The First Five Years

I recently celebrated my fifth year of conscious living.  Five years of working on self-mastery and of living a life which is intentional, purposeful and awakened.  When I reflect  on the previous 5 years of this journey it appears that the years have been in alignment and consistent with the meaning of Angel Numbers. Today, it feels like my life has been completely turned upside down and inside out. Changes in my family structure, career and personal life leave me feeling like I have literally been chewed up and spit out left to disintegrate into nothingness.

The first year of this journey began with me being mindful of my thoughts, I knew my mindset and attitude were key to achieving mindfulness and opening up a space for intuition and spirit to enter.  The second year manifested many successes as a result of consistent mindfulness, meditation, visualization and prayer.  True to the meaning of the Angel number three, I spent the third year praying for guidance and assistance from various spiritual masters.  This was the year my grandmother experienced health issues and eventually returned to the Divine Source.  As a result of my grandmother’s death the fourth year was plagued with financial stress and emotional healing on many levels.  Looking back on that fourth year, I can’t say how I made it through but in hindsight I know that the angels including my grandmother were watching over me and getting me through that challenging time in my life. The number five symbolizes major life changes.  This year I have experienced extreme financial challenges and as a result, I am on the brink of a major career change and have also met and welcomed my long-lost sister into my life.

It has been said by many spiritual masters that the darkest moments of one’s life are stepping-stones to self renewal and growth. An opportunity to make better choices than you have made previously and to shed the weight of past burdens. When you surrender your life to the Divine plan and accept whatever consequences follow, life experiences truly test your will and desire for an awakened life.  In meeting my sister for the first time it was very clear to me that many of the burdens and obstacles we face are built into our DNA and can not be escaped.

I sometimes wonder how I’ve made it this far and have had my fair share of moments where I desired the comfort of ignorance to temporarily ease the growing pains I’ve endured these past few years. Somehow through it all my faith has remained constant and I have refused to yield to mediocrity while remaining focused on letting go of old patterns and habits.  There are always set backs and once I feel like “I’ve got this” another experience shows up with a much deeper level of understanding and healing.

Looking forward I pray the next 5 years of this journey leave room for hope and an opportunity for me to prove that I have learned valuable life lessons during these past years.  The most important lesson I have learned this year is that you have to make sacrifices and do the work required to transform your life.  All of the praying, visualizing, planning and dreaming about a new life does very little if you are unwilling to give 100% day in and day out and if you are unwilling to make a different choice.  When you are unwilling to forgive yourself and others you can rest assure that the path to a better you will be slow and unsteady. If you are not willing to express gratitude merely for the fact that you woke up today then you might as well join the other sleep walkers allowing ego to run their lives. Your spirit must be filled with tenacity, intention, transparency and a willingness to own your faults and mistakes.  These past years have shown me that I am only accountable to my journey and as a result I am a walking testimony of how your life can change when you ignore the path of least resistance for the path that God is always leading you to.

 

 

 

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Staying Plugged In, Part III

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Confirmation

In hindsight the entire week was symbolic of what was to come.  By the end of the day on Sunday I received all of the answers that were necessary. The light at the end of the tunnel was still far from my reach but I could feel its light shining over me.

I was especially looking forward to this Sunday’s Dharma topic because the same guest speaker that discussed “No birth, no death” was leading the day’s discussion.  The topic for this Sunday was “Freedom from concepts”.  The intention of this topic was to teach us how to be free from the hindrances in our minds.  Our minds are filled with tons of preconceived notions which keep us from seeing the true nature in all things.  The Reverend used emotions and feelings as an example and stated that love, anger, pain, joy and compassion are all concepts.  How we perceive these feelings are based on the conditions we place on them.  Think about the concept of pain. Most of us may feel pain or soreness after exercising.  Although there is discomfort most people associate the pain as “good” pain. However, if you feel the exact same pain or soreness and haven’t been exercising or are unable to identify the reason for the pain, our minds tells us something is wrong and we perceive the pain as “bad”.  It’s all a matter of your perception.

Although love and compassion are concepts, Reverend Gil equated these concepts to the true nature of self.  He explained when the mind is without worry and when the mind is clear and free from hindrances, unattached to a particular thought, that peace or true nature is attained.  Love and compassion are concepts because our minds place conditions and limits on what love or compassion should look like or how it should show up in our lives.  It is our perceptions of them that make them concepts. True nature on the other hand is the state of mind where you are most conscious, most present.  A student in the class asked when a person feels anger, if in that moment their true nature is anger. She questioned the Reverend and asked “If anger is a concept just as love or compassion are concepts, doesn’t that make true nature as described unattainable?” When she finished asking her question, all sorts of AHA’s ran through my mind and I wanted to stand up, look at her and say absolutely not! In that moment I had figured out where the sudden anger towards my ex came from.  The dream led me to think of past experiences and instead of staying in the present moment I immediately went into victim mode (ego).  My preconceived notions of how I felt he should have behaved in the relationship was showing up as anger within me.  The more energy I gave to the feeling of anger, the more I became fixated on the past.  The anger had rendered me unconscious. This discussion was a reminder for me to stay in the present moment. A reminder that I was still holding on to the 5% and that I needed to let it go.

Later that afternoon I attended the Body, Mind & Spirit Expo.  For the past several years I’ve consulted with a Psychic/Astrologer and recently felt the need to try someone different who did not know me. I love my astrologer and much of what he has said to me over the years has manifested, yet still I felt the need for a different experience. My friend attended the expo with me and we decided to walk the room to scope out the various tarot readers, mediums, etc.  There was one woman who we noticed with an intensity in her eyes that we could not ignore, and we decided she was the one.

Although I come from a family of whom many have the gift of sight and while I have had numerous readings and psychic experiences throughout my life, what I experienced during that 20 minute reading was absolutely one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in my life. She started by acknowledging that I also had the gift of sight and could see that it ran in my family.  She immediately asked me about my grandmother and said she could see her spirit around me.  I explained briefly of my grandmother’s passing and while I was speaking, I noticed she was staring over my left shoulder.  It was such an intense glare that I stopped speaking to look over my shoulder and the psychic smiled at me and said “Yes, she is with you. I see her sitting on the edge of your bed and she wants to know why you can’t sleep at night.” Tears immediately streamed over my cheeks and even though I was weeping uncontrollably there was joy in my soul.  I had prayed every day for the past week and a half, asking for my grandmother.  In what felt like my darkest hours and most challenging times, I prayed for a sign that she was with me, guiding me and giving me courage to move through the unpleasant circumstances I faced.  In that moment I received confirmation that her spirit was with me and that she was doing all she could on a spiritual realm to help me.  I received confirmation that all would be well.  The psychic continued to acknowledge details about my grandmother that she could not possibly have known. She detailed things about my mother, my career and most recent struggles. Everything she said was amazingly accurate.  I do have some hard decisions to make over the next few months and while the outcome of various challenges were not given, knowing that my grandmother is with me will make this next part of the journey much easier.

The day’s experience put everything in perspective for me.  There will always be detours and pitfalls along this journey. I am learning and LIVING the difference between talking about my faith and governing my life by my faith.  This experience has opened my eyes to cautiously examine the people who I draw to me when I am feeling particularly vulnerable or weak.  I need to remember Key Lesson 50 from “A Course In Miracles”

Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and in sure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.

For ten minutes, twice today, morning and evening, let the idea for today sink deep into your consciousness. Repeat it, think about it, let related thoughts come to help you recognize its truth, and allow peace to flow over you like a blanket of protection and surety. Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Such is the resting place where your Father has placed you forever.

And this too shall pass.

It’s beauty in the struggle… ~J. Cole

Staying Plugged In, Part II

The Culmination…

I attempted to move through a busy work schedule in solitude and stillness whenever possible.  The week was busy enough to take my mind off of the chatter going on inside my head and busy enough to allow me to be fully present.  All of the travel, meetings and minor problem solving for my clients proved to be therapeutic in its own right.  There was too much I was responsible for so time did not allow me to wallow in self-pity.  With a small amount of time to literally “be” still, I used that time wisely.  I prayed often for recognition of my grandmother’s presence; when taking my dog for a walk, when in the shower, before going to sleep and upon waking up.  I’d often look at my “God’s Jar”.  It’s a mason jar filled with questions, situations, and thoughts that are beyond my control and that I need to surrender. From my greatest desires to my greatest fears.  Resentments, forgiveness, stress, worry, manifestations for my future, all of the things in which I am attached to an outcome and that keep my mind from being clear, go into this jar. When I feel worry settling in, I look at the jar, take a great big deep breath, exhale and remember that God is taking care of it and it brings a sense of comfort and relief.  It is an answer to the “who, what when, where and how”.

Just as I was beginning to at least like my most recent challenge and come to a place of acceptance, along comes another trigger. Another challenge that the Reverend would say I need to love!

It has almost been a year since I made the decision to be done with my ex.  No closure, no sappy last conversations, no let’s be friends, I simply vanished and chose to make no contact nor return any correspondence from him.  When I made that decision it was not out of bitterness or spite.  I will admit my ego was bruised and therefore some anger was present. The 95% of me that made this very conscious decision was at peace. We had run our course and at least for me, the relationship has served it’s purpose and it was time to let it go. I found peace in my decision because I was able to forgive myself and him. In fact, I will always be grateful for him.  I learned a lot about myself in this relationship and was able to own my contributions to its demise. The purpose of this relationship was for me to see my true value. To learn how to love myself better so that I could teach others how to love and respect me. It was in this relationship that I was able to heal that 5-year-old little girl searching for validation and who was still trying to prove to her father that she was worthy of him sticking around.

I dreamt of my ex that night and I recall wanting to lash out at him in the dream but I kept telling myself to be silent and to just listen to what he had to say.  When I woke up I tried to forget about the dream and shake it off but I found myself throughout the day and days following, replaying past experiences in my mind. Brief waves of anger would rush through me, and I could feel that unconscious part of me rising to the surface.  Once again, I felt blind sighted. I thought I had this under control and I could not pin point where this sudden agitation was coming from.  Maybe it was stress from the week? Maybe I still had work to do? Maybe I needed to practice forgiveness more? Maybe I needed to let my ego run rampant and curse him out one good time and pray about it later? Maybe this was me substituting one crisis with another? All of these maybes, maybe it was just a dream and meant nothing?

In an effort to temper my anger I randomly opened to a page in the book “A Course In Miracles“.  In that moment I felt that whatever page I randomly opened to would have a message just for me.  The page number was 878, Key Lesson 50. And there was my message:

I Am Sustained By The Love Of God.

Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.

Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety. It will transport you into a state of mind that nothing can threaten, nothing can disturb, and where nothing can intrude upon the eternal calm of the Son of God.

At this point the weekend was approaching and while the words above provided comfort, anxiety still remained.

To be continued…

Staying Plugged In, Part I

The intention of this blog entry was meant to serve as a reflection of the first two months of the year however, the last 7 days and particularly today have been one of those moments when I’ve received what feels like a lifetime of knowledge, so much so that in this moment I couldn’t care less to learn anything else until this time next year. With no uncertainty a whirlwind of change is in my future.

The moment in which you realize your prayers have truly been answered can be one filled with both fear and gratitude. Truth suddenly appears and it doesn’t look like you pictured but you understand and accept it for it is. My focus this year has been on staying plugged in and continuing to learn and grow. Day after day, plagued with fatigue and in relentless pursuit to experience the fullness of my journey fear is ever present. I am fearful because truth shows that I have not learned a few lessons which I thought I overcame. What I thought was the light at the end of the tunnel was just an illusion, my ego saying “girl you’ve got this under control”.  Change or the onset of change almost always opens the door to fear.  Not knowing the outcome of a situation or the minute details of “how” leaves few choices.  You can either feel the fear and move forward, or allow fear to cripple you. Right now fear is showing up for me as anxiety, sleepless nights and at times anger.

I am also grateful because if it wasn’t for my focus, my commitment to using the resources available to me and to remaining faithful to spiritual practices, I could very well crumble.  The truth of the matter is, I have been praying for this moment.  I have surrendered all, my fears, desires and will.  I’ve been praying for renewal, to be used for my true purpose as guided by my creator at any cost. In a sense I’ve prayed for a true test of my faith, even though I know it means my world will be turned upside down.

The week began with a dharma talk on “No birth, no death” and discussion on “Loving your challenges”. There was discussion on spirit and if spirit lives forever. There were various opinions for consideration. Opinions from those who were simply curious and unable to articulate a solid response or belief, there were naysayers, and even a scientific perspective. The room was filled with wonder and eyes were glued on the Reverend as he responded to the many questions in the room. What I’ve learned to appreciate from attending these sessions is that the Reverend and or guest speaker never provide a clear “yes” or “no” response. The knowledge and teachings shared are purposeful and designed to meet you as the student where you are leaving it open for interpretation at your level or free to quench your thirst with additional exploration of the subject matter. In the midst of this discussion I had found comfort in my belief of no birth, no death of spirit when thinking of my grandmother. Although she is not here in form, I often ask for her guidance, courage, wisdom and spirit on a spiritual plane.

The very next morning, I found myself face to face with the lesson I thought I had learned. I had two choices, I could either love the challenge it presented or I could fall apart. I chose the former, and while semantically I do not “love” this current situation that has crossed my path, I do accept what it represents. There is still something for me to learn and although this experience is not pleasant for me and is creating anxiety, I know for certain that whatever the outcome I’m going to be just fine. There is something better for me on the other side of this journey but I must move through this situation to get to the glory! Any resistance on my part will only make matters worse. This experience is happening FOR me, not TO me.

To be continued…

The Year of My Best Life

I start off the new year feeling reborn. As if I arrived at this very moment fresh off of the breath of the Angels. Filled with wonder and curiosity about all things. All previous thought and beliefs are trapped in a world which no longer exists. What remains is a willingness to unlearn everything I thought I knew in order for the truth to surface once again. AlI that I have is the present moment. I am armored with wisdom, truth and awareness of self.

There are so many lessons that I carry with me into this new year. I’ve learned there is value in regrets. I’ve learned to let my encounters with other souls serve as a mirror to my truth or a stepping stone towards the elevation of my consciousness. I no longer speak the tall tales from my egoic self because I’ve learned that “telling the story” keeps me from seeing and accepting the present moment.

I also was recently reminded that the journey to success, the journey to my best life requires “the journey”. Taking short cuts only empower the ego and in the end take you backwards instead of propelling you forward. Once the perceived success is achieved, it’s often short lived because at the core you have cheated yourself. You have cheated God. And so the universe will continue to reflect the reality that your mind has consciously and unconsciously created. You can not side step your way to becoming your best self and you most certainly can block your own blessings. As long as I have breath in my body I know there is no escape from the journey.

I used to arm myself with the notion that living without regrets made me strong and resilient. The truth of the matter is this attitude created a platform for ego to thrive and survive. Fighting against the current of reality left me drowning in unconsciousness gasping for air. In facing myself, the denial, stories and the lies that I believed about myself, I realized that there were many things I would do differently given the opportunity. Much of what I have learned about myself and life is because of the choices I have made, good, bad or indifferent. In hindsight my regrets are some of my greatest teachers. Life’s regrets taught me empathy, self care and increased awareness.

“No regrets, doesn’t mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.”  ~Brene Brown

Sometimes our minds tell stories disguised as truths about ourselves. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not only shared but believed many of these stories I’ve created about myself. All the while giving life to the past and keeping fear alive in the present. Like the saying goes “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”. There’s a lot of power in that statement. Once the mind believes something to be true, once the mind tries to rationalize something incomprehensible and when the mind is driven by fear, our minds tend to create a story about it. The more we tell or relive this story, the more power we give it. The more we buy into it. The more we defend and hold on to it. A disciplined and awakened mind knows that every thought passing through is doing just that. Passing through. It becomes a matter of how you identify yourself. Marianne Williamson gives a great example of this when she analogizes the universe, God, presence, awareness as a house of electricity and we as people to a lamp. The purpose of the lamp is to provide light. If the lamp is not plugged in, it cannot shed light. The light shed does not come from the lamp. but comes from the electricity. If you choose to think of yourself as your body, your thoughts, your circumstances, etc., you are identifying with the lamp. If you choose to identify with Spirit you identify with something greater than yourself which flows through you and lights up the entire universe. In essence the purpose of the lamp is to plug in or connect so that electricity can flow thereby producing light. In any given situation  I have the ability to plug in. That is where my truth can be found.

“What do we call a story that’s based on limited real data and imagined data and blended into a coherent, emotionally satisfying version of reality? A conspiracy theory.”~ Brene Brown.

Out of all the lessons though, the one which was most impactful was choosing to make my experiences about me instead of others. There comes the time in your life when you have to face your own bullshit, period! A slickster can’t be outslicked because game recognizes game. Truth recognizes truth. Spirit recognizes spirit. The problem is, it’s easier to call someone else out on their “issues” versus acknowledging the who, what, where and how these “issues” are showing up in your life. It’s much easier to place blame or put a label on someone else instead of asking yourself where that energy exists in you. When you live in denial, you can not fix what needs to be healed. When you live in denial you give your power to external circumstances and are always reacting to someone else’s drama. You are living your life from the energy of your wounds. I know what my triggers are now. When an uncomfortable situation faces me I now allow time to reflect on how I invited the experience into my life. Sometimes the answers come quickly, sometimes it takes weeks or months. In the end when I look in the mirror/experience before me, I find myself facing a wound that needs healing, a belief that I need to let go of, or I recognize that in some manner I’m operating from a vibrational frequency which is far from consciousness. I am identifying with my body and not my spirit. I am not plugged into electricity. We reap what we sow even when the seeds were planted unintentionally. Divine energy places certain people and situations in my life to help me see myself. To help me become a better version of myself. To see the best of myself as well as my flaws. To have empathy and compassion. To learn forgiveness. Divine energy is always placing people and situations in your life to help you see the true essence of your being.

My intention this year is to remain plugged in, to allow God’s love and light to flow through me, so that I can be used to spread light amongst those I encounter.  Everything else will fall in place and unfold as it should.

 

 

A Letter to My Father

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I love this photo of us.  It takes me back to a time when life was easy and carefree and I felt like the luckiest little girl in the world.  I cherish this picture because it serves as reminder of all the great memories I have of you.  I think of you often and sometimes with regret.  When I got the call that you passed away, it was in that moment that I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I saw you face to face, nor the last words that I spoke to you.  What I do remember is that there was tension in our last phone conversation and many unanswered questions. That was about 22 years ago.

I must admit that I did not spend a large part of my life trying to understand your choices.  I was too young at the time to understand the complexities of life and relationships between a man and a woman but as a young child when I saw my mother often frustrated and angry as a result of your choices,  I took her side. My heart ached trying to figure out how you could be so easily led astray and I took your actions all too personally.   Weren’t we enough of a reason to leave the alcohol, streets and women alone?   How could anything be more important than us? As a result, I armored myself  with an “If you don’t care enough then I don’t care enough either” attitude.  Little did I know the undertone of this experience would live, grow and fester inside me. It has shown up in various areas of my life.  Whenever I’ve felt betrayed or disrespected by a friend and it most certainly has shown up in my relationships with men.  While I was busy showing many “I didn’t care about them either” I also was neglecting “not caring” about myself. And I was too blinded by ego to see it.  I’ve faced some hard truths about myself in my desire to achieve success in the one area of my life that proves to difficult.  Relationships. I have wasted much time trying to prove my worthiness to men.  I have accepted scraps of attention and time from men, I’ve stuck by their sides forgivingly, when I should have walked away.  All the while convincing myself that if I could make “this one” work despite the obvious signs, my worth be recognized.  Because I could not see my worth, I was looking for it in my various career choices, in my friendships and in my relationships. In my mind I knew better, but at my core I needed to be healed.

My path to healing has been ripe with hard lessons, self-reflection, awareness, gratitude, and love.  It wasn’t until I claimed my baggage which I carried with me everywhere, that I was able to release it. I have since learned to forgive myself and I’ve come to forgive you.  I’ll never know the weight of your burdens and fears but as an adult I now understand that you did the best you knew how to do.  Life does not come with a manual and our experiences are here to show us ourselves, good and bad so that we can live fully and in truth.  It is not for me or anyone to judge you or your actions. My unconscious behavior is no different from yours or anyone else’s for that matter.  The common thread of fear of inadequacy runs through all of us.  I now understand it had nothing to do with me. At 44 I know without question my value and my worth and as a result I am responsible and accountable for the energy I bring to life experiences.  Although I am still single, it is because I know what I will and will not allow in my life.  I am guided by my intuition. I forgive without giving up my truth. There is nothing to prove.  Life happens for us to nurture and promote our spiritual development.

And so, on what would have been your 66th birthday, it is my hope that these words touch your spirit.  Two years ago today mom and I traveled to St. Croix to release Grandma Sheila’s ashes into the ocean and once released the clouds dissipated and the light from the sun confirmed that her spirit was free.  We were able to see your sister Karen and celebrate both your life and my grandmother’s life. For me this day is about letting go of the things that are holding me back from living my best life. I pray that wherever you are in the world, that your life is abundant. I pray that you have found your way. I pray that you are sharing your light.  Know that I love you and know that I always knew your love for me and despite the past, I am grateful to have known you on this journey called life.

 

 

What Shall I Do?

I attended what I now refer to as “Sunday Service” at the Won-Buddhism Meditation Temple yesterday and it was quite a memorable experience.  I have been attending the Temple off and on for about two years now and there is always more to appreciate with each visit.

My practice of meditation started fairly early along this journey.  The more I read about it the more I desired to achieve that moment when mind chatter disintegrates and complete silence takes over.  And like anything else in life, the more you practice the better you become.

At each service there is always a Dharma talk which one could compare to a sermon.  Yesterday’s Dharma talk touched upon several areas that really spoke to me in addition to the Reverend’s commentary on the recent events that took place in Paris. Prior to meditation the Reverend talked about “attachment” and how people become fixated or so consumed with their beliefs and ideals that truth eludes them.  Blame is placed on others recklessly, without acknowledgment of self victimization.  Her commentary offered me an opportunity to question myself and ask what ideals I was still holding on to and why.

The Dharma talk was given by a student who aspires to be a Buddhist priest.  His words were simple but honest, he spoke of being fully committed to his journey and his fear of straying off of his path.  He spoke of the despair of not knowing what he should do with his life and how his experiences have brought to him to this decision. He will have to let go of many material attachments and worldly pleasures, and will have to commit daily to his practices.  There will be no turning back to his former life, there is no trial period, at twenty something he is fully committed to his calling in life. I instantly thought of all the many things I struggle to commit to in my life that are missed opportunities.

In a few days the sun will enter Sagittarius and as my birthday approaches I am filled with curiosity and excitement knowing that this time is very powerful for me.  The choices I make during these next few weeks will propel me into my not so comfort zone or keep me complacent within my  comfort zone.  As the planets align in my favor how will I best make use of this energy? What will I let go of that I have held on to for too long?  What no longer serves me? What will I commit to and will I be able to stay accountable to it? The shift I felt in October continues to expand and great opportunity for transformation and abundance lie ahead of me.  This shift also brings discomfort and anxiety, triggering the part of me that wants to ask “why can’t this be easy”?  But still, I pray for guidance, taking action towards what I know to do, stay faithful to my practices while yielding the rest to God.

Lately, I have been asking the question “What Shall I Do”? It is this same question that the young Dharma student started and ended his story with.