I found it you guys!!! The key to enlightenment.
As I was waking up this morning, lying in bed, setting my intention for the day and it totally hit me! The last few days I’ve immersed myself in the fun of summer, the love and connection I have for my boys, and the love and connection I have for one of my very best friends. We went to a San Franstinktown (if you’ve seen Inside Out as many times as I have you’ll completely understand that I mean nothing by this 😉 ) Giants game on Wednesday. It was their first ever major league baseball game. We even got to go down on the infield near the dugout so they could see things up close. We got tickets from their Jr. Giants little league, which has been another great adventure for us this summer.
After the game we went back to Auntie Wendy and Uncle Eric’s house for some relief from the heat in their pool. Getting to spend time with my soul family while watching my boys is priceless. I almost didn’t get to do things like this because of my breast cancer diagnosis. But the Universe has bigger plans for me and this connection with myself and others is part of that plan, I know it.
On Thursday Wendy and I took the boys to Funderland, a local childrens amusement park. They got their unlimited ride wrist bands and ran in opposite directions, hence Auntie Wendy’s presence. The boys were in playtime heaven. I think they rode each ride 10 times each. The above picture was during our break time so they could catch their breath. Once the weather started heating up again it was back to the house for more swimming.
Part of my role as mother is to protect my kids. Another part is to provide for them. I provide the necessities as well as the experiences and adventures for them to learn things on their own. The vision I have for my life is to provide as many adventures for them as possible while they are young. So many of my friends who’s children are grown tell me to enjoy my boys while they’re young. As much as they drive me insane, I cherish them too.
So now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the key to enlightenment. Well, I realized something…I had the time of my life the last couple of days. Then I realized why…I didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought or said about what I was doing. I lived in the sacred present moment more than I ever have in my entire life. For me, not giving a fuck about anything but what I was doing opened the door for me to find the joy in my life.
In Buddhism enlightenment is a final spiritual state marked by the absence of desire or suffering (thank you Websters dictionary). I was finally not suffering from anything nor was I wanting anything but what was right in front of me. I looked at my boys and my friends and realized that they are THE only thing in this world that matter.
Enlightenment is different for everyone. According to Websters it is the state of having knowledge or understanding. To me that makes enlightenment subjective and personal. What’s enlightening for me may not be enlightening for you, vice versa, and that’s ok. As humans we put enlightenment just out of reach. It’s for those who sit on a mountain and meditate for 23 hours a day. That’s so far from the truth. It is within each of us. It’s a part of our wholeness. It’s getting out there and living life on your terms. It’s the little things.
I’d like to know…what’s enlightenment to you? What do you do that enlightens your life? Share with me in the comments and let’s see what we have in common. I promise it’s more than we realize.
With love and light.
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I’ve been on this spiritual journey for 41 years now. I’ve been AWARE of that journey for the past few years. Waking up to the magic and miracles that exist all around us isn’t as easy as it may sound. There’s a lot of actual work. There’s visions to rediscover, goals to set, intentions to be brought up, breaking old patterns and practicing new, more positive ones. Sometimes it takes a little nudge to get us roused. If you’re like me, it takes a big rig and a bulldozer (I was totally going to say wrecking ball, but that instantly reminded me of Miley and I just can’t go there right now;) ). My big rig was a breast cancer diagnosis. My bulldozer was my husband unexpectedly passing away about a month after that. Yeah, the Universe knows I’m hard-headed so it threw out all the stops.
But, strange as it may seem, it isn’t the big things that keep me from moving forward. There have been many big things that have knocked me down throughout my life and I’ve gotten back up every time. It’s the little things that keep pushing me to my breaking point. It’s the little things that I can’t seem to let go of. And of course in the grand scheme of things, these little things don’t matter one bit, yet they trigger me until I’m insane.
It’s been my experience that taking baby steps is what helps to make you successful. That and a whole lot of patience, but I digress. If I keep the idea of baby steps in my awareness I can break my more deep seeded issues into little things that don’t seem quite as big. As I look into letting go of the smaller things, I find that the bigger ones aren’t all that big, making them a hell of a lot more easy to handle. But, since frustrations, annoyances and irritations are everywhere we have to look at “how” we can let them go. Well, I’ve got three easy tips to help.
- If you have kids, watch them without letting them know you’re watching them. When kids don’t know they’re being watched they are their true selves naturally. Especially when they’re really young and unconditioned. But watching the innocence of a child and how easily they let things go will help you realize just how easy the process is. If your kids are the irritation you’re trying to deal with, find a way to take a 5 minute time out for yourself. Take 3-5 deep cleansing breaths, in through your nose and out your mouth. On the in breath silently say to yourself “let”. On the out breath, say “go”. The breaths by themselves will help calm you, but adding a little mantra can help a little more. If you don’t have kids, that’s ok, borrow someone else’s, or watch some animals. Animals have a natural tendency to let things go too.
- Rediscover the vision you had for you life before everything started pissing you off. Connect with your inner wisdom to see what it is you really want in your life. Look at each area separately-health and body, friends and family, intimate relationships, home and surroundings, fun and leisure, spirituality, career, and money and finance. Journal about what you see and hear, how it all makes you feel. Get crystal clear on what you want your life to look like. Your vision has always been there, you just need to rediscover it. It’s subject to change as your circumstances change but overall you’re in charge of creating your life based on your vision. The clearer that vision, the easier it is to let go of the things that won’t get your there.
- Getting out into nature is a very powerful tool that is easily accessible and free. When you get out into nature you are reconnecting with the Source energy that courses through your body. You get to observe how easily Mother Nature let’s things go. Look at the waterfall in the photo above. It comes upon another layer of rock, which potentially could stop it’s flow, but it simply moves over and around it, continuing on it’s path with purpose and confidence. And since we are all of the same energy that means you too can easily let things go. One of my favorite things to do is walk around barefoot. I’m not too fond of shoes actually. Each step I take connects me to the power of Gaia, who is always there to support me, even when I’m being a bit of a shithead and making disempowering choices. She’s really quite forgiving. Ooohhhhhh…another blog post.
So there you have it. Three easy steps to remind you how easy it is to actually let things go that no longer serve you. These are tools you can use any time which is so awesome because just when you let one thing go, here comes another.
With lots of love!
Photo taken by Tamara Bailey. Tamara is an EMS dispatcher who loves to capture what she sees through her hobby of photography. Nature is her favorite subject to shoot. She loves to go out on a hike, explore and experiment with filters, lenses, and patience. Her photos are raw and full of the beauty that we tend to take for granted. She has generously shared this photo with me as a co-creation between souls. Thank you Tamara for sharing your gift!
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With this being an election year there’s a lot more BS than authenticity going on. My BS meter has been going off a bit, but not because of all the political hype going on, because I’m wondering who’s real and who’s just trying to sell me something. I want to see the real people of the world, people not afraid to show me their dark side, people willing to let that dark side show a little. On a daily basis our darkness contributes to our existence just as much as our light.
What does a day in your life look like? Mine are typically full of energy (mine never matches that of my two boys) and is jam packed with a to-do list that doesn’t always get done. I attempt to get up early for my quiet routine of fifteen minutes of gentle yoga stretching and 15-30 minutes of meditation. I’ll usually do a quick check of Facebook and Instagram, maybe email, then I’m off and running to wake up the monsters, get their lunches packed, get them dressed, get me dressed, then we’re out the door. I get to come home to work, which most days is really nice, but lately it’s been challenging to make myself sit down and work for one reason or another.
As a single-mom/entrepreneur I have a pretty fixed time slot for productivity. Some days I’m super productive, other days are “I just don’t give a rat’s ass if anything gets done” kind of a day. It’s called harmony.
So why is it that I keep seeing how productive everyone else is? All the self-help gurus are so productive, the inspirational leaders. They get up, make their smoothies or super green healthy breakfasts, do an hour of yoga followed by a half hour or more of meditation, then they bust out all their new content and promotions, all while fitting social media posts in multiple times a day. Is it just me or is this just more BS they want us to see.
Don’t get me wrong, I follow many of the mainstream positive inspirational peeps out there because they do provide that positive inspiration. But there are days that I just want to punch them in the face. There, I said it! I wonder how many of them have kids? How many of them have spouses to help them with anything and everything? How many of them fight themselves to get out of bed some mornings? How many of them are only showing us their light? I want to see more darkness. Life is messy, its a process. Just because they have come through some pretty horrible shit, as have the rest of us, doesn’t mean life is all rainbows and butterflies (Hi Adam Levine;) ).
I recently dove a little deeper into my values discovering not just what they actually are, but what they mean to me. Those values are as follows:
These are the things that are most important to me and help me live a fulfilled life. I’m not being of service to anyone, especially myself, if I don’t keep these values in mind throughout the day. With that being said, I make a promise to you, my audience, my followers, my tribe, to always be flexible and helpful, to say what I mean and do what I say, to be totally unapologetically authentic and raw (which for me means the occasional profanity, just a forewarning in case the above wasn’t obvious), to know that what I have to offer you is just as valuable as what you offer me, to integrate my darkness into my light and help you figure out how to do the same, and to include you and your feedback into what I do here online and out in the world.
Do I compare myself to the self-help “experts”? Hell yes! I’m human. Do I have a choice as to whether or not I partake in such silly behavior? Of course I do. Most days I choose to live from the heart, from that place of courage that I can get through anything because I’ve already been through a lot. But it doesn’t have to be perfect routine action all the time. It has to be real and it has to feel good. I’m also still going to make up excuses because that’s something else humans do. We are meaning-making, excuse-giving machines!
I’d love to know what your values are. What do you find important? What do you keep in mind when making decisions and living life to the fullest? Leave me a message and lets have a real conversation.
With so much raw love!
Over the last few years I’ve come to know myself so much better. I’ve come to dive deeper into my psyche than I ever have before. I’ve started to see the magic that is life. It’s been such a beautiful journey. But it’s also been the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because I was conditioned to not trust magic. I was conditioned to only “believe what you see”. Can I see my mom who was killed by drunk drivers when I was 18 years old? No, but I know she’s there. How? Every time I’m alone and I smell cigarette smoke I know she’s stopping by to say hi. Well, either her or my grandfather, they both smoked like chimneys. Can I see my husband who died unexpectedly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer? No, but I know he’s there. Every time I hear “Running” from No Doubt, our wedding song, I know he’s telling me he still loves me from the other side. I believe with all my heart that they are both traveling between worlds to support me while I’m still here. If I were to see either one of them I’d probably flip my lid, but that’s because I’ve been conditioned to believe only crazy people see spirits. That belief has been challenged by many of my psychic and clairvoyant friends. Part of me is jealous that they can see such things and part of me would be scared shitless to have that ability. The thing is, I believe, we all have this ability, we just have to be open to seeing something other than the Hollywood view.
My first encounter with spirituality was more religiously based. I was baptized and raised Catholic. My mom was the good little Catholic girl, until she ended up pregnant with me at 17. That didn’t stop my grandparents from influencing us while living with them for many years. I even have the pictures to prove I’d gone through Communion. Such a sweet little girl in a white dress. However, I remember sitting through Sunday Mass with my grandparents thinking that this couldn’t be the only way to think. It felt very hypocritical to me, even as a little girl. I heard the sermons then saw the churchgoers living life a little differently. Once my mom married my step-dad we no longer attended church regularly so many of the beliefs I held were quickly replaced.
In college I took a World Religions course. We learned about Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Christianity, and some others that I can’t even remember now. I felt like so much had been hidden from me throughout my life. The mind, body, spirit connection made so much sense to me. To honor and cherish that connection felt natural and organic to me, not forced like Catholicism. I felt like this is what my God was telling me was the truth. I began seeing religion as an ego-construct to separate us from each other. I began feeling the pull of my spirit toward spirituality rather than religion. Once I made that distinction magic started appearing in my life, but my eyes weren’t yet open to it.
So I graduated college and began my life. I eventually met my husband and we started our family. Despite doing everything I was supposed to do according to our society, I felt completely disconnected. Disconnected from my family, from my life, and mainly from myself. I lived with depression for so long that it became my “normal”. It’s what I had grown to know, to be comfortable with. Little did I know things were about to get shaken up and I was being hurled out of my comfort zone. In a matter of three years my entire world was flipped upside down and inside out. My husband became an addict, I lost my job as a paramedic, we lost our first home, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, then, to top it all off, a month after my diagnosis I lost my husband. I was being sent message after message and I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
That’s when I surrendered to whatever Higher Power was in place. I had no idea who or what that Higher Power was but I threw up the white flag anyway. That was the first time I knew a power greater than myself, a magical power, was in charge. That’s also when I started listening to the whispers I was hearing. Those whispers had become dull roars and I started listening to what they were telling me. I now know those whispers to be my own inner wisdom leading me along the path I was meant to walk. I’ve heard them throughout my life but ignored them, like most humans. I dismissed them as nonsense, because I was conditioned to listen to others, especially my elders.
Listening to those whispers was the first step in following my intuition. Now what I do when I hear those whispers is take a step back and become the observer. I observe what’s going on, what’s taking place in front of me. I ask myself a ton of questions. I tune in to how my physical body is feeling. If I’m feeling anxious or fearful I know I have some personal work to do. If I’m calm and peaceful, that’s my cue to take action, even if it’s imperfect action. Things still get scary, I’m human. But the more I connect with my higher self and the magic that exists in our Universe, the more I’m able to be led my my intuition and live the life I truly enjoy living. I ignored my intuition the first three and a half decades of my life and things didn’t go so well. I think it’s time to see where I can go if I actually take the time to listen and be guided by the magic that truly is.
With tons of love.
I’m sitting here “working” right now in my home office when I realize that I’m doing exactly what I set out to do a couple of years ago. I have a vision for my life that includes setting my own schedule so that I can be a present mom for my two little boys, working from the comfort of my own beautiful home, helping support people where they are in life, and finding the harmony in business and self-care. My life has many facets, but they are fitting together quite nicely. I’m surrounded by love everywhere I go and I’m finding inspiration that I thought would elude me. It’s kind of funny how you set an intention, put it out there, take some imperfect action, and what you receive is way more than you could have ever imagined.
I say imperfect action because even imperfect action is better than no action. I heard that from a colleague of mine and it hit me upside the head. That’s usually how inspiration happens for me. That’s also how I learn lessons. So how did I get to where I am? By taking little imperfect actions. Every. Single. Day. As easy as it is to get “stuck” in life, it’s just as easy to get “unstuck”. Take simple actions, imperfect actions, every single day. Those actions will add up over time. Still skeptical? Read the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I read that book earlier this year but began my upward climb out of depression before I even knew it existed.
When I read that book it all made sense as to how I got to where I am today. At first my imperfect action was to simply get out of bed. When you suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety getting out of bed is the hardest thing one can do. The amount of energy it takes to actually throw the warm cozy covers off of your body can be too much to bear. Some days I’d get up long enough to get my kids to school then I’d come home and crawl right back into my nest. And of course when you have three fur babies to keep you company it’s even easier. But I mustered enough strength to do it. I put my feet on the floor and away I went.
I started taking other actions too. Those whispers in my head kept telling me to do things differently than I had been. Instead of crawling back in bed, crawl onto the couch. Even if I was having a Netflix marathon (thank you inventor of Netflix) I wasn’t in bed sulking. I was out of my bedroom participating in something other than self-pity. Well, ok, the self-pity was still there but I had done something different. One baby step at a time, ok. Then one day I decided to read a book instead of watch TV. I had watched every episode of every show I had been interested in anyway so now it was time to do something different, again. Somewhere along the line I had made the unconscious choice to change my life which allowed me to start making more empowering conscious choices. Before I knew it, I was participating in life again. And look at me now, taking the world by storm.
The journey out of depression isn’t easy, but it can be done. Because I’m human I still beat myself up over certain things, but I’m much more inclined to listen to the voice that tells me to be gentle with my humanity. It takes practice, but by showing up every single day, progress is being made. After all, it’s about progress, not perfection.
With so much love!
Hello everyone! So far 2016 has been just as exciting as 2015. Along the way I’ve had ups, downs, ins, outs, highs, lows, and everything else, and it’s only four months into the new year. I never could have imagined half of the things that have happened to me in the last few years. Hell, some of them I still can’t believe. Being an adult can be fun, if you remember not to grow up and take yourself too seriously. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
Forgiveness, especially of myself. It’s one thing to forgive someone for hurting you in some way but a whole other thing to forgive yourself for beating the shit out of yourself on a regular basis. Remembering to do my best, live in the present moment and take care of myself before anything else has been an ongoing theme. Have I done my best so far? Yes I have. Would some people disagree with me? Yes they would. Too bad. I know I did my best and that I’ve created the life I’m leading right now. The coolest thing of all is that when I forgave myself for all the mean things I’ve done to myself over the years and for not seeing how spectacular I am, all kinds of opportunities showed up. I went back to school in an untraditional way to better understand myself so that I may empower others to empower themselves, I gave my first speech at a breast cancer awareness fundraiser in May 2015, and I fell in love with myself for the very first time-ever! I would have preferred a less tumultuous path, but I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. I now understand how I get to co-create the life I live. I get to continue creating the life I want to lead next year, including having my own coaching business and having balance between entrepreneur and calm, loving mom.
Acceptance, especially of myself. Ghetto booty, fake boobs (mine tried to kill me so I replaced them;) ) and everything else, thank you very much! Accepting others as they are, accepting situations and circumstances as they are, and accepting what is. Learning to tell the difference between fact and fiction is the key to the door of acceptance. The facts are simply the unbiased observations of the events in our lives and the fiction is all the dramatic meaning we, as humans, put on everything. If you’re not happy, either accept what is or do something about it. If you’re emotionally attached to someone or something, you’re not accepting. If you want things to be different than they are, you’re not accepting. If you feel like you’re struggling, you’re not accepting. Realizing and remembering that the only thing in this entire universe that you can control is you and your acceptance of things is another step to opening up to possibility.
I also learned that in order to accept things as they are I had to learn how to surrender. Surrendering everything I’ve ever been taught to open myself up to learning new more empowering ways of being has been a huge gift for me. When you learn to surrender to the flow of life and trust the Universe, this facilitates acceptance. And if you are in acceptance of the facts of your life exactly as they are, this facilitates surrender. Acceptance and surrender are two sides of the same coin.
Along with forgiveness, acceptance, and surrender comes freedom. Freedom to be. Freedom to be yourself and freedom to allow others to be who they are. For me, freedom to be the silly, calm, loving, playful, inspirational, beautiful Bulldog that has been fighting to get out has been essential for me to start creating my life. Peace of mind can be found among these ideas. It’s all about changing one’s attitude and perspective. While here on earth in our humanly vessel we have certain things we have to face: health, illness, hormones, all the pathophysiology that comes with being human. Something I try to remember on a regular basis is that we are all energy and we are all connected. Believe me, I don’t want to be connected to those we label as stupid anymore than you do but are they truly stupid or just unenlightened? Are they saying the same thing about you? Probably. Perception is everything. But forgiving, accepting, loving yourself and staying true to who you are allows you to not worry so much about what another’s perception is. We’re all mirrors for each other anyway so maybe what we’re seeing in them is just a reflection of us. I didn’t go all crazy on you guys with this universe and energy and we’re all connected stuff. It’s just what I’ve learned for myself to get me closer to happiness. And realizing that happiness isn’t a destination, its a way of being.
So much love from me to you! xo