Giving Yourself Permission to Just Be

   When was the last time you gave yourself permission to just be? People close to you may have ideas about how you should live your life, ideas that can come from love and the desire for you to be happy. At other times, they can come from a place of need within them-whether it is the parent who wants you to live out his or her dreams or the friend or spouse who wants you to play an a defined role. You can appreciate and consider those people’s input, but ultimately you must follow your own heart.

     Giving ourselves permission to “be” allows us to let go of our preconceived notions and beliefs of how we think we “should” live and choose to follow our heart. Remember, when we had twenty minutes for recess? The bell would ring, and for twenty precious minutes, time stood still and the universe of possibility opened up to us. As children, we yielded to this freedom of spirit knowing that nothing else mattered. However, as adults, we feel resigned, overwhelmed, and fatigued from the challenging pace of endless to do lists and tasks that require our time and attention. In the doing process, we lose a sense of ourselves, trapped in our roles and identities. It is crucial to our well-being that we must give ourselves permission to do what makes our heart sing and what makes our being come alive.

     So much of our lives is spent pleasing or seeking approval from others whether it’s our boss, partner or family member. We validate our existence from these outside sources instead of trusting our inside source. Yet, our brain stores patterns, mindsets, and beliefs that dictate what we “should do” instead of what our heart desires. We must give ourselves permission to dance in the light, play in the possibilities and fully express who we are.

     The spiritual principle of permission is essential to channeling information to guide our choices for well-being, abundance and fulfillment. This powerful tool can set us free from the negative thought processes that keep us in our confined comfort zones. It clears the way for us to make the discerning choices that are closer to our soul’s journey. 

     Here are a few ways to practice giving yourself permission:

I give myself permission to:__________________.

Express my true voice; play with joyful abandon; change jobs or begin a new career, leave a toxic relationship; open to a healthy new relationship; travel, or move to a new place; and follow my heart.

Give yourself permission to just be.

Opening Our Hearts to Awaken to Our Authentic Selves

Dare to love yourself

as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.

—Aberjhani

      Opening our hearts awakens us to our authentic selves, whose essence is love. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of our hearts, we can acknowledge that we are love and, therefore, entirely adequate and sufficient. In this state of awareness, we become our own safe havens, free to fully express who we are, for there is nothing we need to do except be in love, at one with our source of love, and at peace with ourselves. Seeing ourselves as love prepares us to cultivate loving relationships with others and living from the perspective of universal love.

     Awakening to our authentic selves leads us to letting go of who we think we should be and embracing who we know we are. Living authentically is like singing karaoke. At first we may be nervous; yet each time we trust ourselves and surrender our need for perfection, we come closer to living this way.

     An important aspect of living as an authentic self is communicating from the heart. We must speak our truth, our intimate thoughts and feelings, honestly, openly, and with our whole hearts. When we communicate in this way, our words take on a more profound and resonant meaning to the listener. Like nectar for thirsty bees, sincere, honest, and loving words encourage people to listen to us.

     When we communicate from our hearts, we feel secure enough to express our inner truths without fear of judgment, criticism, or retaliation. However, when we are feeling vulnerable and in need of support we must rely on people who can embrace us regardless of our struggles, such as individuals on our energetic team. As Brene Brown poignantly states, “We need to honor our struggle by sharing it with someone who has earned the right to hear it.”1 Sharing our vulnerabilities with such loving, connected, and trustworthy people enhances our sense of safety and deepens our experience of trust and intimacy.

     Even with such support, communicating about our vulnerabilities necessitates being aware of them and summoning the courage to share them. For example, when I unexpectedly became pregnant with my first child at the age of twenty-five and needed to share my paralyzing fear of repeating my mother’s legacy of abandoning her children, I called my best friend, a member of my energetic team. Shaken by feelings of shame for questioning whether I wanted to have the child, I reached for every ounce of courage I had to open my heart and tell her of my vulnerability. As it turned out, these revelations increased my self-love and compassion.

     Communicating about our vulnerabilities in this way and accepting our experience as valid even when it differs from the other person’s point of view creates a loving relationship environment that supports us in acknowledging that the essence of our authentic selves is love. Moreover, surrounding ourselves with such people, provided they listen well, respond meaningfully, and support our needs, helps us to stay connected to our authentic selves. When we know our authentic selves as sources of love, we understand that our authenticity is much deeper than our patterns, identities, and roles.

Transcending Fear and Negativity

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

As human beings, we are constantly bombarded with fear and negativity everyday. All we have to do is turn on the news, read the newspaper, or check the Internet. We may even find ourselves addicted to the incessant drama of the world, the people around us, or our own negativity. Unfortunately, many of us reinforce even more negativity when we co-miserate with our family, friends, and co-workers. So, it is important to remind ourselves that “misery does love company” and that all it takes to empower negative is more negative.

We have the ability to move beyond this addiction to fear and negativity by practicing compassionate detachment. We can open our hearts in loving compassion for ourselves and others and let go of getting caught up in the drama or suffering of everyday life. It is a great opportunity for us to see what does and doesn’t work in our lives, the futility of trying to fix the past, and to make distinctive and more positive choices for our future. This requires focusing our energies on the positive aspects of our lives and trust that all of us can transcend anyone or anything that blocks our spiritual path.

Many of us who are deeply sensitive are dealing with compassion fatigue. This sensitivity to other’s energies can create feelings of spiritual depression, anxiety, and lethargy. So we can reframe these feelings as a time of “deep rest” so that we don’t become bogged down or beat ourselves up for not being or doing enough. At these times, we must affirm that we are enough and give ourselves the restorative rest we need.

It is also critical at this particular time that we create energetic boundaries so that we keep from being sucked into this whirlwind of anger, fear, and negativity. To do so, we have to be discerning of whom we spend time and share our energies, and which environments we inhabit. Because we tune in energetically to our environment, it is important to carefully consider the location in which we live.

Like a periscope in a submarine, we must lift up out of the shadowy aspects of human consciousness and elevate our physical perspective to a more spiritual one. We must remain clear that we are first and foremost spiritual beings navigating the sea of human processes. Trust that love opens our hearts, raises our vibration, and dissolves negativity.

You can transcend fear, anger and negativity by allowing things to be without resisting or avoiding the changes. Give yourself the freedom to follow your heart and move through your day without trying to control or force anything to happen. When you give way to control, you give away your self-control. Therefore, soften your position or opinions and trust yourself to create positive intentions, make discerning choices, and let your light expand out into the world.

Invite in blessings of love, peace, and abundance and let go of any fear, anger and negativity. Resolve to complete every moment with gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness for everyone and everything that has brought you to this point in your life.

Sustaining a Sense of Humor Through Life’s Challenges

Sustaining a sense of humor cultivates lightheartedness. It connects us to the deepest reaches of our soul and is crucial in healing. Most people express that they would rather die than live a life without laughter. Research shows that laughter lowers blood pressure, increases vascular blood flow, reduces stress which in turn reduces anxiety and depression. Most importantly, when we laugh with others, we share a sense of interconnectedness and belonging which assists in healing as well.

For me, laughter that originates deep within and assists us in communing with others in an intimate way is soul laughter. Soul laughter lets us share our sheer vulnerability with another. It communicates a loving presence heart to heart without spoken words: “I am present and share this moment with you.” Writer, Anne Lamott suggests that such “Laughter is a bubbly, effervescent form of holiness.”

Maintaining a sense of humor assists us in moving outside of whatever is happening in our lives so we can assess situations with healthy detachment. Every experience we have, no matter how trivial-an impatient driver who cuts us off in traffic, an irritable waiter who will not look our way, the unexpected loss of a close relationship, or a downpour that drenches us to the bone-can be viewed as something wonderful, humorous, or simply an opportunity to discover more about ourselves.

Here is an example of sustaining a sense of humor so that I remained lighthearted while preparing for a book signing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Right before leaving on my trip, I received an e-mail notifying me that a shipment of books I had sent to a distributor had arrived damaged and covered in oil. They needed the shipment yesterday so I quickly packed another box of books and this time sent them through UPS instead of the US Postal Service. This time I also remembered to insure them.

I arrived home in time to meet my dad who was driving with me to Ann Arbor. As I opened the back door excited to be on our way, my golden retriever, Cammi dashes through the doorway deciding that this would be a great time to explore the neighborhood. As I chased her through several backyards, she gleefully flees from me reveling in our new role as a flight risk. When I finally caught up to her, treat in hand, I felt success but then I fell. Did I mention I was wearing linen white pants?

After a challenging drive with my dad who wanted to share with everyone in Michigan that they were bad drivers, I arrived at the bookstore ready to greet the eleven hundred people who had responded on Facebook that they were attending the signing. Yet, the eleven hundred soon turned into eleven including my dad. On the bright side, I was still able to videotape my presentation except that my camcorder chose that moment to die and the backup was two hundred miles away.

My presentation went well and just as I was letting out a sigh of relief and getting ready to wrap things up, a young University of Michigan graduate student decides to ask a question. I didn’t realize questions could actually last fifteen minutes. Isn’t there a time limit, or a rule of etiquette about the length of questions? By the time he was finished, I had completely forgotten what his question was; yet, obviously it was to make a point. So, I answered him with a smile and the first thing that came to mind.

I finally made it home around midnight happy in my heart even after my dad pointed out that after gas, dinner, and the earlier loss of books, my profit was the change in his pocket. This day was perfect just as it had unfolded. Being flexible, keeping a sense of humor, and allowing spontaneity and playfulness, sustained the flow of love energy through me supporting responsive rather than reactive choices.

Leaning into Our Vulnerabilities and Releasing Our Pain

“There’s a crack in everything.That’s how light gets in.”-Leonard Cohen

The more we lean into our vulnerabilities, the more open we become to spiritual transformation, for one unlocks the door to the other. The moment we lean into our vulnerabilities, courageously stepping through this portal to personal transformation, we find that love has been there all along.

Health, relationships, and finances are the areas of our lives in which we feel most vulnerable. Whether or not we had a healthy and loving childhood, we all experience some form of loss or suffering in our lives as a reflection of the human condition. Our subsequent pain, while unresolved, keeps us moving in habitual ways and inhibits us from cocreating and cultivating a fulfilling and happy life.

Leaning into our health, relationship, financial, or other vulnerabilities requires spending time alone so we can focus on whatever unresolved pain begins to surface. Many of us find that being alone with ourselves is scary, making us feel uncomfortable. Yet it gives us the opportunity to observe and reflect on our feelings of unworthiness and disconnection. It’s important that when we spend time alone. We are compassionate company for ourselves, as if spending time with an old, trusted friend whom we unconditionally love and accept.

Spending time alone creates a sacred space for checking in with ourselves and becoming aware of the source of our vulnerabilities. For example, while I was searching for my mother my unresolved pain started breaking through the protective barriers I had set up early in my life. So ensconced in my burgundy corduroy chair, my safe sanctuary, I took time to reflect on the anguish that threatened to engulf until it seemed I had shattered into a million shards of glass; then, with compassion, I leaned into my deepest vulnerability, the fear that I was unlovable. I emerged from the experience aware that this fear had colored nearly my entire life experience and that its source was abandonment by my mother when I was eight.

When we confront the source of our vulnerabilities, we often discover that the person or situation causing our distress is not as formidable as the fear amplified in our minds and blocking the flow of energy we need to thrive. When we trust ourselves as a source of genuine power, our courage can kick in, enabling us to face what frightens us most and witness firsthand that our vulnerabilities are no match for the energy of love.

Living in Harmony with the Universe

Living in Harmony with the Universe

When we live in harmony with the universe, we let go of controlling our lives and trust the unfolding of it. Spiritual author, Gary Zukav compares living in harmony with spirit to the journey of the hawk, “The journey of a hawk depends on both the hawk and the wind. Sometimes the wind takes the hawk where it wants to go, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, the hawk doesn’t mind. Either way, they ride the wind. They do the best they can, and then they let the wind take them where they need to go.The wind is your life. It is all the things that happen between the time you are born and the time you go home. Elegant spirits don’t know what will come up next, the same way that hawks don’t know which way the wind will blow next. This doesn’t bother them because they don’t try to control their lives any more than hawks try to control the wind.” Elegant spirits surrender to the flow of the wind. They remain open and flexible, adjust their sails, and ride the next wave of their life.

We may feel disappointed when life doesn’t go the way we think it should. As a result, we become more rigid, methodical, and try to micromanage every situation. Rather than trying to control our life through sheer force of will, we can choose to trust and align ourselves with the loving energy that flows through our heart. Like a surfer riding a huge wave, once we tune in to the experience, breathe deeply, and allow ourselves to relax rather than resist, we can move smoothly through any big wave. With awareness, balance, and flexibility, we can keep from falling off our board and being caught in the undertow of negativity.

While we may not be able to control other people or our circumstances, we can choose how we experience them. Trusting ourselves to draw on this energy source, we see that we cocreate our own reality. This ignites our intention which in turn opens us to see more possibilities. Then, we can make more discerning choices that will benefit us in the future. By trusting ourselves and our source, we remain open to this positive flow of energy.

Open your heart, connect with your spirit, and release any fear of your life not going as planned. Trust yourself and your divine source for co-creating any life experience unfolding right in front of you. Dissolve past patterns, beliefs, and mindsets so that any negative energy can surface, be released, and new more positive outcomes can emerge. Align with this shift by allowing things to be as they are for a while without fighting, fleeing, or flailing.

Living in harmony with the universe, we acknowledge the divine order that exists in everything around us and within us. When we align ourselves with this natural flow, we release our perceived control and move effortlessly through our daily experiences. As a result, our feelings of tension ease and we can fully engage in each moment with a deeper level of awe, wonder, and enjoyment. When we align with the flow of energy of the universe, we create a simpler, easier way of living that will enhances our everyday experience.

Sustaining Lightness in Our Lives

“You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Sustaining lightness in your life is created by the choices you make in every moment. Trust that you are the co-creator of the inner and outer landscape of life so choose your thoughts, words and actions consciously. Be patient, tolerant, and flexible when life gets challenging or things don’t go you way. Keep an open and loving heart and a great sense of humor no matter what is happening at the time.

Being playful opens our hearts and sustains a flow of light energy so we hold steady in the midst of the natural twists and turns of life. Because society often frowns upon “adults” being silly and playful, we often feel inhibited about expressing ourselves freely. When we take life too seriously, we lose our sense of life as a passionate adventure that we can enjoy and share.

Children are our best teachers of playfulness because they endlessly infuse light-force energy into their daily interactions with life. Just observe a child in play and we will see that there are no limits to their full self-expression. It is important for us to keep this childlike spirit every day by creating experiences that infuse awe, wonder and delight into everyday life.

Humor, spontaneity and play naturally liberate the mind, open the heart, and lift the spirit. In this state of being, we feel free to channel our energies to create beyond any limitation. Inspired by these elements, we have a sense of riding the crest of a wave, dancing in the light, and being aligned with our soul’s journey. There is no ego, self-consciousness, or reservation, but rather a natural lightheartedness and a sense that nothing is more important than the present moment. Laughter comes easily, as does the ease and flexibility in playing with all possibilities in life.

So be playful and dance when you hear the music at the grocery store, giggle when you get drenched in the rain, and sing aloud while listening to your MP3 player. Inspire and invite others to humor you or join in as you go barefoot in the grass. Invent or seek out new ways or activities to make you laugh, love, and play with joyful abandon. Infuse your life with humor, spontaneity, and play and experience it from a new perspective of wonder.

Sustaining a positive flow of energy through play is key to manifesting a happy, fulfilling and peaceful life. Make the playful choices that bring you love, joy, and exuberance.Your life will evolve miraculously when you embrace the philosophy of “Let’s see” and “What’s next.”

Tapping the Resiliency of Our Spirit

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” George C. Scott

      Tapping the resiliency of the human spirit makes it possible to not only endure hardship, suffering, or difficulty, but also to use the challenging situation for spiritual growth. It allows us to transcend and transform the most devastating circumstances in our lives. Spiritual resilience is seeing the silver lining in all of life’s challenges no matter how painful they may be. It is the lift of spirit that provides us with the ability to see our lives from a broader, more expanded point of view. This lets us rise above whatever is happening in our lives with clarity and compassionate detachment.

Spiritual resiliency is our natural state of being even if as adults we no longer experience its essence in our everyday lives. As young children, we clearly trusted this ability to transcend as spirit, never doubting our innate power to handle or lift out of any situation. Even if we didn’t understand how spirit lifted us, we knew and felt its truth through our open hearts, regardless of our circumstances. Open and optimistic, we had not yet acquired the adult mindsets and beliefs that would erode an absolute trust that we could rise above any difficult situation.

After checking every box on a list of life’s most stressful events, I realized how resilient the human spirit could be. It wasn’t easy losing my mother early in life to drug use, experiencing physical neglect and sexual abuse, or being in the wake of my stepmother’s mental illness. Why was my experience different from others who had been crippled or left devastated by such events? I realized it was my spiritual resiliency. Like a periscope, I lifted up and out of the human process and recognized my human experiences as stepping stones to my personal transformation. Each one showed me how to trust myself and my connection to a divine source and to know that I would be OK no matter what it looked like at the time.

Spiritual resiliency has always been my closest companion. I remember the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Until this point, I usually bounced quickly incorporating the information I had gleaned from such challenges as divorce, single parenting, and trying to locate my long lost mother. As a woman, healer, mother, and partner, the vulnerability of breast cancer had rocked my world more than anything I had ever experienced before. Like the resuscitation paddles that jump starts our heart back to life, this vulnerability jolted my heart bringing me out of the comfy cozy world I had created. It had turned me upside down and inside out; yet, I knew that here was the spiritual journey, the path of transformation being set out in front of me.

      Through tapping the resiliency of spirit, we know that we are the miracle of creation. We trust that we can manifest beyond whatever has been before, override what is predictable or let go of what’s expected. We can create anew. As I realized through this experience, it is not only possible but probable that I could raise my energy level to the vibration of love where miracles occur. First, it took being accountable for my thoughts, emotions, and choices. Making this shift from reaction to responsibility-able to respond, was exhausting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It took focused awareness to capture the negative thoughts, feelings, and patterns that I engaged in every day and then shift them to positive, loving, and healing ones. This initiated an energetic transformation which then catalyzed all the physical resources I need for the healing of my mind and body.
     We are the miracle of creation. We tend to shy away from applying the word miracle toward ourselves. However, this only diminishes the inner power that we can source through us. Recognizing that I was the miracle of creation and had the power within me to create other miracles unleashed the force of light and love on an illness that was trying to set up residence in my body. Leap-frogging any limits or restraints to my healing, such as preconceived thoughts or other people’s belief systems, I sourced this energy through my heart and surrounded every cell in my body with it. Like the light streams in the movie Ghost Busters, I channeled this powerful energy with the intention to dissolve any energy blocks. Standing in my own light, I moved beyond any predetermined cause and effect result and into a new sense of power and creation.

Don’t Worry Be Happy: Ten Ways to Boost Your Wellbeing

     “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Many of us feel that the pursuit of happiness is elusive and unattainable. We think if we just had the right job, relationship, or an abundance of money that then we would be happy. Yet, contrary to this popular belief, happiness is a state of being-wellbeing that is within our grasp. And, we have always had the power to create it in our lives. We have known this internal power as children when we played in the puddles after a warm rain, chased after fireflies in the summer, or built forts or fairy alters in our yards. Sustaining a flow of happiness takes the same lifelong principles that we practiced as children.
    • Going with the Flow: Remember when you were so engrossed in creative play that you felt so present with the world around you? You can still feel suspended in time while exercising, painting, meditating, or playing music. It is here that distractions fall away, background noise disappears, and you feel completely immersed in the moment. Then, stringing together these moments of heightened, present-oriented experiences brings feelings of joy, inspiration and happiness.
    • Sustaining a Positive Outlook: Remember when you looked on the bright side of life? You envisioned your dreams never doubting your innate power to fulfill them. When you sustain a positive outlook on life, you are more likely to manage life’s challenges, make better choices, support a healthy immune system and sustain a sense of happiness. Such a positive viewpoint also has helps you live longer and prevent certain diseases.
    • Counting Your Blessings: Remember how your heart was open to give and receive at all times? You can practice gratitude by keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you. As your day begins, bring to mind three things that you feel grateful for or happy about even if it’s being alive. When your day comes to a close, think about three things that happened during the day that you feel blessed about, and how you believe they happened.
    • Engaging in Mindfulness Meditation: As a child, you lived life as a meditation. Rewire your brain for happiness. Meditation literally clears your mind and brings your body into a state of calm. It’s been proven to be the most effective way to live a happier life. Set aside quiet time to tune inward and center yourself throughout your day. Even setting aside a few minutes each day to open your heart and be present will begin your day on a positive note. Ten minutes is better than five, and 20 better than 10.
    • Savoring Positive Experiences: Remember when you noticed beauty, artistry, and the wonder of life.Train yourself to become aware of, appreciate, and enhance the positive experiences in your life. Consciously focus on and mindfully attend to, and identify these experiences on a regular basis. Be in awe of nature or a meaningful soulful experience.
    • Practicing Random Acts of Kindness: As a child, you were kind and compassionate. Serve others at least a couple hours a week. Research shows that committing random acts of kindness promotes wellbeing. Be kind whenever possible and you will find that you will feel more positive, open and loving. It’s also important to engage in restorative self-care which are simple, sacred acts of kindness to yourself. 
    • Cultivating Healthy Relationships: The only thing that really matters is spending time with those you love. Surround yourself and spend more time with people who love, support, and care for you without conditions. Create an energetic soul team of pure love. Such love will support your happiness even if you are an introvert.
    • Forgiving Often and Quickly: Remember when you were little you forgave often and quickly? Forgiveness allows us to create a clean slate so we can being anew. And, the more you forgive yourself, the more you will find it easier to forgive others. It will free you from the past and open the energetic space for you to create a better future.
    • Exercising More: As a child, you probably played until you were exhausted. Physical exercise has a profound effect on our wellbeing. Research has shown that exercising only 7 minutes a day can profound impact our happiness and reduce anxiety and depression. It can help you relax, increase your creativity, and overall body image.
    • Spending More Time Outdoors: As a child you loved spending time outdoors. Make time to go outside on a beautiful day even if it’s for just a few minutes. It can boost mood, expand thinking and improve memory. Happiness is maximized at 13.9°C so head outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air. Use of this natural anti-depressant to create happiness.

Choose Happiness

The Power of Love

The Power of Love

On my recent trip to Paris, I witnessed the eternal power of love not in the moonlit cobblestone streets, romantic outdoor cafes, or the sparkling Eiffel tower but in the collection of “locks of love” that adorn the Pont Des Arts bridge, one that connects the Louvre museum with the left bank. The love padlocks have taken off and this phenomenon is in countries such as Belgium, Germany, Japan and even on the Brooklyn bridge in New York City. This practice of attaching love locks to bridges all over the world symbolizes our universal yearning for continuous, consistent, and connected love.

      For those of you who haven’t heard of them, a couple, friends, or family members write their names on a padlock that is engraved with their names and lock it onto the mesh of one of the bridges. They then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their eternal unconditional love. Some locks are just plain luggage locks, others have names written on them. Some have a photo of the couple attached, others are shaped like turtles and some are decorated in glitter; Most of all, to each person, couple or group that fixes a lock to the bridge there is some significance to the lock whether fleeting or for forever. And that is that the energy of love is forever.

What if for a moment we all engraved the energy of love on our hearts and sent this energy out in to the world like these love locks; throwing away the key to hatred, resentment, and grievance. Trusting in love as a force that starts a love revolution. This would create a continuous stream of “love energy locks” in every city, country and area of the world. Only these locks remain open as our open hearts.

Whether you travel abroad or down the street, you can move through life as an energetic “love lock” emitting light and love wherever we go and with whomever you meet. You have this opportunity in every moment not only to bless the space but to also “be the blessing”-to be the positive, emanating and clear presence of love.