Your Power is in the Present Moment. Tune In.

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This picture is from my journal where I put my mantra: “Your Power is in the Present Moment. Tune In.”

As part of this workshop I’m doing, I had to come up with a mantra that serves as a megaphone to my intuition so that I hear myself. A mantra that will put me in a place where I will listen and hear me above the noise, above the should’s, the could’s, the would’s and the opinions of others.

In order to come up with this mantra, I made a list of all the things I say to myself when I’m in stress/ in survival/ feeling out-of-control mode. The theme was be present, what is your body telling you and you cannot control others, you can only control yourself. So for me the summary is  – Your power is in the present moment; tune in.

Sometimes it is so much easier to be in the future or in the past rather than be present. Even when we are blissfully happy, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We want control and certainty.  When I’m feeling out of control and wanting to control, I start making everything about the other person. He/she is doing this or why didn’t he/ she do this or worse I create a big story around limited information and take it on as truth. When I find myself in this loop of thinking, I know I am emotionally attached, feeling out of control yet seeking control and I am completely leaving myself out of the equation. It is so much easier to focus on others and not our own stuff.

The other classic scenario is when I start polling people sometimes random people to get their opinion on something. That’s when I know I’m in trouble because I’m not tuning into my intuition which already knows the answer. It is amazing what you will discover if you stop, get quite and listen. There is too much noise in this world, too much stimulation, to many sources telling you who you need to be. We don’t listen to ourselves enough. We just go along in autopilot. When I’m at networking functions or find myself sitting next to a stranger, instead of asking them what do you do, I’ve started asking “what do you love? what do you love to do?” I get the strangest looks and I have not had one person that can answer my question. Usually I have to elaborate and say, “you know what is play for you? What do you do that you completely lose track of time?” And they will say, “I have a dog and I like to walk my dog.” Not many people are tuning in to what makes them joyful and playful. I know that I get completely immersed and loose track of time when I am taking pictures. That is what I love; it is play for me.

The thing is, we go nonstop because it is easier than being present. We compare and compete because we are trying to prove ourselves.  Do you ever stop and say is it worth it, am I on the right path or do you forge ahead because your ego is being stroked? Often times we don’t get intune with this way of thinking until we’re old and lived our entire lives or it takes a tragedy to wake us up.

As soon as I write the words tragedy, I hold my breath because 17 years ago today, November 2, 1998 I almost died in a car wreck. My colon was completely severed. I was in CCU for two weeks. There were about 3 scenarios where I could have died. Often I have thought, I must have been spared for a reason, I must have more to do in this life, more love to spread. But who really knows. There are plenty of people who have not survived and have lost loved ones who would kill to hear their voice again or have a fight with them. Who would give anything to be vulnerable with that person that is no longer here. You see, being present and showing up in our life is courageous, its vulnerable and its important. It is hurtful when we don’t show up. It is hurtful to ourselves and to the people we love. Then when tragedy sets in, we think – only if…

There may not be anything more important in your life than tuning in and being present. You might be surprised what you discover, what you are pushing against for no good reason, the drama you are creating in your life and all the creative energy you are wasting worrying about things that you cannot control because you are too afraid to listen to your own inner knowing. Just let the bullshit go and find your joy and your groove. Find what makes you come alive, what you love to do. You are worth it.

And now for full disclosure – what you teach is what you need to learn. I’m a total work in progress and I have had an eye-opening experience through trauma. So be gentle with yourselves and mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Know that there is no event, no thought, no feeling that defines who you are. You choose that. You write the ending to your story even if the ending happens in a sequel.

Love,

Judith

 

 

 

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Are You Living or Are You Numbing?

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“Follow Your Bliss and the Universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

I have spent 4 days with some of the most creative, in-tuned, authentic, self-aware people this planet has to offer; everyone from photographers, happiness researchers, experts on food, mental awareness, and business coaches. The #PromotingYourPassion2015 conference was inspiring beyond measure, full of creativity and tools for living a more in-tune, creative, whole-hearted life. In short, it was informative and amazing! This post is a combo from the conference and Brene Brown’s work.

Last night I said to myself, I’m forever changed in a positive way, I see and feel a little differently, and I don’t want to go back to how I was living before – my mindset and lifestyle habits. Not that I had a bad mindset or bad life style. My mindset is probably more positive than most considering the human race has a negative bias. Our natural reaction is to go negative. It is who we are and have been since the cavemen days when we were always looking for danger because that’s how we survived. It is in our DNA. My life style was not bad and no different from a lot people I know. I just have a desire to live more intentionally, more adventurous, let go of fear and all the bullshit I tell myself, to stop numbing and to live by God’s will (or however you choose to say that: trust the universe, mother earth, divine, Buddha, etc).

Most of us have a lot of stressors in our days. We are more likely to say yes in the morning than in the afternoon because we have been beat down by all the events that have unfolded throughout the day. Maybe not beat down in a bad way but you have work responsibilities and home responsibilities, relationships and self-maintenance which most of us do not attend to because we put all the other things first. Then we start building resentment and start numbing. We put on this armor to protect us during the day and we don’t take it off when we get home. We don’t know how to express our feelings. We often mistake our feelings for thoughts. This is all too much so we numb.

We numb through eating, drinking, medication, staying busy, gossiping, judging others so that we don’t feel bad about our own crap, projecting blame, putting others needs before our own, staying super busy, watching TV, we are consumed with social media, and shopping (to name a few). The thing about numbing is that you can’t say I’m going to numb my frustrations, anger, hurt, sadness, stress and not numb my joy, happiness, and love. We cannot isolate numbing. When we numb, we numb all feelings – the good feelings and the bad feelings. We numb life. We can’t hear higher guidance. We stop feeling. We aren’t engaged. We aren’t fully present. We are avoiding. All of this can be very hurtful behavior for us personally and the people in our lives. It is very dangerous when we stop showing up in our lives.

So how do you numb? I have numbed through drinking, TV, shopping, social media, staying very busy, and even gossiping  although I really try not to do that. Wine was probably one of my bigger numbing vices during the week. Since I have quit that, I feel so much better, so much clearer, happier, healthier, I’ve noticed that my senses are stronger; everything from smelling, hearing and seeing. Seriously, it’s weird.

Have you ever stopped to think about how you numb or how much you numb?

We are all human. Numbing partly our nature. We numb to discharge discomfort because we are trying to feel better. I learned this weekend that happiness is 50% genetics, 10% circumstances (success, achieving goals), and 40% intentional happiness activities. How intentional are you about happiness? That is the missing link.

Two speakers yesterday, blew my mind: Nirrimi Firebrace and Me Ra Koh.

Nirrimi started her career at the age of 13. By 15 she dropped out of school, moved away from home and was working on high fashion shoots. She became hugely successful. You’ve probably seen America’s Next Top Model. Imagine a 15-year-old kid in charge of the entire shoot. This young woman’s story is amazing. Her courage and confidence will blow your mind. Her free spirit is contagious. Yet, her story would break your heart. Check out her blog Fire and Joy.

Me Ra Koh was also a big inspiration because I have been praying to live by God’s Will recently because I feel that I hold myself back and give into my fears and constantly judge myself with should, could and would. I heard her story at the perfect time in my life right now. She and her family sit together every day for 4 minutes in silence to listen to God. They take turns telling or sketching what they received and put it in a journal. Sometimes it makes no sense at all…not until later anyway. Sometimes, as a family, they will do four minutes of silence for other people. She says this has completely changed their life. They are going to write a book about it. She had the entire conference do it for one of the attendees and what people received was very confirming for the woman who was willing to be the subject, and a lot of people saw the same thing which was mind-blowing. We can all do this. She and her family currently have a TV pilot for the travel network. It looks so good and I hope it gets picked up. I think families need this type of show right now. You can check out her work and the pilot on her website: http://www.merakoh.com/

And finally, our leader, Brooke Shaden told us on the first day “why are your Dreams not facts? The moment we replace fact with doubt, it will not happen.” Dreams need to be approached as a fact much like you approach anything else in life as fact – I have this job, this family, I’m going to this college, I’m going on vacation to this place. It’s a fact. Why don’t we charge head first into our own greatness? Instead, we think of all the reasons why something cannot be. How exhausted are we all by pushing against things and not just letting things be? If you can see it, you can be it. That is your soul pushing toward your own greatness. You are the only one in the way. Check your self -talk.   How much would you do if you knew you would succeed?

Let me be clear, these friends have fear. The difference is they are not ruled by that fear. They say yes to fear. They think if I’m afraid, if this fear is stopping me or paralyzing me then I must do it.

I want to be more fearless in life. As an artist (something I just gave myself permission to be this year), it is my duty to live a full life. Keep in mind you don’t have to be this amazing artist to live whole-heartedly or even be creative. There are many ways to be creative and we all must live with our whole hearts if we want joy. And we want joy, love, belonging and connection much more than we want survival. So, I invite you to join me – let’s be fearless and whole-hearted. I think our lives depend on it.

“When we speak to the head we hear with our head. When we speak to the heart we hear with our heart. But when we speak through our lives, we change lives.” ­ – Derpak Chopra

How do you want to live?

Until next Monday, continue to shine!

Love, Judith

Be True to You – Leaving Perfectionism Behind

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“It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.”  ― Dolly Parton

Uh-oh…where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking. This is bad news for a lot of us.

As you know from last week, I’m doing a Brene Brown course around the Gifts of Imperfections. It is eye-opening, and once you see, you can’t un-see so I want to share with you my lessons. Who knew that perfectionism is a shield for shame? I didn’t. Let me explain.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best nor is it healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. – The Gifts of Imperfections, Brene Brown

Here’s the kicker – We cannot avoid blame, judgement and shame in life. How many of you have thought if I’m perfect they can’t fault me? I have and it does not work. Perfectionism at its core is all about earning approval and acceptance from other people aka I’m not enough as I am now. Perfectionism holds us back because our self-worth is on the line. We don’t follow our dreams because we might fail. Striving to do your best, is all about doing something positive for your own wellbeing and understanding you will make mistakes along the way and that is okay. See the difference?

Everyone has perfectionism tendencies.  We adopt this belief system early – I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please, perform, perfect, rinse, repeat. Get good grades (check. I graduated college with honors), follow the rules (I may or may not check this box), people pleasing (check. Let’s not rock the boat because I want to feel happy right now or it’s not worth the argument), appearance (check. some days are better than others), sports (check. starting point guard freshman year of high school), get a good, steady job with insurance (check. and grateful), and so on. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are really good things so long as you are doing them for yourself and your well-being which in turns enriches your life and life with the people who you love. It goes awry when it is focused on what other people will think of me. Diets are a great example for women. Are you on an eating plan for you and your well-being or because you are hating on your body and looks right now?  One is healthy striving and one is shame.

I remember when I was in my first job I had messed up a proposal and I was beating myself up about it. I was out of the office in Portland, TN for a site visit when I got the news of my mistakes.  I remember saying ”oh my gosh, I can’t believe I did that what an idiot”, and the wise woman I was with said “Honey, don’t beat yourself up about that. People make mistakes all the time. Besides, there was only one perfect man and they crucified him.” I thought holy crap (no pun intended); she’s right. You cannot escape it no matter what you do. You can only try to do your best and know that is enough. We must practice healthy striving and self-compassion. We are human and imperfect; that’s the beautiful thing about us. Compassion is contagious and can spread quickly. So is perfectionism. Be aware of what you are spreading to your friends, families and co-workers. And, be mindful of what you hide behind, and how you sacrifice your own authenticity. Self-awareness is key. 

We must strive to be true to who we are. Using mantras helps me. I have adopted two mantras from other people and one of my own:

  • For any situation involving other people and when you are feeling vulnerable:  Don’t Puff up. Don’t shrink. Stand your sacred ground. (Brene Brown) 
  • When you are doing any and all activities: What would happen if I brought love into this? (my friend Kim Mollenkopf)
  • And, when things don’t turn out as planned: I trust that the process of life is bringing me my highest good.

Man, this stuff ain’t easy. It takes work and lots of practice on a daily basis. It’s not for the faint-hearted. We will all fall but we have the choice to pick ourselves up, dust off and keep walking one foot in front of the other. Like Dolly said, it’s hard being a diamond in this rhinestone world. But like Marilyn said, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

Love,  Judith

I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough

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Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Part of ‘Our Deepest Fear’ by Marianne Williamson

I am currently doing a Brene Brown course with a couple of my beautiful, like-minded girlfriends. One of the first exercises was to take a selfie with the words “I’m imperfect and I’m enough” written on your hand and the other was to find a picture of yourself that captures your authentic self and answer a few questions about her.

So I had a pretty big revolution with these exercises – in a lot of ways, I believe on an unconscious level, I have been living and acting in a way that says I’m not enough. I think a lot of us do and we for sure come from a place of scarcity. How many of you say:  The weekends are never long enough; there aren’t enough hours in the day; I should have done more today; I didn’t get enough sleep. Or the shaming part of not enough which is I will be worthy when I get a promotion/job/ raise, loose 20 pounds, have my own business, win a (fill in the blank) award, find my life partner, have a baby, and the list could go on. The best part about the human experience is love, belonging, excitement, joy and connection. The worst part about the human experience is guilt, disappointment, grief and loss. We cannot escape the worst parts that feed I’m not enough and there is not enough time. Things like heart-break, death of loved ones, making mistakes and failing. We cannot avoid these things in the process of life. If you are willing to love and go after your dreams, you will probably get your butt kicked at some point. We have the choice to rise above these things through self-compassion, patience, mindfulness, kindness and going though healthy processes necessary to let go of the things that didn’t go as planned. The best parts of the human experience can be explored and experienced daily and to the fullest but we also have the choice to neglect them, make them small and sabotage; we usually do so via negative self talk and fear based decisions that we make.

So I look at the girl who is imperfect but who is also enough and I say yes, that’s truth. She is imperfect; she is human but she is also enough and worthy of the life she wants. Then I look at that 2-year-old little girl and I see pure joy and happiness. Someone that runs around with no inhibitions. Who shines her light big. And I think, I’m going to bring her back and nurture her. I would never talk to her the same way I talk to her adult version.

This was such a simple exercise that was so profound for me. Maybe you want to try it? I know that I’m grateful for all that I am learning now on this path of self discovery/ self growth and grateful for the friends that are on this path with me.

Remember – “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” There is no bigger, better, more important gift that you can give the world and the people around you than your light and your amazing spirit. You are responsible for the energy you bring into a space. Let it be loving, compassionate and kind.

#OLCBreneCourse

Much Love,

Judith

 

 

 

 

 

Cultivate Your Thoughts

“A man’s mind is like a garden, which may be intelligently cultivate or allowed to run wild.” – James Allen

Learning to train your mind, cultivate your thoughts, and running your own mind instead of your mind running you is one of our biggest challenges but yet one of our most important endeavors in life. Did you know that you have anywhere between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day?! Wrap your mind around that! Now the question is, how many of those thoughts are repeated throughout the day and on into the next day? Do your thoughts make you feel good, feel love, feel secure, feel bad, feel sad, feel guilt, feel shame, or feel anger? Have you ever slowed down to notice, to contemplate or to get curious about those thoughts and feelings? I hope you have. 50,000 thoughts is a lot energy you are exuding.  What you think about; is what you become. What you think about has a direct impact on how you treat yourself, your friends/ family, strangers, as well as what manifest in your life. Your mind can be your best friend or your worst ally. Be gentle with yourselves. So many of us are harder on ourselves than anyone else and we certainly wouldn’t treat a friend the way we treat ourselves in our own minds. A lot of it is conditioned thinking from childhood that runs our adult lives. Well you aren’t a child any longer. It is time to take charge of our thoughts, and create the life you want by owning your stories, learning the lessons so that you can speak and think with intention and loving kindness. So that you can make room for more love and creativity. So that you can rise up and be successful in whatever endeavors you choose.

Remember this verse?  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I don’t think our thoughts and words were meant to run wild, to put ourselves down, put others down or spread hate. I think we are here to spread love, be love and have the life we desire. Pay attention to your thoughts and then look to see what type of people and situations are showing up in your life. Are you attracting people and situations that bring joy and success or are you pushing people away and barely hanging on. If you want to turn around, start with your thoughts and the rest will follow. Remember, the world around us is nothing more than a mirror of our own inner thinking. 

Love,

Judith

 

The Four Agreements

I have been on a personal growth/ spiritual path for years now. The Four Agreements is a little book that made a world of difference for me and the way I approach life as well as how I relate to others. I read it several years ago but these four principles are something I always try to remember to utilize in my life. These four agreements came to mind this morning when I was having a conversation at the YMCA about being compassionate with people because you never know what is going on in their lives. So I thought I would share with you because I feel that they are very powerful yet easy to forget. Also, remember you get to be the author of your story, choose the person you want to be and go be it. Did I just quote an Avett Brothers song?…Maybe somewhat but it’s true! Shine on!

The Four Agreements

  • Be Impeccable with Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  • Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  • Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Hey – You’re Awesome! Self Judgement is not Justified.

A couple of my favorite Cheri Huber quotes:

Self-judgment is how conditioned mind keeps control over your life.

And

If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…

I’m  a woman and I know how hard I can be on myself about everything from my weight, to my looks, to being a better friend, sister, daughter, boss/ employee, girlfriend/ wife and so on. We cannot be perfect at all things all of the time but that is okay! Please be gentle with yourself because we are doing our best and life is about having experiences, learning, growing, evolving, becoming aware, compassionate and loving towards yourself and others. Release judgement and give yourself permission to be the amazing, beautiful, talented person that you are. If you tell me, I’m not talented or I don’t know what I want to do with my life, then you aren’t being completely honest with yourself because most people know what they enjoy and what they want but they may not know how to get it or give themselves permission to have it. The key is to acknowledge what you want, know that it is okay to have it and take tiny steps toward it. When you notice yourself playing it safe or not wanting to take risks, recognize you are fearing something, and know that fear is a very useful signal along the path to freedom. The stronger the fear, the closer you are to what you are seeking. The second thing to know about fear is that unless your life is really in danger, fear is something your mind and ego made up; and you have the power to face challenges and overcome them.

Just remember that you are pretty awesome and you have no time in your day to judge, criticize or place unnecessary control over your own life. Lighten up and have fun! Allow yourself freedom or you’ll be a prisoner inside your own hateful mind. Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts? Do you repeat dislike, disdain or contempt over how you look or behave? If you do – stop hating on yourself. Who needs that?  The answer is no one. I’m sure you follow the golden rule for others, please start applying it to yourself and treat yourself with the same respect and love  that you treat your best friend. You deserve it! And here’s the beautiful thing…when you start treating yourself with love and respect, others will too and your world will open up to infinite possibilities.

Love,

Judith