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Archive for Personal Experiences

Jan
01

Keeping Inner Peace in Turbulent Times

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We are living in a time of cosmic turbulence — of dramatic shift. Do feel it? Do you feel tuned in to periods of extreme unrest, uncertainty, personal turmoil?

I have felt this deep sense of upheaval, of things stirring and changing, and I believe it is part of the process of transformation, and ultimately of greater alignment with my soul purpose and mission.

Sometimes I feel my life is spinning almost out of control. But wait, you say, aren’t you Reiki trained? Doesn’t that keep you peaceful inside despite all the challenges swirling around you?

It certainly helps, yet for during some time periods, it is “buckle your seatbelt — you are in for a wild ride!” And then I call tap into my Reiki training, striving to maintain some semblance of balance through this cosmic roller coaster experience.

Jack Canfield, a most well known motivational teacher and author, states that one of his most important “success principles” is to take 100% responsibility for your own life. In complete agreement, I attempt to draw in the reigns of this wild beast that is sometimes my reality. And I reiterate to myself “Take control of your life. You are powerful!”

And that strong head talk helps propel me in a more focused direction. However, I observe that in some moments my life feels like an unbridled, spirited and testy equine with an active mind of its own.

And I learn over and over again that not everything IS in my control as much as I strive to take responsibility of the human voyage I am on.

Sometimes I need to remind myself to acknowledge a Higher Power. To let go of my white knuckled grasp on those reigns and let the peacefulness of my soul and the Divine just flow within me.

I consciously allow myself to release resistance… to surrender to the powers that be!

To assist my understanding and compliance with this cosmic state of change, it has become very clear to me about the necessity of remaining present. This is an important survival tool that can serve all of us well on many levels.

To navigate choppy waters, focus on the next little piece of the voyage. Place attention on the NOW moment. When I consistently remind myself of this, it helps bring an immediate sense of relief and serenity into my heart and mind.

Do that inner work to live powerfully in the PRESENT. Know that not everything is in your own control. Yet, DO take responsibility for those things that you can affect and influence. And always be of authentic heart and come from a place of COMPASSION.

Affirmations:

  • I know that at times I need to surrender to the flow of Divine timing — and trust that everything will work out for my Highest Good.
  • I embrace the concept of mindfulness — being present — to help me remain in the space of inner peace.
  • I take responsibility for my actions, and I strive to be in compassionate interconnectedness with others.
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I am sitting out on my patio at dusk. It is the last unseasonably hot day in October. The forecast spans out with rain and cooler temperatures starting tomorrow, so I am sure this truly is the last HOT day to enjoy.

Have I grasped and seized the beauty of this day — certainly not enough! Of course, there was some work to do, some chores, some errands. And late in the afternoon it finally dawned on me: why was I not just EXPERIENCING this gorgeous autumn day, a day so reminiscent of summer that it makes one lose all real track of time and seasons.

So that little inner guidance voice tells me it is not too late — go out and EXPERIENCE the sunset outdoors. I bring out some music as well — melodic and beautiful Native American flute music. The mystical sound of the flute feels like the perfect accompaniment to the close of daylight. And I soak up the beauty of these moments…

And I am grateful… for this serene space in time…

I am grateful for this day — this glorious day that I get to SEE and FEEL… and be part of!

Sometimes we take all that for granted — the very essence of life. Just focusing on our breath can remind us — how natural and peaceful we can be even for but one moment in time.

I encourage you to partake of your life in a BIG way — do not sit on the sidelines and mope. Strive to EXPERIENCE the adventure of it all. Yes, we all know that some facets of our lives are not always perfect. We are often faced with challenges and drama as that is part of our existence here in the physical plane.

However, let us be in the supreme space of appreciation for BEING here, having a physical life, having interaction with others, having beautiful and loving relationships with others.

Having free will to make CHOICES and to set goals that resonate with our heartfelt dreams and desires.

We need to remember how powerful and creative we can be, for sometimes we forget. And let us be in the feeling of gratitude for having this ability and this knowing.

What are you grateful for? Tune in to your inner voice and acknowledge appreciation for your own unique life, your path, your soul’s mission…

Your life will be enriched and uplifted as the vibration of gratitude flows powerfully in your heart and mind!

Affirmations:

  • I am thankful for my own abundantly fascinating and rewarding life path.
  • Connecting with others who are supportive and loving brings the flow of gratitude into my entire being!
  • I appreciate all the blessings in my life, both large and small!

A Personal Experience Story

Early July, 2017

I sit here at the hospice facility waiting by the bedside of my mother-in-law whose every breath is measured. The room is bright, with two windows letting in much light. My MIL (mother-in-law) is in a large hospital bed which has thick, comfortable padding.

This is a lonely vigil, one that has caused me deep reflection on life and death.

My MIL appears tragically suspended between these two dimensions holding on to each moment of life. Probably fearing what is to come. She has dementia and the nurses here believe that those with this condition remain in this other-worldly limbo for longer because they are more confused. Her body is skeletal — just skin and bones. Her skin is paper thin and her face has a sunken appearance. She cannot see at all and can only hear a little bit.

It has all been a truly emotionally demanding, difficult journey with her. My husband works a long commute away in Manhattan and he does not have many days off, so the day to day vigil with my MIL is up to me. And I do not want her to spend her last days on this earth alone in a hospice facility without a family member by her side. So I do my best to be there for her. And I do Reiki for her at every visit.

The doctors originally suggested when she was moved from hospital into hospice that in her already weakened state that the dying process would not likely take more than 2 days. However, she lasted 10 days in this barely-alive state (with no food or water), and then quietly slipped away one afternoon, maybe just ten minutes before I arrived for my visit. Somehow I had hoped to be there, perhaps holding her hand, when she left her physical body, but she chose an exit point of when she was alone. She always did things on her own unique terms anyway, so why should her point of departure be any different?

She had never been a very demonstrative woman, and found it hard to discuss emotions. But while she was still conscious and in the hospital before she had been moved into hospice, I told her that I love her. And after a long pause, she said “I love you too. And you are always there for me.” Those were her last meaningful words to me, and they comforted and sustained me through the ensuing hospice period which was the saddest last leg of her journey here in the physical plane, and where she was not able to really communicate anymore.

I believe my MIL is finally at peace now, perhaps reconnecting with her husband who had predeceased her by many years as well as many other family members and friends. I like to think she is very light now — as pure positive energy — a spirit soaring free from that totally old and broken physical body that she became in the last months/years of her life.

This hospice vigil was a totally humbling experience for me. It was a time of reflection. And this is what flowed from my heart one day as I sat by my MIL’s bedside…

This is what life is — the poignancy of these vivid moments in the midst of challenge. The ones that feel keen and filled with emotion. It is not easy. But these remind us of the tangibility of our physical journeys. The sharp, stark contrast of these moments fraught with turbulence teach us how life is truly a blessing and a privilege… how love is the essence of what we are.

If we can learn that lesson, our days here will certainly be enriched.

Affirmations:

  • I strive to be present in the NOW moment.
  • I maintain the attitude that life is a gift — each moment, each day is a blessing!
  • Both the bittersweet and the smooth moments of my life shape my journey — I choose to learn from all my experiences…
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Mar
02

Sibling Relationships – Estrangement and Disharmony

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A Personal Experience Story

Are you one of the fortunate ones — one who has a peaceful, loving bond with your sibling(s)? I wish I could say that I was part of that uplifting group, but sadly and realistically, such is not the case. I have one brother and we are now what I have simply come to call “estranged.”

We have been that way for quite a long while. Maybe for a dozen years or more…

As I am reaching a milestone birthday — a marker in my life where I can definitely make the statement that “this lady has LIFE EXPERIENCE” —I find myself musing and reflecting on my original family relationships, my humble beginnings. And my thoughts drift to my brother, who is a successful professional with a lengthy career, and who is married with two children. I have a grown niece and nephew whom I have not seen since they were babies.

Oddly enough, I am now finding that many of my friends, acquaintances and clients have very similar sibling experiences where there is conflict, challenge and sometimes complete disconnect. Generally, we all start our lives as coming from the same family environment, the strong tie of blood, where I like to believe most of us were encouraged to bond and treat each other well. Then for various reasons, as life progresses, we find ourselves downright strangers, as opposed to sharing warm, close familial bonds.

I am so wondering why this is, and I am sure there are few generalizations, with each case being completely different and unique.

My brother and I, growing up in a small attached home in Brooklyn, were very close. We had an amazing childhood relationship — much fun, play, mock fighting when we were very young, late night talks as young teens. My brother had a sense of joyfulness, levity and looked up to me as his older sister.  I was caring and protective of my “little brother.”

However, our family life was less than stellar, and our father had serious emotional issues. I do believe that as a youngster, my brother needed a loving male figure on which to model his own behavior as a boy growing into manhood. My father fell incredibly short on this and my brother and I were exposed to extreme negativity and what I do believe was emotional abuse.

Life circumstances that I experienced as an adult, plus having discovered Reiki and a more spiritual path, brought me into an awakening of sorts, brought me into the light of greater understanding and compassion. (Though I am of course still a work in progress like most others!)

It appears that my brother remained somewhat caught up in the residual issues and “darkness” of his childhood.  Yes, I believe he loves his children — and I think he is closer to some of his wife’s family where they live, across the country from us.

There is no room in his heart for my side of the family — or even my children: his niece and nephew. And I suspect this may stem from the memories that are attached to me as I remind him of the difficult childhood that was.

And the “me” who he remembers from our young adult years was also a very different, more egotistical, more impatient, a more mired-in-worry person than the version of who I am now, who I have become on the more spiritual-quest part of my life.

At times I think of my brother as being like the Dr. Seuss character, The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, but unlike the Grinch, he has not gone through any epiphany and remains stagnant.

When our parents passed away within nine months of each other, we met in Phoenix to handle estate matters, to empty and sell the house and possessions. This was a most difficult time. He assured me that he and I would always remain close because we would only have each other from now on in terms of original family since our parents were gone. I believed his words.

However, they proved totally false and meaningless, as I was to learn in the years that followed.

I have tried to reach out several times, but have been rebuffed at every turn. My daughter has been rebuffed by him as well. Mostly he appears caught up in his work, and in the acquisition of stuff — a huge house, a luxury car, his own airplane, plus other stuff. Maybe all his “stuff” has taken a much greater sense of importance than any extended family.

It did recently occur to me (like that proverbial lightbulb that went off in my head) that his being out of my life may actually have been a blessing in disguise. Had he been in regular contact with me, he would probably have not respected or understood my life path in terms of Reiki, and he would have most likely brought a wave of negativity and ego-driven conflict into my world.

Yet who knows what the future will bring in terms of us connecting again — it may happen — or it may never, and whatever unfolds I trust will be for the Highest Good of both of us.

If you have a fine and loving sibling relationship, then be in appreciation for it. Let your sibling know of your caring on a consistent basis. Be in touch and always keep the lines of communication open. These relationships, though sometimes taken for granted, are very precious when they are in flowing harmony.

At this point in my life, I gratefully cherish the loving healthy relationships of my “adult family” that I have formed — my husband, my children, my stepchildren, and grandchildren, etc. I have learned that relationships take work, focus and motivation to thrive… and above all, there must be a strong infusion of love into all relationships for them to flourish!

Affirmations:

  • I rejoice in the positive relationships around me and strive to keep them healthy and loving.
  • I gravitate to those that are uplifting and respectful of my life journey.
  • I trust that the Universe will surround me with those individuals and relationships that are essential for the development of my own personal evolution.

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Relaciones Entre Hermanos — Alejamiento y Falta de Armonía

Historia de una Experiencia Personal

Traducción de Elena Calderaro

¿Eres uno de los afortunados — aquel que tiene un vínculo apacible y amoroso con sus hermanos? Ojalá yo pudiera decir que pertenezco a este grupo reconfortante, pero lamentablemente la verdad es que ese no es mi caso. Tengo un hermano, y ahora estamos lo que simplemente llamamos “alejados.”

Así lo hemos estado por mucho tiempo, quizá por más de una docena de años.

Mi próximo cumpleaños marcará una etapa importante en mi vida — un punto en el cual definitivamente puedo declarar que “esta dama ha EXPERIMENTADO LA VIDA” — y ahora medito y reflexiono cada vez más sobre mis relaciones familiares originales, mis comienzos humildes. Y mis pensamientos se derivan hacia mi hermano quien es un profesional con una carrera exitosa, casado con dos hijos adultos que no he visto desde que eran niños.

Curiosamente, ahora me doy cuenta que muchos de mis amigos, conocidos y clientes tienen experiencias similares con sus hermanos donde hay conflictos, retos y a veces una total desunión. Generalmente, todos comenzamos la vida en un entorno familiar parecido, un fuerte vínculo de sangre, en el cual a la mayoría de nosotros nos fomentaron la unión y el buen trato mutuo. Luego, por varias razones en el paso del tiempo, nos dimos cuenta que somos unos extraños en vez de compartir estrechos lazos familiares.

Me pregunto a qué se debe ésto y estoy segura que hay pocas generalizaciones, ya que cada caso es totalmente diferente y único.

Mi hermano y yo crecimos en una pequeña casa en Brooklyn y éramos muy unidos. Teníamos una increíble relación durante la infancia — mucha diversión, juegos, simulacros de lucha cuando niños y conversaciones nocturnas cuando jóvenes. Mi hermano era muy alegre, jocoso, y admiraba a su hermana mayor, y yo cuidaba y protegía a mi “hermanito.”

Sin embargo, nuestra vida familiar no era estelar, debido a que nuestro padre tenía graves problemas emocionales. Yo pienso que desde chico mi hermano necesitaba una figura masculina cuyo comportamiento le sirviera de ejemplo a un joven en plena pubertad. Mi padre falló increíblemente en este aspecto y mi hermano y yo fuimos expuestos a extrema negatividad, que yo creo era más bien abuso emocional.

Las experiencias de mi vida adulta, además de descubrir el Reiki y un camino más espiritual, me condujeron a despertar mi conciencia y me iluminaron a una mayor comprensión y compasión. (Aunque yo, por supuesto, todavía soy una obra en progreso,
¡como muchos otros!)

Al parecer, mi hermano permaneció atrapado en sus problemas residuales y en la “oscuridad” de su niñez. Yo sí creo que él ama a los niños — y pienso que él está más unido con algunos miembros de la familia de su esposa que residen cerca de ellos, al otro lado del país.

En su corazón no hay cupo para mi lado de la familia — ni siquiera para mis hijos: sus sobrinos. Sospecho que esto puedo provenir de recuerdos relacionados conmigo ya que le traigo memorias de una niñez difícil.

Y la persona que yo era en nuestros años de jóvenes adultos era más egoísta, más impaciente, una persona más sumida en la preocupación, muy diferente a la versión de quien yo soy ahora, una persona en búsqueda de la parte espiritual de su vida.

A ratos pienso que mi hermano es como el personaje El Grinch del Dr. Seuss, cuyo corazón era dos tallas más pequeñas pero, a diferencia del Grinch, mi hermano no ha pasado por ninguna epifanía y permanece estancado.

Cuando nuestros padres fallecieron con nueve meses de diferencia, nos encontramos en Phoenix para tratar asuntos de la herencia, vaciar y vender la casa, y las pertenencias. Este fue un momento muy difícil. El me aseguró que los dos siempre permaneceríamos unidos, ya que con la muerte de nuestros padres sólo quedábamos nosotros dos de la familia original. Yo creí en sus palabras.

Sin embargo, fueron palabras falsas, como lo aprendí en los próximos años.

Varias veces he tratado de lograr un acercamiento, pero he sido rechazada una y otra vez. Mi hija también ha recibido el mismo trato. La mayor parte de su tiempo parece estar enredado en su trabajo, y en adquirir cosas — una enorme casa, un carro de lujo, su avión privado, además de otras cosas. Tal vez considera que estas “cosas” tienen mayor importancia que una familia unida.

Recientemente se me ocurrió (como el bombillo que representa una idea) que su ausencia en mi vida ha sido una bendición inesperada. Si se hubiera mantenido en contacto conmigo, probablemente no hubiera respetado ni comprendido mi camino en la vida con repecto al Reiki, y seguramente hubiera traído una oleada de negatividad y conflictos egocéntricos a mi mundo.

Sin embargo, quien sabe que traerá el futuro con respecto a volvernos a comunicar nuevamente — lo cual puede suceder, o no. Pase lo que pase, confío que será por el mayor bienestar de ambos.

Si tú tienes una relación fraternal sólida y amorosa debes estar muy agradecido. Con frecuencia hazle saber a tu hermano lo mucho que él significa para tí. Mantén abiertas las líneas de comunicación. Estas relaciones, aunque a veces las damos por descontadas, son muy valiosas cuando fluyen en armonía.

En este momento de mi vida agradezco y valoro las relaciones sanas y amorosas de la “familia adulta” que he formado — esposo, hijos, hijastros y nietos, etc. He aprendido que una relación prospera con trabajo, enfoque y motivación…. y sobretodo, debe haber una fuerte infusión de amor para que florezca!

Afirmaciones:

  • Gozo de las relaciones positivas a mi alrededor y me esmero por mantenerlas sanas y amorosas.
  • Gravito hacia aquellas personas que me elevan el espíritu y respetan mi jornada en la vida.
  • Confío en que el Universo envíe a mi alrededor aquellas personas y relaciones que son esenciales para el desarrollo de mi evolución personal.
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Even When they Are Family

 

A Personal Experience Story

We forged a close bond in an unusual way. It was those long car commutes to and from my corporate job many years ago — I on my cell phone and she on her home phone 1000 miles away in southern Florida. We shared thoughts and experiences, and chatted about family — and we laughed together, my mother-in-law and me.

Because we lived so far apart, these caring and joyful conversations kept me company on those tedious (and sometimes stressful) trips in rush hour traffic. And it was the only way I got to know her in a more personal way after my husband and I were married and blended out families together.

Then the years passed — many years — and we all grew older. My MIL (mother-in-law) is now elderly, infirm, disabled. She is legally blind, hearing impaired and mobility impaired. Certainly many challenges.  She reluctantly agreed to give up whatever little independence she had down in Florida and move up to an assisted living nearby to my home, so that my husband and I could help care for her.

Right before she moved here, we prepared for her arrival very diligently and happily — furnished her bright, lovely suite and made it as welcoming as possible. We believed that being near to family — particularly the great grandchildren — would be uplifting to her.  We were looking forward to having a close relationship with her. We had no idea what the reality would be — and now it is 14 months later and the “honeymoon” is certainly over!

The actuality of her negative, stubborn personality has been incredibly difficult for us. As joyful, as positive as we have both attempted to treat her — there is absolutely no joyful response and no appreciation. She is solely self-involved, with extreme focus on each disability and each pain she feels.

The constant barrage of negative energy has shaken me to the core. However, I always consistently remind myself that yes, I do love her, despite these challenges.  And every once in awhile, on a special outing or maybe when the inspired mood catches her, she might light up a bit and almost seem to have a glimmer of happiness in her countenance.  I wish that would be more of the norm!

Though there are aides and skilled nurses at her facility, some real care still falls to me, as well as to her son. One of my responsibilities include taking her to her doctors appointments.  In Florida, the business of “doctoring” is out of control with all the seniors, and when she was there, accompanied by her aid, she would visit doctors sometimes three times per week. That became the flow of her life and it was a comfort zone to her. Trying to replicate that absurd lifestyle cannot and will not happen here, much to her dismay. (Yes, she somehow enjoyed the doctors visits because it made her the center of attention.)

On the up side, MIL has finally become involved in some of the activities at her facility so that provides some minor busy-ness and interaction for her. And for that I am grateful.

However, the new challenge is that it appears she is at the beginning of some dementia, so on top of that challenging personality, we now have some mental decline to deal with. We cannot believe anything she tells us anymore, even though she states all things as if they are absolute reality.

My husband has waning patience — he works full time in the city and has limited time and energy to spend with her — and with her attitude in general, it is not conducive to encouraging him to want to spend time with her.  It is a sad situation for both him and me.

My resolve as we entered this current year was to step back from the judgmental, self-centered world in which my MIL lives.  Sure, I always cover my responsibilities and I provide care. Emotionally, I am remaining more aloof — for it is too easy to be overwhelmed with her constant drama.

So what is the lesson in all this?  Why do I share this? Yes, I will admit it is in part to vent, partly cathartic. Perhaps you, too, have dealt with something (or someone) similar — or perhaps you will someday down the line. And maybe you will say, “ah, yes, I totally understand.”

Is this a clear illustration of “the best laid plans, etc.”? Sometimes as much as we do set goals, as we do make every positive attempt to help someone, they are not receptive to us. We might think our joyful intentions, our heartfelt drive is so powerful — how can someone not get caught up in the wave of our optimism?  Believe me, there are obviously those that ARE unresponsive, those who make the personal choice to wallow in negativity, turbulence and victimhood. That is truly a depressing life choice.

We all have a choice about how we react to life — the sad thing is that many do not realize this. They remain unawakened.

And another lesson in all this is that powerful reminder that you can’t change anyone else. The only one you can change is yourself. That lesson keeps hitting home… But with my MIL, I was not trying to change her — just encourage her to be a bit more in the flow of peace and adaptability.

That is definitely my sincere wish for my MIL — peacefulness and acceptance of what is.  Also, when it is her time (and I believe this is still far into the future), I truly pray that it will be quick and painless, and maybe she will just pass gently one overnight when her soul is ready to begin the next leg of her spiritual journey.  As for now, we will continue to give her love as best as possible.

 

Affirmations:

  • I strive to remain patient and non-reactive with challenging people and situations.
  • I let kindness and compassion flow to others, with positive intention and a pure heart.
  • When challenging people and drama arise, I make sure to take care of myself in a nurturing, caring way — and remain peaceful within!

SherTrampolineDo you make time to have fun? I mean the downright pure, tune-in-to-your inner child kind of fun?

A recent personal experience served as a clear reminder that maybe I do not always take enough time to indulge that youngster that resides deep within.

I attended my grandson’s third birthday party at a trampoline-activity place. I had been looking forward to this for several weeks because the whole thought of it had rekindled a very distant memory from my own childhood.  When I was about five years old, my mother took me to an outdoor trampoline place which was  a bare-bones type place —  trampoline material stretched over openings in the ground, all surrounded by cement or stone. Probably totally unsafe – but I spent time jumping with childish delight.

It was my first time on the trampoline and I thought it was the best thing in the world. I remember how happy my little heart was! I couldn’t wait to go back, but unfortunately the place closed down to make room for some other construction. My newfound fun disappeared and I was sorely disappointed.

Across the years I don’t remember too many opportunities to jump on a trampoline — maybe at some point with my own children when they were younger, but I do not clearly recall.

Fast forward to last weekend and I found myself at the most glorious, colorful state-of-the-art trampoline facility. And of course, I also found myself much, much older than my last recollection of jumping on a trampoline!

I hoped to jump with my grandson, but it turns out there were so many rules and restrictions. The petulant little child within me decided I really wanted a jump so I had to speak with someone who was in charge at the facility, and finally worked it out that I was able to purchase my own jumping pass  —  and sign a liability waiver, of course.

And suddenly — almost magically — I was on this huge area of trampolines, jumping and turning and running around with my grandson. It was such a strange but nearly euphoric sensation. My daughter captured my exultation in photos and I am grateful for that. I was definitely the oldest person who was jumping. Though I had some surprised glances from others who were my age and standing on the sidelines, I felt very smug and very free. And I personally, I don’t care what other people thought. I was having FUN!

My grandson appeared delighted that one of the older folks joined him on his spree of joy.  For children — those pure little souls — know how best to be in the moment with great joy!

I know we always learn by contrast about what we do like and what we don’t like here on planet Earth. For me, this bubbly experience was a powerful reminder that we need to take a “fun break” from the mundane and ultra-busy parts of our lives to really experience that grand JOY of living.  For sometimes we tend to just go through the routine motions of our everyday patterns and then wonder why we feel stuck or down.  It is so essential to reconnect with that happy-go-lucky child that I believe still does reside in all of us.

So if you have the opportunity to do something a little silly, or a bit “outside the box,” seize that moment!  And if you don’t generally have these opportunities, then you need to make time for them or seek them out.  For you absolutely need to create fun and optimistic moments in your own life.

Yes, sometimes it is too easy to simply view life as a string of challenges — and occasionally that is exactly what our own perceptions tend to fall into.  However, not ALL of life is challenging. I like to think of our journey as a “grand adventure” filled with a broad range of experiences and a wide variety of emotions that flourish within us.

But it is up to us as individuals to focus upon and explore those experiences that are unique, fun and enriching for us.  And when you have those opportunities to really stretch outside your little comfort zone — and help you connect with that uplifting, curious child within — then go for it!

Affirmations:

  • I make time for fun and uplifting moments in my life!
  • I view life as an enriching adventure and I learn from the contrast of my varied experiences.
  • I strive to nurture my inner child, for I know that this is a most joyful and healthy way to be!
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A real life observation and metaphor…

Every day — or almost every day — the Walker passes by.  Solitary. Purposeful in his step. He has been striding through the neighborhood for as long as my husband and I have lived here, which is seventeen years.

I do not even know his name or where he lives.

He is focused on some inner screen as he never acknowledges anything outside himself. Never says “hi” or “how are you doing” — or even casts an inquisitive glance in my direction. Never notices the blooming of the flowers and greenery in the spring, nor the falling of the leaves in the autumn. Not seeing anything else but the road directly in front of him.  Looking almost as if propelled by some unseen force.

He is a puzzle, an enigma. Why is he out walking in such a driven way?  Is it for his health?  I almost get the feeling that if he stops this ritual, he will just cease to be. Perhaps his doctors told him he must walk, as an antidote for some cardiac condition. Or perhaps he walks to escape something — some difficult but ongoing family situation, spouse, partner?  Or maybe he is simply mentally disabled or challenged — somewhere in the autistic spectrum.

In reality, I have no clue.

All I know is that as long as the roads are walkable, he is there, passing by my house.  When I first moved in, he was more rotund, and I thought perhaps he was walking simply to shed some pounds.  Yet, over the years, he has slimmed down and now he is actually skinny. His legs are like pale sticks and where he used to walk with a spring in his step, now he is slower, slightly unsteady. He looks as if he is walking bowed, his spine beginning to curve with age.  I can only assume this will grow even more pronounced in the time to come. The Walker is becoming an old man.

I can’t help but wonder — why does he walk so steadfastly? And why does he not acknowledge or connect with anyone?  How does one remain so inward-turned, so oblivious to life happening around him?  When we first came in contact with him, we tried to connect — made efforts to meet his gaze, say a soft “hello,” but he cast his eyes away, pretending not to notice. Or maybe he truly did not see us with any focus, as he is stuck in his own strange world.

Yet how does he go through his days as a Walker, without partaking in the Life happening gloriously all around him, without enjoying the companionship of others? To me this is incredibly sad.

Am I too judgemental — too critical?

Would you envy the Walker — an individual who takes time to exercise his physical self each day and have some alone time?  Or would you look at him with sorrowful curiosity?

If I had to be in his walking shoes, it would be torturous to walk the solitary road. Because I adore companionship and interaction with others and thrive on that. For I feel we are meant to engage with others. I feel it is so barren to go through life unaware of the beauty and connection that is here in this physical plane.

Yet, for The Walker, who truly knows?  Maybe this solitary walking is his salvation, his time of meditation…  I will never know as he chooses not to share words with anyone along his daily path.

As as for yourself, do you too often find yourself walking (or even “sleepwalking”) through life, oblivious to all the possibilities and opportunities that surround you?

Do you become so singularly intent on getting somewhere, accomplishing some goal, that you don’t enjoy the beauty of the actual journey?

For most of us, our human experience gives us a taste of both solitary and connected “walking”…

Let these musings and metaphors help to awaken a knowing within you about what you are guided to experience here in the physical plane. I do believe we are meant to partake of many samplings that life has to offer us. Be open and receptive to the possibilities that flow your way…  and tune in to your inner guidance and heart to help navigate whichever path(s) you choose to walk…

Affirmations:

  • I delight walking this road of life with others who support my journey…
  • I respect the life path of others — striving to be understanding and non-judgmental.
  • I enjoy my solitary time where I can connect with nature and the elements.
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Aug
01

Mindfulness – Peaceful Moments in A Busy World

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Here I am — a Reiki Teacher and Practitioner — you would imagine that my life is very tranquil, organized and filled with much meditation and peacefulness.  However, the reality is that I live on super-busy Long Island, NY and my life has become exceedingly full.  Think of that saying “too much on my plate.” Because that is how it sometimes feels.

Some acquaintances and very extended family think that because I do not work at a corporate, full-time job, that I am the equivalent of being “retired.”  Nothing could be far from the truth of the busy-ness of my days. And I still need to earn a living.

In a practical sense, the challenge is prioritizing and time management.  In a spiritual and nurturing sense, the challenge is carving consistent, peaceful moments to take a break from the hectic flow of “constant doing.”

Mindfulness. Meditation. These are two significant concepts and practices that are extremely helpful for keeping that sense of peacefulness within, despite what is happening in the outer world.  It keeps my inner world more balanced and joyful.

Easing yourself into even five to 15 minutes of quietude and solitude can be incredibly rejuvenating! So don’t underestimate the power of taking ten minutes to tune out the distractions of the outer world and turn your attention to creating calmness within.

In fact, taking some time for this is vital to your well-being.

A nature break is always soothing — observing a serene view, feeling the wind against your skin, watching the soaring of a bird, or anything that captures your attention and your vision.

There is a new theory of well-being and aligning with nature — it is called grounding. Which refers to literally placing your bare feet on the ground — soft grass, soil, sand — so you can directly connect with Mother Earth. Obviously this is something to do in the good weather. I have been indulging in walking and sitting barefoot in the newly sprouted lush green grass in my yard. And it has been exquisitely satisfying to just dig and roll my toes in the grass and feel rooted to Mother Earth. And very invigorating!

Here is a relevant quote from the Great Indian Chief “Standing Bear” (an Oglala, Lakota Sioux Chief — one of the indigenous people of the Great Plains.)
”It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.”

So see if you can simply walk barefoot upon the Earth and tune in to the energetic vibration of our planet in a stable, centering way. And really be in the moment of what that feels like to you — I believe it will be very soothing and revitalizing.  Maybe it will help you “think more deeply and to feel more keenly.”

If it is not always possible to be with nature, you can always tune into some slow, deep breathing wherever you are.  These kind of intentional breaths bring our mind into the present, forcing us to connect with our own inner rhythm in a positive, calming way.

Or just practice being present in whatever task you are doing

When the pace of life feels frenzied, you can be mindful in the present moment while cooking, washing dishes, brushing your teeth or doing simple tasks. That means focusing on that task completely, not letting your mind wander back to the past or into the future — or anywhere else but where you are at that moment.

Ultimately life does not always go the exact way you want it to, but the essential joy is to find the glory in each moment. If you search with a believing, trusting heart, you will find the blessings all around you.  Teach yourself to tap in to each moment with your focused attention. And you will feel the better for it.

Affirmations:

  • I strive to practice mindfulness consistently, tuning in to each moment with pure and nonjudgmental attention.
  • I enjoy connecting with nature, tapping in to the radiant, grounding rhythms of Mother Earth.
  • Spending moments in stillness and quietude are so rejuvenating and healing for me.
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Jul
05

Self Empowerment – Your Soul’s Varied Path

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Are you aligned with your soul path? Following your life’s predetermined vision of what you are meant to do here on Planet Earth?

There is so much consciousness buzz these days about discovering ones true purpose in terms of job/career/mission on the physical plane.  And for the purpose of this article, I am referring to ones path that brings in income, not just a hobby or volunteer opportunity.

I believe one of the most fulfilling things is to be able to earn a living doing what you are most passionate about.

And I also believe that there are variations to ones mission here — that perhaps we are not all meant to simply discover our “purpose” and then just do that one thing for the balance of our time here on Earth. For that sometimes can make one weary, bored or burned out.

Sometimes your journey might take you down different roads and along each turn, each path, you learn something new, some important and enlightening life lesson.

It is up to us to make sense of these lessons, learn from them, grow from each experience here..

I have been musing over my own varied life path segments here in the physical world and decided to make a list. I found it quite interesting to really ponder the huge variety of things I have done over the course of my life…

  • Office temporary in Manhattan
  • Assistant to the cataloger of law books at a law library
  • Sales assistant and Administrative assistant at a high end Italian furniture company
  • Electrolux vacuum cleaner sales lady
  • Administrative Assistant for a Mortgage company
  • Administrative Assistant for Kitchen and bath renovation company
  • Journalist, writer and designer of weekly newsletter for local day camp
  • Professional belly dancer
  • Graphic designer/Art Director both freelance and staff for a variety of companies, including a major direct mail/sweepstakes company
  • Veterinary assistant at local Animal Hospital
  • Sales rep for a pet product company
  • Dogsitter
  • Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils
  • Reconnective Healing Practitioner
  • Reiki Master Teacher/Practitioner

Quite a varied list, isn’t it?  Though some jobs were short lived and perhaps lasted just months, the Graphic Design was very lengthy. And my most recent work as Reiki Master teacher has been in the last nine years, and I plan to continue it into very old age, or as long as I am able.

Now contrast this shifting background to the soul path of my brother.  The first time he ever flew as a passenger on an airplane at about the tender age of three, he told us “I want to fly airplanes.”  And fly airplanes he did — and still does.  It is definitely his life’s main passion. And he never wavered or looked to do anything else. In fact, his early aviation passion took so much motivation and focus and putting in many hours of learning and practicing… Until he landed (pun intended) his dream job with a major airline, now the captain of both domestic and international flights…

I used to think (way back) that I couldn’t quite “find myself” as I explored different jobs, but now I know that each step along these pieces of my life journey made for a very full, richly-woven fabric of life experience.

Today, in college, most students are required to declare a major course of study by their second year, when most students are barely out of their teen years. It is not always clear what young people really might want to do with their lives at that stage, but yet they have to make a decision. I wonder what percentage of young people change life course numerous times.

I ask you to respect and honor your own life journey…   Let life unfold for you in a natural way, meeting it with flexibility and adaptability.

Be open to all possibilities.  Let your heart help guide the way. Know that yes, maybe you will find — or have found — the one remarkably satisfying path in your mission. Or perhaps you may experience a multitude of different roads along the journey. Let yourself learn and grow from each one. And for any long period you spend in an intensely fulfilling job or career experience, be in appreciation, because that is one of the radiant blessings one can reap here on the plane of human existence…

Affirmations:

  • I relax into the flow of life and let it unfold in with a flexible, open-minded outlook.
  • I am open to all possibilities and opportunities that appear in my life journey.
  • I understand that my soul path may reflect various segments of learning, and I am receptive to this process.
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A Personal Experience Story

Life is certainly never static — it is a living, breathing ebb and flow of change, shift and transformation.  When we talk about achieving stability and balance, it is but for a temporary moment in time. And though it is a worthy goal to aspire to create some form of balanced harmony in our lives, it is critical to accept that change will always be part of our reality.

Yet the thought of change is daunting for most people, and change can present itself as a huge challenge.  Cultivating flexibility and adaptability — traits that will help you stay in that flow of coping and being open to new possibilities — is worth the inner work!

From my own personal experience of the last month or so, I have definitely had to deal with that specter of change.  My elderly mother-in-law (an octogenarian who was widowed 20 years ago) had two accidental falls too many in a short span of time and finally agreed to move up from her condo in Florida to an assisted living facility local to where I live in Long Island.

She was used to living an “independent” life or so she perceived it. But legally blind, hard of hearing, dependent upon a walker for mobility, her life there — away from all family — appeared more “isolationist” to my husband and myself. She had a home health aid to assist her during the day, and even drive her to wherever she needed or wanted to go.  But each health issue that presented became an ordeal, simply because there was no family around and concern for some serious issue without the support and caring of family was on our minds.

My mother-in-law is very quick to speak her mind and is not a particularly positive-minded person. The sudden availability of an apartment at the assisted living during the freezing heart of winter created a whirlwind of activity and stress in order to get her packed up. Figuring out what she could bring with her and getting rid of the rest of her stuff (some of it lifelong accumulation) was really tough for her, as it would be for anyone in her position. (Please know that she had much physical help in the form of my brother-in-law and his wife.)

Personally, I was anticipating a huge challenge and indulging in too much fear-based anxiety, yet secretly praying/hoping that perhaps she would acclimate… She is not a person who has ever done well with change. And yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction and focusing on positive aspects.  However, the practical side of me, based on previous experience with the lady, brought up challenging thoughts.

And even though the facility has an amazing and caring staff, ultimately I knew that I would be the one most responsible for her day-to-day life and needs, especially since my husband works in the city and is gone for very long days. So the bottom line was, how would this impact my own life?  Yes, I love her and DO have an excellent relationship with her — but this move is a significant change in my life — a life that is already very full without another facet (even a loving one) added to it.

It was about four weeks of anticipation for both her and us — and at the other end in Florida, she was extremely stressed by this whole packing up and preparing-to-move process, and leaving the comfort and knowingness of her home.  Additionally, she was unhappy about coming from the mild climate to this freezing Long Island winter — who could blame her for that?

So now you may wonder — how did it all go?

Well, she has been here for a month and I feel a sense of relief from all that fear-based expectation. Incredibly, she has adapted quite smoothly — a surprising and delightful shock to me and my husband.

Despite many obstacles, she has been fine. The first week she arrived, there was a quarantine lockdown because several cases of flu broke out — fortunately not her, but for several days, nobody from the outside was allowed in. I could not get in and start to bring her all the winter clothes that were shipped via UPS and had been delivered to my house. So her stuff was in limbo and we could not even visit her and she had very few clothes.  Eventually, all the boxes were delivered, brought over, unpacked and her little apartment is all set up now.

She seems happier than I have ever seen her. And I totally believe it really has to do with two things — first of all, the love and nearness of family. She will now be able to watch her great-grandson grow up and establish a relationship with him, which she is already doing. Secondly, she is receiving a very helpful level of care and attention from the facility and included are three hot meals a day that she loves.

So there have been enough positive things to override that she is mostly stuck in the facility due to the outdoor weather being too snowy, icy, frigid and treacherous for her to navigate with her walker.  But she has two heating controls in her apartment and can make it as hot and Florida-like as she wishes!

From my perspective, this journey has been made a bit easier because I have truly focused on being in the moment as best as possible. When my mind would sort of “run away” with trying thoughts about what would be, I would remind myself to be truly present, and simply take the actions of the the moment that were necessary to move the journey along. And part of me just needed to “surrender” and accept that this change coming into my own life would be a positive and joyful one. I would have the opportunity to establish a close relationship with my mother-in-law, especially since my own mother is gone for many years and I am open to having a surrogate “mom” in my life, even though I will be taking more care of her than she of me!

The one life lesson that was clear and powerful for me was that: LOVE really does overcome. I firmly believe that the attention and love that my mother-in-law is receiving from nearby family (us and others) has been instrumental in her accepting and dealing with this major life change. And yes, we are all still adjusting to her being here and working on defining our relationships in a way that is pleasing and workable for all.  Another, very beautiful thing, is that my mother-in-law, not usually very expressive of emotions, has been happily voicing her appreciation for all that my husband and I are doing to help her — so that is a truly kind side of her that I am seeing.

All is well and I am adjusting to this change in my own life, and there is now a feeling of ease and grace to it… and for that I am grateful!

Affirmations:

  • I accept shift and change with a mindset of ease and adaptability.
  • Life is a flow of ongoing changes, and I welcome new possibilities with joyful anticipation.
  • I strive to stay in the moment and to be present exactly where I am on my unique life journey.