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?

A Sense of Returning……

A sense of returning, coming into fullness, and cycling back into introspection all begin calling to us this time of year.

Fall brings with it a slowing pace to our inner senses and beg us to ponder where our energy and intention have been for the past 10 months of waxing into the activity of fun sun and visceral living.

The season for giving “thanks” is upon us and with that, for many, it will be a return to a concept of home and traditional conformity.

If you are one of many who will be coming “home” to loved ones; family that perhaps you do not continually develop your sense of self with on a daily basis and supporting all that you are releasing and becoming, this may be a genuinely challenging experience.   

We often find ourselves knee jerking into old patterns of familiar behavior when placed back into old surroundings.  For those that we left behind while out discovering ourselves, there are still outdated versions of you playing in their consciousness.  After all, they were unable to personally witness the richness of your development taking place, and need you to lovingly re-introduce yourself to them.

Returning can be gentle and well received when we bring all of ourselves home with us,…. fully present AND fully accepting of the ever-evolving presences of those we love.

How do we accomplish this?

First, set a conscious intention of who you see yourself to be in the here and now, in the comfort of your personal space prior to making the journey.  Hold that vision, and anchor it deep within your sense of self.  Self-talk is magnificent in grounding this concept.

Second, remember to expect that as much as you want to be embraced for all that you are becoming, so too, do your loved ones.  Look for the subtle growth, personal shifts and less obvious milestones that you can revel in with them.  Point them out and witness the gratitude that emerges from your attention.

Lastly, find opportunities to bond with and create new memories with those precious souls you are intentionally choosing to spend this cherished time of year with.  Rather than defaulting to the re-enactment of the “good ole days”, perhaps finding opportunities to make new connections,…… sharing new ideas,…. new memories.

Being conscious and deliberately choosing how you would best enjoy this time of interaction makes all the difference.  Rather than defaulting to the “way it has always been”, set the standard of a new default.  Set the intention to bring all of you home.  And then be presently surprised in the discovery of how much more is awaiting to make your acquaintance!

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!

The Art of Investing in Oneself

What does it really mean to “invest” in oneself?  At what level do we take time to cultivate who we are and decide that it’s time to broaden or embellish how we interact in the world?  What is necessary to examine about ourselves?  What pieces may be missing that could be acquired?

Personally I am always driven to learn more, as I have it in my nature to be the perpetual student.  While I deeply believe that at our essence each of us is intuitively in touch with the “all that is” and thereby inherently know everything there is to know, remembering all that sometimes poses a problem….. yes?

While the concept of Universal Consciousness suggests that all energy and thereby all knowledge is accessible to each of us, how exactly do we go about grasping the tidbits we are interested in?  What secret corridor of our minds must we access to tap into the wisdom of the ages?

Let’s be honest… It’s the most rewarding when we are hit with an enormous “Aha!” moment.  Transcendent and exhilarating epiphany can catapult our understanding into untold realms, if we only allow ourselves to reach for them.  How do we get into that flow?

For me, the answer is simple…… by humbly remaining the receptive “STUDENT“.  When there is a desire to learn, we are teachable.  If we have it in our tightly wound little heads that we have figured everything out that pertains to us, we live very, very small.  By realizing that every experience that we have and every soul we encounter in our day-to-day is a potential opportunity for learning, growing, and knowing we stay teachable.

I have always had an insatiable appetite for reading, taking classes, listening with earnest ear to the wise insights of my elders.  I think that because of this burning desire I have had the most exquisite ability to align myself with the golden stream of what I call “Divine Data Download”.  Basically what I am describing is an openness to the Universe catching my receptivity and giving me more than what the opportunity would otherwise teach me through my 5 senses.   The infusement of etheric information is made available because I am receptive and permeable to it!

Have you had these epiphanies?  Have you experienced a crystal clarity of knowing something internally, simply by being open?

So how do we solicit these chance occasions and create more of them in our lives?  By receptively embracing the role of the student, of course!

My most recent experience in direct study was completing my examinations and thesis for my Masters in Metaphysics two years back.  I have decided that short of excuses that could be innumerable, I intend to continue my studies for life and have begun my preparation for completing my dissertation towards my doctorate.  Why not?  In this day and age the opportunities to continue our adult education are limitless. 

If you are drawn to learn, then LEARN!  If you are called to serve through acquiring skills and modalities through credentials, certifications, degrees and other modes of learning… give your self that gift of growth!

When we keep ourselves keenly aligned with the stream of receiving greater understanding, we give ourselves an unfathomable gift!  Investing in ourselves.    How do you perceive this investment?  How can you make it joyful, artful and celebratory? 

YOU DESERVE IT!  

Misunderstood vs. Intention……

Is there any greater frustration than being misunderstood?  Is there something more agonizing that being pigeonholed in a clouded opinion of one who cannot see and hear you objectively?  For me this IS the greatest of pains and the most difficult to rise above!

Years ago I was asked by two family members what I considered to be the largest personal challenge to my ego.  I knew it immediately and the answer I gave them then is still the same answer I would give today…… being misunderstood!

My upbringing was entrenched in moral referencing, codes of ethics, religious underpinnings and lists of do’s and don’ts for which I made ridiculous efforts at being fastidious.  I was actively aware of what was expected of me and my 6 siblings and also what living this immaculate lifestyle was meant to somehow guarantee in future reaping.  There were covenants and promises built into this system of living, so by following this simple subscription I was bound to find eternal happiness.

We all grow into the adults that we were favored to become.  Most of that growth came by great trial and effort and often many pitfalls and failures.  The self-criticism born out of those failures is the first hurdle in the encounter we have with misunderstanding.  We ask, “Did I misunderstand the rules”?  “Could I have misunderstood the rule makers”?  “Could I have over-estimated my ability and misunderstood my own strengths and weaknesses”, and worst of all, “Is the judgment that I feel from those observing me my failure or their misunderstanding of my intentions and best efforts”?

I have severely failed to meet the expectations built up for me by those who reared and molded me in childhood.  It has been made perfectly clear to me that judgments around the results of my choices are concrete in the minds of my jury and regardless of my personal soul shaping and growth, the intentions behind my experiences are veiled in cloudy, half-formed and often absent perception from those attempting observation from the outside.

Isn’t that true on some level for every one of us?

The shaping of our sense of self may be riddled with these moments of self-inquiry, self-doubt and external misunderstanding.

“The teacher didn’t see the kid behind me flick me in the back of the head and is now punishing me for turning around in my seat”!

“The officer didn’t see the pothole in the road and pulled me over for swerving with a warning”!

“The surprise birthday I painstaking planned only annoyed my spouse rather than being appreciated for my efforts”!

“My inability to show up for my childs second parent/teacher conference this year due to work constraints has been misperceived by the teacher to be poor parental involvement and a disinterest in my childs academics”!

We all have our personal and painful lists throughout our lives and these disappointing moments are not likely to always remedy themselves with certainty.  Some of these deep misunderstandings linger and destabilize commitments, break down trust and destroy relationships.

While we cannot shape the opinions and perceptions of others what we can do is to hold a special kindness for ourselves in these moments and deeply acknowledge our genuine intentions.  Yes, our best intentions.

No one will ever maintain a spotless record of successful communication, execution and completion without ever failing to be perceived from the intentions of their heart.  Human nature and communication in all it’s complexities guarantee that.  Consider the many angles from which one can read and understand a casual text.

TEXT:  “Why aren’t you here”?   It could be a frightened cry,… it could be an antagonistic inquiry,… it could be a formal scolding,.. and it could be a casual question.

When we acknowledge with gentleness that our best intentions may miss the mark and be subject to misinformed judgments, we can hold ourselves harmless and exhibit kindness to ourselves for what we consciously meant to see manifest.  This awareness within ourselves simultaneously opens us to the compassionate posture of seeing others intentions more clearly.

In a recent wedding that my spouse and I were honored to be witnesses for, the bride and groom had chosen to write their own vows.  Included in the deeply personal vow exchange was the inclusion of the commitment to “Patiently forgive one another for personal failings in communication and execution of anticipated duties and to acknowledge their best intentions first.”  Beautiful!

So what standard to you hold yourself to as a spouse, parent, employee, devotee, neighbor, friend?  What do you hold others to?  Compassionate inquiry and acknowledgment of our own and others greatest of intentions frees us from harming ourselves and those we love and respect.  It honors who we are becoming and draws us closer to heart based relationships where forgiveness is found and relationships flourish.

Intend understanding.