This Experience Changed My World


We Are The World

Forty-seven stranger’s faces stared back at me, not hostile but not accepting either. Their skin ranged from the darkest black to various shades of brown, then white, like me. Their eyes held stories from the past and thoughts that shaded their perception of the present. About 1/3 of the men and women staring at me spoke a different language, and would have to wait on the translation to understand me.

The microphone felt like a lead weight in my hand. I took a deep breath and spoke several words that were too quiet. My Trainer mimicked holding the microphone closer to my mouth, and I found my voice.

“I am here to become myself,” I began, my voice stronger but still trembling. “I am here to release my past and step into my power.” I paused as a single tear welled up and fell slowly down my cheek. A deep breath in steadied me enough to add, “Thank you for seeing me through.”

I handed the microphone to the next person in line, and walked back to my chair, glancing at several people along the way. I expected to see blank stares, but what I actually saw in their eyes was startling.

Understanding. Compassion. Acceptance.

The next two days were physically stamina-draining and emotionally devastating. I faced my old, limiting stories and realized how small I was living. The “me” I had created, based on false beliefs and negative interpretations of the past, was no longer acceptable.

But if I could no longer live as that limited “me,” then who was I?

Fear raised its ugly head as it hit me. I was stepping off the cliff of the known, into the vast, open space of the unknown. Who would I discover at the end of this process? That question was always in the back of my mind as forty-six other humans moved through the same process of evaluating, releasing the old to make space for the new.

My world view shifted permanently on Day 4. We had learned to center ourselves and source our experience, connecting in ways that were unimaginable at the beginning of this journey. We had become known to each other, regardless of background, race, language or culture. The fact that every word was translated from English to Spanish, or Spanish to English, no longer mattered. We breathed, thought and acted as a team, each member valued and respected.

A question came from Alberto (not his real name) after we had just finished creating our Team Vision Statement. He felt that his suggestion to use the word “Liberation” was not heard. He also felt that the Spanish speakers in the group were slighted and disregarded.

We were gathered in a circle around Alberto and our Trainer, Francine. She took a moment to get centered. Each person held their breath, because we knew that this was a pivotal moment for our team. Could we stay unified in the face of Alberto’s comments, which happened to be true?

Francine spoke softly and touched our hearts. She showed us how our belief that we are separate from each other is the cause of so much pain, anger and hurt. She reminded us that we are the source of our experience, and it is up to each one of us to drop our beliefs of separation and reach out to others from a place of common needs.

As Francine shared her vision of the world, my own shifted and morphed into a knowing that I was part of Team Earth. I am so much more than an American, middle-aged white woman. I am a spiritual being living a human experience, just as everyone else on the planet. I had been holding tight to my gifts and now was the time to step up and give.

That moment of crystallized clarity is now my definition of my life.

Every person in that room felt something similar. Every heart opened to the possibility of change in the world, because we had changed.

These experiences occurred in the container called Gratitude Training. Our team is now moving into Part 3, called Masterful Living. The goal is to have 100% move on to Masterful Living, but several members need help financially.

The owners of Gratitude Training, LLC have generously offered a Black Friday Sale. From now through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 26, 2018, the tuition for Masterful Living is 50% off. The urgency to help our team members is hyper-increased!

That is where you come in. A Go Fund Me campaign has been created to help our team join Masterful Living. The visionary and impactful training received in Masterful Living transforms the participants to become the source of a new world.

We are ML36/Tres. We have declared ourselves to be the team that is loving, powerful, visionary and impactful group of leaders. We are dedicated to creating a lasting impact on ourselves and the world.

Won’t you join us?

 

 

When are You a Grown Up?


pexels-photo-556666Milestone birthdays have a way of encouraging reflective thoughts about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

I have one of these birthdays coming up — the one that marks the beginning of a new decade and the end of the previous one.

“Milestone” sounds like you have a chain around your neck and you have just been thrown off the boat. I prefer to be more playful — such as “this is my year of celebrating __ years of traveling around the sun.”

Now that I am entering a new phase of life, I wonder if I am finally a “grown up.” When I was a kid, I thought all grown ups had the answers to everything. They sure seemed to…

“It’s just the way it is.”

“We’ve always done it that way.”

“No need to fix something that isn’t broken.”

Of course, now that I am older and wiser, these pat sayings are amusing. But to my 8 year old mind, these words were the law, not to be questioned.

In my moments of introspection, I always wondered what it would be like to be on that side of the table. To have all of the answers and speak so confidently.

Now, I know the truth.

When I was a child, I thought like a child. Now, as an adult, hopefully I think like an adult. But am I a grown up?

That question keeps hammering in the back of my mind. Have I reached the age where grown up status is automatically conferred? Or do I have to earn it?

What I do know is that the more times I travel around the sun, the less tolerance I have for other people’s answers. I am on a quest to seek my own answers that resonate, encourage and cultivate my greatest good.

No one has the answer for everyone; they only have the answer that works for them.

How do you find your answers? For me, meditation and mindfulness have paved the way back to myself.

Dipping into that space between thoughts is the only way I have found to love myself. Being aware of my thoughts and my words is the natural offspring of loving myself.

Why not join the 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge? It will help you establish a daily practice of meditation, journaling and intentional creativity. Who know where that might take you?

Live Like A Wrinkle in Time


Have you ever wondered where time came from? It seems real enough, until you start playing with it. Then, time becomes malleable, pliable and totally manipulatable.

Time is an illusion of the mind.

Don’t believe me? Remember your first kiss with someone important to you. Did it happen in the snap of your fingers, or was it slow motion, just like in the movies? Either way, the same amount of seconds (or minutes) ticked off the clock, but your perception of the event was completely your own.

Why am I writing about time? I just finished watching “A Wrinkle in Time,” based on the childhood classic book by Margaret L’Engle. The story is about how powerful we are, based on the thoughts we think. When thoughts are combined with emotion, they can shift our reality. Love or darkness fuels these changes. It is always our choice which one we use to create our world.

What does this have to do with time? The movie has a science fiction element, because the main characters jump into a different dimension, outside of time and space. They carried love with them and evolved into more powerful creators as events unfolded.

I feel as if I have jumped out of time and space.

I forgot to share that I am traveling at 551 mph at 39,003 feet as we fly more than 8,400 miles from Sydney, Australia to Dallas, Texas. While these data points provide a solid context, it’s what happens to time that fascinates me.

We left Sydney at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 28, 2018. Traveling east means that we gain time. We will land in Dallas, Texas at 1:31 p.m…on May 28! Basically, we live the same day over!

Doesn’t that blow your mind? I feel like I have stepped into a wrinkle in time.

After I stepped through the sliding doors at DFW Airport and into the arms of my family, I knew exactly how I would spend the extra hours that traveling around the world gifted me.

In love. Being love and loved. Grateful for this life of love.

We step out of time when we love. Time is a mental construct that holds our experience in our minds. Love is a heart activity that is infinite and outside of time.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

The Illusion of Life: Balinese Style


“We are energetic beings with consciousness.”

The first time I heard that sentence was at a women’s retreat in Bali. Eleven women on a spiritual journey to find their own truth. Eleven women who traveled great distances to share a brief space of time to learn, connect and evolve.

Our group was diverse in age (the youngest was 34; the oldest, including me, were in their late 50s). Each one of us carried the deep desire to shed old beliefs, dissolve our limiting stories and become more authentic.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my shedding began when I sat in the car on the way to the hotel from the airport. Chaotic traffic, hundreds of scooters and cars vying for the same spot on the pavement, all at the speed of life.

My fear of crashing was triggered immediately. My body tightened, my breath became shallow and I became my fear.

Until I looked at our driver, Nengah, and noticed how calm he was in the middle of chaos. His hands were gently resting on the steering wheel, his shoulders were relaxed and his focus was complete. He never reacted as a scooter zoomed past us, between our car and oncoming traffic. He never became angry or upset at anything that was happening on the other side of the windshield.

He was present, mindful and aware.

It was my first lesson on the illusion of Bali. I brought my Western awareness to this place and judged it based on my perception. But I failed to see that I was looking at the illusion, not the underlying reality.

“We are energetic beings with consciousness.”

The Balinese know this as a fact and they live from this place. They may describe it differently, but their presence in the present becomes obvious as you spend more time with them.

During the retreat, I also learned that we are conscious creators of our reality. Our reality begins and ends with our internal eyesight. What we see in our mind’s eye is what we will see when light is refracted off our eyeballs.

As creators, we change our reality when we change our internal vision. Meditation, visualization and gratitude are ways to stay centered. As you emerge into the world from these practices, your energy goes before you, almost like a magic carpet. You invite the same energy into your reality that you radiate.

Life becomes a beautiful dance.

It’s so simple but many of us have forgotten our own power to create our reality. We see the physical and interpret its meaning, based on our perception in that moment. The illusion becomes our reality, because we are on the inside of it.

We have forgotten that we are energetic beings with consciousness.

The Balinese live this way. They wake in the morning and give thanks. They create offerings and place them in the doorways, at the base of the shrines, and at the foot of waterfalls. Anywhere they see God’s signature on the world, they celebrate with gratitude.

My intention is to see beyond the illusion of the physical, to the energetic life force that supports and connects everything. To first clean up my own energy before interacting with others. And to consciously allow the essence of life to flow through me as loving energy.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

I Touched Bali’s Heart Today


As I was absorbing the vertical farming of the Balinese rice fields, I heard a small voice behind me.

“Will you buy some postcards? It is for my school.”

The tone of the question drew me in. Plaintive, victimized and small, her voice called out for all the compassion I held. But I knew that this child, still dressed in her school uniform, was not a victim. Or small. Or needy.

You could see it in her eyes. Balinese embody the knowledge that they are worthy and loved. They stay in touch with the wisdom to see the truth of life.

We are all expressions of the Divine.

I gently said no to her and shook my head. Her voice followed me down the steps, trying to connect to my tourist spirit. As soon as my head dropped out of sight, I heard her voice return to normal, strong and confident.

As we continued down the stairs and descended into the valley, the terraced rice fields rose above us. Green, vibrant and active, farmers walked along the top of each level tending to their fields. Calm, centered and focused, they moved with the same pace, creating a mindful dance.

The tourists stood out among the farmers. People made their way along the terraces, but their energy was totally different. Hurried, determined and already thinking about the next stop, they took their pictures and asked, “What’s next?”

The farmers kept going, unfazed by the attention they received from foreigners. They were present, aware and awake. Nothing from the outside would disturb their centeredness.

We stopped at a small landing to rest for a moment. Two young girls were waiting to sell their postcards. I listened to their pleading voice and said no gently. Something promoted me to say what was in my heart.

I leaned down to their level and spoke to each one individually. I waited a moment for them to settle, then looked into their lovely, dark brown eyes. We connected. I felt it in my body and my heart opened in appreciation.

“You are beautiful,” I said spontaneously. I kept repeating it. “You are beautiful.” We continued to stay connected and the words flowed out of my heart.

“You are beautiful.”

Suddenly, instead to saying it to these lovely girls, I was saying it to myself.

“You are beautiful.”

Tears came to my eyes as I drank in that message. These beautiful souls reflected that message back to me and I saw it in the depths of their eyes. Time stood still in acknowledgment and I felt whole, healed and complete.

I put my hands in prayer position and bowed to them. They graced me with their beautiful smiles and I felt as if I had touched the heart of Bali.

We finished the climb down and admired the fields. On the way back up, following a line of tourists, I turned the corner and saw them again. They were working the crowd, but when they saw me, the charade immediately dissolved and they became themselves.

“You are beautiful!” Their high voices rang out across the valley as I celebrated with them. “You are beautiful!” Smiling and laughing, we shared the secret of
Bali.

Every person is a beautiful expression of God. When that knowing becomes your anchor and foundation, your life transforms. You return to your center and your heart opens to the beauty and majesty of life.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

The Wisdom Path


The Heart Sutra is a treasured text revered by Confucius, Buddhists and Taoist. It forms the basis for the Wisdom Path that lies above the Po Lin Monastery.

During a trip to China in 1980, Professor Jso Tsing fell in love with the simplicity of the Heart Sutra. He was inspired to write it in calligraphy and dedicated it to the people of Hong Kong in the same year. His work is now transcribed in large scale wooden beams that form the Wisdom Path.

Each log is positioned to reflect the topography. When seen from above, the overall design is a sideways figure 8, the Infiniti sign.

The plaque which describes the Heart Sutra is at the beginning of the path.

It is a ten minute walk to the start of the Wisdom Path. I followed a group of students who were going to the hostel located further up the hillside. Their youthful energy was contagious and I felt young and free.

Walking the path, a sense of peacefulness and serenity washed over me. After my experiences at the Monastery, I felt removed from my self. I cannot claim to understand the Heart Sutra; I just know that I felt the space between my small self and the connection to something much greater expand.

Another Path

If there is another trail that beckons, I can’t resist its calling. At the base of the Wisdom Path was the trail to the top of the peak. Guarded by a rooster, it was a trail I had to explore.

The path quickly became step, rough and long. The humidity of the day seemed to fall on me like a blanket. No one was going my way; the cautionary voice inside my head started singing out what could happen if…

I took a deep breath and kept going. And was rewarded by this view of the Wisdom Path.

You can almost make out the infinity sign, can’t you?

The path beckoned upward. I must have been an explorer in another life. It’s the only explanation that explains this desire to see around the next bend.

And then I discovered why I took this way. I was integrating my experience at the Monastery and on the Wisdom Path. Forced to pay attention to this moment, careful where I placed each foot, I was meditating in a waking state. No thoughts or judgments; no plans for the future or regrets about the past.

Just breathing (and sweating) in the here and now.

I paused on a flat part of the trail and took a sip of water. My emotions were calm and my thoughts silent. And then I turned and saw the confirmation of my experience.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!


Dear Stubborn Human:

I am called the “Drop the Leash Dog” because I teach a simple concept to humans, that dogs know instinctively. And the leash is the metaphor that fits.

When you walk your dog, you have a physical connection with him. The leash is attached to his collar or harness and you are on the other end, holding on and directing the walk.

Humans don’t live with leashes around their necks. Instead, they place a leash on their minds. Habitual thinking about past events erupt in the present moment, coloring what is happening right now. When humans assign a meaning to the event or to themselves, that acts as a filter on the current moment.

Don’t believe me? When was the last time you thought to yourself, “Oh, there you go again! You are so clumsy (or stupid, fat, a waste, etc.).” A past memory was triggered and the meaning that you assigned to yourself was used in the present moment to confirm the meaning.

Are you starting to catch a glimpse of who is holding your leash?

Dogs don’t hold onto the past. If my master steps on my tail because she didn’t see me, I will let her know that it hurt, but not one second later, I will be loving her again. I am back in the present moment almost instantly.

Which approach is happier and more peaceful? The human trait of stubbornness holds the leash in a death grip, determined to prove that the meaning given is correct. Who does that hurt the most?

Take a look in the mirror for the answer.

I may sound as if I am berating you for being human. I know that humans and dogs are different in so many ways, but one thing I know for sure. Dogs are Masters at staying in love…in every moment. It’s why we’re here, living with you. To remind you that you can choose to do the same.

Remind You

You can become the person your dog knows you are.

Love you tons,

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P.S.  Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.