29 December 2010

The Truth Is Not a Spear, Part One

How many times have we felt the need to jab our spear of truth at someone when we’ve felt threatened, or passionate about a situation? When faced with heated situations, or even those not heated, have you ever found yourself needing to pierce someone with that spear to hurt them as you’ve been hurt?

If you are like me and resonate with a Warrior spirit, you may find yourself feeling like you have to defend your perspective, whatever it may be, by being forceful with your words. If you feel threatened, you may feel like you need to yell, raise your voice or be cruel to establish your Warrior position. I know I have been guilty (and admittedly still catch myself doing it sometimes) of “rising up” on someone and stabbing them with my “truth”, my “truth” that says “you will NOT get the better of me.”

My God, aren’t you tired after something like this transpires? I know more often than not, I’m left feeling off balance, out of my heart zone and utterly exhausted, with nothing being accomplished. What a waste of energy! But how can we be more effective with defending our boundaries? Isn’t there a better way to deliver our truth without having to stab someone to death with our truth spears?

The answer is yes, but it’s not a simple process, especially for those of us who are Warriors at heart. Interestingly enough, a Warrior is most powerful when they are soft. The true power of a Warrior comes when a balance of honor, respect, integrity, presence and fair communication are present.

According to Angeles Arrien, author of “The Four Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Visionary, Teacher and Healer”, honor and respect are the most crucial. Arrien states, “Honor is the capacity to confer respect to another individual. We become honorable when our capacities for respect are expressed and strengthened. The term respect comes from the Latin word respicere, which means ‘the willingness to look again.’ The Warrior is willing to take a second look rather than remain stuck in a particular view of a situation or individual.” (Pp. 15-16)

Very simply put, this means that we have the courage to face ourselves and be accountable for what is out of balance, then fix it. Only then will we be truly comfortable in our own skin. Only then will we not feel the need to pick up a spear to have to defend ourselves with, because we will be able to appreciate the differences in ourselves, thus allowing us to appreciate the differences within others.

In order to extend respect to someone, we must be willing to “look again.” This creates a softening, a flexibility that will allow us to flow with the circumstance, rather than plant our feet in the ground, tensed up, spear in hand, primed for battle. Think of it this way: what is rigid will at some point break when enough pressure is applied. What is soft and yielding will sustain the flow and become one with it.

Which would you rather?

Zen and the Art of Allowing

Recently, I’ve begun devoting more time to my prayer/healing work. I’ve diligently been practicing and focusing on doing some pretty far-reaching deep inner healing work daily. While I’ve been focusing on several areas for healing, such as letting go of any tendencies that no longer serve me, I realized all this time I’ve been missing a key component: giving myself permission to do this work. This has created a huge shift in my self-healing work, and honestly, I think there is great value to this component.

One of the areas I’ve focused a lot of time and energy into healing is letting go of any past emotional, physical and psychic trauma I’ve sustained. I know I carry around the dense vibrations of these traumas still, and it manifests in the form of extra body weight. Not that I am greatly overweight, but frankly, this body is just too heavy to carry me around in the higher vibrations that I want to exist in. For me, the time has come to lighten up a bit. And as determined of a soul as I am, determination without permission to be determined is fruitless.

I stumbled upon this crucial piece of the puzzle in a body work session one day while receiving a massage from one of my mentors. Before my massage, I sat in a coaching session with my mentor and we were discussing the benefits of allowing ourselves to soften on all levels and drop the spears we often carry around and aim in the name of “truth.” (That’s another post for another day) It occurred to me at that moment that allowing has a lot of power. In fact, it can hold all the power, depending on your intention.

It occurred to me that if I added the words, “I now give myself permission on all levels, with full cooperation from every aspect of myself, both physical and non-physical, to release that which no longer serves me,” I may experience a deeper realm of healing. I was right. My healing has accelerated faster than a driver on the Autoban. And thank Goddess for it!

The definition of permission is: “authorization granted to do something; formal consent; the act of permitting.”

Let’s think about the power of this for a second, shall we? If, in meditation, we asked for alignment with our Higher Self or Soul, and then granted ourselves formal consent to do whatever healing we needed to do, can you imagine the delight from Heaven? Talk about a giant green light! Since the Universe only gives us what we allow ourselves to receive, perhaps telling the Universe, “Hey, I’m now giving you permission to help me with this healing work” would be just the ticket to allowing that healing to actually happen?

Since incorporating this into my daily practice, I have had all kinds of things come up to be released. When I do discover something has cropped up, I give myself permission to address it and process it. Then I bless it and thank it for its service and give it to Source. I ask for all of the negative effects be transmuted into positive energy that I can use to better serve my Higher Purpose and the highest and greatest good of all. The results for me, are astounding.

18 August 2010

I Know What I'm Doing, Here...

If you happen to be on a spiritual path, you know what hard work this path can be sometimes. It means saying and doing things that keep us in alignment with our Higher Truth. Sometimes, that Higher Truth seems so elusive, especially if we find ourselves in a challenging situation. In the face of chaos and upheaval, it is very easy for us spiritually-minded folks to get knocked off balance and away from our center. Our lives begin to look like we are viewing it through 3-D glasses where nothing is in focus.

I happen to find myself in one of these “challenging” life situations right now, and it is anything but comfortable. For a little while, everything seemed out of focus and I found myself feeling like I was floundering like flotsam in the sea. Whenever I find myself faced with financial uncertainty, that floundering feeling always presents itself to me. Often, I end up being sucked into “poverty and lack consciousness” for a bit before finding my way back to shore. Thank Goddess, I have been able to limit my time in fear-based consciousness and re-center more quickly.

How do I re-center after being knocked off balance? It’s actually a lot easier than it seems, but it takes diligence and awareness. In other words, it takes time, patience and practice. It boils down to remembering what I am here to do and knowing that I’m already on my Life’s Path. Also, remembering that no matter what, I choose my experience and I choose whether or not I want to struggle or grow with joy in any given situation I am faced with.

I often remind myself, “Hey, I know what I am doing, here, there are no worries”. I don’t need to frantically search for the “magic” answer on what to do; I already know what to do. I just need to be quiet and listen to myself. And somehow, the answer always seems to crop up just when I need it.

If you find yourself faced with a challenging situation and you feel like you just cannot take one more thing, I invite you to stop. Close your eyes, and breathe long and deep through the belly. With eyes closed, focus at the center of your forehead, and continue breathing. Breathe until you feel calm and more centered again. Mentally recite a poem, quote or mantra that comforts you while doing this quiet breathing.

When I am in this state, I tell myself, “I know what I am doing.” I repeat that until I feel it resonate within every cell of my body. Sometimes it takes me five minutes. Other times, it may take an hour. The point is, I’m diligent and I find that it really works for me. I can face a “crisis” more clearheaded and centered within myself.

Another great tip to getting back to center quickly is a bit trickier, but extremely powerful. Let me give you an example: You and your spouse get into an argument about the kids. It quickly goes from bonfire to wildfire and both of you are standing there with gas cans pointed at one another. If you can stop for just a second and remind yourself mentally, “Wait. This is hell and I am not doing hell. There is no enemy here. I am not the enemy; you are not the enemy; we are a team.” Breathe.

The bottom line here is you own the power to take a stand to claim whatever experience you want to have. Remember, you are a powerful being that can claim safety, joy, peace, stability, harmony and abundance whenever you want to. Claim those things often, and relish in the fact that you are not a victim of circumstance, rather you are a master at creating peace at any given moment if you so choose to.

Yes, there are moments that come up that really, REALLY suck, but remember, you are separate from that situation. It is not you and you are not it. Finding happiness amidst the chaos is the pearl of wisdom, here. Don’t make your happiness contingent upon your current circumstance; be happy now in the present moment.

*Author’s Note: I would like to give full credit for most of these tips and insights to Georgie Weston. She is a Life Coach and a mentor of mine. Without her, I would not be so calm, or sane for that matter. For more information on Georgie and her services, visit www.ggweston.com

23 June 2010

How Do Italians Stay So Slim?

Our culture seems to revolve around fast-food, decadent desserts and colorful candy. Unfortunately, more often than not, we order our dinner at a drive-through and ten minutes later, we are on our way home with dinner in a bag. Americans are a driven society, and with both parents often working away from home, “fast” food or packaged food has a high appeal.

The truth is, most of these “fast” foods are loaded with calories, artery-clogging fat, sodium and MSG. Where is the healthy stuff? More often than not, these meals offer nothing but an expanded waistline and very little nutrition. We wonder why our nation ranks the highest for chronic illness and obesity. Compared to nations such as Italy or France, what are we doing wrong?


Perhaps our biggest fault is portion size. Americans are very accustomed to huge portions and have a hard time recognizing what a “healthy” portion size really is. A perfect example of out of control portion size can be found in restaurants like Black Bear and Claim Jumper. Their portion sizes could feed three people!

We wonder how countries such as France, who are notorious for their rich fare, have such low instances of obesity? In fact, obesity is rare in France. This is largely in part to the attitude towards food in European nations. They make each meal a huge production and take the time to enjoy it. Meal time in European countries centers around savoring the food and relishing in each other’s company. In addition, their portion sizes are substantially smaller than American portion sizes.

What We SHOULD Be Eating

Abundant in seeds, lean protein such as chicken and fish, and plant foods of all colors, the Mediterranean style of diet is a more whole-foods approach to eating. These types of foods are rich in cancer-fighting, disease-preventing antioxidants, and vital minerals and vitamins that keep the immune system operating efficiently. Since most of the vitamins and minerals needed by the body are abundant in this type of diet, the need for additional supplementation nearly vanishes.

The Mediterranean diet is beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol due to its high content of monounsaturated fats. These friendly fats can be found in foods such as olives, olive oil, fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. The Mediterranean diet is also a major threat against diseases like cancer and arthritis due to anti-inflammatory properties prevalent in most of the foods. Anti-inflammatory foods are also extremely beneficial in lowering the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

How Do Italians REALLY Eat?

The pinnacle of the Mediterranean meal is food derived from plant sources. Lean protein is included as well, but plant foods as well as whole grains dominate the meal. The main difference between American fare and Mediterranean fare is that the focus is more on the vegetables and grains, not the meat. Breads made of whole grains are a bulk of this diet, but the use of butter is extremely rare. The use of olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a typical spread, as it is lower in saturated fat than butter.

The Mediterranean diet also centers around freshness. Each meal is prepared from scratch. No boxed meals or frozen T.V. dinners here. Meals generally consist of grilled chicken or fish, steamed or grilled veggies with bread or rice, such as basmati. The body can assimilate more nutrients in fresh, unprocessed foods than it can in boxed foods.

Getting into the habit of preparing your meals has its perks. Not only does a healthy meal of fresh foods taste good, but you can prepare it in the time it would take you to sit in a drive-thru line. The next time you feel like boxed chicken nuggets and fatty French fries would be the best choice, opt for grilled chicken and steamed veggies instead. Your waistline will thank you.