Monday, August 10, 2015

As Blessed As You Want To Be

It's a choice to experience a blessed life, or you can choose to focus on what you don't have and feel miserable about it, thus creating even more of what you don't want! A shift in perception is all it takes to turn your day around. A shift in how you choose to look at things is the difference between manifesting an abundant life, or remaining stuck. When the inside changes, the outside follows. That is how it works. Always has, my friends. This is not "new age" crap.  This is a law of attraction, and it's within your power to harness this truth and use it to full advantage. Here's how it can be done. And, here's a couple examples of how wearing your limiting beliefs like a badge of honor will make sure nothing ever changes.

I feel passionate about some things in this life, and this is one of them: Deflecting negativity.  I couldn't write about anything here unless I had seen for myself the positive and negative results of my own thoughts as I make my way through life. I am a single mother. I work very hard at a job I love. I work out at the gym and take excellent care of myself. I have pets at home. I have an active social life. I am in a relationship. I volunteer my time with Hospice and the cancer center at the University of Kentucky hospital. I have just recently started a not-for-profit charity. I can get tired. But, you won't ever hear me mention that little fact again, so forget I said it. My point here is this life of mine takes a lot of juggling. A lot. Some days I do it well, everything just goes along smoothly.  On other days I fail epically! But even my sense of failure is a perception, and I am working to self-correct these thoughts when they pop up. And they do. And they will again. And again. It's not so much the need to block negative thoughts, as much as having the ability to negate them quickly when they do crop up in your mind.  This will be your saving grace. It would be easy for me to bemoan the fact that life for a single mom is a lot harder then life for a happily married couple, or for someone without children and pets and dozens of responsibilities. I don't have a bevy of helpers at my disposal. It would be easy for me to point my finger at my ex-husband and look at his life and how it's gone on without a hitch, and with a lot more ease than mine. You see, I am the custodial parent of our daughter, the one who provides a home for her, and this requires much creative thinking in order to succeed in pulling everything off with order and harmony. But I tell you this, if I even begin to think "poor me", even for a moment, everything starts to unravel....and fast! It's my choice to turn it all around, and I have learned to choose this route many times. When I am secure in the knowledge that I am only here in this life to help others...to bless, to support, to love,...that's when I find the answers needed to resolve troubling situations.  And the answers just seem to appear!  It's when the negative energy is silenced that the positive energy is freed up, and it begins to flow. Magically. When I open my heart, when I say, "Thank You" for everything, even the challenges, I am signaling the Universe that I am ready to lay down the burdens, and find the answers. And they come.

In my line of work I see a large cross section of humanity come through the front door of my massage practice on a daily basis.  I have the honor of extending healing to them through my hands, and listening with a compassionate ear. I hear a lot of stories, and within the stories I get x-ray vision into their lives. I hear where they are holding negativity, the limiting beliefs, and the pain....pain that is showing up in their bodies. There is something about human beings wallowing in negativity. They want you to know about how bad things are. Our culture's obsession with the reality TV that caters to the basest part of human existence is proof positive there is an unhealthy focus on bad news, negative outcomes, and drama. Why is this? Sometimes I get the distinct impression from my clients, and even from close friends, that no one really listens to them. I mean, do you feel someone actually listens to you?  I struggle with this myself. Sometimes I think someone is listening, but I wonder, do they really hear me? Ever wonder about that yourself?  It's a gift and an art to listen with undivided attention when someone bears their heart to you. I feel humanity as a whole is so stressed and so rushed they just don't get the chance to do this for one another. Again, I have heard it all, every confession, every sad story, every ounce of pain within a human heart, but this is the truth: it's when these painful things, whatever they, are held onto like a badge of honor, we are affirming a sense of  lack and greatly limiting our way out of pain.  So many dear people actually like to own their aches and pains, as if holding onto the past is all they have.  There is a distinct feeling that misery is their companion. We all know people like this, and it's a sure guarantee nothing will ever change. Nothing.

I love each and every one of you out there. We are all one.  Limiting beliefs and all, it's easy to relate to the collective pain we all can carry.  I have my own less than positive beliefs from time to time, so I understand. But let's do something radical. Let's throw off the limits and and seek the resolutions, instead. I have a client who says to me, "There is pain in my back".  He doesn't say, "I am in pain". Subtle difference here. The body is in pain, not the man. It's not a part of who he really is, and he knows this!  He lives in the realm of possibility.  He opens himself to healing by rejecting the inevitability he is bound to a limiting existence. He inspires me each time he comes to me for massage work. Yes, there are struggles we all have, but they are not who we really are. This is very good news! What a relief to know we are not our negativity! We are not our own sad story. We are so much more. But to turn it around and see the positive results requires you to actively change your mind. And here's the thing...

I have yet to encounter a troubling situation that didn't hold an answer in it's hands. So be fluid, take it in stride, don't panic, stay open to resolutions (they may not look like you thought they would!), and you will begin to see situations work out. If you are in physical pain, it can be greatly reduced by detaching from the very belief that you are in pain. If this sounds trite or simplistic, again know that I couldn't write about it if I hadn't experienced this for myself. My body can hurt, there may be troubles in my life now and then, but I don't hurt. I don't have troubles. "I" is used here as that innate part of ourselves that is free and unencumbered.  Let life ebb and flow. Detach from outcome.  Know who you are. I hold a vision of my clients as free and glorious beings. This is a natural mindset for me to embrace.  It took some practice, but it comes easily now.  Maybe try holding the same thought for yourself today, and see what happens.  Nothing can hold you back, down, or sideways.  Nothing. Unless you let it. Refuse to let it.  And your peace will begin to flow like a river.

Until next time...

Cindy

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Your True Worth

Your value is not what the world tries to make you believe. It's not an IQ, it's not about your status in society, it's not how many friends you have, it's not how much money you can make, it's not how many "likes" you get on Facebook, and it's certainly not your own opinion of yourself when you're feeling down.  Life ebbs and flows, it shape shifts, startles, frustrates, and hurts sometimes. But...

This is what I know...

There isn't a single solitary thing you can't achieve if you want it bad enough. There isn't a pain or tragedy that you can't get through if you will only allow it to help you grow. There isn't a person anywhere in this world that can strip you of your innate grace, peace and worth. There isn't a job, or relationship, or family member, or friend, that can make you feel less than your own radiant self, unless you allow them to.  But here's the thing, just when you think your life is on track, someone will try to knock you off. Count on it. No matter what kind of mantel of peace I wear, some fool will surely try to undo it and rip it off and stomp it in the ground. So, what to do? Cry and moan that the world isn't fair? Ask Goddess why She makes such mean people, and why do they have to inflict their own self-loathing on you? No. Get rid of the notion there is some source or power raining down stress and strain on us when we think we least deserve it. This is not how it works. These things happen to us because it's a way of showing us we need to move up a notch or two. It's time to shed yesterday's beliefs and opinions and the false sense of security we thought we had, and it's time to cultivate a solid inner core of unshakable calm. This is good news! Somehow you outgrew the old system, (yay!) and now you are ready to move up. Always up. There is no going back, friends.  Once you set your foot upon a spiritual path, there is no going back.  It stretches you beyond your comfort zone, and once stretched you can never go back to your original shape.

But, let's stop the pity party.  Let's take stock of the day, the people, the situations, and if need be, cut them free...you know, the naysayers, the so-called "friends" cloaked in hypocrisy, our too settled sense of our place in life.....and embrace the change that is happening.  Change is a good thing.  I used to fear it with a passion, until I learned how to ride with it.  Change is a living, breathing thing. Let's not strangle it.  Change makes it possible to have a new canvas to paint on, a new set of opportunities that can find their way into your life.  It's a fresh breeze that carries newness on it's wings. And when change does happen......let it....but don't cling to it, for it will indeed change again when the time is right. Does this scare you? Does this sound like you can never relax and have things to count on? Does this sound too transient, too iffy, too...impermanent?  Get your core strength in place.  Decide what is important to you in your life, then focus on it. Make it unshakable.  This is where you get your peace.  This is how you know you'll be okay when the tides shift.  Get your foundation in place and let the world change, as it surely will. You'll be fine and solid and beautiful.

Truly, if you want permanence and peace and stability in your life, then embrace change and allow it the freedom to move around, and through you.  Your peace and stability comes from an inner core of calm that can be cultivated and nurtured. For no matter what goes on around you, no matter what, you can stand in a space of self-reliance and self-worth while you let all the impermanent things fall away from you. It's worth it just to see this in action. Let the false things fall away.  And here's another thing, when you're ready to grow many things will seem to go wrong and fall apart.  A process of clarification begins to happen.  What does not serve our highest good begins to fall away. This can be disconcerting, to say the least.  I know, believe me.  Trust the process.

My own sense of worth finds it comforting to know that beyond what we see and feel and deal with on a day-to-day basis is not necessarily the truth of our being. Never was. The truth of our being is that we are loved beyond all reason and knowing, and we are worth more than any amount of worldly achievement. In the face of darkness and adversity, you will meet yourself. Be gentle. In the face of hurt and disappointment, you see the truth. Fear not. Within the voices that try to tear us down, we will meet our own true worth, or see exactly where we need to do a little more work, in order to bring it to the forefront.  Do it with joy. Your worth is there. Let the world in all it's silly ways strip away what is false.  It was never ours to begin with. Underneath it all lies your freedom from being incessantly jerked around.  Within the problem facing you lies an answer and a gift.  In the very hands that we perceive as threatening lies the way to become safe and anchored.  Asking for the truth to be revealed to us, and asking for the wisdom to see beyond the veil that hides our true being, is the beginning of profound and lasting change.  You're worth the effort it takes to unmask the layers that have hidden your radiance.

Your true worth is your birthright. There is a world in need of your love and transformative power. Your love.  Your power.  Your gifts.  Aren't they worth unveiling?  Aren't you worth what it takes to become all you are meant to be?  I believe you are.  If I can find my way, so can you.  If I can overcome, so can you.  If you can believe in yourself, so can you.  And that, dear reader, is the kind of change that will completely transform your life.  Because you're worth it.

Until next time...

Cindy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Living by your lights

I had a client a few weeks ago tell me she felt like she was at the end of her rope. She said she felt everyday was a battle with herself.  Her exact words were, "I feel like I'm living by the skin of my teeth.  I don't trust myself to know how to live right anymore.  It's like I'm going to fall into a hole and never get out".  Yeah, there are times I hear some heavy stuff as a massage therapist.  The sacred space I'm able to hold for people in my line of work is something I never take lightly.  I never give unsolicited advice. That's not my job.  As I begin my work, I simply listen and silently bless the person on my table. What I do know is they are so much more than their current problems!  It's as if we fall asleep for a while and forget just how magnificent we are.  Her follow-up question was, "What should I do?" I'm not a psycho therapist, nor a counselor, but I remember responding with telling her to try living by her lights, instead.  And here's the thing...

What does that mean exactly?

She and I spoke openly for a few minutes about the mind/body connection, and because she asked me directly, I felt it was appropriate to share what I know personally about this subject.  She was very eager to hear that it was possible to alleviate pain and stress in her body by realigning some of her thought processes. But what struck me the most was her statement, "I feel like I'm living by the skin of my teeth." That's a definite struggle, a constant strain. It actually made me think of the poster from years ago with the kitten hanging by it's claw and the words, "Hang In There, Baby" written at the bottom.  Remember that one?  That feels like survival mode, and that's not a comfortable way to live.  If you're merely surviving instead of thriving, then that's not living at all.

But living by your lights, ahh...

Each and every one of us has an inexhaustible source of truth and guidance available to us. Tapping into it is a simple process, but one that requires trust in ourselves.  But here's another thing dearies, trust is hard for people.  We've made so many mistakes in our lives.  We've really messed things up before. People let you down.  A misplaced trust in someone or something can have far reaching effects.  For some people it's absolutely devastating.  The so-called mistakes in our life (and I'm a firm believer there are no mistakes, just missed opportunities for growth) are the guideposts that point us away from the thing that isn't in our best interest.  If you've placed your trust in flimsy and transient things, and been repeatedly disappointed, it's very easy to not trust your instincts anymore. This is where we begin to doubt our own ability to create the life we want...and deserve.

Imagine accepting yourself, in all your imperfect glory, with open arms.  I do this everyday!  It's part of my self-care.  People may have hurt us, people may have let us down, situations may have turned on us, but we, oh my, we are vicious on ourselves.  No one beats us up like the punches we pull on our  hearts and minds. Let's stop that.  Please?  Reestablishing a strong connection to our inner strength and wisdom comes a lot easier when we stop blaming ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, and begin to realize that everything we've ever been through can be used for positive change. This is the acceptance part.  This is true self-love. This is the basis for a new life, or at least, an overhaul on the stagnant one we may be living.

There was a time when I didn't know how to live.  I didn't know how to trust myself.  I didn't know I held all the truth and wisdom and direction that I needed to get out of the mess I'd made of my little world.  It was a process to break this mold, but what catapulted me the fastest into the life I now enjoy was the intentional practice of stopping the blame game, and accepting myself right where I was.  Knowing I was already perfect in all my imperfection allowed me to take a deep breath and exhale a lot of self-doubt and negativity.  I took a good look at all the things I felt I had done wrong, and I turned them around so that everything I had done before was viewed simply as a stepping stone on my own unique path.  It's about choices and consequences, nothing more.  We choose well, or we make a choice that forces us down the road to choose again, or stay stuck.  This was when I began to view my life differently.  This was when I began to trust myself once more.  This was the beginning of my own personal healing.

And the client I had a few weeks ago?  I saw her recently and she shared a list of all the things she felt she does well in life.  I suggested she write down everything that she could consider an asset and a talent...all the little things, too.  With her permission, I can tell you, she knows she is good at hugging. She can roll paint onto walls with lightening speed, and with no drips. She can make risotto like nobody's business.  She can tap dance.  She knows when someone is lying by the way they hold their eyes.  She has x-ray vision when it comes to deciphering bullshit in most any situation.  These are skills and I praised her for acknowledging them!  Her list was just the beginning and I encouraged her to keep noticing all the times she relies on this innate "knowing".  This is the light with which we can choose to live.  It's not about survival, it's about thriving in mind and body.  It's knowing you have what it takes to live a fearless and fulfilling life.  But sometimes it takes things coming to a grinding halt just so we can get off the merry-go-round of self-defeatism. Sometimes it will take just a stopover.  A regrouping.  A quiet time in your day to get still and listen. Ask and you will get an answer.  And if you don't right away, then stay in the moment and just accept you don't know what to do.  Hang with that. It signals the Universe that you are open...ready...waiting.  Be Empty.  Not knowing is a sacred thing to experience.  My most open and empty moments were the times I became filled-up with direction and guidance.  There is no wrong way to learn and grow in this life.  We learn through wisdom or we learn through pain.  One takes longer, that's all.  Never beat yourself up for this. Never.

Live by the light that resides in you.  It's there, dearest.  If you can't believe that right now, then believe me when I tell you this, because I couldn't write it if I hadn't lived it and seen it for  myself. You possess everything you need to shine brightly in this world...and the world has need of you and your light!  Imagine the power that could be harnessed if every man, woman, and child had a grasp of their own strength and courage and beauty! Think of all the lives that could be touched and blessed with this power! And this is not egotistical.  This is humility. Accepting our innate gifts and spreading them among the people we come into contact with is how to live in true community with one another.  That won't feel like survival, at all.  That's not living by the skin of your teeth, that's living by your authentic truth. And when you hook into that which you were born to do, namely to birth your purpose into being, and then live it, you are supported with everything you need to shine in your life. Everything.

Well, I thank you for stopping by.  I write when I feel moved to write, and from the heart, so take what you will and use it, or take nothing at all.  I wish you peace and plenty and a true understanding of the light that resides within you.  You're beautiful and powerful beyond measure!

Until next time...

Cindy

Monday, June 22, 2015

This much I know...

...and believe me there are days when I don't know much at all, but this is something I can write about with certainty:

Our level of daily stress in this life is in direct correlation to how we choose to react to it. Just look at the news for a second...wait, don't do that! We're working on lowering stress at the moment!  (The lopsided media is another blog post for another day)  I can only write from my heart, and I can only write convincingly about what I truly know and have experienced.  And I know about stress. I know about a level of stress that can kill, or at the very least make you sick in heart, mind and body. Yep...I know about all of this intimately...and so do you.  But here's the thing: Living a low-stress life is a choice. It's very easy to say our level of stress comes from outward events, places, things, people. We are very reactionary as humans. This is normal, this is how we decipher situations and make choices about how to act. But it's the first knee-jerk response that I'm trying to overcome in my own personal experience.  How are you doing with it?

I think it's a skill worth acquiring that allows one to react in a dispassionate way when someone throws a ball at us and expects us to drop everything and catch it. It's a skill I am doing my best to cultivate. It is an absolute guarantee there will be something every single day of our life that can, and will, cause us to feel stress. My particular stress can come from being a single mother. I take my role as "Mother", "Caregiver", "Provider" very seriously.....yes, many hats we wear as single moms, and dads. But I want you to know right now, my dearies, just how extraordinary and exceptional you are in raising a child right. And by right, I mean to be present mentally, to have the energy to handle their lives, their needs, their wants, their right to have a safe and loving and stable home. It is an extraordinary thing to give this to a child, and still be able to handle all that is going on in one's own life, and at the same time.

Now, just for kicks, let's throw into the mix someone who likes to live in their own little world and is largely clueless about about what it takes for you to raise your darling and precious child. Let's just say that sometimes there is a disconnect as to what it means to be supportive, respectful, or even cognizant of the fact that to add just one more thing...or attitude, insult, opinion...whatever it is, onto a mother's (or father's) already full plate is something that is not greeted with open arms. Let's just say.

Now what? I've pictured myself many times as Scarlett O' Hara, rising from the ground, dirt in my hand, raising my fist to the heavens vowing that I will never be put upon again! And I can do the Southern accent perfectly!  But here's another thing...I don't want to live that way, and neither do you. I don't want to have to pull myself up, all hot and sweaty out of despair, and vow that I will overcome whatever obstacles are thrown in my path. I want to be able to traipse lightly and gracefully over them!  I don't want a furrowed brow, it's unbecoming. Just know, the obstacles/annoyances are going to be there, they're going to keep coming in small ways, and in some big ways too, everyday. That's the very human side of life. It ebbs and flows and gets stuck from time to time. But, I for one, want to be elegant in how I handle the ups and downs. Now, here comes the choice part...

It's an inside job, babe. Always has been.  *And again, if you're a man reading this, and if the shoe is on the other foot, then please, please know I am with you on this. There are some absolutley wonderful, evolved men/fathers out there. Bless you one and all. Thank you for the service you do, for the love and care you give your children when you are with them. Thank you for the respect and kindness shown to their mother, whether you are together as a couple, or not. Thank you for your reverence of the Feminine.  You are a needed, and I thank you.* 

But back to the inside job thing:

Personally, my life flows beautifully when I prepare myself daily for the ebb and flow of this life. I take nothing for granted. Nothing. So in preparing for my day I make it a point (almost always...I am a work in progress here) to take the time to center myself. I send out thoughts of compassion for an imperfect world populated by imperfect people, people I will no doubt come across today. So, do we expect the best and prepare for the worst? No, not exactly, I say expect the best and then act as if that's what you'll get. It keeps you smiling and open to possibility. But I've also seen the need to hone my ability to let the ball drop when it's thrown at me. People will put unfair amounts of pressure on you, if you allow it. Sometimes you simply must take a stand and speak up. Set your boundaries, and reinforce them everyday. "This is sacred ground". "This is a line you will not cross"...and draw your sword, if need be.  But here's the final thing, for me at least:

I will not allow my thoughts to damn a single living human being no matter what they throw at me. I will practice intention (and speaking up when needed), and I will trust the Universe to provide for me an answer to the problem that has just been created. I have to laugh some days though, because the Universe is showing me I can handle all this stuff by giving me more of it!  Again, it's a choice how I process it, how I choose to respond.  We're always given the opportunity to act from a place of love, or, from a place of fear.  I have been shown that if I keep my thoughts fluid, gentle, expectant, then I will indeed find my way through the mire of human foibles that can cause me to stumble.  I will be given the words to say, the reaction that is appropriate, the unyielding trust that everything will work out...and for everyone's highest good. And just because I can get pissed off over something doesn't mean it's not there to serve me ultimately. I have found it's purpose is to show me that I have the ability to handle it!  Things are not put in our path to make us frustrated, they're there to help us transcend them. It's a loving Universe that shines a bright light on the things we no longer need. The things, people, places, that are holding us back, making us afraid, making us feel weak.  They show up so we can transcend them.  And until a lesson is learned, it will keep showing up and repeating itself in one form, or another.

What is the level of stress you are dealing with today? Can you take it down a notch? Can you drop that hot potato you're holding?  Could you take a few minutes and practice a "stillpoint" in your day? That's as easy as just breathing in and out away from everyone for a few minutes.  Can you trust there is something far greater at work in your life than all the nonsense that's going on around you at the moment?  It's an inside job, babe.  Always has been. Remember this when tempted to point the finger of blame.  And while that can be disconcerting, it keeps us responsible for the quality of our lives, and it also shows us we do have choices. We can create a peaceful atmosphere in our life. Act, don't react. Subtle shifts make all the difference...but don't hesitate to sidestep that ball that's being thrown at you.  Just let it drop.....they'll get over it.  When you can no longer be sucked into the drama, it has a way of lessening. This is what I know, for what it's worth.  Take what makes sense here and use it, and if nothing resonates with you, I thank you for stopping by.

Peace on your heart.

Until next time...

Cindy