Imagine: A long time ago, on a beautiful sunny day far, far away a little boy was born. His mother did all she could to take really good care of him. But his father did not allow her to show much affection, to hold him the way he needed it be held or to whisper love into his little heart.
The father, a righteous man, took pride in himself and his young son wishing him to grow up to be just like he was: passionate and devoted to his beliefs, country, and religion. He was convinced that all he did was right and so his little boy was taught to think the same way.
His mother lived in fear not only for her life but the lives of her husband and son alike.
She and her sister shared the same fate, a life of living in fear and uncertainty; fulfilling her duties and suffering in silence, while watching her son become like his father.
She remembers times when her little boy would question his father about some of his teachings, but the father could only offer punishment for the boy’s curiosity. The son’s only duty was to obey his father.
One day, as the boy began to pick himself up off the floor, his lip bleeding, his gaze found his mother’s terrified eyes. His face expressed fear, confusion, and submission.
After this time, the boy never questioned his father again. Though he still often wondered about his life, reasons it was this way, and the actions he was forced to take.
Eventually, his wondering was replaced with stern commands, confusion turned to resignation, and his fear and submission became his rage.
Can you love this boy?
Imagine: A girl strapping on explosives, embarking on a mission. She’s been told it’s her surest way to salvation. Throughout the 16 years of her life, she’s been taught that she was chosen for a very important mission. Her life has a special meaning and God himself has chosen her for this mission. She feels honored. She is the chosen one.
She shall attain the ultimate goal.
Or, perhaps, she is overcome by fear so great she can’t speak, or think, or breathe at times.
Perhaps she has been abused into submission.
Perhaps she knows this mission is her only way out of having to live the way she had to.
So she goes out and detonates.
Can you love this girl?
Imagine: A mother heartbroken and helpless as her boy grows in rage and her daughter completes her God-appointed mission. All she has left now is the husband who is even more righteous and even more proud and who, once, was just like his little boy. She looks over at her sister; they both feel the same pain, the same hopelessness, the same sorrow, the same emptiness.
Can you love this mother?
Imagine: You find yourself living in a place where the only information you have access to is what you see or hear in the immediate area. Try to imagine actually having to live such a life where most of what you hear is criticism, fault finding, and condemnation. And you have no way of knowing anything different.
If there is a school, it teaches you exactly the same as what you hear at home with extra emphasis on hate and punishment. You learn how to use weapons as soon as you can carry one. You are told that there is a world out the, beyond the horizon, full of bad people who worship wrong, live wrong, think wrong, say the wrong things, like the wrong things.
Essentially, everything they do is wrong. But the wrongest of it all is that they hate you and they are on a mission to destroy you and everything you know, believe, and trust.
Can you feel yourself living this life? Can you love yourself there?
Imagine: Your heart opening so wide with love it can contain the entire world in its expanded space. Imagine your love being so vast it can wrap itself around every person who knows no love. Imagine your compassion to be so deep it can wash over every pain ever felt and heal every sorrow ever experienced.
I think you can. I know I want to.
Imagine now closing your eyes, putting your hands on your heart and feeling it beating to the rhythm of life within you, the same rhythm that beats in the heart of that father…
Imagine…loving your enemy.
Please join me in opening my heart, bowing my head, and praying for those who don't know how to love; those who don’t know how to respect their own lives nor the lives of others; those who kill innocent human beings due only to their ignorance.
Love does heal and all we need now is to love, especially those who seem unlovable.
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“Home is where the heart is” goes the saying. What do you think of when you think ‘home’? It’s family, right? What else.
Today, several small circumstances collectively pointed me directly to my heart and to the conclusion that family is like a home for the heart. If you don’t have a family (one that feels like family) your heart can feel homeless at times.
I know this because that is exactly how I felt as I considered this.
When we move away from our birth or first family, whether across the country or across the ocean, the feeling is the same. It is in seeing others gather in celebration that we notice just how big the hole is, you know the one I mean.
Mine was made when I left a piece of my heart with my birth family; it has not yet been filled. We may have joined new families, but if we don’t feel like we belong, whatever the reasons, we feel sad, alone, unclaimed.
I thought a lot about this and my feelings, my circumstances, and the reasons. I even pointed my finger a time or two (okay, maybe a 100 times), though privately in my head; but then I realized that sometimes in life it’s not the people or the circumstances that are most important.
What’s really important are the lessons, either new ones learned or old ones unlearned. That’s what truly matters. The people and circumstances may only be here to provide the opportunities we need to encounter the lessons – learning, cradled in free will, is optional.
To fully experience life and its lessons is to live the full gamut of life. It’s like playing all the keys on the piano, not just one or two. Some can only play a few notes, maybe even just one, and all they can do in a lifetime is to learn to not lean on it quite so hard.
But we must not judge as we don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s that soul’s journey to assist in the journey of another. Perhaps it’s to guide that homeless heart back where it belongs…
Some of us are those souls who experience the full range of life’s notes as deeply as they come. There are times I feel great compassion for those who can’t love me. But there are also times when I feel angry that they don’t, so l lean hard on that note only to find the key of sorrow.
Eventually, slowly, I begin to remember the whole gamut I have been blessed with and so I start, again, to work my way through it, all the way back to compassion right next to understanding. And I comfortably lean on that key, until next time, when my heart feels homeless again.
And so I begin the same journey yet again; I go around the same bend, only this time it doesn’t take as long, I don’t lean on anger and sorrow as hard, and before I know it I’m back at compassion and understanding reaching bravely toward forgiveness. I begin to want to lean on that key and, tired, I rest there for a long while.
Then, suddenly, quietly, I realize I have found a home for my heart once I stepped over the threshold of forgiveness. Finally and safely, my heart returned home to love.
It is the brave souls who dare to hit all the keys; it is the most courageous ones who gather all their notes and assemble them into a melody which then becomes their song. And, once ready, they sing it for the world.
Has your heart ever felt homeless? Please share as I would love to know your story.
Blessings as always,
Designing Your Success
The #1 most important step you need to take.
Much has been said about success in recent years, courses have been taught and entire books have been written about how to achieve it. I, myself, have studied the topic, most recently with Jack Canfield, a well-known expert on the subject. But then I realized that, although a lot has been said about what actions to take and the steps involved in taking them, one important piece has been missing; a step that is crucial while starting any journey: defining its meaning and purpose for YOU (beyond the obvious).
As you may know, there are many different types and definitions of success, each expressed by individual perspectives, goals and desires which may vary greatly. What remains constant is that in order to be truly successful - whatever form that takes - we must first have a clear picture and understanding of the most basic, fundamentally distinctive definition of success as we see it and as it applies to our circumstances.
Practical Steps In Designing The Success You Want
Do you know your definition of success? You see, awareness is everything!
Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a success, right? We achieve various levels and types of success as we journey through life and its many stages. It can change as we change and as our priorities shift.
As you embark on designing the fullest expression of your success, I invite you to start by taking this very important step in answering the following questions:
1. How do I define success?
2. What are my criteria for defining it?
3. What is(are) my measure(s) of success?
4. How much success can I accomplish?
5. How much success do I deserve?
For some of us, the highest expression of success is being a good mom, becoming a best-selling author, or having a healthy, vital body. The spectrum is dynamic for different people as well as individually. Knowing where you are on that spectrum is instrumental to your design. Why? Because you, quite simply, must know this so as to not measure yourself against some else's definition of what it means to be successful.
I must admit, until recently, I did not have a clear definition of my own success in my current venture and maybe that's when I realized the importance of those questions. The fact is you can't reach your destination if you don't know exactly where you're going. There are other questions to be considered - though the above are a great starting point!
Allow the dominoes of your inner wisdom to fall and strike that next place within to lead you to the most authentic conclusions. They are all in ‘there’.
If you would like to work with me or to simply find out more about me and my services, click here. There might be a complementary session in your future (wink, wink).
With permission, I have shared Jack Canfield's wisdom on success in last month's blog; you can check it out here.
To Your Success!
This month, I draw on the wisdom of an amazing man who is the perfect example of a successful individual. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of being coached by Jack Canfield while he was the featured guest on my Your Year Of Miracles mentoring adventure with Marci Shimoff and Debra Poneman, the 2015 addition. What a blessing this is!
Following, is just about the entire article Jack wrote recently; I feel it's full of great advice that is solid, practical, and easy to implement.
I KNOW you will find it helpful!
(Image source: Google images)
"In this article, I share seven of my top strategies for getting things done.
Strategy #1: Get Clear About What’s Required
When people set goals, particularly at the beginning of the year when working on their New Year’s resolutions, they tend to be overly optimistic about how much is actually possible. As a result, they over-commit or make lists that are far too long.
I’ve fallen into this trap before. I’ve learned that to be realistic, I must take the time to break goals down and ask, “What would actually be required for me to achieve this goal? How many hours would that take?” Once I have a list of activities and estimates of the time needed to achieve each item, I pull out my calendar and start scheduling all the activities.
This is the point when you come face to face with reality. If you realize that there’s not enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want, it’s time to go back and prioritize your goals. Once you’ve identified the things that are most important to accomplish, schedule the activities that those goals will require, and set aside the rest of your goals for later.
Strategy #2: Create a Daily Schedule
Simply setting aside time in your calendar may not be enough to achieve your goals. I go the extra step and create a daily schedule. Additionally, I use the Rule of 5. Each day I choose 5 specific tasks that will move me toward the completion of my goals and I ensure those tasks are included in my daily schedule. Daily use of the Top 5 Priority Action post-its can help keep your daily task list front and center. So if one of my daily tasks is to work on my book, I don’t simply say, “I’ll work on my book today” – I actually designate the hours that I’ll work on my book. This has been an essential step in ensuring that things actually get done.
To stay motivated, I review my yearly goals once a week, and then I plan my week around those goals. I identify what I need to accomplish in the coming week to achieve my long-term goals, and then I book those activities into my calendar. Each evening before I leave my office, I finalize my schedule for the following day. When I walk in each morning, I can be productive immediately rather than wasting precious time figuring out what I’m going to do.
Strategy #3: Focus on the "Big Rocks"
When planning my daily schedule, sometimes I realize that I have an unreasonable amount of work on my to-do list for the next day. I know that I can’t get it all done. This is when I turn to my list of “Big Rocks” – my most important priorities. (If you are not familiar with the terminology, “Big Rocks” comes from Dr. Stephen Covey’s method of time management. I suggest doing an internet search of Covey demonstrating his approach if you have not yet seen it.)
I keep my Big Rocks in a list on my iPad. The Big Rocks are the things I need to get done this quarter. When my daily schedule is overbooked, the Big Rocks are the things that get done.
Strategy #4: Center and Visualize
I start each day with a meditation to help me get grounded. Before I get up from my meditation cushion, I mentally rehearse my day, visualizing and feeling myself staying focused, working efficiently, and being productive. This helps to activate the Law of Attraction, lining up the inner and outer resources to make my day go smoothly.
Throughout the day, I do “refreshers.” Periodically throughout the day, I’ll close my eyes and focus on my breathing for a few minutes. This helps to center me and restore a sense of calm.
In addition, whenever I begin a new segment on my schedule, I’ll take a few seconds to visualize that section of my day going smoothly. When sitting down to write, I’ll visualize my writing going well. When I prepare to make phone calls, I’ll visualize my conversations going well and achieving the desired results.
Strategy #5: Keep Score
To stay on track to achieve goals, it’s important to keep score. This means assessing, each day, whether or not you’ve done what was necessary to achieve your goals.
For score-keeping to be effective, you must have your goals and score-keeping tool somewhere where you’re going to see it. If you can’t easily see your score, you can’t reasonably assess where you are.
There are a number of ways to keep score. When you were little, your parents or teachers may have helped you keep score with a sticker chart, where you’d get a sticker every time you kept your commitment to do your homework, for example. Some adults find that this approach is still effective. You could also use a simple checklist that lists your various to-do items and deadlines. Checking each item off as it’s completed can be powerful.
I’ve also discovered that there are several phone apps that work well for keeping score. If your smartphone is a constant companion, it would be a wise move to put your scorekeeping on your phone so it’s always handy. One of my favorite apps is Don’t Break the Chain, designed with the Jerry Seinfeld motivation technique. Jerry Seinfeld wanted to write a book, so he put a big red X every day through the calendar when he actually wrote. He didn’t want to break the chain of red X’s, hence the name Don’t Break the Chain. (Click here for a list of apps reviewed by About.com.)
Strategy #6: Celebrate Milestones
Celebrating your progress along the way is essential to staying motivated. If you set a goal that takes nine months to achieve, it’s hard to stay motivated the entire time because there’s no payoff. So build in milestones to celebrate along the way.
If your goal is to lose weight, celebrate every two pounds you lose. If you’re writing a book, celebrate every 20 pages that you write. If your goal is to book 35 speaking gigs, celebrate every 5 engagements that you book. Celebrating milestones keeps you inner child excited because it feels rewarded for all of the efforts it’s made.
Strategy #7: Schedule Down Time
When you’re on fire to achieve your goals, it’s tempting to skip free time. (This is when you often hear people say, “I’ll rest when I’m dead.”)
However, when you deny yourself free time, you get tired. You become less efficient. You make poorer decisions and are less creative. Your inner child can get resentful of the demanding pace, and it becomes easy to get burned out. That’s why I plan free time into my schedule to rest and rejuvenate.
My friend Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach, Inc., taught me to schedule three types of days into my calendar. Focus Days are primetime for work. Buffer Days are for practice, preparation and miscellaneous details, such as dental appointments or getting caught up on email. Free Days are the third type of day. They’re 24-hour periods dedicated to resting and recharging. I’ve found that scheduling Free Days have resulted in a greater level of passion, creativity and energy in my work.
Your goals are important – not only to you and your family, but to the world. You have a purpose, and your goals are how you are meant to live your purpose. The seven strategies I’ve shared here have been essential to my ability to get things done. Use them to ensure that when 2015 comes to an end, you’re celebrating the accomplishment of your goals, rather than regretting what hasn’t happened."
Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions or comments please share below.
I also invite you to be courageous enough to share you space with other brilliant people!
Here is to our success!!!
I love my mind and how it cascades into its own limitlessness; taking me places I have never been, unveiling points of view never before seen.
“Are you saying that you gonna start dressing up like a lady all the time?”
“My whole life I’ve been dressing up as a man; this is me.”
This is a dialogue between two characters in an award-winning TV series, Transparent. The answer provided by the second character struck a chord with me to a point of tears and triggered a cascade of thoughts, solidifying some, and inspiring new ones.
Have you ever considered what life must be like for those who are gay, transsexual, transgender, or in any other way different? What it must be like to live in a world where how you see yourself or are seen, does not match what you feel about who you are? Think about this for a moment. Imagine: what would it be like to realize that your anatomy does not line up with who you feel yourself to be? What would it feel like to have to alter the way you express yourself to the world around you – all the time?
Really take this in. What life must be like when you’re not able to be yourself? What must it be like for so many people to live a life that's not theirs? And can you imagine knowing that being yourself, your true essence, is perceived by most people as being wrong, unacceptable, or worse? And there is nothing you can do about it; not about the way you are nor the way you are perceived and judged. Do you begin to understand?
Silently, I asked myself those questions and sat with them for awhile as my heart filled with great compassion and my eyes filled with tears. And then, I asked another question: what is the deeper intention and meaning for this human experience so many people go through? For something to be so different than the customary norm, there has to be a grand reason. The answer came swiftly: it is to teach us one of the most profound forms of acceptance.
Feeling accepted is one of the basic needs of any human being and most of us struggle in this area in varying degrees. This is why we ought to be able to understand what it feels like to be deemed unacceptable. But so often we don’t, or we pretend we don’t; we choose ridicule over compassion, judgement over acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean agreement with or reverence of, it simply means the allowing of being. It is so much easier and natural to allow than to reject. Everyone and everything that is is here for a reason.
We often hear the question ‘what is the purpose of life?’ There are many ways to answer it, though I have come to believe that, fundamentally, it is to expand human consciousness so that it elevates to meet Divine Consciousness, and we all play a part in that expansion. Today, as I pondered the more meaningful purpose of those who are gay and transgender, I have profound respect and deep gratitude for their life experiences, their role and contribution to that expansion, as well as for providing us with such an amazing opportunity to practice acceptance. And I say THANK YOU!
Those who teach us the greatest lessons, who sacrifice and suffer greatest pain, are some of the most courageous Souls to have graced humanity. Acceptance brings with it a bounty of gifts, not the least of which are humility, love, and compassion. The way I see our collective life journey is this: we are all reading the same book; we’re just on different chapters.
Transparent means letting light pass through without distortion.
Let there be acceptance.
Let there be light.
Let there be love.
Let there be peace.
I dedicate this post to every person traveling this path. Anyone from Lee Daniels, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Daley, Lady Gaga, Lily Tomlin, Bruce Jenner to Adam Lambert, Greer Lankton and Chaz Bono, as well as every other person whose name we may never know. I hug you all with my heart.
With love & acceptance,
What are your thoughts or opinions? Please share in the comments below.
Life becomes a struggle the moment we believe that who and how we are is somehow wrong. We then commit ourselves to becoming right – big mistake!
I remember being a child and my mom asking me to clean up my desk and where I kept my school stuff. I vividly remember taking my time with it; reading every piece of paper with any notes on it, then taking more time to think about what was written. I would take ‘forever’ to go through everything while I made sure I did not throw out anything important!
I truly enjoyed getting lost in reviewing, re-reading, thinking, re-thinking, and sometimes going on long journeys into the worlds in my mind, those incredible adventures full of peaceful mystery and delight…
…and then I would hear my mom (love you mommy) yell at me, expressing her view of how slow, unproductive, and wrong was my way of doing the assigned task which should only have taken half an hour if I wasn’t so and so. Told enough times, I finally believed that I was so and so…and so, I began the journey away from that and toward being less slow, less unproductive, less wrong, less me.
I’m sure most of us can relate to this story in some way. I’m also sure that, at least on some level, most of us know that life’s greatest struggle is not to be ourselves. We grow up believing that our way is the wrong way and in order to be right we need to find another way of being; otherwise, we’re just, well, no-good. We spend decades looking for that right way to be, proper thing to do to finally feel good, comfortable, and natural again only to realize that we had it at our disposal all along. We realize, with great sadness as in my case, that we have spent much of our life and time on denying our natural way of being.
Well, today, I decided that I shall return to being who I am Naturally! I cease to make who or how I am wrong. I, once again, begin to do things MY WAY. The way that feels good, comfortable, and natural to ME! I have so many notes and writings to review and get lost in my mom would scream for a month if she saw it. Oh, this actually makes me laugh! Which brings me another point…
Joy is the main ingredient in any sort of authentic success. When we are in joy we are in the recognition of our essence; it is in joy that we truly express who we are. Blessed be those who sent me on that wild goose chase, which was often joy-less, though filled with so much discovery, knowledge and wisdom, all I can be now is grateful.
Earlier today, hours before I began to write what you are now reading, a phrase came to me that brought me to tears: Become the Gift of YOU. Coincidence? I think not! I am growing in my conviction that my Soul speaks to me through all those phrases I then turn into quotes…and they almost always come when I’m on a journey filled with peaceful mystery and delight…
Today, I invite you to remember and embrace who you are NATURALLY. I know you know how that is; and let me assure you – how that is is perfect! I also know that as soon as you give yourself permission to become YOU again, you will be reassured as you continue to reclaim yourself. I suspect your Soul speaks to you, too. Listen.
This is a story of an everyday event which turned out to be a lovely exchange of courtesy and kindness. It could have been a story of how bothersome a flat tire can be. Instead, it is a story of how strangers came together to support each other just because they could…
It all started when my neighbour asked me to drive him to the doctor’s office just a few blocks away. I said yes. Knowing my tire needed attension, I made sure it was inflated enough to make the short trip and while my neighbour went inside I went on to inflate it.
As I approached it with my handy dandy compressor, I could hear the air escaping out – this was new! At that point I knew it was not a good thing. I suspected inflating the tire would not be possible so, reluctantly, I proceeded to put on the spare. I began the process by loosening the bolts and, as I was doing that, I saw a young man walking down the sidewalk. I briefly thought of asking him for help but concluded that he was too young to know stuff…
In just a few moments I heard a voice say: "do you need any help?" I looked up and saw the same young man standing at an intersection about 30 feet away waiting for my answer. 'Wow! That’s awesome!' I thought. “If you don’t mind, I would love your help” I replied with relief in my voice.
As it turned out, his dad is a car mechanic so, of course, he knew stuff! Never judge a book by its age, eh?
Well, the car got jacked up, the bolts were all off…but the wheel would not come off as it was frozen in place (the car sat outside, undriven, for the past three and a half days). The young man called his dad for advice which was to turn that wheel all the way outward and kick it from the inside. The only tools we had were our arms and feet. So, I turned the wheels, he laid down on the snow (-17 C wind-chill; that's 1.4 F) and gave it his best shot; quite a few shots actually, with his boots to the wheel while I was pooling on the darn thing from the other side. No way was it going to come off!
I realised we could not do much more at that point and began to think how I was going to get my neighbour back home, who by this time watched us struggle for some 20 minutes. This is a man who always helps everyone else around, but due to his current condition all he could do was watch.
During the pulling and kicking, I took notice of a car pulling into the back yard of a brick house directly across the street from where I was parked. So, with determination and a hopeful heart, I marched across the street and rang the doorbell. After just a few moments a lovely young woman, probably in her 30’s, opened the door and patiently listened to my story. In her face I saw kind eyes and a gentle smile. She said softly: “Just a moment; I will ask my husband”. When the door reopened her face was lit up as she told me her husband would drive my neighbour home.
After a short while the car that only a few minutes ago arrived in the back yard was on the move again. The husband pulled around to the front street and, as I opened the passenger door to help my neighbour get in, I expressed my gratitude and appreciation of the fact that this man just got home (from work most likely) and was willing to get his boots and jacket right back on and do this favour for people he did not know. Later I found out that while he was playing chauffeur, he also played Christmas songs - just for my neighbour!
In the meantime, I stayed with my disabled car and the young man who insisted on staying until all my stuff was put back in the trunk and the bolts were back on the deflated tire. Then he continued his journey to visit a friend, but not before he offered me a big hug and well-wishes!
It was dark, cold, my hands were freezing as my gloves were wet, my thighs were getting that pinchy/stingy feeling from the cold wind, but my face was dressed in a big smile and my heart was filled with joy and amazement – none of the uncomfortable physical sensations mattered at all!
My walk home was filled with concocting a way to show my appreciation to those lovely strangers who, so willingly, helped in a time of need on a cold winter's night - without hesitation!
I was able to call the young man’s dad to tell him what a wonderful son he has raised. And there was a little gift and a card with a ‘thank you’ note delivered to the brick house across the street.
Though, understandably, it can be difficult to see some times, we are surrounded by love, kindness, and generosity of spirit. All we need is to try to see it and eventually, invariably we will...
The best things in life are those intangible gifts we can give to each other. And we don’t have to buy them in order to give them, they are always in stock, never out of date and the shipping is free…and the supply is endless. Truly, the Universe is filled with gifts for all; always and in all ways!
Wishing you many blessings, joy and gladness, and please share your story of intangible gifts in the comments below.
Planning your future often involves looking back at your past.
Today, as I’m thinking of where life may take me next, I looked back at the pages of my journal from 2011. And here is what I found (pretty fascinating, if I may say so myself):
“…it’s been a really great summer. But most importantly, I finally know what to do with my life: I will be starting an awesome life coaching course with The S.W.A.T. Institute. My beloved friend, Cindy, sent me a link one day and the rest is history :)
I never felt more passionate about anything else, EVER!
I’ve been giving people advise most of my life and now I will learn how to do it effectively and truly help others help themselves. I am so excited and joyful – this feels SO RIGHT!
I can’t wait to start the course. It’s going to be great; the learning process and developing my lovely, joyful, compassionate self into a wonderful, dedicated, skilled Life Coach! Who would have thought? My beloved brother knows about it too since Saturday and I’m so happy about that! All will be well!”
“The 12 week transformational telecousre with Crystal starts today and I just know it’s going to be an awesome journey! I’m so happy my dear Cindy sent me the link that introduced me to Crystal Andrus and her Institute and everything else she does so well. Meant to be :) This is the door to the rest of my life!”
“…I always had this feeling [so funny I used the word ALWAYS after only discovering S.W.A.T. that July] that S.W.A.T. was really great for me, that my future was bright if I chose to go forth with it, like there is much more to this relationship than just taking the course. I feel very connected to this Institute and sense a great future for it and me in its ranks. I am full of hope and joy about S.W.A.T. and my very near future as well. So wonderful, cannot wait. All is perfect – always. I accept whatever comes with Gratitude :)”
Well, my very near future was not as great as I hoped it would be (though perfect in its purpose) but the rest of what I felt, especially about The S.W.A.T. Institute, far exceeded my greatest expectations! In November of 2013 I went to my fist retreat with Crystal and met her in person for the fist time. This March, I met her for the second time and even shared a stage with her while celebrating International Woman's Day in Toronto, shortly after I graduated the program in February. And in July, I became a Student Advisor for The S.W.A.T. Institute! And I know this journey is going to continue and unfold even farther.
I knew I was making an investment in myself. I felt it was the right decision - when you know you know. But as I continued on the journey of transformation, I kept finding more and more gifts. And I realized that the value of what I purchased far exceeded its price. I have laid a solid foundation upon which I am building a solid future.
And all is well already!
Are you planing your future yet? New Year is just around the corner.
You know that feeling of being pressed to come up with a solution really fast? When things seem out of balance as you need to fulfill a requirement or an obligation and it looks like you might be coming up short? You want to accomplish something important and you’re running out of time, money, or patience. You rack your brain for a solution, a way out, a way to, an answer to the incessant inquiry of your mind: What else can I do? What solution can I come up with? There has to be something MORE I can do! Does this sound at all familiar to you?
Well, just the other day, I was in the midst of all those questions, trying to think up a solution to an issue that has been with me for a while (more on that in the near future). I was sitting on my sunny porch at the time, contemplating the next great thing that was going to lead me to a solution; the next ‘to do’ I was going to do. Feeling frustrated, I asked myself out loud what more can I do? Instantly, in my mind, I heard another question – it seemed as if it was posed to me and its simplicity was astonishing. And the question was: What can you do LESS of?
My understanding was immediate and the list grew swiftly. I was wowed at how many things flowed into my mind to answer that simple question. I felt profound relief and a sense of peace all over my body! I was on to something…
So often we get lost in striving, working hard, and being so consumed by and busy with trying desperately to figure out the MORE part of the solution. We completely forget to even contemplate another possibility. We omit to consider the prospect and simplicity of doing less in order to find the solution. We make our lives more difficult than they need to be and get in the way of the solution much more often than we are aware of. Have you ever found yourself in a similar scenario?
I would like to invite you to bring to mind something you are trying to resolve, improve, or accomplish. Now, think of something you can do less of or something you might even be able to stop doing in support of your venture.
I now invite you to consider doing just that!
And, of course, do share what you came up with in the comments. For example, what tops your 'do less' list? I'd love to know!
Blessings and til next time.
Do you know if you have an Angel around you? Do you even believe in Earth Angels?
Let me tell you a secret: you don’t have to believe in anything for it be true....
But if you’re like me and believe in Angels then you are really going to like this story. It is a story of love, friendship, and incredible life lessons learned from God's gift to humankind - the dog! Yes – dogs, all animals in fact, just like children, can teach us many important lessons. And as my beloved dog turned three years old this month, I honor him.
This beautiful face is the face of my Angel at three months old. His name is Tiko and his mission in life, first and foremost, is to be joyful and loyal and make my heart smile– such is his nature - all the time!
I was fostering this little guy for only two week, three years ago this Christmas, and within the first week I knew I was in big trouble. This dog was following me EVERYWHERE. Yes, I know you might be thinking that all puppies do that and I agree, but this had a lot more to it...you had to be there :) Knowing that I was not in the position to adopt him (crazy neighbor next door (now gone), not in the budget, still not able to walk myself properly (remnants of back injury), and about to embark on my coaching certification journey with The S.W.A.T. Institute). I took him back to the humane society and, like a little girl, cried everyday wishing I could keep him. Then, one beautiful day, my really wonderful and loving friend, Brad, who lives in Calgary, called me to see how I was doing. What he heard was my heart aching as I expressed how deeply I missed Tiko. After a short time he helped me see that the only reason truly stopping me from adopting this puppy was the price tag. And here is where the miracles began: Brad, in his loving and generous nature, offered to pay for the adoption. He gifted Tiko to me as a token of his appreciation of my friendship. Brad told me that he was waiting for an opportunity to express his gratitude for when I help him with his puppy, Madilynn, a while back and that this was a perfectly suited opportunity to do just that – and it was! I was so happy to hear his words that, at first, I did not know what was more beautiful: what he was saying to me and the depth of his appreciation or the gift of Tiko. I’ve decided it was a tie.
If I were writing about dogs before I met this incredible Being, I would have told you that I would only have/buy/adopt my favorite breed, German shepherd, and no other dog - ever!
But as I'm writing this today I have other things to say. And here is what I have learned, thus far, since I was blessed with Tiko's presents:
~ Perfection is in how you feel not what you see
~ Love is how much you want to give not be given
~ Gratitude is the expansion of your heart beyond what you have known and felt before as you appreciate everything
~ We allow ourselves to love deeply to the same degree to which we allow ourselves to be vulnerable
~ Acceptance is when what you wished for didn't transpire and you come to realize you don't wish for it anymore, because what came to you, instead, far exceeds your wish
~ Commitment is the dedication with which you keep your promises, no matter what
As time went on, Tiko showed me a lot about me, some good and some...well, let's call it 'that which can be tweaked'... and he is tweaking it alright! See, I noticed that I get frustrated a lot more often than I thought - how? He is not only my Earth Angel, he is also what I call my attitude police. It all started shortly after he figured I was keeping him for good. First, I was not allowed to curse, then I was not allowed to raise my voice or get angry. And now, as he tightens the screw...lol, I can't even get a little ticked at something (usually it's Windows 8), without him immediately coming to me, putting his beautiful face on my lap or poking at me with his paw and looking at me as if to say: this is unnecessary, stop it, look how cute I am...feel that instead! Works like a charm every time!
He truly is a special 'breed' and I am incredibly blessed to have him. I know he will teach me more while we walk our journey together. Just like he helped me to remember to be more child-like. Who would have thought that I would be chasing a dog around my back deck or around a tree in the park laughing out loud while at it? (no, I don't mind if people see or hear me, way passed that!) I tell ya, God really knows what He is doing, who to send us and when, and I think He really likes me, 'cuz He sent me a good one!!! Thanks, Brad!!!
What is your Earth Angel story? Comment and share if you like.
About the Author
In early Spring of 2011, as I sat with my journal at a family cabin, I felt the seed of my creative writing come through from beneath the surface. As I picked up my pen to begin my first journal entry, I felt a feeling of profound peace and indescribable comfort. All was well. I felt I was Home - finally!