You Know

Hello! There is a voice inside of all of us… a knowing that we either are aware of and ignore or listen to… or it is so muffled we have a hard time believing that it exists at all.  Our lives are filled with rules.  Societal and personal, moral and random.  We have stuffed our own free will and instinct in a box and have allowed what goes on outside to lead the way for us.  We have spent so much time taking direction from outside, being told what is or isn't true.  If we were tapped into our knowing as a child we were quickly pushed out of it.  If we saw something that the grown-ups didn't see then it didn't exist.  We knew that fairies were in the back yard and for a while the adults may have humored us, but at some point we were told to grow up.  In this society growing up means ignoring what happens internally in order to fit into the external world in a way that isn't distracting, creative, disruptive, abnormal, extraordinary or outside of the box.  The idea of believing something that hasn't been proven by some guys in white coats means you are weird, or different or "woo woo."   By the way, those guys in the white coats don't know shit usually (or anymore than anyone else)… it's true.  They are usually taking direction.

How is anything understood?  How do we recognize the world?  Who says one person sees it better than another or can understand it more?  We may not see it in the same way but it doesn't mean that we don't see it, or understand it.  When we let go of a right or wrong, should or shouldn't, yes or no and allow all things to be we are better able to see.  When we let go of the hierarchy or who has the connection to the source of all, who is tapped into the universe and who isn't we find our own direct line.  When we decide that we know, we know.  When we practice trusting ourselves we take all of the life that we have as purposeful and personal.  When we stop comparing our footsteps on the path with others, we are better able to see the road signs and the flowers and the scenery along the way on our own journey.  When we stop forcing our attention and begin paying attention our voice has more of a chance to speak up and be heard.

The journey to knowing is different for everyone, however, discipline is indeed called upon in just about every case.  Discipline over your thoughts, allowing what you want to hold truth as being and being diligent about nothing else permeating, for a period of time.  When a thought that takes you away from your goal (knowing) comes up, having a way to pull yourself out of going into that thought and back into your knowing is necessary.  For example, when a thought comes up for me that isn't my truth (that I am where I am supposed to be) I begin to sing.  I don't have time to allow thoughts in that undermine my knowing.  In my quiet moments, in the moments where the only focus is on me by myself, nothing is "wrong" or out of balance.  So if I perceive things being out of balance I can quickly balance them by thinking differently.  Those thoughts and those feelings around those thoughts change what I see and experience internally and externally.

So, start with you.  Your thoughts.  Your knowing is there, waiting for you to turn the volume up and listen to it speak… teach… love.

xo

a

Resolute

Howdy Partner, A new year is about to happen, and when a year is new everyone feels like they are too.  In celebration of that newness a lot of folks make resolutions.  The top 5 resolutions are: 1) To lose weight, 2) Getting organized, 3) Spend less, save more, 4) Enjoy life to the fullest, and 5) Staying fit and healthy.  (If you want to read 6-10 follow the link at the end of this blog)  My biggest concern is that staying fit and healthy is number 5… though spending more time with family is number 10, which I am sure has to do with the fact that resolutions come a week after Christmas and other winter holidays that push family time as the thing to do.

My second biggest concern is that while 45% of the US population makes New Year's Resolutions only 8% are successful while 24% of peeps who make resolutions never succeed and fail on their resolutions each year.  Then you have age as a factor with younger folks being more successful than older (over 50) folks.  Maybe as we age we have had too many failures around resolutions/goals so it is easier to get discouraged and give up than when we are young and still have a few shreds of hope.  :)  It seems that resolutions aren't really effective when you look at all of these stats.  Is there a point then?  Shall we just stop and let it all go?

Well, not so fast.  Resolution, or goal setting has success.  It is a fact that someone without goals never reaches their goals 100% of the time.  So setting a goal gives you a chance to reach them.  Direction leads you somewhere, at least, and usually leads you in the direction you desire.  So, giving up on goal setting may not be he way to avoid failing, instead changing the goals we set or how we set them could be the answer.

Inspiration is a beautiful thing.  Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something (Webster's Dictionary).  If we feel inspired we are more likely to act.  Your goals need to be inspired and inspirational… and the steps you take to reach them need to be inspired and inspirational as well.  So instead of losing weight this year, what is your inspiration?  Is it to wear certain brands, run a number of miles, do jumping jacks for a number of minutes, get your blood pressure down to a certain number, or feel good?  Maybe your inspiration is something else.  When your goals have meaning, a meaning you have thought out and delineated you may have a better chance of actually sticking to the steps necessary to reach them.  You may also do well to be honest, at least with yourself, about why you really want to reach a certain goal.  Know this:  whatever reason you have for setting a goal is valid.  Period.

When you put your heart into what you want to change, why you want to change it and what you will do to make it so… or rather, when you commit to a goal you no longer view it as something you can get out of.  You are in it.  You are dedicated.  You set up your world so that your goal is priority.  Maybe you have friends that encourage and hold you accountable, maybe you hire someone to help you reach your goals, maybe you stop making excuses.  However it is done, it is doable when you commit to it.

Good luck figuring out the direction you want your life to take in 2013.  It is yours to create, this future you dream of.  It starts with you, your vision, your motivation, your inspiration.

xo

a

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

The Age of Attraction

What is happening? I was recently discussing sexuality, which I think isn't discussed enough, with some friends.  We were talking about vaginas and the power of owning your sexuality.  The discussion led to the fact that shame is prevalent whether we admit it or not, in relation to sex and sexual expression.  There are so many rules, roles, assumptions that it is difficult to know what we actually want.  Admitting what we like, where we are in our sexuality and what we think about it is something that is shunned aggressively.  We are, after all, a society that will fine someone for flashing a nipple (at the same time we cover our children's eyes from seeing the .00005 seconds that it was shown) but watch news footage about 26 people, many of them children, being gunned down.

Like the universe works, I perused Facebook where a friend posted an article about a 6-year-old being in love with a character from Glee.  Sexuality seemed to be in the air tonight.  The 6-year-old is a boy and the character on Glee is a boy.  The article goes on to discuss how the mother and father love their son and have no problem if he is gay or isn't.  I think that it is great that parents will love their son even if he is gay, I just look forward to the day we don't have to announce that parents will love their kids even if they are gay.

So, after reading this I then scrolled down to the comments and stopped at one that touched on several things in regards to the article.  First they were not pleased with a 6-year-old watching Glee, then with the idea that a 6-year-old was obsessed about anything especially liking someone.  Third that, even at 11, that would be too young to have attraction.  Ok, I had to breathe after reading this, and after having had the conversation about shame that had happened earlier in the evening.  I know that attraction is as natural as breathing.  If you are a part of a family you (hopefully) see love, coupledom, partnership.  Children mimic adults.  It is how they learn to talk, walk, think, behave, love.  How in the world are they too young to be attracted?  I liked boys and girls for as long as I can remember and I certainly had attractions to all manner of things before the age of 6.  I liked certain colors, foods, music, and people.  The idea that attraction has an age is a funny, funny thing.  Babies are attracted to certain colors and sounds.  We are attracted to love and repelled by hate.  When we see something that resonates with us we are drawn to it.  This is being human.  The idea that we would want to discourage this natural way in others due to them being younger than we think they should be to have the feelings that they actually are having is ridiculous (yes, I am totally judging).

As a parent you may be nervous, because of your own hangups and judgments, around the truth of your child being inherently sexual.  I mean, the damn person was made while you were having sex.  How in the hell can we not be SEXUAL.  What is the problem people???  Let's take our heads out of our asses and start discussing sex, sexuality, love, desire, attraction in a way that doesn't make it shameful, scary, wrong, or inappropriate.

Here is a story that I love to share:  My sister is a massage therapist.  Her son, Miles, used to love to be massaged and loved to give massages, and he was very good at it as well.  There is nothing better than little hands on your shoulders massaging away your worries.  So sweet.  Anyway, during a massage she was giving him he asked if she could massage his penis.  Instead of getting all weird (which I think many of us would) she told him that she wouldn't because that was his to massage.  She let him know that he could massage it in private and that no one else was allowed to until he really wanted them to.  Or some such lovely message like that (I am sure my sister would correct the verbiage).  Either way, the message was clear:  She didn't make him feel that what he asked for was wrong, bad, inappropriate.  She used that moment to let him know the boundaries of his body.

Let's stop being craycray and start empowering one another in love.  Can we do this please???

xo

a

Smoke Filled Holiday

Happy Wintertime! We are almost to the New Year with Kwanzaa upon us, Christmas and Chanukah are behind us and family either still around or long gone.  Either way I am sure you have new stories and memories to savor.  It is a special time of year that seems to emphasize everything in your life for better or for worse.  People get ecstatic and people get depressed, families come together and are, sometimes, pulled apart.  Holidays can take their toll or leave us wanting more.

I don't celebrate the holidays very much, as I am not religious, but I do enjoy cooking, so I use the holidays as an excuse to become the culinary genius that I think I am.  Cooking also reminds me of growing up with my sister and mother, cooking amazing feasts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and eating myself silly.  So there is certainly nostalgia behind my desire to cook.  Because I am vegan and I rarely use my oven, I had decided that it could be a storage facility.  I should back up… I have three little furry creatures running around my home.  Two cats and one dog.  Well, while vacationing on Maui a friend was watching the furries.  She came home to find all of the treats and cat goodies, once on the fridge, on the ground with the little dog's head stuck in the salmon treat bag.  The puppy was desperately trying to walk backwards to get the bag off of her head.  Upon my return I needed to figure out another place to put the essential animal crap.  Eureka!  The oven sounded like a great idea.

Well, I make candied yams during the holidays, and they need to be baked.  I never pre-heat the oven except for this one time, on Christmas day 2012.  Needless to say I need to get another container of catnip, more salmon treats and other goodies for the animals because I almost set the house on fire.  In my panic I didn't realize I was inhaling the smoke of burning plastic, which I do not recommend.  And a day and a half later I am finally feeling better.  Currently I am looking for another place to hide furry treats.

I did manage to make my yams (I let the oven clean itself) and have a nice holiday dinner.  However, I believe I won't be using the oven for anything except baking twice a year.  I learned more than just to not use my oven to store randomness.  Being forgetful in this situation was actually a good thing.  I was completely relaxed on the holiday.  Not over-thinking, not trying to get things done in a hurry, rushing kind of way.  I spend a lot of time on the go, so me taking the time to pre-heat was totally a sign that I am allowing things to take their time. Once I cleared the house of smoke I relaxed and watched a movie.  Life is full of excitement, some we want, some we don't.  I say roll with it… accept what is and move toward what you want.

Did your holiday test your calm?  Did you find yourself discombobulated or trying to be more on your game?  Do you use the holiday time to relax and let go?

Happy Holidays!

xo

a

What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :)  Gratitude breeds more gratitude… isn't that awesome?   This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Calm.

Electricity.

Cheerleading Championships.

Strangers becoming friends.

Vacuums.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

It matters what you say, how you say it and when you say it.  It matters that you think before you speak.  It matters that you take into consideration who is listening.  That does not mean, however, that you change what you would have said if you hadn't taken these things into consideration… it just means that you have been thoughtful, you have looked at the possibilities so that you can decide what you want to do, instead of just unconsciously doing it.

During this holiday season, as we share space and time with family (blood relatives or chosen family), it is important that we are thoughtful around what, how and when we say whatever it is that we say.  We tend to take family for granted.  We often treat those closest to us the worst.  We believe that it is ok to treat family with little to no regard sometimes.  It is key that you understand the point of family is to practice relationship, like every other human connection you have been in, will be in, or currently are in.  Relationship is about bringing you closer to yourself and family is no different.  Would you like to be treated the way you treat others?  If you cannot answer in the affirmative begin behaving differently.

How can you love yourself by loving your family today?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!  

xo

a

Dreams of a Child

Hello there, When I was younger I dreamt of things like children do.  I saw myself in the home of my dreams, with the love of my life, with the career that I wanted.  At no point, as a child, did I ever decide that I was asking for too much or believe that my dreams were too grandiose.  I wanted these things and I thought about them as if they would happen.  Life was exciting when I was a child (and luckily for me it still is) and part of that excitement was dreaming, the possibility.  As I grew up and learned the 'truth' about various things in life (money being scarce (ha!) and true love being rare) my dreams changed to fit what I now knew.  I stopped thinking about owning a home as a given, I changed what I wanted in a partner and I changed my mind about my career once or twice.

Still I grew older and things changed even more.  Though I am an optimistic person and tend to dream and desire more than many more "realistic" or "pessimistic" folks, I became discouraged in various ways that I never would have as a child.  I decided that relationships had to be 'work' and that jobs had to include parts that you possibly hated because you can't get everything, right?  You had to take the good with the bad, right?  Those were the 'Facts of Life' were they not?  I mean, everywhere I looked people were compromising their dreams to live a life that didn't quite fit, but did the job.  And for those who weren't compromising or settling, they were considered immature, needing to grow up.  "You can't always get what you want" after all.  We are trained to believe that settling is just growing up.

I question these ideas of grown-ups regularly.  Why wear an ill fitted life?  Why not hold out for your dreams?  Why not work hard to realize what you always wanted.  Why settle?

When you consciously choose your life you have to face the reality that some of what is currently happening in it may not work for you anymore.  Recently I have chosen not to settle in any aspect of my life.  From the time that this decision was made things fell away.  Loss happened.  I ended relationships and began new ones.  I approached work differently and still do on a daily basis.  At the same time, things began falling into my lap.  Struggle became joy, life became love.  Things weren't so 'hard.'  The biggest thing is being honest every day with how I am where I am because I choose to be, and, if I want my life to be different than it is I can choose differently.  I am remembering what I wanted as a child and not judging it as fantasy only.  It is a goal, the foundation for reality.  When you stop compromising your dreams you have to start living your life differently.  You are responsible for making your dreams a reality.

If you knew that you could have it all, would you work for it?  Would you open yourself to it?  What if that meant closing yourself off to what you are currently doing, who you are currently with, how you presently view the world?  What would you do to live the life of your dreams?

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."  ~Walt Disney

xo

a

Sense of Safety

"Safety always comes from inside-not outside of-you." ~Dina Bachelor Evan Howdy,

We spend a lot of time figuring out ways to feel safe and secure.  We wear our seat belts, we read our exit row safety cards, we ask for people to make promises.  The truth is the only way to feel safe, to be safe, is to know that you are always ok.  You are always supported.  Knowing that, even when life isn't as you would desire it to be, you are exactly where you need to be, doing and experiencing exactly what you need to experience to move you to the next place, phase, level of your existence is where you may need to start shifting your viewpoint.  Your feeling of security and safety, when taken from the outside world, is always tentative.  When you find that security and safety from within it is untouchable.  You will be able to take on any sunny day or perfect storm feeling as ok as any other moment in your life.  Safety isn't something you find, it is something you remember, recognize and reignite.

Feeling a strong sense of being ok doesn't mean you feel like no harm will ever come to you.  On the contrary, you know that anything is possible in this human body and accept that no harm is coming to you right now.  If harm did show up you would deal with it then an.  Safety is being aware, conscious of the moment… knowing what you can control and knowing what you cannot, and accepting all of it.  Boundaries aren't only what you create between you and the world around you, it is also how you deal with your internal world.  How you manage your feelings, perceptions, emotions, expectations and thoughts.  When you set a boundary that only allows an understanding that you are whole and supported living the life you were meant to, life becomes quite a bit easier.  Shutting out fears around being safe will allow you to see how protected and cared for you actually are.  After all, most of the time you are taken care of, right?  You have been ok most of the time… when the thoughts we have don't support this fact we are slammed with anxiety, fear, dread.  When we forget that we are rarely in danger we live as if it were a constant threat.

When we recognize that safety comes from inside and that we can nurture it, just like we do love, joy grows, safety grows, we become much more giving to others.  Feeling safe gives us permission to be more of who we are, to heal the areas that we need healing, and it gives permission for others to do the same.  Finding that ability to create safety within ourselves means that you are no longer looking for someone or something (which will always change and let you down) to do it for you.  You aren't waiting on your White Knight to rescue you and protect you… instead you are your own savior, your own knight-in-shining armor (or sparkling amor for me).

One way to begin remembering that sense of self, safety, is to affirm it regularly.  Another step is understanding that we are not our bodies, we are so much more, and that more is always ok.

xo

a

Why Jealousy?

Holler! Jealousy, ahhh, good god, what is it good for?  Absolutely nuthin', say it again!!

Man, I have been jealous before… and every time there was good reason.  It was a loud signal to get the heck out of the relationship.  When I have felt jealous there were a lot of other things that weren't working in the relationship, and, for me, jealousy was a great way to sound the alarm.  The only issue is I learned all of these truths for myself because I stayed in the relationships until they imploded sometime later.

Jealousy is defined as an emotion that refers to negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety over the anticipated loss of something that someone values… usually in reference to a human connection.  Inadequacy, anger, resentment and helplessness often accompany jealousy!! Oooh, sounds so yummy, doesn't it?  Thought this description is rather unappealing to me, I have heard many people say that jealousy is actually pretty healthy, or "I kinda like when my partner is jealous."  WTF???  Ok, I get you want to be desired, but to have someone in your life that feels anger, inadequacy, resentment?  Really?  I would have to say I would rather see what was behind door number 2 than have a jealous partner.  Maybe I will win a new car…

In my past relationships where jealousy came up the trust was destroyed in my relationship(s).  Jealously, for me, was a sign that I hadn't been nurtured in the relationship the way that I wanted to be, first by myself and then by my partner.  Jealousy destroys bonds, it doesn't preserve them, and jealousy can give rise to relationship violence (Psychology Today).  When you feel less than, when you perceive a loss, that loss is now truth.  When I was married I was jealous of everyone around my spouse.  Turns out everyone around my spouse (the few close friends that were in her life) would have preferred to be in my position.  I was later cheated on and left for one of those folks that I had felt concern around.

It has taken me some time to recognize that jealousy is information and a bit longer to recognize that the information I get may not be the information someone else will get when they have their own feelings of jealousy.  We are all different so we need to interpret our emotions individually.  For someone else jealousy could signal memories of abandonment.  For another it could be a way to self-sabotage.  Either way, jealousy isn't something that signals 'all is well' on the home-front.  What it is telling you is that something needs your attention and usually, 99.9% of the time, that something is you.

When was the last time you were jealous?  What was it surrounding?  How did you handle it (or did it handle you???)?

xo

a

It's Right, It's Wrong

Howdy!!! I recently told someone that I am never wrong.  I meant this and still do.  I also believe the same for others.  Wrong implies that there is a 'right' and that this 'right' is unshakeable, truth, reality, fact.  The only truth is that right and wrong are opinions…  and you know that opinions are like assholes… everyone has one.  So if everyone has an opinion and opinions determine right and wrong (or religion which is the same damn thing) then I would wager that right and wrong are more about control and less about love.  I believe that right and wrong exist to make insecurities less insecure.

I may do something that you don't like or appreciate.  I may do or say something that annoys or offends you.  You may decide that I am annoying or offensive.  To that I say, you forgot to put "to me" at the end of your sentence so it would read accurately, "You are offensive (or annoying) to me."  To which I would say, "ok."  I am not bothered by the opinion of others, that often, because I don't consider others' opinions my truth.  My truth lives within me and motivates me to do what I feel makes sense for the world that I live in.  We may find that vibrationally we relate to many others and then there are some that you just won't relate to, depending on where they are evolutionarily/vibrationally.  Just because it doesn't make sense to me doesn't mean that it is right or wrong universally… it may be not what works for the world I am creating daily, it may undermine my vision of joy and peace on earth, but that doesn't make it right or wrong in general.  I have not seen (or remembered) enough of what the universe has planned in order to know what the 'big picture' is.  So, I humbly move within the space I understand, and that is a place of love and acceptance that all that exists is meant to.

Once we stop the blame game, the judgement game, the less than or more than game, we may begin to play well with others.  Once we stop deciding that we know all there is to know and become curios about how another sees the world, we might begin to grow.  Once we stop creating a world where there is one side or the other we might get to see the vast array of all that there is and all that there will be.  Until then you will see things as right and wrong and so they shall be.

xo

a

What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :)  Gratitude breeds more gratitude… isn't that awesome?   This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Direct Communication (not sandwiching stuff).

Tiger Balm.

My Suunto.

Books.

Someecards.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

Authenticity requires integrity and the ability to never pretend you are someone that you aren not.  When you pretend to be someone you aren't you waste the person that you are.  You don't allow that person a chance to shine, be loved, adored, admired, befriended and to improve.  When you decide that you aren't enough you will never have enough love, adoration, admiration or improvement.  You will feel like something is missing and you will constantly look for it, outside yourself in someone else.  That is the danger of trying to push yourself down, shove your truth away, deny who you are.  Not everyone will love you, not everyone will want to be with you, but at least, being authentic, you will know the ones that are around are meeting (and loving) you where you are.  Are there areas you aren't showing to others because you are afraid of what they would think?  Are you ashamed of yourself in some way?  Take that information, own the shame, own the shadows and begin to heal and, finally, to be loved.

xo

a      

Some Thoughts on Death

Hello there, I believe that death is not unnatural.  I believe that it is the most natural thing that exists, right next to life.  People die just about every second.  People are birthed at a similar rate.  I don't know how helpful it is to tell everyone that death is unnatural or that for someone to die at one age or another is not "right."  It is as if life is a promise and not a gift or experience.  It is as if we still, after all of this time, don't get how fragile this human experience is.  We have this tendency to decide that life is only valuable after being lived a certain amount of time.  That if you haven't grown up, or had your own children, a job, sex, etc. that death shouldn't touch you.  Now, let me clarify for those who may be freaking the f*ck out.  I don't believe we need to kill one another regardless of how natural death is (and the same goes for killing animals).  I just don't believe death is unnatural and I believe that we could help the healing process for all involved in losing loved ones (that would be all of us at some point) if we changed the language around it.

When we are told that death is wrong and that a mother should never lose her child we set all the mothers who will lose their children (and that is a large number of people, babies and children die all the time!) to feel a hell of a lot worse than if we let them know that, yes, death can come to your baby because your baby is a human being and once that baby exists it can cease to exist.  If we stop looking at death as this horrible, horrible thing and look at it as a part of the process of life we may not feel like we were cheated out of something that we were never promised.  We may be able to feel a little less victimized by the death and be able to actually deal with the means by which (especially when a child has been murdered).

It is so maddening to me that we don't discuss death.  It is so damaging to all who will lose their children, that we haven't had the conversations prior so that there is space to talk about it, so that after the ones who will not see their children grow up don't feel so alone in their grief.  So they can discuss their experience of death openly and get support around it.  Death isn't contagious, it is promised.  Death isn't bad, it just is.  We all will go through it.  We all will lose someone.  We have to, at some point, stop behaving as though ignoring it will make it go away.  Talk about it and sex.  The two things that we either make naughty or wrong are the things that are often used to cause the most pain.  Think about it.  When we categorize things as bad they become those things for us.  When you change the way you see things the things you see change.  It is true.  We are powerful enough to stop being victims.

Now taking someone's life is a completely different discussion.  Why, how, when, what?  All of those things need to be dialogued about as well… I will say that it cracks me up (in a not so funny way) to see everyone so up in arms (pun intended) about violence in a country that was built on violence, that uses violence to solve all issues and perpetuates it every way that it can.  If we wanted peace we wouldn't support war.  If we wanted peace we would never flip someone off and curse them out.  If we wanted peace we would be peaceful.  Period.  Start with yourself.  Start with your own heart.  Start with how you treat yourself and see how that changes the world.

xo

a

Our Responsibility

Hello, We are responsible for each other in a way that may not seem obvious.  I don't mean as mother and child, husband and wife, brother and sister.  I don't mean in the way of volunteering by handing out food and clothing to the disenfranchised.  I don't mean by taking care of an elderly neighbor's lawn in the summertime or helping someone across the street.  All of these things are wonderful and natural ways we show love to one another but there is a responsibility that I feel we have failed miserably in meeting.  We don't allow others to be who they are.  We don't give people the space to become who they are and support needed to blossom into their ideal selves.

What we do is quickly give humans the rules to what is right and what is wrong.  Humans get bullied from very early on.  Before we ever find out what someone wants we tell them what is and isn't ok to want.  We set up a system (in every culture) that is  based on things we were told, that were based on things that the ones who told us were told, etc. without giving that much thought to whether or not most people are ok with the system or whether the system actually works.  When someone doesn't fit into the structure that was set up before they existed they are either crazy, evil, an abomination, wrong or a misfit.  There isn't a lot of room to be accepted when you don't fit the norm in most societies.  When we create right we create wrong.  You cannot say something is good without deciding that there are things that are bad.  When you create an extreme you create it's opposite; is this what being responsible for one another means?  To determine who is bad and who is good.  What do we base it on?  What the majority are doing or not doing (that they will admit to)?  What some religious document says?  What happens to those who are wrong in our society?  What happens to the misfits?

I truly believe that we are responsible for those who feel left out, bullied by a society that never gave them a chance;  told that they were wrong for feeling, thinking, saying something that went against what society has determined as ok to say, think or feel.  When we set up a system that automatically rules out certain types of people as worthy in a systematic way (the way that we do in this country) we have neglected our responsibility to love each other as ourselves because we are connected.  We have forgotten that we cannot exist separate from one another.  We are all necessary and important and responsible for each other in a deep way that never touches on aiding with groceries to someone's car… though that is important and it does matter.  However, we are responsible to each other in the way to not cause harm, to not destroy, to not judge.  When we decide that someone is less than we tear a part of them away.  We build up rage that at some point will have to come out.  We create dangerous situations and hazardous environments when we push others down for being who they are.

I believe we need to allow what is.  We need to allow everyone to communicate who they feel they are, what their desires are and how they see the world.  We need to learn boundaries at a young age so we can become aware of where I begin and you end.  We need to help others love who they are and find their own voice.  We need to discuss what it means to be aware.  We need to be very careful with each other's hearts. We need to take ownership of our feelings and not blame others for the things that don't belong to them (like our feelings).  We need to understand when we judge others we are judging ourselves.  We need to understand that we cannot always be comfortable and things aren't always going to be the way we would prefer them to be, nor are people.  We need to understand that it isn't our responsibility to put one another down or to marginalize each other, but to uplift and propel each other forward.  I believe we need to first do this for ourselves, once we are no longer in the direct care of others.  Once we have given ourselves permission to feel what we feel and be who we are without the judgement, we can decide if it is what we want to keep or not.  Acceptance is power; the power to change, the power to heal; the power to move on.  Our responsibility, in my opinion, is to accept each other.  Embrace each other.  To love.

xo

a

Can You Hear Me?

Hi, How often do you need to ask someone to repeat something?  How often do you have to repeat yourself to others?  Where did your mind go right now?  You were thinking, correct.  Which means you weren't listening.  Luckily I am not talking and you are simply reading.  If I were in front of you I would see that you were elsewhere and I would wait.  Obviously you would need a moment if I asked you a question.  However, we do the same thing, go off into the recesses of our minds, when no question is asked at all.  We drift off, thinking about ourselves, our experiences.  While someone is talking to us we make judgements, we get offended, we get excited, we apply everything they are saying to how we feel or think about it as if the world revolved around us.

Well, our world does revolve around us.  My world revolves around me and your world revolves around you.  For me to hear you I have to come out of my orbit for a bit and listen, hear, repeat and remove myself from what you are saying.  If someone is telling you about their sick rabbit you don't want to be thinking about your sick cat at home.  Though comparing is nice in certain situations (like the Match game) it isn't actually listening in the aforementioned scenario.  Hearing someone means removing yourself and being another ear, an open heart, a sounding board that echoes back what they are meaning.  Asking someone how old the rabbit is, what the rabbit is named, how it got sick, how they are feeling, when did they begin keeping rabbits… etc… that is going to bring the person speaking immeasurable comfort.  When you are interested in someone, i.e. listening to them, they open up more or at least feel a stronger sense of connection (as long as the questions aren't creepy or invasive (overly private)).

The next time someone talks to you, see how long you can keep yourself out of the conversation (as long as they don't ask you questions about you, that is).  See how long you can keep the focus on the person you are speaking to.  See what comes when you remove your ego and truly open yourself to being there, listening, hearing someone without the need to be the focus or focused on in any way.  We all like attention, we all need it.  Start by giving it to others and see what comes.

xo

a

Paradigm Shift

Howdy, Aloha, Good Morning, Moods, we all have them.  Some say Gemini's have a lot of them!  Ha.  Whatever.  The truth is feelings are information.  So how do we begin to get the information that we are being given.  Feelings aren't exactly what they seem to be.  It is like looking at a painting close up.  You have to get some distance in order to really take it all in.  Perspective.  Feelings are also a code to which we have the incorrect key more often than not.  The key we have is the paradigm of victim.

The victim paradigm looks like this:

Things happen to you.

You have no say over how you feel.

People owe you.

"Should" is a word that exists

Right and Wrong are used regularly

You wonder 'why me'

You have unspoken expectations or you expect others to know what you want and to do it

You believe your happiness is the responsibility of someone else

You don't do your own work

You 'don't know what to do' on a regular basis or you say it regularly

You believe others have more control or know better than you

When you live in this paradigm you expect the government to fix the economy.  You expect others to not cut you off when driving and you feel angry when they do.  You believe that your perfect mate is out there waiting and all you have to do is look pretty (or not) and they will show up and your life will make sense.  You believe that God created all things yet many of those things are wrong.  You look at what is and say it shouldn't happen.  You believe that if only x would do y everything would be ok.  You don't know why your life turned out how it did.  You throw your hands up and wonder 'why me???'  You get angry that someone didn't do something you never explicitly asked them  to do.  You believe that you deserve something from someone and that them not doing it means that they aren't right.

Do you know anyone who lives under this paradigm?  Do you?  Sometimes?

The paradigm of the person who sees feelings as a code to the secrets of the universe lives under the paradigm of the curious one.  The curious one looks at everything from the standpoint of "what am I experiencing this for, if anything.  When you are curious you are not judging.  You are asking, you are open, you are ready for what is.  You aren't trying to push things away and you aren't judging.

The curious one paradigm looks a little like this:

You are open

You want to know why but aren't attached to any answer

You do your work, you want to learn about you

You want to learn about others

You feel that things happen for a reason

You don't expect, you wonder

You know perspective is key

You see many sides because of perspective

You relate to others, you see yourself in their place

You see things as they are, from your perspective and you wonder how they would be if you weren't you

You ask questions

You take responsibility for your feelings

The 'Curious One' looks at the world from the place of awareness.  The CO is looking for the lessons of this existence.  We aren't here to condemn, blame, fall victim to or lament over life.  We are here to learn, love and grow.  Think about a baby.  What do they need?  Love, learning and growth.  That is really all we continue to need.  When you become that CO you begin to look at people as helpers.  They give you information about you.  You learn how you feel about things, what you want or don't want, like or don't like, need or don't need.  You get a chance to look at how you relate to the world through how others relate to you.  You also get a chance to see the world from other eyes when you are curious.  You ask questions, you listen to the answers and you believe that by changing your perspective most anything could make sense to you.  As the curious one, you do not deny, you accept.

How curious are you on a regular basis?  How can you bring some curiosity to your life?  Would you want to?

xo

a

"Anything that annoys you is for teaching you patience.

Anyone who abandons you is for teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.

Anything that angers you is for teaching you forgiveness and compassion.

Anything that has power over you is for teaching you how to take your power back.

Anything you hate is for teaching you unconditional love.

Anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome your fear.

Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe."

~Jackson Kiddard

What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :)  Gratitude breeds more gratitude… isn't that awesome?   This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Tears.

Bringing Plants Back to Life.

Soft Fuzzy Blankets.

Home.

Possibility.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

Life is full of surprises.  You never know what is next.  When was the last time you were surprised by someone or something???  What did that tell you about your expectations?  Without expectations we are constantly amazed and appreciative.  Lacking expectation opens the door for gratitude.  Gratitude means loving what you get and therefore getting what you love.  Be open to what is… abundance, love, each other.

xo

a      

Success!

Aloha! The rain is coming down on Maui on my last night here.  It is appropriate since I will be heading into the rain of the Pacific North West.  The cruel truth is that rain here is warm and tropical, in Seattle it is cold and brutal.  My trip has been a fantastic journey, travel and food and working out and meeting awesome people.  However, I am very excited to come home.  I miss my bed, my things, a closet, a room without spiders and geckos.  Though the gecko is a spiritual creature according to Hawaiian lore, I am ok with not sharing space as much as I do right now.  Tonight, I picked up the sheets (to check for creatures) then lifted my pillow only to find a baby gecko that wasn't in a very safe place.  I put him outside only to see another baby on the other side of the room.  It is like they are gremlins; multiplying with water after midnight.

I also miss my work.  I was in college when I decided that I wanted to become a rowing coach.  It was my sophomore year and I was participating in National Team Testing.  I was new to sports and barely called myself an athlete, but I was good and I knew that much.  I was also good at describing the rowing stroke to my teammates and I loved helping.  I, after all, was a peer counselor in High School and an RA in college.  At the time I decided to become a coach I had a rather socially challenged Head Coach that needed a lot of assisting.  I filled the role of translator when I could.  It was then that I realized coaching was an option.  I thought the thought and then put it away.  I still had to finish school.  After graduating and picking up a coaching job almost immediately I was enthralled by the Olympics.  It was 1996 and cycling was being shown quite a bit.  I knew that I needed to find another sport to do alongside rowing and cycling seemed to fit.  It looked like it was mentally and physically grueling (a requirement for me) and I liked the way it shaped the body (another requirement).  I also sent into the universe ad dream of being able to work out for a living at the same time I was helping others.  I thought I would have to become an Olympic athlete (and I worked on that) or be a professional athlete in order to do so.  Turns out I was wrong with the means by which but dead on with bringing my dream to fruition.  Working out for a living is doable and exciting and literally a dream come true.

Because I love what I do it is hard to pull myself away from it.  So taking vacation becomes a challenge.  I do need space away from the daily grind in order to gain some perspective, stay fresh and study up.  However, it is a joy to come back to what I absolutely love to do day in and day out.  The music, the people, the love.  I am lucky because I worked my ass off for years.  When I began this journey I made $5300 annually for my first collegiate coaching gig.  I got a raise the next year to $5700.  Loving what you do and doing what you love means you may have to wait for the financial reward, but it is worth it.  No amount of money would stop me from teaching/coaching and training.  I always ask myself this question:  If I were to win the lotto would I stop working.  The answer has never been 'no' when it comes to my work with motivation and health & well-being.  When you would do what you do for free you know you have struck it rich!  That is what I would call success.

What are your passions?  Are you living them?  Are you going after your dreams???  Why or why not?

xo

a

Things Always Work Out

Aloha, Travel.  I enjoy it once I have reached my destination.  I don't always enjoy the packing, organizing and all of the questions that come along with whatever trip I may be taking.  I am no grouch I just don't travel the way others do… Let me explain.  I am not a fan of structure in certain areas of my life.  I am quite particular in most areas of my life.  How I make my mixes, what jog bras I like to wear, what clothing works for my body, what work I take on.  So when I get a chance to be relaxed I take it.  Balance is key.  I am not one who needs to 'know' everything.  If I get a phone call and it isn't someone I have saved in my contact list I don't worry about picking up right away (unless I am told to do so intuitively).  If I miss an exit, I miss an exit.  If someone cuts me off, I may say something under my breath but it is gone before it ever sunk in.  I certainly don't get pissed off.  When I travel, I don't make hotel arrangements (if I am alone) or create an itinerary (except that I will workout at least 90 minutes each day) until I am close to leaving (the day of or before).  I just wait until the time is 'right.'

So I am on Maui and loving life.  Sitting outside in the sunshine writing.  Pretty sweet!!!  I found a lovely big house to stay in with 3 people in the main space and two others that have their own private cottages.  We share the bathroom and kitchen.  In this big house is a man named Dahi.  He is humble and brilliant and may have been one of the reasons I came to Maui.  A mentor he is to me at this point.  Then there is Mateus.  Let me backtrack.  I walked around the airport on my way to Maui looking for food.  This friendly soul spoke to me and was hungry too.  We quickly discovered we were on the same flight and decided to meet up later after we fed ourselves.  At that time (during my layover in LA) was, in Aina fashion, securing a place to stay for the first few days on Maui.  I found something reasonable and booked it.  When we arrived on the island we exchanged info and vowed to meet up sometime soon.  I rented my car and was on my way.

The place I picked was supposed to be a private room with a mountain view and wi-fi.  It turned out to be a really dirty room with no wi-fi and no mountain view.  Human hair that wasn't mine took up about a quarter of the space (ok maybe 8%) and I slept in my clothes waiting until I could cancel my reservation and get my money back.  It was gross.  Around the time of me arguing (yep, I had to argue) with the owner's daughter to retrieve my monies, Mateus texted me.  He was at the beach and wanted to know if I wanted to join him.  YES!  Finally something relaxing.  So far my trip wasn't at all a vacation.  I relay the traumatic event to Mateus who quickly tells me about a place he just found.  They might have another space available.  We hang on the beach for some time, then take off to see the space I am now staying in.

If I hadn't had a shitty time upon arrival I may not have hung w/Mateus, I would have never met Dahi (more than likely) and I would not be sitting where I am right now writing to you about the necessity of following your intuition.  Trusting that things work out.  Understanding that you don't have to force nature.  All things in time.  Most people would look at me having a shitty room as a result of my lack of preparedness… instead of what I needed to open up to Mateus that I needed a place to stay.  Thank goodness I don't need to know, to plan or to organize that much.  I feel like a lot of life is missed when you do.  Before I left a lot of my friends asked me if I wanted connections here or if I knew where I would stay.  I have always had things work out for me.  (So have you).  I trust that this will continue to happen.  It is, after all, the norm.  I feel very fortunate because I am and so are you.

Where can you let go and allow instead of control?  Where can you breathe instead of worry?  Where can you let life unfold instead of planning it out?

Have a groovy rest of your day!

xo

a

Risk, The Fertilizer For Life

Aloha! "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."  ~Anais Nin

Sometimes the very thing that you want to do is the scariest thing of all.  That is how you know it is necessary.  If you feel trepidation, if you feel like you could fall flat, if you feel like your heart could be broken it is worth doing.  If you feel like you might not get another shot, if you feel like you have something to lose, if you feel like you need a drink to get it done, you need to do it (not drink, but the thing that scares you :)  We tend toward what we know way too often.  We repeat what is comfortable every single day.  How often do you push past your limits?  How often do you jump before calculating how high, far and fast you must go?  When was the last time you did something for the first time?  When was the last time you leapt before you looked?

I am no thrill seeker.  I don't jump out of airplanes or do X-Game type things, but I will push myself beyond what is comfortable on a regular basis, yet, there are still those things that get me all jittery and nervous.  I am still shy in certain situations and afraid of what I don't want happening, happening.  I am human.  However, that feeling of not wanting to put myself out there is the information I need to put myself out there.  As a fitness instructor I spend a lot of time putting myself out there.  However, it is a comfortable spot to be in when I teach the formats that I know.  It is a rare day where I am teaching and I am not prepared.  The last time this occurred was over a year ago when I was asked to teach Kick Boxing.  Not only am I not a Kick Boxing instructor, I don't have any routines memorized.  Choreography isn't my strong suit.  So I said, "Yes."  I prepared as best I could.  I went in, taught one of the technically worst Kick Boxing classes that existed, but I had fun and I put my all into it.  After it was done I felt so relieved and pumped.  I had done it and it had scared the hell out of me.  And I survived.

"If you don't risk anything, you risk even more."  ~Erica Jong

I believe that we need to go after something that isn't a sure thing.  I believe we need to it with heart, chutzpa, and our eyes open.  I believe we can all learn how to receive so much more life if we live it instead of planning for it to be over.  We get to the end before we actually have read past the beginning.  We decide something isn't worth the risk because we are afraid of pain and joy.  We are afraid of being let down.  We are afraid of failure.  No one failed when they risked it all.  They gain so much, so very much.

"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."  ~Jim Rohn

xo

a

What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :)  Gratitude breeds more gratitude… isn't that awesome?   This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Airplanes.

The Tropics.

Internet.

Time To Reflect.

Genelle Benker.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

We don't often realize what a profound impact we can have on one another until something tragic happens.  Someone dies, leaves, hurts us in some way.  Then we see how affected we are.  What if we realized this with every person we met?  What if we understood the miracle of connection and how we all take care of one another with every breath we take for ourselves?  How would the world look if we began to appreciate everyone as divine, necessary and love?  What if we started with looking at ourselves this way.  We are divine.  We are necessary.  We are love.  I am going to keep telling you these truths until they sink in.  Love is relentless, love is forever, love is all.

xo

a      

If You Have To Say It...

Aloha! I am on vacation writing from Maui!!  I am in search of reliable wi-fi that isn't in a McDonald's (where I am currently, can you believe it?).  I am vacationing solo, which I truly enjoy.  I get to do what I want when I want without negotiation!  That means writing, writing and more writing... oh, and some exploring.  I am not really a beach person and I don't do touristy things.  I like meditating and reading and breathing when I get some time away...  so this trip is heaven to me!  Thank you for coming along with me, I hope you enjoy!!

I was thinking about confidence recently because I have heard people talk about themselves using that word.  It is funny to me because we are all confident in some ways and not in others.  We embody all of it.  I understood, though, that there was more going on when someone feels the need to put themselves under that one header however.  I feel that confidence isn't announced. It's not put on a name tag and handed out. Being confident is like being sexy, when you have to announce it you are probably not the embodiment of it.  Most of the qualities that you may hear from people as they describe themselves are actually desires instead of realities.  They are hoping that by saying so they've made it so. That's not necessarily how it works in actuality. You may begin to behave with more confidence once you begin framing your thoughts with the idea that you are a confident person but it doesn't mean you are confident once you say it aloud.

I remember rowing in college. I was big and strong. I ate whatever I wanted (that was vegetarian). At some point in my junior and senior years I wanted to be leaner. We did strength training for crew as a regular practice but I wanted more. My friend's and I spent plenty of time looking in the mirror flexing during our weight lifting sessions. I ate better and ran more.  We were super focused on our bodies and the definition that we were getting as our muscles grew stronger.  Flash forward two to three years. I begin training to make the US National team which required me to work out 3 hours in the morning (5-8am) and a couple of hours in the evening, when my schedule allowed.  I remember that I was no longer flexing though I would be asked to by strangers. I was no longer interested in showing my strength off.  I barely looked in the mirror outside of watching my rowing form during indoor training.  I was stronger than I'd ever been at that time yet getting buff wasn't the focus anymore. It just was what it was.  I have heard others describe me at that time and that was great… what mattered to me was that I was in my body and in the moment and happy.  I wasn't concerned with how I looked or if others perceived me in one way or another.

Becoming confident is similar I believe.  You don't actually notice it when it happens.  You certainly don't feel driven to announce it.  You don't prove you have it by saying so or by talking about how wonderful you are. When you're strong you're strong. No announcement is needed because its obvious to everyone. When you're sexy you're sexy. It's better and more the case if you never say it about yourself.  Telling others you're sexy is decidedly unsexy.  And if you have to announce that you are funny you have fallen flat.

The next time you or someone you know needs to exclaim that they have this or that quality send them love and understand where they actually are: on their way, just not there yet.

xo

a