness, purpose and abundance that I found in Young Living, I learned to take off my metaphorical mask and to breathe in the real me, a real space in this world to grow and flourish. Today, my mask is off and I face the world, and myself, with authentic happiness.

I want to see you with a smile on your face that rivals the one on mine right now. Believe in your happiness.

Come with us.

You are worthy.

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Believe Energy Purpose

Splash On…

On Long Island, there’s a water park called Splish Splash. It opened in 1991. It’s way out east. You can see the tallest slides from the highway as you drive by. During elementary school years, we went to Splish Splash on field trips through the Summer Recreation program, a day camp through our school district. Bust through those gates, toss your stuff in a locker, don those less-than-stylish water shoes and run through concrete paths to find the shortest lines, the fastest ways to hit the water.

I’ve never considered myself a thrill-seeker. I’m the safe one, the organizer, the monitor. I’ll hold your wallet while you’re on the ride. As bold as I seem in communication, I’m equally conservative in physical challenges. Even 9-year-old Denise had her limits. I stuck to the smaller rides and, of course, the Lazy River.

In the mid-2000s, I revisited Splish Splash. I was hanging with a group of people who made the pilgrimage to the water park as a summer tradition. I tagged along. The park was bigger than my last visit, more attractions, bigger, faster rides, longer lines. 26-year-old Denise was even more reticent to climb the wooden stairs and rocket down a plastic slide than 9-year-old Denise was… but this group of friends was not letting me get away with hanging by the fences, waiting for them to hit the pool at the end of the ride.

Every single step up the stairs of every single ride was mental torture for me. I didn’t want to do it. I was scared, plain and simple. I was a bit more confident for the rides with the tubes than for the ones where it was skin on slide but it was a struggle to get me on any line for any ride. Yet this group was a relentless bunch. Thinking back, I can feel the anxiety that rose with each rising step of those long lines (the wait didn’t help!). I wanted to turn around and head back down every time. They wouldn’t let me.

I screamed in terror for every twist down and around the hard-plastic slides. At the end of each ride, we rocketed into a pool of blue water (ew… don’t even think about it). Without fail, as we waded out of the pools, I said, “Can we go again?!” I loved it. But, next new ride, same mental pattern.

That day, I went on every ride, except the one you can see from the highway. I have my boundaries. And ten years later, as I learn about terror barriers from my coach and my coach’s coach, I realize that each attraction at Splish Splash was a literal terror barrier for me. With coercion (from people who are lovely in their own right but I don’t associate with anymore), I blasted through each terror barrier that day. I was scared, I was anxious but I was exhilarated and empowered at the end every time.

So I’m channeling that bravery as I step into my light. Rather than hold everyone else’s stuff while they climb the stairs and take the adventures, I’m stepping up too, this time with myself as coercer. If I could hit the pool and want to go on every ride again, I can step up and share my work without fear. No more playing small—we have big work to do. Much love.

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