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Let It Go

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“Let’s talk about stress, baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about stress.”  — Salt-N-Pepa

Okay, stress is not the word Salt-N-Pepa use… But you and I are gonna talk about it.

Stress has become the underlying culprit to serious mental and physical health issues in our country. Because of this, the fads of self-care have flourished into a booming industry and stress itself now reigns as a demonized force to be tamed, dealt with, or avoided completely. What sucks the most – to use professional language- is the polarity we have created. Not only are we responsible for contending with lives that are stressful, but now we are accountable to combating the stress by finding more hours in our week for self-care, and if we don’t make strides toward implementing this dire remedy, then we, instead, deal with our stressful lives and feel guilty about doing nothing to change it. So now we have stress, obligation, and guilt. How did we get there so fast? Has self-care become stressful? If it has, it’s only because we don’t understand stress.

Stress is a natural part of life and is not something to be avoided. We can’t avoid it. A potted tree grows taller if it feels a slight stress around its roots in the pot. However, if you don’t pay attention by eventually giving the tree a larger pot when it’s ready, the tree becomes sick and can die. Healthy stress vs. unhealthy stress is all around us. Short bursts of stress release hormones that can help us perform at work, in school, at sports. Some stress experiences can feel enlivening and energizing! Longer episodes, where we experience frequent bursts of stress in a row, can help us focus to complete projects, hit deadlines, and accomplish goals. But extended periods of stress where there is no room for our bodies to rest – when our nervous systems recalibrate and our hormones rebalance – can make us sick both emotionally, mentally and/or physically.

So, what we need to know more than anything is that there are many different kinds of stress. And not all stress is bad.

Stress falls under three major categories: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. The first one is categorized by short bursts of cortisol and adrenalin through our bodies like what happens when we are at a starting line for a race, about to walk onto stage, or conversely when we get into an argument, get a flat tire on the way to an important meeting, or drop something by accident and it breaks. We feel “activated,” but it passes. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end. This kind of stress is normal and okay. It’s part of life and our bodies are built to experience it. After a short burst of acute stress, we may find ourselves gratefully climbing into bed and reflecting on the experience with perspective and thoughtfulness. This is a sign that the nervous system has recalibrated and we are back to neutral. Recovered and good to go.

The ability to recover more quickly and build our capacity for acute stress can be improved through study and training. However, the 3 basics of eating, sleeping, and exercising mindfully can help to naturally improve our ability to recover.

The second stage of stress, episodic acute stress, is when this feeling of being activated starts happening more and more frequently. In this category, there’s a feeling of needing “to come up for air” but not necessarily getting it. We feel this when we have a big push for a deadline, like closing a business deal or studying for end of semester exams. The nervous system is turned on, however, we know there is an end in sight and we will rest soon.

This is a really important moment. The part where we have promised to rest after the episodic acute stress experience. The deal is closed. The emergency has been de-escalated. The family is safe. The semester is complete. The project is finished. In this moment, we have been in “go-mode” for awhile and it’s easy to bypass the conscious effort it takes to switch gears and create the environment our nervous systems and hormones need to rebalance and recover. But we must. This is the time to put our phones down long before bed, to get 8-10 hours of sleep for several nights in a row, to play, to lounge, to laugh, to nap. To work less. We do not take recovery time seriously enough in our society, and I’ll tell you now that every high performer we have on a pedestal in our culture has a recovery routine that would blow your mind. It is taken with as much seriousness as the business launch. But without the seriousness. Learn to let go. It will change your life.

Because if we don’t let go, take it from me, we enter a whole different category of stress. The world of chronic stress. I found myself in this place almost a decade ago and it took a long time to undo. It can happen when things such as family emergencies, a death, company lay-offs, global circumstances, all out of our control, are piled on to the aforementioned stress experiences. In other words, there is no “end” in sight, no rest period waiting, no coming up for air. Physiologically speaking, the nervous system feels stuck in the hyper alert “on” position. Stress hormones keep getting dumped into our blood stream which can create a weakened immune system and mental health issues.

This is the place that bubble baths and massages don’t seem to touch. Why? Because those are fabulous short-term tactics for acute stress experiences. Here, we need a long-term view. Lifestyle changes, mental health support, and even medical support. Chronic stress is a wake-up call to action. It was for me. It was time to break the pot I was feeling constantly ‘root-bound’ inside of and grow into something vaster and wider, filled with more possibility and support; a time to root down while reaching for the sky. When I found myself with a Lyme Disease diagnosis following a major car crash, I knew I had some internal work to do. It was uncomfortable, but I turned inward to face unresolved trauma, mental and emotional patterns that no longer served me, and belief systems that were no longer letting me grow. I trained my mindset, and asked myself some deeply probing questions about what I really wanted for my life and relationships. It was a profoundly transformative time in my life, but now I understand the unquestionable interconnectedness between mind, body, and spirit and how it can all manifest in our one beautiful life.

In essence, my invitation to you is to begin to identify what kind of stress you are experiencing. Begin to try and respond more appropriately to each kind. Let the acute stress rise and pass, ask yourself more deeply challenging questions is you feel you are entering a longer term stress patter, seek support. I would never be who I am today without the support of the mentors and teachers in my life. Asking for support, both familial and professional, is something we should never be ashamed of. Learn to embrace the good stuff and train your mind, body, and spirit into greater capacity so you can enjoy the life you know is yours. In the words of someone who I was not able to identify on Instagram, but give whole hearted credit to for this gem of wisdom:
“Self-care is not a long hot bubble bath, chocolates and good wine – self-care is cultivating the life I do not need to escape from.” 

Blessing of Light

Please join me today in this short guided practice, where I offer a gentle blessing of light for you to open to and receive…

Escape the Overwhelm

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Got Overwhelm?

For some reason, overwhelm seems slightly pervasive right now. Hopefully, it’s not for you, but if you’re human and living life, you probably know what it feels like.

When I was in high school, I used to call my dad in tears, totally overwhelmed by all there was to do and pressured by the caliber that I wanted to deliver at (yes, even then). I went to a boarding school on the east coast, so there was a lot to learn and handle on my own. And I remember how my dad would talk me down from the cliffs of maddening panic. “Take it one thing at a time,” he would say. And I would cling to the easy way the words would fall through the phone, and I would start to breath. One thing at a time.

It’s a mantra that never left me and one that I found myself repeating to clients over and over in sessions this past month. So, looking ahead, let’s all take a breath – inhaling…exhaling…relax our bodies…and repeat after my dad, “One thing at a time.” That’s it. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

When we feel overwhelmed, we have done one thing: we have given the same weight of importance and priority to everything on our list. Suddenly, making a decision about the next content piece you are going to release, calling back a new client, running out of toothpaste and needing more, needing to workout, thinking about buying that sweater you saw on Instagram, calling your mom to check in, paying those bills, and calling a random 888 number to double check the charges you saw on your Zoom account the other day, ALL FEEL EQUALLY URGENT and like they ALL NEEDED TO HAPPEN NOW.

They don’t.

And we love our moms. And we do need toothpaste.

But what we need to do in these moments is prioritize and schedule. And here, you might be thinking that prioritizing is about urgency. Nope. It’s about your goals and larger commitments. What are the big things you are committed to? Work backwards from there. For example, if I don’t communicate in a timely manner with my clients, my business falls apart. So, number one is communication with my clients – that means calling my new client back and getting my content organized and ready to go out on time. Now, it’s easy for me to start sacrificing my personal needs like working out in order to free up more time and power through my list, but that’s a bad idea, because if I do it once, I start making a habit of it and then I’m not a really a fun person to be around. So, I make sure I get that workout in next.

All the while, I’m starting to attune to the present moment because I’ve freed up mental and emotional space by scheduling the items on my list into my calendar. And because I don’t like being rushed when I’m checking in with my mom, I text her and get a call on the books for the next day.

Getting Centered

Take your list, and put it in your calendar. Then leave it, breathe, and get present. The power of the calendar should not be underestimated. For me, if it’s not scheduled, it’s not happening. I’m sorry to all the dreamers out there who just cringed. I get you. I used to be you. But you can schedule free time and dream time too, and I do. And in fact, when my to do list is laid out in front of me sprinkled nicely throughout the week, I end up finding some magical moments throughout my day because I’m not in a state of overwhelm, I’m present. And when we are present, time opens up and magic happens.

So, if you got overwhelm, join me now in this centering meditation and learn to bring yourself into the present moment, take charge of your schedule, and shift from being busy to being productive.

Explore the Spectrum

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The Principles of Healing are found in the Laws of Frequency. Not the rate of how often we do something, but the length of the vibrational wave of the thing – the action, thought, or feeling.

fre·quen·cy

/ˈfrēkwənsē/

1. The rate at which something occurs or is repeated over a particular period of time or in a given sample.
“shops have closed with increasing frequency during the period”

2. The rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material (as in sound waves), or in an electromagnetic field (as in radio waves and light), usually measured per second.
“different thicknesses of glass will absorb different frequencies of sound”

Working with the second definition, we can safely say that absolutely everything has a frequency. From a stone, to a tree, to a thought we have about our neighbors, to a feeling we carry around in our body. The frequency can be measured on a scale. From low to high or from slow to fast.

Colors all have a frequency. Reds wavelengths are longer than violet. Neither is better, it’s just a fact, a Law of the Universe. This is how the third dimensional reality that we exist in creates itself.

Working with the second definition, we can safely say that absolutely everything has a frequency. From a stone, to a tree, to a thought we have about our neighbors, to a feeling we carry around in our body. The frequency can be measured on a scale. From low to high or from slow to fast.

Colors all have a frequency. Reds wavelengths are longer than violet. Neither is better, it’s just a fact, a Law of the Universe. This is how the third dimensional reality that we exist in creates itself.

However, we seldom understand how to apply this information about frequency to our own life. How do we apply this principal to our own reality?

In the wake of so much upheaval occurring in our country, I hear many people asking, “How can I hold all this?” “How can I be with all this?” While this is a compassionate question to be asking, a question that might provide for more levity in the end is: “How do I heal what I see in the world in myself?” And the answer is: raise your frequency. That’s correct, we can raise our frequency ourselves! And when we vibrate (cells, thoughts, feelings), at a higher wavelength, lower frequency thoughts and feelings transform instantly. Much how a tuning fork works by becoming the dominant pitch to bring everything else up to perfect tune, the light we ignite in ourselves acts like a tuning fork for other vibrational tones that are distorted or out of tune.

The darkness we witness and sometimes feel comes from ignorance (the inverse of truth), which can alternatively be seen as the distortion of light waves. Rage and depression – frequencies that vibrate at a slower pace and can create distortion in our vibrational field- are more dense and heavier as a physical sensation. When we raise our frequency, we can shift our state of consciousness immediately. And by doing so, gain access to new perspective, insights, and understanding that was not available prior.

This is how The Principles of Healing are found in The Laws of Frequency, connoting an accelerated way to evolve. When we heal, we up-level our frequency and instantly take a quantum leap from one reality to another. It’s a profound experience that can leave an individual in awe. Seemingly like entering a room filled with brand new narratives and tools, ways of being, ways of seeing, and storylines that are aligned with personal freedom rather than sabotage or hardship. In one instance, none of this is present, and in another instant, it is! Such is the game of this reality on earth. A game that everyone is invited to play!

I remember, on my own path, how I began to heal aspects of pain that arose in my relationship to my mother. As if living inside a miracle, elements of how I understood my mother, what I thought she thought about me, and what I thought about her, completely and utterly transformed. As I dove into the game of frequency, patterns of hurt and misunderstanding that lived inside of me seemed to dissolve. By gaining a new perspective, I not only saw where I had been stuck, but I saw how my own healing and freedom where in the palm of my hands. And how do you think my mother felt when I dropped so much baggage? Pretty good, I can tell you that. By healing myself through the principles of frequency, I helped elevate our connection and improved our relationship. (Remember: I did not set out to heal, convince, educate, or enlighten my mother! I focused on me, and thus, was able to show up with more love and more ease and inevitably the relationship shifted).

Healing, thus, brings about transformation. And this happens through raising our frequency. Please note here that transformation is very different from change. Transformation means something is different forever, at a core level. It’s the difference between painting a wall in your home (change) and knocking it down to open up the room (transformation). So let’s get down to it! There are several ways to raise our frequency. Today, I’ll walk us through the key methods: intention, breathe work, and visualization.

RAISE YOUR FREQUENCY

Join me now in this guided meditation where we practice all three and experience the weight of certain thoughts and feelings dissolve in the higher frequency of light that we are.

Serve Something Greater

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What do you want to serve that is greater than yourself?

That’s this month’s question…

Asking this question is powerful. It can break the cycle of obsessive thoughts and downer feelings that create suffering. It doesn’t take away the hills we will climb or the pain we might feel along the way, but asking this question can certainly accelerate us through it all.

Knowing what we are of service to gives us purpose. And when we have purpose, we have direction. And when we have direction… well, watch out, direction leads to focus, and focus is what creates extraordinary lives. With invigorated spirits, choosing where we focus the mind is everything. It is the most important thing we can do to define our life experience. And defining or re-defining our life can start by asking a simple question.

When I get into my own cycle of suffering, I find that my mind focuses on all the ways I haven’t fulfilled my potential. Isn’t that fun? It’s such a familiar landscape at this point that I can call it out when it happens, but sometimes I will unwittingly entertain the suffering for a day or two. I review all the lefts I took instead of rights, I think about the doors that opened that I didn’t walk through, and on and on, around the ferris wheel I go. Then, really intense feeling of anxiety and helplessness begin to creep into my belly and throat like heavy liquid metal. Then it all starts to manifest as hyper vigilance and agitation… which is super fun for my partner as you can imagine. But he can get away from me… I can’t get away from me, so I ask myself this one question and it breaks the wheel I’m hitched to.

How? I take a deep breath and connect to what I am serving that is greater than myself. I see all the faces of my clients, of young people in high school and college, of women reaching for their next expression…and my negative self-obsession melts away. In my mind’s eye, I feel and witness the deep breaths and healing, the lightness of being and awakening, of people I have yet to meet. My heart fills. I am calm. I am focused. I have direction. I become aware of my strengths and gifts, my vision and intention, the support in my life, and the aliveness and passion that lives in me. Just like that. And then I take action to support this new state.

Remember, suffering is created as a result of where we focus the mind. In other words, what thoughts we listen to in our heads, what feelings we allow to take over our bodies and drive the thoughts into endless cycles. We can so easily create our own hell, and with a breath and a change of focus, we can so easily create our own heaven.

The number one thing to watch out for is whether or not we are focused obsessively on ourselves. If we are asking ourselves, “What do I have and what don’t I have? What am I getting and what am I not getting? How much money am I making or not making? How do they see me? What will they think of me?” then we are inside the game of comparison. And that is a game of self-obsession. A not-so-lovely game designed to keep the ego in the driver’s seat.

Thus, we can shift our focus from suffering to freedom by asking the question “What do I want to serve that is greater than myself?”

This can lead to a big answer like world peace, global unity, enlightenment of humankind, OR you can start right where you are (which helps the aforementioned by the way), and look to serving your partner, your children, your clients, the environment, animals… to name only a few possibilities. And if this question actually feels too big, then I invite you to ask yourself, “Who can I serve today?”

Let’s continue to break the cycle of selfishness together.

And not at the expense of our health and personal time. That’s called co-dependency, which is a different topic entirely. Service rejuvenates, is life-giving, it inspires us to care for ourselves -our bodies and minds, our sleep and diet, our spiritual connection, and more.

CONNECT WITH YOUR HIGHER SELF

So, this month, I am offering a Higher Self meditation for you. This deep practice helps us reconnect with the very thing that is not only bigger than us, but that illuminates our greatest ideas, inspirations, and moments.

Join me in a breath practice that leads us gently to re-connect with our magnificent Higher Self. And when you are through, sit quietly, and ask yourself then, “What do I choose to serve that is greater than myself?”

Celebrate Love

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February is the token month for love – commercially speaking. I’m already seeing strings of hearts going up on the walls of gas stations that dot the highway from Denver into the mountains. I’m seeing the bulging isles of pink and red in Walgreens. (Who goes to Walgreens anymore? I know, I do). And while I believe that love should be celebrated, I think chalking up our most romantic gestures, gifts, and quality time to February 14th leaves us missing the point of this incarnation entirely.

Let’s just state the obvious, love should be celebrated every day, right? Then why does that feel so hard sometimes? One reason is because we collapse love and relationship into one entity. We make them depend on each other. We have gotten deeply attached to conditional love and we are suffering for it.

Let me explain.

If we allow love and relationship to exist separately as two different entities, we can begin to ease the pain many of us carry from collapsing them into a dependent association. For example, if we consider this principle and examine a parent who has treated us badly, we come to realize that our decision about the relationship can exist independently from the assessment of whether or not they deserve our love.

Too often, we decide that people -based on their behaviors- don’t deserve love. There’s actually no one on this god given earth that does not deserve love. However, what someone might not deserve is our trust and our time. This distinction can heal hearts. How? Because it is, in fact, holding back our love that hurts our hearts the most, even more than the distance between us.

Let’s go deeper.

Love is something that the heart is born to do.

The love I am talking about is a universal love that is bigger than us, while also being the fabric of what we are made of and bounded by. It’s a substance that emanates from the heart, and is not conditional. It is the kind of love that exists without opinion. It just is. And the heart celebrates this kind of love!

When we allow the shifts of relationship to complicate the heart’s desire to express itself, we suffer unnecessary pain. The love I’m pointing to does not need words or phone calls or apology letters to make it so. It is the inner choice to release oneself from holding back a natural and infinite flow, alleviate the strain we’ve bound our hearts by unknowingly. The choice is energetic and intentional.

Thus, asking our hearts not to love can actually cause physical pain, illness, premature aging, and more. The pain we feel from ending a relationship is not always about the separation or the absence, as I said, but about holding love back.

I understand, we withdraw our love because we don’t feel safe, or we want to “hurt them back,” or we want to make a point – all things that end up hurting us in the long run. I’ve been there. I’ve done it myself. And what I am saying is that you don’t have to hold back your love because you’ve set a boundary. Allow the heart to remain open while re-defining the relationship.

There are many kinds of relationships -friends, lovers, partners, parents, acquaintances, siblings, co-workers, spiritual community members, teammates… the list goes on and on. When we give ourselves the chance to see that each category of relationship carries its own unique signature of values, agreements, and style of connection, we adjust our behavior and our expectations, the way we interact, our trust and our time, but not the openness of our heart. The heart stays open.

You see, emotional freedom happens through the heart. And emotional freedom is our birthright. But in order for the heart to operate well, it must be permitted to open to the world and emanate its vibrational field to all of life. Not just some of life. In the same way a flower releases its fragrance, showing no bias to who walks by, or who admires it, or who picks a petal… it simply and freely emits its mesmerizing scent. Our hearts long for the same permission.

Therefore, if someone in our life moves from one category of relationship to another, our job is to make the necessary adjustments in our expectations. It’s an invitation to uphold our values and be in integrity with ourselves around how we show up. In this way we become empowered in our boundary making, in our communication, and in our guiding values. And when we do this, we can surrender with ease to allowing our heart to do what it does best: emit love.

PERMISSION TO LOVE MORE

Join me in this month’s meditation where we clear the blocks and take down the walls that damn up our heart’s love. When we allow ourselves to emanate this unconditional love into the shadows of our being, then the flow of our love increases in the places we already allow it to run freely! Take a chance, and join me in celebrating love every day!

XOX And hey, and Happy Valentine’s Day

Embrace the New Year

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WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF 2021

We’ve arrived.

And this should tell us one very special, very important thing, we all have capacity. Whether you’re aware of it or not, this past year has pushed us all to develop more capacity in our emotional lives. And in order to continue to cultivate our capacity, we need to break down how we developed it over the past year.

FIRST: WHAT IS CAPACITY?

The most common definitions are: “The maximum amount that something can contain.” “The ability, capability, or fitness to do something.” “The ability to contain or deal with something.” “Mental or physical power.”

More often than not, capacity refers to containment and how much something can hold. A theater is at capacity. The cup is over capacity. The object cannot hold any more. It’s at its max. It’s reached its limit. I think we can all remember a moment in 2020 when we felt our emotional edges. I know I can. And it was being pressed up against these limits that had us grow past them. The struggle of 2020 was also the gift. The pain it caused also instigated growth. The challenge was also the opportunity.

So how did we cultivate capacity unknowingly? In 2020, we were all served up two key ingredients for transformation: intensity and consistency. The intensity was all around us and many felt that intensity internally as well, on an emotional level. The consistency was found in being asked to adjust and show up otherwise without relief. We were all asked, on a consistent basis, to do things differently. And when we have intensity and consistency operating, we open to transformation.

Thus, I welcome you to a new year as a new you. Whether you knew it or not, you have gained capacity, new strength to hold and contain the emotional spectrum of life!

But why is capacity so important?

Our individual capacity defines our life experience. I’m pointing to our life experience as our ability to know ourselves, relate to others, have deep meaningful relationships, feel like contributing and impactful citizens, and continue to consciously create and embrace our lives. Our ability to safely hold the inner ups and downs in the way the sky holds the weather, or a mother holds in her arms the many expressions of her child, directly correlates to our quality of life.

Yet, the most beautiful thing about capacity is that you’re never stuck with the limits of what you’ve learned. You can always create more! And that’s what we want, greater emotional capacity.

CULTIVATE CAPACITY

2020 gave us the opportunity to grow capacity, perhaps, without realizing it. So now that we know how important is it, let’s consciously cultivate it in 2021. Together, we can use my favorite little exercise that takes a few minutes a day.

Step 1 – Pick a word any love-based word (*see suggestions below)
Step 2 – Focus on cultivating the emotional experience of this word through imagination
Step 3 – Be loyal to this inner experience; choose it over old patterns of familiar reaction

*Love based words: love, peace, harmony, joy, connection, power, clarity, vitality, unity, intimacy, passion, trust, tenderness, compassion, devotion, faith, vibrancy, health….

Every time, you breathe through an old familiar pattern of reaction (anger, frustration, shut-down, sadness), and pick up your chosen love-based word instead, you are consciously cultivating capacity!

Let’s learn to manage our inner state rather than be in reaction to it. Let’s grow capacity to hold the great expanse of human emotion and learn to be the container of love that our inner life can rise and fall safely inside of. As the more we can have capacity for ourselves, the more we have for others. We lead with genuine curiosity and heart, able to manage whatever we discover inside along the way. We are less reactionary, more stable, more consistent, more fearless, and more trustworthy. By nature of this, people feel more accepted and safer in our presence. Thus, the more capacity we have collectively, the more transformed and united our world can become.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Connect to Your Deepest Wisdom

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How often do we listen to our bodies? My fiancé and I were on a hike today. A big burly beautiful hike through the Rocky Mountains. And as we crested the mountain, we came to an intersection with two trails leading home. The difference between the trails was a mile and a half, that’s it. My partner, ever the energizer bunny, was ready for the longer trail. But I had to pause. There was such a subtle ‘No’ lingering in my physiology. It presented as slight tension, almost undetectable, and just a hint of fatigue – lingering, waiting to express further if I pushed too far.

At home, I had quite a load of action items I was still accountable, so I knew I had to maintain a semblance of alertness once I was home. In other words, I didn’t have the space and time for a deep recovery. The kind that looks like dinner and a movie marathon.

I looked at my partner and said, “I feel scared of over-doing it, I’d really like to take the side trail down.” I knew he’s be disappointed -ever ready for more- but after a check-in or two, we were on the way down. And to tell you the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth-so-help-me-god, I felt guilty about my decision at first. I felt bad for not pushing myself further and for robbing my partner of that last length. Usually, we listen to that guilt and let it push us around, but I wouldn’t let it. My body had spoken, and we had group consensus. I let the guilt go. And lovingly, my partner told me how great the trail was that I chose. But it was later at home, when we had settled in and eaten a luscious dinner and were letting go into the evening with hours to spare and I was still clear headed and ready to work, did we look at each other -as he made a leap for the couch and I the office- and say, “Thank god we listened!”

There is something about listening… Something about putting immediate gratification aside. Something about making it easier for yourself to enjoy your whole life. Something about finding ways to bring gentleness and self-care to our experience through listening…to what? To our bodies. Our bodies tell us what’s up. If we need more rest, less rest, more food, less sweets, more water, a different kind of exercise… Listening adds spontaneity to our life. We let routines change when we listen. It fosters deep connection. And it encourages authenticity because the truth of the moment is in the body. The body doesn’t lie. Believe me, there are days I took the long trail home and rolled in well after dark. I have great memories of that. So, it would have been easy to have gone on “what’s familiar,” “what I’m used to,” “my status quo,” “what people expect of me,” and more than anything, “what I expect of myself.” But listening allows us to expand our experience. Our bodies are temples of wisdom. They know us better than we know ourselves. And sometimes they are able to have a long-term view that we don’t have access to.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

So, as we enter this holiday streak, I invite you to listen. Ask your body what’s it’s trying to tell you. And remember, it is ALWAYS about your best interest and success. I think that many of us push past what are bodies are telling us because we are afraid our bodies won’t support what we want. Not the case. When we listen, we learn to heal, and we come out stronger. Most of the time, in ways we could have never imagined.

Step Into the Void

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The unknown scares that crap out of most of us. We have all become professionals at managing our fear of this looming little void. We become incessant planners, scenario prep artists, masters of schedules, and more. Yet all these skills can’t keep us safe. We end up giving the unknown our power by being afraid of it, by losing sleep and sweating the things we can’t control. You see, the unknown is unavoidable, and it’s with us all the time. It lives in every moment of every breath. In fact, we do ourselves a great disservice by trying to keep it at bay. If we were more related to this element of life, we would probably cherish our moments with loved ones more, choose connection over being right, chew more slowly and allow ourselves to taste our food with more passion, say I love you with all our presence behind it… it would humble us, reminding us that we are not ever really in control, and open us to the magic of life and our gratitude for it.

You see, the unknown lives on the other side of control. And all of us, without exception, have faced the unknown this year. How have you done? Did you grip more tightly, or learn to let go? Did you try to keep things on course, or did you allow yourself to listen for ingenuity, creativity, and new insight while in the empty space? That beautiful potentiality that allows us to expand beyond our familiar known landscape and stretch ourselves toward new and unexplored horizons… that is also the unknown.

Being afraid of the unknown is normal. Let me just say that. In primal eras, the “known” was safe and the “unknown” was dangerous. Our brains are wired to fear the unknown and it’s that neurological wiring that has kept our species alive. However, as food, shelter, and belonging become aspects of life most of us take for granted (not all, but most), the idea of the unknown becomes an emotional, mental, and spiritual invitation. It becomes an invitation for personal growth.

After years of exploring this space called the unknown, I have come to learn one thing for sure: when I am face to face with it, I know I am on the precipice of transformation. But it wasn’t always like this. I have resisted it with all of my might, flailing in free fall, crying myself to sleep, grabbing for inspiration, pretending to be fine, spinning stories to keep me safe… Resisting the unknown, when it’s calling you, is maddening.

I recall when I was fighting Lyme Disease so many years ago, how the unknown was trying to consume me. Devour me! There was a point while I was fighting it that I finally let go. I just didn’t have the strength anymore to fight. I let it swallow me. I surrendered in exhaustion. And it was in that moment that my health began to improve. It was the first moment that my mind became quiet, the first moment that my heart beat began to find an even rhythm, the first time that I was able to see light at the end of the tunnel… I remember it like yesterday. The moment I gave myself to the unknown was the first time I began to feel peace…and possibility.

BREATHING THROUGH THE UNKNOWN

Thus, I invite us all to learn to trust this loving space. Sometimes it alerts us with a veil of fear that must be pierced. But on the other side awaits the infinitely quiet, self-generating, star lit, potential. And getting to know this potential allows us to gain something we could only have hoped for in our dreams.

In this week’s practice, I share a meditation that invites us to identify and touch the unknown through the breath. This is a meditation I offered with co-founder of Gthx: gratitude, Omar Brownson, during a Thursday night class we facilitated together.

Let Your Heart Lead

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What does it mean when someone says “be in your heart”? Does it mean to be loving? To be kind? Understanding? Compassionate? Yes, it does. But there is so much more. It also means to have clear boundaries, to be empowered, and to be unstoppable in the pursuit of your dreams.

It might sound like a tall order. “You want me to be compassionate and unstoppable?” I can hear you say. “You want me to be kind and have clear boundaries?… Ummm???”

But here’s the magic… this is not a predicament meant to be solved with our minds. It’s an experience that comes from being in the heart. So, in order to “be in the heart” let’s take some time to understand the heart both as an organ and as an electromagnetic field. Once we do this, we begin to reckon with the fact that we all have a super-power inside of us; and this super-power is something that has been with us from the very beginning and will be with us to the end…

Let’s take a look at a few incredible facts about the heart, so we can expand our knowledge and understanding of this vital organ and powerful vortex of possibility. With this information, you will be able to understand what it means to be “in the heart” and why it’s so important. Here we go…

  • In the embryo, the cells which form the brain are the same cells that form the heart.
  • We have up to 40,000 brain-like cells in the heart that think, feel, and remember independent of the cranial brain cells.
  • The heart starts beating in the unborn fetus before the brain has been formed; thus, humans form an emotional brain long before a rational one
  • The heart makes many of its own decisions.
  • Oxytocin, the “love” hormone, is manufactured in the heart, not in the brain.
  • The heart has its own electrical impulses and can continue to beat if taken from the body.
  • The heart has the biggest electromagnetic field of any organ in the body.
  • The heart’s electromagnetic field is called the Torus and can stretch up to 60 feet in diameter.
  • Shifting the electromagnetic field of the heart sends messages to the brain about how to think and feel.
  • The heart sends more information to the brain through the nervous system than the other way around.
  • Scientist, psychophysiologist, executive vice president and director of research at HeartMath Institute, says, “We found that from the body perspective, the heart is the first to receive non-local signals or intuitions that are then passed to the brain. It’s a result I wouldn’t have predicted. The heart has access to information outside the boundaries of time and space. It’s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
  • Finally, Gregg Braden shares on how to establish heart-brain coherence by saying, “There are four keywords for coherence: appreciation, gratitude, care, and compassion. When we practice moving into states aligned with one of these words, or some combination of the four, we create communication between the heart and the brain.”

FEEL THE BEAT

Thus, we can begin to understand that by practicing appreciation, gratitude, care, and compassion, we expand the physical electromagnetic field of the heart, influencing the neurological signals in our brain and supporting us to feel and think more positively. When we begin to treat our heart’s intelligence with respect and reverence, we change our lives for the better; healthier, happier, and in coherence.

Here is a heart-centering meditation I made for you…

Time to Lighten Up

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Lightening our emotional load is worth it, every time. It accelerates our growth, allows us to maintain alignment in times of strife, and transforms our perspective and experience. There have been too many times in my life that I was clueless to what I was carrying, until I put it down. After letting loose various accumulated baggage I had picked up along the road of life, I realized immediately that I could breathe easier, think more clearly, listen better, and be more present to myself and others. But I didn’t know what I was carrying until I stopped and gave myself a chance to put it down.

Over a decade ago, I went through a breakup that was both relieving and surprising. But the relief didn’t come right away. At first, I felt let down, so deeply disappointed by the person I had ended the relationship with that I wasn’t sure how to pick up the pieces. In my perception, he withheld his love and replaced it slowly, over time, with cruelty. I was confused and angry and hurt. I asked myself, How did I not see it coming? How could I have let myself stay in the relationship? How could he treat me like that? I was beating myself up. I was blaming and judging him. But everything I was thinking and feeling was only hurting me. All the pain I was carrying was weighing me down and promising a very challenging future.

Caroline Myss, author and renowned medical intuitive, tells us that forgiveness is the ultimate act of self-love. And as I allowed myself to admit that no one was being burdened by my pain but me, I became intolerant to the emotional experience I was answering to. I started to forgive him…and myself. And through my process of forgiveness, my perception and experience transformed.

I saw that I had truly been doing the best I could. I saw that he had also been doing the best he could. Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better,” and our heroic poet and sage is right. We are all doing the best we can given the information and education we have in the moment. Is ignorance now an excuse for terrible behavior? Of course not. Awakening from ignorance to knowledge is found through the power of examination; through stopping and contemplating what there is to forgive. This promotes insight, which promotes choice, which promotes new action. Every time we take a step toward self-love, we support the awakening wisdom of the whole. Your self-love matters.

LIGHTENING THE LOAD THROUGH FORGIVENESS

Today, I’m offering the practice of forgiveness as one way to alleviate unneeded stress and strain. Forgiveness unchains us from the burden of blame and victimhood. It frees us from the heaviness of shame and guilt. It allows us and others to live their lives more freely.

When we forgive, we lighten our load. We allow our light to shine more brightly. We can move at greater velocity on our path, we can navigate life’s hurtles with more grace and ease, and we can smile more easily. Right now, the world needs our light. Your loved ones need your light. And we deserve to radiate because it feels good.