Archive | December 2015

Arriving In Ojai and The New Year

Hmm, I’m under a little time crunch here, which is new for me and this blog. It’s 5:55 am and I have the kitchen to myself for now. No one is up yet. The kitchen is in the main house of the Ojai Eco-Sanctuary where Jen Pastiloff’s New Year’s Retreat is held. I am a guest in the yurt, which is quite a hike away from the main house, which is a very cool thing. It’s a beautiful hike by daylight and especially by moonlight, which is how I arrived here in the kitchen this morning. There is magic here. The magic that started for me earlier this year with Jen Pastiloff over Facebook, of all places. So really, a more accurate statement is, the magic continues!

The Yoga Center at night

The Yoga Center at night

This blog topic is about more than just arriving in Ojai and The New Year. It’s about God and the Universe continually bringing me to people, places and things that help me find my authentic self and continue my journey to my heart. My journey to “heart” living. The opening circle was amazing. A chance to open ourselves to vulnerability. A chance to write and state what we are manifesting for the coming year. A chance to change our minds about that if we want. A chance to provide the gift of listening fiercely to others. A chance to trust another with your written manifestations, forever. A chance to beauty hunt.

I love Facebook and what I am building it to be for me. FOR ME. It’s been a true place of connection with phenomenal people and pages out there. Not just Jen Pastiloff, although she was the first to reach back to me in a meaningful way. Which gave me the courage to reach out to Becky Vollmer of You Are Not Stuck and Ellie Hodges of Emergent Life. Two fabulous women with incredible messages to offer the world, to offer me, which they have on a personal level. So, I bring up Facebook, because it fairly recently started ‘On This Day’ memory posts that show you what you posted in previous years on that exact date. Today a New Year’s meme showed up in my Facebook memory. This one ——>10882155_506343496175607_5151527060005405045_n                       I wrote above the meme that “I am bringing my gifts, my enthusiasm and willingness to discover into 2015! What will you bring to your new year?” The funny thing is until I saw that pop up in my newsfeed at 4:45 am while I was snuggled in my cot in the yurt, I’d forgotten I’d ever written that. But look at how much of that came true! So I really didn’t forget, deep down where my authentic self lives. And really, once again, it goes back to God and the Universe helping me live up to the intentions I set for myself last year. How’s that for magic?

So this blog will be short and sweet as I’ve only been in Ojai for half a day. There is a full day on the slate for New Year’s Eve and to ring in the New Year. Then there is a half a day for Friday, January 1st, 2016. I can’t wait to bring my gifts, enthusiam and willingness to the final days of 2015 so I can tell you about the magic that helps create… Until Saturday’s post, I hope you ring in the New Year safely, in whatever manner you choose. Namaste and much love from Ojai.

This entry was posted on December 31, 2015. 3 Comments

Heart Openers

png-1099386__180 If you were around for the launching of my blog you may recall I referred to this as “A journey home to my authentic self, living from my heart which I believe will lead me to a bigger, more open life.” That was a little over four and a half months ago. Looking back now, I can see I was so busy building my brave by writing and walking through my fears that I hadn’t given much thought to how the journey would unfold or where it would lead. I’m still not sure but let me tell you something, living from my heart has taken me to some deeply spiritual, emotional, joyful, insightful and painful places within and without. There are so many examples I could give you but it’s very late. You see, I had this blog topic and the first sentence written on Sunday afternoon. However, right now it’s 12:28 am, Tuesday morning and I’ve been procrastinating as only I can: emotional eating (a double-double from In-N-Out, Cheetos puffs, peanut butter m&m’s and leftover Christmas cookies and Coke Zero) and re-watching a movie I found on tv (The Conjuring). I’ve been avoiding and putting off writing this particular blog because it feels a lot more personal than the others. That seems crazy, right? I mean, all of my blogs have been deeply honest and personal.

My spiritual advisor believes that everything, absolutely everything that happens to us is leading us to our hearts. To a greater understanding, a deeper connection to our higher selves, the Divinity within. In yoga, there are asanas (poses/stretches) designed to access the different chakras. The heart chakra is known as Anahata. The poses and stretches associated with this chakra are called “heart openers”. They evoke strong emotions for me every damn time but I welcome that release these days.yoga-876744__180

I’ve recently come to understand God and the Universe can also send me “heart openers”. When I least expect them, of course. The most recent ones came on the drive home from Pasadena Christmas night with my middle son, Ahbuh. I touched on it briefly at the end of my previous blog post. He opened my eyes and heart to some hard truths about his older brother that tie directly back to my behaviors as their mother and even to his own feelings and perspective about our family. I didn’t know some “heart openers” can crack your chest wide open until this past weekend. I’m grateful that I was fully present for that time in the car with my son. I’m grateful that I didn’t argue with him too long before accepting his feelings and perspective as valid. I’m grateful that he could open up to me in that way and that I LISTENED. Because I have not always listened or paid attention to my precious middle child, who is so like me. In fact, all of my children have taken after many aspects of my personalities past and present. It has not been easy to see, acknowledge or accept. I wanted so much better for them. I wanted so much for them to do better than I did, not make the same mistakes. So these particular Life “heart openers” have broadened my capacity to process, understand and accept my children. Ah but the pain to breathe through, feel and process along the way…

Tomorrow, Wednesday I’m driving to Ojai, CA for Jennifer Pastiloff’s Annual New Year’s Retreat. I won a scholarship when I entered her essay contest a few months ago. There will be yoga, A LOT of journaling, manifestation workshops, Karaoke, dancing, vegetarian meals, a cooking class and free time to hike, hot tub or swim. It’s three days of what I’m certain will be a great deal of heart opening. So soon after Christmas. It feels like either Life keeps putting me in these situations or I’m actively pursuing them.

Which is exactly what happens when you declare an intention and live from that. Moments like unexpected “heart openers” and winning essay contests still catch me off guard. These are just more situations that I must take on faith. Trust what God and the Universe reveal to me or offers to me. I just need to remember to breathe, trust and above all, show up. These days it takes more than the 80% http://buildyourownbrave.com/2015/08/25/showing-up/ . Thank God I’m more than capable of bringing the other 20% today.

 

This entry was posted on December 29, 2015. 2 Comments

The Best And True Gifts

Dream bracelets

Dream bracelets

This is a picture of two different bracelets gifted to me this Christmas from my daughter, Baby Bub and my daughter-in-love, Mary. What is so precious to me about them is they both are about dreams. Mary gave me a wrap-around bracelet that says “Dreams become reality one choice at a time”. Baby Bub gave me a silver bangle with a see through charm that has the word “Dream” inside it and written around the border of the charm is “Courage makes dreams possible”.  How awesome is it that they both thought of me when they saw the bracelets?  My best friend, Sarah made me a lovely pendant necklace using my granddaughter, Ava’s picture she pulled off my Facebook page with the promise to make me a pendant bracelet with baby Charlie’s picture as soon I can get one up on Facebook that she can crop as she was able to with Ava’s. 580385_10208530100752274_2522190422087796525_n Additionally, Mary knitted me a beautiful slouchy cap, Baby Bub bought me a really pretty matching necklace/earring set and Sarah gifted me a Eucalyptus Spearmint body wash/foam bath, soap and body lotion which provides aromatherapy stress relief. I got movie tickets from a friend I go to movies with and Mary’s mother, my badass co-grandmother gifted a beautiful multi-colored scarf, a fun red purse and a beautiful wooden sign for my place. They were all such thoughtful gifts.

The true gifts of this Christmas were being with family and friends that are family! I got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at both of my best friends’ houses with their families. Both are homes I am just as comfortable in as I am in my own where I am part of the family. Christmas afternoon and evening I got to spend it in Pasadena with my oldest son, Charles, daughter-in-love, Mary, the grandbabies and Mary’s family. I brought my middle son and he got to be Uncle Lyndon for the afternoon, something he’s not able to do often now that he lives in Northern California. This is him and Ava at dinner.12390844_10208539757393684_2061724260169325986_n

As anticipated, I got to spend time with all three of my grown up children on Christmas. Not all together, but it was great just the same. I spent the most time with Lyndon (Ahbuh) since we were in the car ride to and from Pasadena together, which I thought was fitting because he lives the farthest away. I gained some insight from him about his older brother and myself. Or rather he reminded me of some patterns of behavior I used to exhibit when they were little kids that his older brother now seems to have picked up. It was also jolting and hurtful to hear that he considers our family to be estranged. I argued with him briefly about that, telling him what estranged meant and that wasn’t our family. But he firmly told me that he had a different perspective and pointed out times when his older brother wasn’t speaking to me, when he himself wasn’t speaking to me and that their sister, Baby Bub never calls or keeps in touch with them. Well, that shut me down but good because he’s right. Who am I to tell him his perspective is wrong? I was pretty quiet the rest of the ride home. And now that I’m here blogging I do recall I’ve fretted and talked to my therapist about feeling my family is fractured. So really, what’s the difference between estranged and fractured? Turns out not much after looking them up.

So my Christmas ends on a sobering gift of someone else’s perspective and truth as I journey home to myself, my heart, and work towards my purpose.

 

This entry was posted on December 26, 2015. 1 Comment

In The Spirit of Christmas

bokeh-1033283__180I love music this time of year, Christmas music. The classics really do it for me. I have Mary J. Blige and Kelly Clarkson Christmas CD’s that I’ve been listening to in my car. They never fail to put me in the Christmas spirit. My favorites are “The Christmas Song”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “My Favorite Things” ( from The Sound Of Music, my favorite musical), “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Noche De Paz”(Silent Night sung as a Spanish duet between Mary J. Blige and Marc Antony).  I sing along during my morning commute and after work, they tend to soothe and restore my soul.

I’m sitting here experiencing really good aches & pains from my yoga class the night before. There’s soreness in my ribs when I turn suddenly or laugh too hard, my shoulders and arms ache from an especially effective heart opening asana involving a band, and a delicious mild stiffness in my thighs and calves from our warrior poses! If any of you recall, I’ve been sick and then depressed so I’ve missed about two weeks of classes. Last night’s class was like coming home to myself. It was strenuous, a little painful, very emotional and absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe I stayed away so long or that I tried to talk myself out of  going.

I’m feeling pretty accomplished too as I delivered a crockpot chili dinner with cornbread to a friend tonight as part of my “Bali-fund” fundraising endeavors! I have a co-worker that ordered one from me for next week after I told her about putting the chili together in the crockpot before work this morning. Plus I managed to whip up Spaghetti for Baby Bub and me for our own dinner. She called me earlier when I was at work to tell me she stirred the chili for me and expressed an interest in making cookies. She had a hankering for oatmeal cookies without the raisins. I told her to call Auntie Chelle (my sister) for a recipe because she has a good one. I texted her the phone number because Baby Bub is 20 years old and never keeps track of family phone numbers beyond her parents and brothers. Lo, and behold she did call her Auntie and got the recipe. She just finished baking them and now the house smells like a delicious amalgam of chili, spaghetti, and cookies! She was chatting and asking me a bazillion questions on how to do things, which is what she does when she has a recipe, but I am nearby. Or she calls me on the phone a bazillion times when I’m not.gourmet-cookies-1041327__180

I’m looking forward to Christmas day because I’ll get to see and spend time with all three of my children! Not all of them in the same place at the same time, though, let’s not get crazy. I’ll get up and out early to visit my two best friends’ houses for coffee and to give them some of my French Toast Bakes made especially for Christmas morning. Then it’s back home to watch the Miami Heat hopefully beat the New Orleans Pelicans in their 9:00 am NBA Christmas kick-off game. At some point, Baby Bub will wake up on her own or from my normal screaming and hollering during a Miami Heat game. My middle child, Ahbuh is here from Northern California, but not staying with us, so he will mosey on over some time before 11:00 am when we leave for Pasadena to see the grandbabies, my daughter-in-love and my oldest son, Charles. Baby Bub has her own plans and will not be joining us for the trip up there. Now that my children are grown up, I’ll take my family however I can get them.

In the spirit of Christmas, I want to tell you how grateful I am for the healthy, meaningful connections I am blessed with in my life. Music connects me to fond memories and uplifting emotion. My spiritual practices and programs connect me to God, myself and others in such a profound way when I am fully present. Most importantly I am grateful for the connections to my family of origin, my family of the heart and my worldwide human family. In the spirit of Christmas, I acknowledge how this blog has connected me with myself and hopefully extends out to you all who so graciously share in my journey by reading it. Merry Christmas and I love you all. bokeh-1033282__180

This entry was posted on December 24, 2015. 1 Comment

Truth and Trust

truth-257162__180Those of you that read Saturday’s blog post now know the truth about me. I am profoundly, hopelessly, relentlessly, beautifully, amazingly human. I am fully capable of incapacitating myself with an inner shitstorm of fear, doubt, and discouragement. Looking back at last week, I realized that besides my final session with my therapist on Monday night, I missed my Tuesday yoga class and my weekly phone call with my spiritual advisor on Wednesday because I was sick. I also stayed home from work sick on Thursday. By then my inner shitstorm had started gathering because I’d already come across the Facebook post from my yoga studio about their certification program being available in the summer instead of after the beginning of the New Year. All this means I spent a great deal of time by myself last week and if I haven’t said it here before, I’m saying it now. An alcoholic alone is in bad, BAD company.

The truth of the matter is that I isolated most of the weekend too. I didn’t go to my Saturday morning yoga class, I blew off a Christmas Tree lighting/Cookie Exchange party I was supposed to be helping with, and I didn’t go to the Saturday night meeting at the library. I lied to the two friends that texted me Saturday night asking if I was okay. The only reason I left my house Sunday morning is because I had a service commitment to facilitate a meeting in the park every week. Thank God for service commitments! I heard a lot of amazing experience, strength and hope this morning. I also related closely to a woman who opened up to share about struggling with depression and life. She touched my heart and opened my eyes to some things about myself and her. I made a point of thanking her after the meeting because I felt like she was brave enough to share her story, which so closely mirrored mine right now. I also stocked up on a lot of hugs before and after the meeting because hugs are crucial. A very close friend asked me how I was doing after she hugged me and I answered honestly. Thank God I did because she asked a couple of basic questions that moved me in the right direction. One of them was, “When was the last time you saw or talked to your spiritual advisor?” That question helped me understand that while I isolated most of the weekend, I’d also spent most of the previous week in isolation from the people, places and things that feed me spiritually! Yoga class, my yoga teacher and my spiritual advisor.

The other truth I’ve been not wanting to deal with? I’m not sure I trust myself to accomplish my goals/intentions for next year. I’m afraid I might have bitten off more than I can chew! Part of the reason I’m so upset about the yoga certification now being in the summer is that when I thought it was at the beginning of this year, I thought I’d have the chance to teach yoga and gain experience as a teacher before immersing myself in an advanced certification program at the end of the year. I also was hoping to have the certification program as something else to focus on while working at my current soul-sucking job.

containing-851228__180As far as I’ve come in my journey, which was fueled initially by Divine Dissatisfaction that ultimately compelled me into my greatest growth to date, I still doubt the trust in myself. Does self-trust work like self-love? How can I trust or love anyone until I learn to trust and love myself? So does that mean I can’t trust God or the process because I’m not sure if I trust myself? NO, of course, it doesn’t mean that. As my girl, Dawny (my sounding board) lovingly pointed out when I read this to her, “I’m sorry, but I call bullshit.” The real truth is that I’ve been trusting my Higher Power, whom I call God and trusting the process long before this little crisis of confidence. It’s what has brought me this far and something I committed to. I just don’t understand why this is happening now when I had a plan, a purpose, and a direction? Which brings me back to God’s redirection. I don’t like it, but I have to trust it, right? arrows-539917__180

This entry was posted on December 22, 2015. 4 Comments