Living Fully…. “Bucket List” style! Come on NASCAR!!!

When my life took a serious turn, swerved out of control then crashed and burned violently 6 years ago in a devastating end of the family I had lovingly and painstakingly created and nurtured, I was forced to take a very solemn internal assessment.

“What did I want to be when I grew up……. this time?”  I had already dreamed the dream, fostered and fed that dream and birthed the reality of it with near impeccability.  I was raised and groomed to be a “no-holds barred” mother, homemaker extraordinaire, homebirther, homeschooler, holistic health expert, gardener, organic chef, doting wife and partner, church volunteer and devotee, community outreach leader, ongoing student, and fitness advocate.  Tall order…… yes?  I was undaunted.

How do I dream again?  How on earth would I know what I wanted when I had mastered the art of taking dictation from without and obediently ascribing?  Did I even know what I wanted or how to listen to that part of myself anymore?

The only thing left to do was to do something I was afraid of.  Yep, I had to stir myself up internally and step out onto the proverbial ledge… and leap!  So I did!  I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, with a highly reliable, ex-military jump expert attached to my backside, but jump I did….. with enthusiasm and glee!   And “something” mighty powerful awoke within me….. my solar plexus gasped for air for the first time in over a decade and wailed a loud infant wail of “YES”!!!  I AM ALIVE!  I AM AWAKE!  I AM BACK BABY AND I AM HERE TO STAY!!!

Shortly thereafter I made a log that would soon after be referred to as a “bucket list” made popular by a movie that shortly followed, and it would hold every adventure that somewhat awed or frightened me that I knew I must dare to take on.

Since that time I have skydived twice, rode an electric bull, sang public karaoke solo, danced on a bar, dropped backward into a zipline ride, parasailed in the gulf, flew shotgun in a helicopter, simulated skydive in a wind tunnel, ridden “bikeweek” on a motorcycle chopper, scuba dived, and most recently, rode an official NASCAR solo on the ride of my life!

As it is my desire to maintain the divine claim of living fully in my body, mind and spirit, I regularly expose myself to opportunities such as this.  In all honesty, driving a NASCAR independent of a driving supervisor unnerved me immensely, which was exactly the point.  This was grossly exacerbated by the fact that the security information video presented to all drivers that intended to take their lives into their own hands that day, was completely glitchy.  It ended up being narrated by the “no-nonsense” well weathered staff member that spared us no details regarding the layout of the track, definitions of the major turns and markers, but managed to discuss how many ways we could flip our stock car and uncontrollably careen into the infamous wall. 

The handful of brave souls that had purchased the same “NASCAR Experience” that I had for that day were left vacant of pertinent safety details, and equally vacant expressions.

By the time they suited me up with the official helmet and gear, established radio control to the track boss and very efficiently strapped me into my driver seat to the point of constriction, I realized that I was beyond human help.  As a matter of fact the dials displayed across the dash were indiscernible to me and there didn’t appear to be time to figure them out before I was sent out onto the foreign track ill prepared.

In that precise moment, all that I had gleaned from past knowing and experience became crystal clear…… I was Divinely supported by my steadfast Guidance that absolutely had my back and I had the distinct ability to “feel” my way through this insanely cool experience.  So I shut out the world and eased into an acceleration and visceral thrill that every soul should have the opportunity to own.  The track boss broke my silent world with brief but eager compliments and encouragement to move to the next band of speed.  I smiled at his challenge and leaned more into the accelerator, howling at the rush of the vehicle underneath me.  One round and I am cheering myself aloud….. a second round and I am mastering this thing,… rushing past another driver on the 3rd turn I take it up a notch and by the 4th rounding of the track I have grown a savvy new skin for this speed thing and I am owning it!  I obediently dropped my speed at the end of my “personal NASCAR experience” and slowed into Pit Row flawlessly and brought my Jack Daniels mobile to a purring halt.

YES!  This IS mindfulness!  This is the experience of being fully embodied, alive in my skin and completely connected with my Solar Plexus and the desires that it’s wisdom reveals to me.  This is what it is to live the life unlived and make it my own.  And there is so much more to come!  The hot air balloon ride has been scheduled for a warm May afternoon at sunset….. and then, who knows?  What a life!

What life are you choosing and is that life worthy of you?

Who is running your “belief” system?

We have all heard the news….. it’s not just a niche concept anymore!  The news can be heard from the airwaves of television talk shows, late night radio, news and magazines, and the latest and hottest self-help books.  The news has gone mainstream and is becoming widely accepted to be a new way of relating to the world around us.  What is this “News”?

Our thoughts create based upon our belief system.  We are constantly creating and magnetically attracting experiences, opportunities and people who mirror our inner beliefs.  Yikes, some might say!  And there is a genuine reason why many may want to dismiss this news altogether…… it’s not good news to know that we have SO much responsibility over a reality that we aren’t satisfied with.

Solution?  Absolutely!

First,…. get in touch with what beliefs are surfacing and running much of your life.  Are they even your beliefs, values and thoughts?  Are they your mothers, or dominant great aunts?   Are they outdated versions of yourself?  Are you still reflecting on your post college ideals of your potential success 15 years into your career?  Check these out!  Question them and put them to the test to determine if they are even a part of your ever-developing sense of self.  If not, let them go and let them go BIGTIME!

Second,…. take a moment to do some real inventory of what latent fears lurk deep within you.  What concerns are lying just under the surface?  Are you secretly running a program in the backroom of your mind that your partner is too good to be true and just waiting patiently for a sign of betrayal or rejection?  Perhaps you carry concern that the next promotion shouldnt really be yours regardless of your seniority and effort because it would rock the boat with your friendliest of colleagues… let someone else shine and remain peacefully well-liked? 

Fears are often revitalizing and provoking those outdated and foreign beliefs that don’t serve you.  They are the beliefs that may never have been truly yours, simply adopted from an influential family member or respected mentor that is now keeping your growth on many levels at bay.  As a matter of fact, regardless of the work that you pursue to make conscious change these are the very thoughts that may sabotage you from real break throughs again and again!

Sit down and take a genuine and unabashed inventory…… what have you got running the show in there?  What is running amok?  How does it feel to get a glimpse of the fears lurking in the darkness of your inner consciousness?  Uncomfortable?  Off-putting?  Don’t ignore them…. make friendly with those fears!  Gently encourage them out of the darkness and into a more enlightened view and gently examine them from many angles.  What’s there now?  Have they lost some of their solidity?  Do they seem less reasonable or less likely? 

Look again.

And after the excavation and dissection….. SHAKE THINGS UP A BIT!!!  I mean, why not?   Have a ball…. throw a party and celebrate that you know what you have been fearing and it is no way as frightening as you had allowed yourself to feel!  Claim your renewed freedom and gently and lovingly retrain yourself to allow that fear to exist without feeding its silent, sucking momentum.  You know the truth and the truth is, it really will ALL be OK.

Whenever a new belief fed by a latent fear rises to your attention from your new openness,… welcome it compassionately.  Shake it’s hand in a warm greeting and be a good, yet temporary host.  Get to know it for a while and then see it clearly from all sides.  Watch it shrink in its stature through its revealing of itself, just like a formidable foe that has come into need of you and somehow becomes less threatening in its weakness.  Beliefs and fears are exactly the same.  They need YOU to be fed.  They require your focus on them to even be real.  Gently strip back their power through your familiarity with them. 

Celebrate the moment you are in right now….. and take time every day to see and feel how many aspects of your life are just RIGHT!

Road trips and “In-laws” and traffic,… oh my!

The joys of life can only be fully savored when there is a degree of “balance” in our lives. 

How do you choose to manage the duties, responsibilities, relationships and professional commitments that are yours to grow and maintain?

My “first” life’s focus was nearly exclusively on family.  I was raised to be my mother.  She personified the consummate homemaker, mother, charitable volunteer, wife, neighbor, church goer and coordinator extraordinaire!  It was clear to me and each of my 4 other sisters that she was the goal, or at least the role she played and how she played it.

I tried that dance, for the most part rather successfully, always placing my husband and children first in every equation, avidly studying in my holistic profession and applying its benefits directly and almost exclusively to my family first.  My years of education, travelling abroad in pursuit of knowledge and growing my career came to a standstill.  I had my priorities and I was expected to fulfill them.  I even found that I wanted to.

But as all life’s roads diverge and challenge us with new opportunities, I too found myself in new territory as a single mother and provider of my 4 children and was genuinely lambasted by the demands each of my new vocations required of me.  Where were the hours to be a full-time mother?  I still have children requiring homeschooling, which I provided up until that point, how to address my children’s’ educational needs?  Who will make the meals, read the endless school papers and put the children to bed?  How on earth are all these other single, professional mothers doing this?  Who, for heaven’s sake has time to volunteer in the school or show up for the dreaded parent-teacher conferences?

I was completely displaced.  I had many, many anxious questions and eventually I realized that I simply wasn’t going to be stellar in every single one of my endeavors!  Really?  OH YES!

So what was most important to me, personally?  What were my emerging values and where was my precious time going to be the most meaningful?

I decided immediately that my previous values and heartfelt devotion to family was still primary and unshakable.  My children would only BE children for a short time and those years could never be recalled and lived fully once gone.

At that time and today, I find my balance in the day-to-day while holding my anchored notion that they, my children and now, my new husband, came first.  Now that doesn’t mean that I drop a client to take the family for ice cream.  What that means is I haven’t shifted the drive to grow and serve through my practice at the expense of my dearest ones.

So, this summer we took several, scattered weeks off to attend my family reunion in Colorado and my husbands reunion in upstate New York.  We had an impromptu weekend with dear friends in Myrtle Beach. We turned these trips into memory building extravaganzas!  We filled each juicy moment with adventures and thrills, to include ziplining through the majestic Rocky Mountains, packing ourselves en mass into an overfull Rockies baseball game and enduring the waves of rainstorms unshaken, singing and cursing through the gridlock and traffic of the New Jersey turnpike, insatiably playing rounds of canasta with the in-laws, storming through New York City with the aunts and uncles conquering one city block at a time, and being lulled into slumber under a full moon over the water, on a blow up mattress off the balcony of our friends overfull condo!  

Did I lose business?  Did my income diminish somewhat?  Was I as rested as I could have been if I had chosen to stay home and serve more clients, teach more workshops or write more blogs?  Perhaps.  Was it totally and completely worth it?  YOU BET!

You see, the Universe is unending abundance,… the ultimate giver.  There was more clients to be met, more business to be made and many more dollars to show up in my life.

The point is, I am finding my balance.  I am living fully, loving completely and holding time in precious now that it is.  And enjoying it too!

Have you found yours?  Carpe Diem!!!

Staying True to Course…..

Upward and onward!  Being in a state of flow is not entirely an automatic experience for many of us and getting ourselves into the right state of mind, feeling and being may require taking deliberate action.

But first…. where is your internal energy level?  Do you have the reserves to fuel your intentions?  Do you know how to re-fuel your being sufficiently?  Have you fed yourself well, provided your body the kindness of a nap?

I was misled early in the rebirth of my career, into believing that multi-tasking was a fantastic skill to master and the more tasks I had spinning around me the more I would be accomplishing.  We have all heard the term, “kill two birds with one stone”.  It’s been part of our cultural heritage to believe that stillness is often idle and multi-tasking is productive busy-ness.

So when energy wanes and intuition runs scarce between intervals of activity along life’s path… what is being called for? 

“Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain un-moving
till the right action arises by itself?” ~ Lao Tzu

Often we forget that when a void of activity and vision arises, it is indeed time to refill our wells.  It is time to nap,.. to dream.  What is being called for is a “divine data download” meant to revitalize our efforts and bring new meaning to our happenings. 

Running full force will burn us out.  Being “ON” in a fixed and permanent way is the fastest path to fizzling out.  Or should I say turning “OFF”?  Quiet time is necessary and today as I take quiet reflective time I recognize that this is the way of all of life.  It is the way of the earth and the seasons.

Remember to take restful and replenishing seasons and respect yourself enough to embrace them when they arise.  Life will unfold. 

Why not show up well rested, refreshed and at your very best?

So Where to Begin?

“Starting Anew……”

So where does one begin?  How do we re-write our way of thinking, believing, living, and essentially being?

It must begin as the new day rises within us.  Before we even open our eyes to become acutely aware of our surroundings, the position of our bodies, the space we are sharing with a companion,… we must take an internal accounting.

What are you grateful for,….. truly?  Wait.  Keep your eyes closed.  Stay alert.  Tell your kidneys to practice patience.  Be grateful for your kidneys… if they are complaining of need to empty, that would indicate that they are working!  Thank your kidneys!   What else?  How does the mattress feel underneath your slowly awakening backside?  Comfy?  Supportive?  Be grateful for the warmth, support and comfort of your bed!  Feeeeel it and mean it.  What luxury to awaken fully relaxed, warm and serenely peaceful.  Ahhhhh…. I can feel the warmth of the incoming rays sweetly slipping through the blinds.  The day is filled with incoming sunshine and the promise of blue skies and warmth!  I am grateful that the sunshine has pierced the clouds and is bathing the earth with light and golden magic!

Did you feel the shift?  Isn’t an amazingly transformative thing to step into the waking recognition of what is already generously abundant in your life,… this moment!?  Right now, I have a reason to feel luxuriant, healthy, nurtured,…. perhaps strong and beautiful!  

By the time you hit the bathroom mirror you simply feel more radiant, strong, capable, supported…. you name it!  Let the praise continue!  Beat your chest and stir your body to vibrate and quicken its pulse and with every breath communicate your gratitude for each infinitesimal aspect of your being.

No one can do this part for you.  ONLY you can establish your perception of yourself and all that you claim in your life.  And only you can engage yourself the moment you wake and determine, mindfully, the life you choose to live.

Choose gratitude!  Choose yourself! 

Who lives here?

When you catch yourself complaining internally, chastising yourself for complaining and then scolding the whole brood for their unruly comments….. do you ever wonder,….. how many “me’s” are living in here?

There is plenty of humor to keep us all amused, and truly the “voices” in our heads are not all singing a harmonious hymnal any more than they would appear to agree with each other.  Be honest, is there a civil war going on in your head?  “Do I get up now and exercise”?  “Sleep another 2o minutes”!  “I should catch up on my paperwork and emails”.  “Did I call my mother back yesterday”.  “Geez, what I would give to be taking time off from work right now”.  “Perhaps tomorrow I will start that cleanse and drop the extra 12 pounds I gained the end of last year”. 

Now I am not gonna call you schizophrenic, or claim that there may be some multiple personality disorder you are secretly dealing with, but I will ask you to consider, which voice is getting its way? 

Here is a pretty significant insight:  You can’t manifest what you want when you don’t even know what that is.  When you don’t know what you want, what you desire, what you deserve, chaos reigns.  Thoughts can run rampant in this stew of undigested ideas, “shoulds” and random meanderings.  Another tremendous insight for you:  You can’t get clear on what you want until you know what you deserve.  How true is that?! 

Self talk, when intentionally directed is a miracle shifter, pure and simple!  Try it!  Allow yourself to wake up in your body and immediately choose to go into gratitude.  Be grateful for the comforter that kept you warm, your significant other laying next to you, alive and well, the quality of the shades that kept the light out so successfully, and yes, speak words of gratitude to your body!  Feel the words sink in, and notice how your body, mind and moods follow your lead.  By the time you hit the bathroom mirror, you might even be convinced that you look better, younger, healthier somehow!  Perhaps a bit of magic took place overnight, the sleep was more restful or those vitamins are finally beginning to yield some results. 

We have been told for years that a “placebo effect” demonstrates the subjects belief  that the experimental catalyst is real and therefore effective.  New science is regularly demonstrating how much our beliefs manifest in our reality through our health, financial affairs, relationships, everything.  Would it be such a strain to start talking sweet to yourself as you rise to greet a new day? 

How does your mood change when you choose to smile and redirect your focus to what is working in your life?  Maybe you feel more energetic or your jonesing for comfort food just isn’t pressing right now.  Perhaps you find yourself being the brightest smile at the Wal-Mart, cheering up strangers with unfettered zeal!

Shifting your self-talk is shifting your consciousness.  One small, deliberate, intentional, approving thought sent to your entire being is the start.  How will you choose to start your tomorrow?

 

 

Greet the day!