Tag Archives: Affirmation

Are you missing the conversation?

I recently heard this incredibly beautiful poem from Ingrid Goff-Maidoff that caused me to stop and see how I was living.

God spoke today in flowers,

and I, who was waiting on words,

almost missed the conversation.

Aside from the beauty in the sheer simplicity of this poem, the stunning truth shook me to the core. She has captured here the tragedy we live so much of our life in – not seeing the beauty in what is because of what we are expecting.

Our tendency to miss much in life is centered on our expectations of how things “should” be. We wait and wait for things to show up in our desired form and become more and more frustrated that they haven’t come. All the while there is beauty and perfection all around us that we are not seeing.

We, of course, do this with God often. We pray and get frustrated when our requests don’t come when we want them to. Often, we are so tied to “how” we want our prayers answered that we don’t see the possibility in what is coming our way. We are waiting for God to speak to give us peace, instead of seeing the message in the flowers. The divine plan, however, is much more beautiful and complex than the human brain can comprehend.

I often sit in awe reflecting on even the most minuet details in my life and seeing how different everything would have been if things were shifted just slightly.   Every aspect of my life has lead to this exact second to be unfolding exactly how it is, especially those moments I didn’t like so much. I wanted certain things and have them, but never would have expected them to come the way they did. This is the beauty of being open to possibility and seeing what is in our path, instead of trying to design every minute.

We don’t only do this with God, however, we also do this with people in our lives. We are always trying to get someone to react the way we want them to or see things our way. One of my favorite lines in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is that we ask ”Grant that I may not so much seek… to be understood, as to understand”. We sometimes forget that no one on this earth perceives things exactly like we do. We all have different experiences that lead to how we think and act. We may find many that agree with us, but they don’t see it “exactly” as we do. Instead of trying to understand them, we want them to understand (and act) as we do. The world would be a very boring place if this wish came true.

Unfortunately our partners and family often get the brunt of this. How often do we get upset with a partner because they didn’t show us love in a particular way? The gift wasn’t thoughtful enough, they didn’t respond right to our concern, or they weren’t making us feel loved. All the while, we miss the subtle ways that they show us love, in their way. We are so busy looking at how we feel, we miss seeing how they are giving.

The shift from seeing the possibility of what is, versus living in our head of expectations can create a brand new world for us. It takes really no time, just awareness of our thoughts and the intent of seeing things as they are, while letting go as we expect them to be.

Be open to what is now – a simple, yet beautiful practice that will ensure we do not miss the conversation.

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A Valentine’s Day Challenge

As with most people, I have always has a bittersweet relationship with Valentine’s Day.   As a teenager I revealed in the romantic ideals, swept up in this concept of demonstrating eternal love through flowers, jewelry and chocolate. Unless, of course, I didn’t have a boyfriend then I banished the holiday as a silly idea and I was appalled at the concept.

Over the years I have found the paradox in the day that baffles me. One day has the power to make someone feel whole and loved if his or her partner pulled off a romantic gesture. On the other hand, some end relationships entirely because the gesture didn’t live up to expectations. Then there is another group who have no partner and this day sparks loneliness and sadness. There are many people who are indifferent about the day but for the most part, it is an emotional windstorm based entirely on circumstance and others actions.

This day, however, has potential to grow into something new. I love the idea of a reminder to slow down and celebrate love, but it can explore a deeper kind of love within us. It can remind us that we are beyond the fear, doubt, anger and expectations. Strip away all the layers of thoughts and emotions and the truth of our being comes to light – we are love. We don’t need others to give us the gifts, promises or romantic gestures to feel the completeness that is already within us.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are in a relationship or not, I challenge you to give yourself a romantic gesture. Run yourself a warm and relaxing bubble bath, write a love letter to yourself or buy yourself something beautiful. Whatever it may be that calls to you, give yourself the reminder that you are love and the deeper you love yourself, the more expansive your life will become.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Valentines

A New Year, A New Kind of Resolution

The New Year brings such energy and excitement. While I am a firm believer that you can change anything in your life at any moment, there is something about everyone getting a fresh start at the same time. We can choose what to bring with us from the previous year and what to leave. We hear about everyone’s desires for this year to be the best yet, while they reflect on the previous year. The energy of the whole world doing this in unison is undeniable and a great time to make changes.

I spent this year similar to others. I spend New Years Eve thinking about the previous year. I celebrate some of the major and exciting changes and I consider the things that no longer serve me. Before that clock strikes twelve, I put little thought into the upcoming year and instead, use it as an opportunity to release. New Years day is all about moving forward. As with most, my resolutions typically have been goals that I want to achieve. Exercise more, lose weight, get a new job, start a new program, walk the dogs more, finally finish the growing pile of books I want to read, etc. This year though, I am doing something different.

This year isn’t going to be about what I am going to do. This year is about who am I going to be on a day-to-day basis.

Each of us has the benefit of having an internal guide letting us know we are being true to who we really are. Our souls can guide us from major decisions to everyday interactions, if we let it. When we open to the possibility that we have all the answers we need, then we can begin listening to our internal self. Following our hearts and instincts, we are opened to a world where we respect and love ourselves fully. We don’t act in ways that are aimed at pleasing others, but rather at what is right for us.

We have all had that taste of freedom, love, and passion that comes from following our true self. It is when our lives have effortlessly worked out. It is when we have been excited to move forward. It is when we have felt compassion for ourselves. When done consistently, all of these things benefit everyone around us and it can’t help but be contagious. And what the world truly needs right now are people who love deeply, have compassion for themselves and others and treat themselves like the divine creation they are.  This can only come if we each follow our souls guidance and act in a way that is aligned with our true selves.

So this year, my resolution is not a list of goals but one simple sentence: I am going allow myself to be my true self, in all moments and all interactions.

Will you join me?

With immense love and gratitude – April

6 Spiritual Lessons from Our Children

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Throughout the years I have dedicated a significant amount of time on my personal spiritual growth.  I have spent countless hours poring over development books, researched various religions and spoke with many spiritual leaders.  I have attended trainings and workshops on a wide range of topics and approaches in cultivating inner peace.  Throughout this process I have learned a lot, especially regarding those practices that tend to be common themes and “secrets” for achieving sustainable joy in life.  It is a constant growth process since all of these things require continued practice and while I have understood much of it logically, some areas have been difficult for me to feel.

As I have expanded my concept of “spiritual teachers” to include everyone in my life, knowing that each and every person has something to offer, I have found the clearest teachers to be children.  There is so much I have learned from seeing how we come into this world, what our natural state truly is and how we get pulled off track as we grow and develop. We so often look at our relationship with our children as one where we have to bare the burden of teaching them everything however if we shift our perception to a spiritual partnership, one where we teach each other, then the spiritual growth they can help facilitate for us is limitless. We can teach them how to interact per this world’s “rules” but they can teach us about our true nature and how to live it. They have truly helped me see how to apply some of the themes that were harder for me to grasp and serve as a constant reminder on practicing.

Fearlessness – Anyone that has seen a baby clumsily wobble around can see that fear is not something we are born with. It is something we learn. Children lead with their heart, diving into whatever action their heart guides them to without fear of pain, judgment or failure. All of these concepts are foreign to them and we can learn much from the “just go for it” attitude that children of many ages have. Letting our heart lead, and taking action without fear allows us to boldly live and revel in the rewards of new experiences.

Joy – Joy on the other hand isn’t something we learn, it is our natural state. A child’s general disposition is pure happiness. Eager to play, laugh and truly have fun, children embrace happiness and never question if they deserve it or wonder if it will last. As I have grown there are many times I have lost sight of the beauty in doing something just for the pure joy of it. Like many people I know, the to do lists can take over and keep me from fully living in the moment, especially when it is something as “frivolous” as having fun. What I have learned from children is that fun is never frivolous; it is something our soul needs.

Love freely – The heartache we feel in life can sometimes cause us to be guarded. Keeping love out completely or limited to those that seem “safe”, we lose the incredible gift that comes with a wide-open heart. Children don’t hold back love. If they want to give a hug, they give a hug. If a little baby wants to stare in your eyes and give you a smile for no reason, they do. There aren’t expectations of this love being returned, they just give it without condition. Each baby that comes into this world is the perfect love that we all hold in us and they show it however they feel guided to. We can begin to learn that this is our natural state from watching children of all ages embrace this emotion. It is who we are and the pain we learn is truly from expecting love back, not necessarily giving it.

Authenticity – Children learn the concept of “fitting in” from parents, friends and people in their life, they don’t arrive into the world with it. They are who they are. Many of us have seen a child want to wear outrageously bright, mismatched clothes simply because they like it and it represents who they are, never putting a thought into what others will think. Without the interference of judgment, children live completely authentically. This is something many of us spend years trying to get back to once we learn that what others think of us isn’t nearly as important as our own happiness. Children can show us that it is perfectly natural for us to be guided by our hearts and inner guidance, as it is how they live.

Curiosity – Nothing is more thrilling than seeing a baby look around, taking the world in and clearly demonstrating a complete sense of awe. They absorb everything around them without judgment so they can learn. They smile at every small accomplishment and are hungry to keep exploring. This is our natural state, a place of curiosity, bewilderment and awe. The world offers us as many unique things to learn and look at but often we become comfortable and lose the sense of wonder that we come into the world with. Children show us the incredible joy that comes from not being the expert but rather being a perpetual student.

Creativity – As adults we tend to lump ourselves into groups – left brain versus right brain, creative versus logical, structured versus spontaneous, etc. While all of these may be us having a tendency to being more comfortable leaning towards one direction or another, none of us are born into this world lacking any of these characteristics. All children enjoy coloring, making art projects, dancing to music or playing an instrument. They love bringing something beautiful into the world, and that doesn’t change just because they grow up. They play make believe games and daydream about the future. They demonstrate to us that a basic desire is to be in a creative space. Whether it is art, music, writing, inventions, machines or even new businesses all of us can benefit from allowing ourselves to be creative. As we grow, they way we express our creativity changes but they key is to never shut it out completely.

If we watch closely, children can show us how to get back to our original nature. Allowing ourselves to be our inner child, even if just for a moment, will give us an amazing gift of pure happiness.

With immense love and gratitude for all the children in the world – April

Affirmations for Mamas!

Check out my latest post on West Valley Moms Blog!

A spiritual Indian woman meditating on the riverbanks, in the morning.

Every mom that I know sometimes has doubts. Am I doing the right thing? Should I have reacted that way? Are my children eating good enough? Am I yelling too much? Am I spending enough time with them? Are they learning the right values? These are just some I have thought or heard but I could go on and on. Motherhood is definitely more of an art than a science and there is no perfect way to do it. The never-ending “recommendations” from “experts” as well as family, friends or even strangers can make our head spin with insecurity. Ultimately the pressure can lead us to that one looming question… “Am I a good mother?” Read More Here…

You are doing the best you can… so is everyone else

I feel compelled to repost this after some recent conversations I have had.  So many of us can be so critical of ourselves… Just remember, you are doing the best you can 🙂  – With Love! April

We humans can be very judgmental and critical. We can easily get caught up in what we think is right and wrong.   We constantly analyze our lives and think about what we “should” have done differently. Along with this, we have a natural tendency to judge others’ decisions and talk about what poor choices they made. This gives us further fuel to try to be perfect so we don’t end up “like them.”

It is no wonder that we lose self-compassion with all this judgment swimming in our brains. It is part of how we have learned to view the world, part of what we feel we should do and ultimately part of human nature. The trick is to understand that everyone, right now, is doing the very best they can. Does that mean we couldn’t make better choices? No. Does it mean we are flawless? No. Does it mean we don’t try to grow and improve our lives? Absolutely not. It does mean that we need to step back and treat ourselves a little more gently and with a little more understanding.

This life is a journey. We grow, evolve, change and learn. Every choice you are making right now is what you think is best based on what you have learned and where you are in your life. Sometimes we do things out of habit. Often we do things out of fear. But ultimately we do what we think is best for us in the moment. Our current circumstances are a combination of every choice we have made, which means we can learn from them and change them just as easily as we created them. We don’t need to berate ourselves into these changes. Loving ourselves and accepting the choices we have made for what they are is the best way to learn from them and start making new ones.

Of course after the fact it is easy to see what we could have done different to make things easier. It is natural to assess our past, and the actions of others, to determine what would have worked better. This is part of the learning process, but that is all it is. We shouldn’t utilize these tendencies to break down our self-esteem and feel bad about what we have done. We should utilize these experiences to grow and learn what we will do different in the future.

Our flaws are what make us human and what makes us beautiful. Learning to accept these, whether it be poor choices or parts of ourselves we don’t like, will ultimately give us the power to love ourselves completely. This is where true compassion will rise up. Whenever those thoughts of judgment creep in, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, give yourself some love and then take the next step forward.

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Sign up for my Free Self-Compassion Teleclass launching on 4/9!  I would love to have you join this incredible group on the journey of love and growth!

How Can I Serve?

Like everyone, I sometimes see certain aspects of my life very challenging. When I am in a circumstance that I don’t enjoy or feel isn’t necessarily aligned with what I want to be doing I can feel frustrated or even angry. The little kid inside me wants to kick and scream like those days when I didn’t want to go to school or the dentist (no offense to the incredibly valuable dentists out there). The resistance is sometimes a sign that I need to make changes in my life, however often those changes often can’t be made immediately. Patience is required and that can be one of the toughest things to practice in these situations.

In these moments, I have found it helpful to reflect back to something I have heard Wayne Dyer say many times “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Situations are only as bad as our perception is and in actuality, every experience invites us to learn and grow in different ways. I do truly believe in the divinity of every second so even those things that I want to run screaming from are openings to spiritual growth or guidance. As I have come to realize this I have found one particular question really grounds me and brings me back to a place of peace and excitement…

How Can I Serve?

This simple questions encompasses all of who I want to be, a person that supports and loves others and myself. Looking at the any situation, whether I like it or not, and asking this one question often opens up a world of possibility I didn’t see. Taking the focus off my dislike for something and shifting it to the benefit I can bring is not only empowering but also liberating. In looking at the world this way, everything becomes an adventure of kindness. It may be serving myself with a deeper level of love or it may be serving others with an act of kindness; either way is a gentle and fulfilling way to approach everything I do. This does not take away from the steps I need to make to remove the things I know don’t align with me, but it makes patience incredibly easier and I can enjoy the journey of growth instead of the suffering of circumstance.

This has now become my daily practice every morning, simply sending that question out and waiting for life to give me opportunities in response. I encourage you to try this question and see how it supports you on your path. If it isn’t this one, play with other questions that bring you back to who you truly want to be and you will be amazed on the shift this can bring to your life. Please share any questions you come up with below so my other followers can benefit from your wisdom.

With gratitude and service  -April

Change

Practicing Mindfulness

12414_530099740365046_943005075_nHave you ever not been able to recall what you did in a day? How about realizing after driving a familiar route that you were on “auto pilot”? Each of us has moments where our thoughts run amuck and we miss out on experiencing what we are actually doing. It is very common, especially in today’s world when we are often run by our calendars and live by the clock. Living this way, however, is what causes us to feel like we lose time. Days pass by, months vanish and before we know it, it is the next year and we didn’t even feel it coming. This has become the norm for most of us and in the process, we are losing precious moments and experiences we will never get back.

Practicing mindfulness helps us truly live this moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by the past or the future. When we truly embrace all this moment has to offer, our senses can truly take in all that is around us. This creates a feeling of freedom and pure enjoyment that we rarely allow ourselves to experience. Whether it is eating dinner with a friend, playing with your children or even working on a project at work, by giving yourself the gift of being in that moment you will have more fulfilling relationships and be more effective.

Being mindful is an ongoing practice that takes constant awareness. To begin, there are a few techniques you can use. Give some of these a try and see how you can continue to expand your practice into all areas of your life.

  • Take a moment and look around the room you are in and absorb every detail. Close your eyes and see how much you remember. Do this once a day and you will see it eventually become a habit to take in all around you.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath, releasing any thought that comes your way gently. Doing this for a few minutes every day will bring you into the moment and create a stillness that will carry into anything you do next.
  • The next time you are in a conversation with your spouse, partner or child truly listen to every word. Don’t allow yourself to think about what you want to say next or what you have to do later. Simply listen to them and be present.
  • Sit outside for a moment everyday and look at the sky. Take in the beauty, releasing any thoughts that try to distract you.

All any of us really has is this moment. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on it!

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Just a few announcements…

Reach Your Potential Community Calls have moved!  They will now be held on the first Wednesday of every month at 8pm AZ time.  This is a free call created to come together and support each other in reaching our potential.  This is a space to experience a judgement-free, supportive environment to share ideas, experiences and gain some inspiration to reach your goals.  Bring your positive energy and love for the success of others! Register here! 

The next Reiki I training is 3/14.  The first degree  is open to everyone and provides the basic techniques for hands on treatments to provide self healing and healing to others.  The class will include a history of Reiki, the Gassho Meditation technique, and multiple attunements (Reiju).  After this training you will be able to conduct effective healing sessions. Space is limited so please register ASAP if you are interested.  

With immense gratitude – April

Staying Grateful After Thanksgiving

So often we spend Thanksgiving feeling grateful then immediately get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Check out my post on West Valley Moms Blog for tips on everyday gratitude! 

Exercises-for-Staying-Grateful

 

I love this time of year. There is a feeling in the air of love and laughter while everyone is focused on thankfulness and giving. I often wonder why we let this feeling be limited to such a short period of time (mainly from Thanksgiving to just after New Years). The rest of the year we allow these feelings to fade away and we get caught up in our lives. It is especially easy for us moms to get caught up in taking care of the day-to-day needs of our families. The busier we get and the more demands there are on our time sometimes cause us to lose sight of amazing blessings.

It is not easy to be satisfied with the way things are when we are consistently focused on what we don’t like, which unfortunately we tend to do. We easily allow ourselves to get caught up in what we want to make better, what we want to change and the things we don’t want to do during the day. Shifting our focus to the things that are blessings can completely change the way we feel about our lives. Gratitude is an extension of fulfillment; you cannot feel one without the other. In order to feel fulfilled as a mother and as a person in general, we must feel content and happy with all aspects of their lives. read more…

 

That horrible “S” word…

It is a word so horrible that I don’t even like thinking about it. My breathing becomes harder, my chest starts to get red and I get knots in my stomach. I know I am not alone, as it is one of the more painful feelings we can experience; yet one many of us live with daily. That’s right, I am talking about shame. Shame is such a powerful thing as it can cause many different emotions such as guilt, anger, sadness and so on.   It is a feeling that can be so terrible that many of us make choices daily to try to avoid this experience.   There are few feelings that have the power to direct our lives such as shame can.

The actual definition of shame per the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong.   The fascinating part of this definition is that it explains how this feeling is completely based on what you “know” you have done wrong. Considering we live in a very complex society and most choices in our lives don’t have a clear right and wrong, this definition tells me that shame is actually nothing more than a feeling based on our personal perception. Our perception of what is right and wrong can come from many different places including our families, experiences, society, religion, etc. Since it is built with so many different pieces, everyone has a different understanding of “wrong”. For example, while many of us can agree that killing another person is wrong, we have very different perceptions in the world on if killing an animal is wrong. It gets even greyer when we look at societies “acceptable” social standards since every one of us were raised to have a different understanding of how you “should” behave around others. Yet, we allow the fear of this single feeling to rule many of the choices in our lives.

Since there are so many different opinions of what is wrong, it is no wonder that shame can take over our lives, especially if we are taking into account what others “must be thinking”. Looking back through my life I can pinpoint hundreds of decisions I made trying to do what I thought I “should” do based on what I believed others were thinking. Many of these choices caused me to delay living my passion or being true to myself; all because I was afraid others would think it was “wrong” and my old friend shame would come out to play. In actuality, most of the choices we make don’t cause nearly the impact to others as they do to ourselves, yet we make others opinions of what is right and wrong rule. When we feel we have taken the wrong step or others judge us, then shame will begin to swim in our veins causing us to hide from our truth and listen to others. This can show up differently in each person’s life, spanning from decisions such as our career choice to how we interact in public settings. If we don’t learn to identify and get out of this cycle, then shame is allowed to run wild, threatening to choose any opinion of “wrong” it can find at that moment.

A first step in the process of breaking this cycle is to start trusting yourself more than others. Begin to believe and have
faith that what your heart and gut is telling you is the right thing, even if others opinions would classify it as wrong. To do this, you must forgive yourself for any past actions that bring up that shame. Take some time to think through these decisions and situations. Allow yourself to be understanding of the circumstances and acknowledge that you were truly doing the best you could at that moment. Fostering this kind of self-compassion and forgiving your past mistakes will allow a stronger feeling of empowerment that will allow your voice to be heard. Ultimately, there is no need to be “right” for everyone, just for yourself. Trusting yourself, forgiving yourself and loving yourself will take away the power that shame has.   Begin practicing this and you will feel true freedom, the freedom to live who you truly are.

Decisions