What can a Zebra teach us about Living From the Heart?


zebrasThe stripes on a zebra can teach us a lot about living together. When you study the pattern of stripes, there is no way to declare that one color came before the other, or that one is superior. Instead, the pattern of color protects the zebra from the lion’s predatory eyes.

Why can’t we live like that? In unity with each other, no different or better, just sharing the same space.

It reminds me of how young children interact with each other. It doesn’t matter if one is black and the other brown or white. Curiosity and joy provide the connections.

Have you ever watched a toddler look at another child his age? Both pairs of eyes lock onto each other, exchanging energy. What would that conversation sound like?

What Do Toddlers Think of Each Other?

“Hey, you over there! Look at me!” Andrew was throwing his hands in the air to grab the attention of that other being about five feet away. He arched his back in the neon colored stroller to get a better look.

Andrew was 15 months old, big for his age and curious about everything and everyone. His blue eyes shone with the light of love, unless he was angry. Then they turned a deep, dark blue that reflected the storm of emotion he felt inside.

In this moment, he was focused on that other person who was about his size. The other boy glanced over at Andrew and their eyes locked. He turned toward Andrew and away from his mother, who was talking with another mom.

Andrew stayed still and calm, sending thoughts to the other boy to come over so they could be together. As he walked on unsteady legs towards Andrew’s stroller, his mom realized that he was no longer leaning against her. She stood up quickly, a small tingle of panic in her voice.

“Demetrius!”

The boy heard the sounds that he had come to associate with himself, and turned around, back towards his mother. The movement threw off his balance and he landed on his bottom, well padded by his diaper. He looked up at his mom to see her reaction, which was horror.

Demetrius knew what to do next. His face scrunched up until his eyes disappeared, and his mouth became a huge hole in his face. His next breath was deep and full-bodied as he let out a scream of pain.

Andrew watched this entire exchange with intense interest. He could tell that Demetrius wasn’t really hurt. He could also sense that Demetrius started screaming because his mother expected him to react that way.

Andrew’s mother patted him on the head. He knew that her way of telling him it was O.K., but Andrew didn’t want comfort. He decided to support his new friend. Crying was as easy for him to turn on as it was to laugh.

Andrew’s voice added a higher note to the wails coming from Demetrius. Both mothers looked at each other and connected in their shared motherhood. Andrew’s mom unstrapped him from the stroller to gather him up in her arms, but Andrew took advantage of the opportunity and slipped free.

Still crying, he toddled over to Demetrius, who immediately stopped crying and arched to be let down. He managed to wiggle free and the two boys stood face to face, looking at each other.

Tears were still running down each face, but curiosity had taken over. Andrew smiled at his new friend and reached out to touch the wetness on Demetrius’ face. Demetrius stood still as Andrew explored his face.

It was a touching moment. A small, white hand gently tracing the wet path of a tear on smooth, dark skin.

Time stood still. Both mothers watched, holding their breath at being witness to such a tender moment.

The boys were locked in the energy of their own dance. Demetrius reached out and touched Andrew’s face, feeling the wet of his tears. He brought his hand back to his mouth and tasted salt. Andrew did the same thing and they both started jumping and dancing as only toddlers can.

With abandon. With joy. Encased with love.

If it was possible to hear what they shared, it might go something like this:

“You’re O.K., right?” Andrew confirmed what he already knew.

“Of course! I just gave my mom what she expected to see.”

Andrew smiled. “I know what you mean. I get more hugs that way too!”

The two boys stepped closer. Andrew looked deep into the dark eyes of Demetrius and asked, “Is it OK if I touch your face? I have never seen your color skin before.”

Demetrius agreed, and added, “As long as I get to touch your face. I have never seen your color skin before either!”

The exchange happened as described, with these added thoughts (again, without words).

“Your skin feels different from mine,” Andrew said in awe.

“So does yours!” Demetrius smiled at this new game. “Why do you think he made us so different?”

Andrew was still lost in the feel of his friend’s skin. After a moment, he answered. “Maybe it’s to see what it’s like to be human with different skin casings!”

Demetrius giggled. “It’s like my box of crayons. I can choose to draw with any color and what I create is totally different.”

Andrew clapped in excitement. “I am going to start using the black one more often!”

How You Can Join Us

This imagined exchange happens all the time, but we aren’t aware of it because of the beliefs that we have formed over time. Babies and toddlers are not yet formed in their beliefs, and accept others without reservation or doubt.

Just like the stripes on a zebra! Black and white are side by side, co-existing as one.

Imagine a world where we see each other as humans, not as this race or from this country. Living heart to heart, the problems of the world would be solved quickly and efficiently. Living human to human, the world would spin with a joyful and exuberant energy that touches everyone.

cote logoChildren of Team Earth is a story photo and video project designed to connect people from any culture, race, religion or country as humans, heart to heart. 💓🌎 We asked children from different countries about their vision of the world and what they can do to make it happen.

Their answers are innocent, surprising and spot on.

Please join us in celebrating our children in making Team Earth a better place for all of us! Join us on Facebook and Instagram as we post each new story.

Photo Exhibit in Miami on February 6, 2019

To raise awareness around COTE, we are going to display the photos and stories as an art exhibit! The Wynwood Garage in Miami is the setting; the people behind this project are the hosts. You can buy tickets here.

All money raised by sale of the $20 tickets will benefit Lotus House, a non-profit committed to ending child and family homelessness in our country. They advocate for the human right and dignity of every child, every family, to a home, as essential to their well-being and prosperity as food, education and health care.

Even if you don’t live in Miami, you can still buy tickets. Donations are a beautiful way to show your support (www.gofundme.com/childrenofteamearth).

The children of the world (and the zebras) thank you!

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?

 

 

Heart Dancing with a Horse


View More: http://haleykrusephotography.pass.us/lyncarpenterLyn Carpenter has an unusual profession – she is a certified life coach, but she uses horses to guide and heal her clients. It’s hard to believe, but when you hear her describe the incidents where the horses knew exactly what to do, your doubts will disappear.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lyn and learn more about her passion for this work. I was impressed with her fierce desire to support women in mid-life.

Lyn is certified in the Equine Gestalt Method and firmly believes that horses heal and clean energetic blockages. She describes the process as “the horses take the pain and shame, and they don’t hold on to it. Instead, they drop it in the dirt.”

Lyn and her horses have helped women overcome trauma, abuse and even anxiety. Because of this work, unfinished business from the past was released so they can now live in the present moment.

After listening to this episode of Heart Dancing Radio, please visit Lyn’s website at  BlissfulHeartCoaching.com. Read the testimonials of women who have worked with her to grasp fully the depth of healing that has occurred. As one woman said, “Lyn helped me stand tall again.”

After learning about Lyn’s work, I was hit by a sudden realization.

Working with Lyn Carpenter is like Heart Dancing with a horse!

Kindness Is the Key


We recently spent a lovely week enjoying Paris, France. We only speak a smattering of French, but saying “Bonjour, monsieur” as soon as you walk into a shop or sit at a sidewalk cafe paved the way.

We were treated courteously, politely and distantly. The service was provided with a smile, but with very little personal connection. The language barrier created a ravine that was difficult to cross.

Enter kindness. Kindness showed up in small ways and rather impactful ways. Kindness bridged the ravine and connected us as humans, even though we did not speak the same language.  Allow me to share two examples.

Adventures in Traveling – By the Metro, Trains & a Car

We decided to take a day trip out of Paris to the medieval town of Chartres, home of the famous Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres. It should have taken an hour by train, but an electrical fire the day before prevented that train from running.

We were sent to a different Metro station, to catch the train to Versailles. Once in Versailles, we were told to take “Bus 409” to La Verriere, and then take the train to Chartres.

It all sounded so simple when we stepped off the train at Versailles. What we failed to consider was that we were not the only people inconvenienced by the cancelled train.

We stood waiting for the bus, until we realized that we needed to buy a ticket. Waiting again with more people than could ever fit on the next bus, it was an hour before we hit upon a solution.

Hire an Uber driver!

We mentioned this idea to a man and woman who were also frustrated with the wait. The man (Peter) was in his early thirties and spoke excellent English. The woman (Margaret) was older and didn’t speak a word. They managed to send for an Uber, but the car never showed up. That request was cancelled and a new driver appeared after another 45 minutes.

Of course, just as the Uber driver appeared, so did Bus 409! People jammed onto the bus, cramming into every conceivable space.

We all fit into the compact car, grateful for the air conditioning. We shared information about ourselves, our lives and our trip to Chartres. By the time we arrived in La Verriere, we were no longer strangers.

Once on the train, Margaret kept trying to tell me something. I finally understood that she was offering her iPhone charger to me, so I could charge my phone. Her thoughtfulness and sincerity were quite touching.

When we finally arrived at Chartres (after 5 hours!), we waived goodbye to our travel companions. Their kindness was the bridge to a wonderful travel adventure!

Waiting at the Airport

Another example of kindness being the universal language occurred at the Charles de eu-france-paris-charles-de-gaulle-international-airport-arrival-hall-FX8MA7Gaulle Airport, as we were waiting to check our luggage.

It was very chaotic going through the steps to check our bags. While we were standing in line, I noticed that we happened to be in the middle of a large family. The older man and woman in front of us were talking with their grandchildren behind us. It was all in French and we couldn’t understand a word.

The line did not move forward quickly and the children were beginning to get restless. Since we had more than enough time to reach our gate, I offered for the people behind us to join their family.

Surprise then gratitude lit up their faces. It didn’t matter that we were from different countries; kindness was given and received.

About five minutes later, the grandmother came up to me and touched my arm to get my attention. When I turned to look at her, she gestured for us to move in front of their entire group! They moved to each side, creating an aisle.

I felt like royalty as we thanked them for their kindness. The only thing missing was the red carpet!

Walking past these people made me realize again that kindness is truly the universal language. It bridges differences in language, culture and religion. It reminds me of a saying that we could all remember:

Kindness is Free

Be kind. It’s your free gift to another soul who may need it.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

 

 

The Light Changed Today


The earth spins silently around the sun, revolving from day to night then day in the eternal celestial dance. The sun shines on all parts of the earth equally, without reservation or discernment. It also shines on all humans equally, no matter their color, culture or creed.

There is a special place created by man in 1260 that filters the sunlight through pictures and stories. This building is actually the fourth one to stand on this site, all dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. For more than 1,700 years, pilgrims have traveled to the Cathedral in Chartres, France to show their devotion to Mary and be blessed by her.

Pushing open the heavy wooden door and walking into the gloom of the interior, my eyes take a moment to adjust. Even thought I cannot discern details of the interior, I sense a vast space rising above me, seemingly to infinity.

Slowly, my eyes adjust to the gloom and I feel small, insignificant, in the face of so much space. What can hold me together so I don’t spin apart?

The stained glass windows. They hold the key to emptiness. They give meaning to my life, don’t they?

Sunlight from a zillion miles away filters through the glass, coloring the floor in colors of red, umber, green and gold. These pieces of color are assembled to tell the story of creation, destruction and the coming of the one who will save us from ourselves. The story of Christianity is told in these panes of glass, 1,100 of them.

It isn’t the minute details that fascinate me, but the sense of reverence that permeates the air. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have traveled to this spot to adore Mary, the mother of Jesus. They have walked these stones in their bare feet or with sandals that are worn through, taking one more step to reach their dream.

To see the Shroud of Mary that is encased in the far left corner of this magnificent Cathedral.

As I stand in front of the chapel, looking at the shroud, I can’t help but think of how many people have done the same thing. How many others have felt the energy of this simple piece of cloth that Mary wore while she was giving birth to Jesus?

The sunlight is filtered by the stain glass above the shroud. It filters the light through the stories told on its surface. It struck me that I was being educated by the people who created this art.

I continued to the opposite side of the Cathedral, passing several other alcoves and places of worship. Until I saw it on the floor, as if it were waiting for me.

A single beam of light, shining through a piece of clear glass. There were no stories filtering the light, just a clear opening for it to shine in all of its brilliance.

I stood in the pool of divine light and felt loved by God. In the place of a million stories (told in the stained glass and in the hearts of all who had ever set foot in this building), God found me. And he loved me, without my having to do anything but allow his love to flow into my heart.

The light changed for me in that moment. Accepting the gift, I now step forward. To join the celestial dance of love.

The Heart Dance.

When you know you are loved for who you are, not who you think you should be. When you know that you are enough, because you are loved for who you are. When you are seen and loved, just as you are, in this moment.

Why don’t you step into the pool of light unfiltered by stories, and join the 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!

Here to Serve


Dear Ego-Based Human:

One of the significant differences between dogs and humans is the mental construct called “Ego.” Humans create their egos, and it is the single, most destructive psychological device that leads the most people away from themselves.

What is Your Ego?

Your ego is the image of you have yourself. It is your social mask, the face that you show to the world. Ego is concerned with the preservation of itself and causes separation and discord. You know when your ego is talking when:

  • You are caught in circling thoughts;
  • Your emotions are the lens through which you interpret and judge the world;
  • Your worth is dependent on events, people or things outside of you; and
  • Your attempt to control or manipulate events, people or things to validate yourself.

Dogs don’t have egos. We know we are love on four legs and we are here to love in every moment. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is for us; you as a human have to end the war with your ego and reconnect with your soul.

What is Your Soul?

Your soul is the Source of Unconditional Love. It is the bridge between your humanness and your beingness. It never changes, cannot be destroyed and will always be part of who you are.

When you spend time in stillness, silence, meditation or journal writing, you are reconnecting with your soul. When you walk in nature and feel a presence surround you that flows through all living things, you are in touch with your soul. When you listen to your intuition and don’t question its advice, you are aligned with your soul.

The easiest way to tell if you are living from your ego or your soul is to check in with your feelings. Are you feeling constricted, limited, fearful or judgmental? You are listening too much to the seductive voice of your ego. When you only concentrate on what is good for you, it’s your ego.

Your soul work is the exact opposite. Feelings of expansiveness, abundance, love, and light always accompany soul work. Putting the welfare of others before yourself and serving others are beacons of soul work.

Remember that you are love on two legs. See the world from your love perspective, and your life will change forever. When you are love, you freely share your energy with others, serving them instead of your ego. When you share your soul place (the home of love), you open yourself to receive. It’s a never-ending cycle of love energy that you choose in every moment.

And as a last resort, spend time with your dog. He can help you restore your relationship with your soul.

Love is my middle name2

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Love you to the moon and back!

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P.S.  If you have never started or been able to practice a daily meditation and journal ritual, I may have the solution. Click over to 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge and join their email list. You will receive a daily email with a short lesson, a meditation, journaling prompts and intention setting tools. It could be the start of a life-long journey!