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?

 

 

The Spring Ceremony


We piled out of the cars, eager for the adventure of the Springs. Lu, our Hindu guide, helped us dress in appropriate temple clothing (sarong, lace top and sash). IMG_2546

We slowly walked through the gate, feeling like princesses, and the world fell away.

We knew this experience would be life changing, but no one could have prepared us for how deeply the energy would impact us.

As we walked down the ancient stone steps, the outside world disappeared. There was a hush, a stillness that pervaded everything. The only word that can describe the air inside the Temple is…reverence.

Vibrant colors serenaded our walk down into the depth and heart of this ancient space. Trees as tall as small buildings created a canopy of leaves, filtering the light and altering our perception of ourselves.

Lu lead us in a ceremony to prepare to enter the springs. The sound of water rushing down the hillside nearly drowned out her soft voice. A few moments spent in worship and then we walked down a few more steps to the springs.

Turning the corner, I saw the area for the first time. This was truly a holy place. It seemed almost alive with energy. Moss covered all exposed surfaces and mist rose from the surface of the water. The sound of rushing water was so loud that we couldn’t communicate unless we yelled in each other’s ear.

The water barreled down from above and was channeled into four different fountains. We soon learned that each fountain had a purpose in the ceremony.

IMG_4666Entering the pool required a step down on mossy rocks into chilly water that took your breath away. There was no time to hesitate, because someone else was waiting behind you. Together, we shared the experience of ice cold water, while maintaining our prayerful attitude.

We ceremonially offered small flowers and then, one by one, we stood under each waterfall. The first waterfall was to release the mind, the second was to release the body. The third was to cleanse the soul and the last was to surrender to the Divine.

When it was my turn, I was excited but nervous. As I stood in front of the first fountain, I prayed to be open to whatever happened.

IMG_4676I stepped into the liquid curtain and tried to find the sweet spot where I could breathe and still be submerged in the water. My time in the mind fountain was short, because I never could find that sweet spot. I backed away and took a deep breath, hoping to master the technique.

On the second fountain, I discovered that if I leaned forward and tilted my neck down, the water would flow over the back of my head and down the sides, creating a pocket of air. My body relaxed and I was able to let go of my thoughts (so appropriate because this was the body fountain).

The third fountain is where I lost it. I realized, on a visceral level, that I was held, safe and loved. I started crying, then discovered that I could make as much noise as I wanted and no one would hear me. The sound of the water was so loud that it drowned my sobbing. I stayed much longer, allowing the water to wash over my head and back, cleansing more layers than just the physical.

Lu was patiently waiting at the last fountain. I was still holding my flower and she nodded at it, saying something I couldn’t hear. I finally heard her say, “Let it go.” I shouted to her that I already had, but she laughed and pointed to my flower. “Let it go,” she said again. I finally understood and gently placed the flower on the surface and watched it float away.

Something shifted inside of me under the last fountain, and I felt myself merging into oneness with the Divine. My small self was washed away by the strength of the water, and in its place rose a peaceful certainty about myself.

Emerging from the last cleansing, I felt like a different person. Walking back up the ancient steps, absorbing the holy energy of this place, I knew that I had shed layers of limiting beliefs.

The impact of this cleansing in my life is difficult to describe or measure. When I forget that I am loved and here for a reason, all I have to do is study these photographs again.

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I share my story in the hope that it will inspire you to shed limiting beliefs. There are many ways to do this. Meditation, yoga and tai chi are just a few examples. Find what works for you and surrender to it’s wisdom.

The ancient ceremony I experienced is one way to meet your Self. Another is to begin a daily meditation practice. The 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge is designed to gently lead you home, using short, guided meditations and journal prompts.

However you find the way, just know that you are loved beyond measure, that you are meant to be here, and that you have a gift to share with the world.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Time Is a Blessing or a Curse


Paris is a city that embodies its history. Century old monuments stare down at snarling traffic; historic bridges span the Seine connecting the left and right banks; everything happened either before or after the French Revolution in 1789.

It’s what I love about Paris.

Time seems to stand still in many areas of the city. The small groups that gather along the Seine in the shadow of Notre Dame to enjoy the cool evening breeze are one example. The grand cathedral has been a gathering place for more than 850 years.

The enormous clocks that adorn the top of the Orsay Museum capture this idea perfectly. Roman numerals are used for each position on the face, and the center of the clocks are clear.

Look closely at these people – can you tell if they are young or old? Teens or adults? The silhouette of each person reminds me that a moment in time can be captured with a click, but time continues to move forward.

We can’t stop the flow, we can only grow and learn from the experience.

Look at this photograph again. Can you see through the clear glass to what lies beyond? It’s the Ferris Wheel that operates in the Tuileries Gardens, just outside the Louvre. It’s another example of how Paris adds a bow on top of centuries of history.

And to think that we see it through 19th Century glass that has stood the test of time (as well as marking it)! Ironic, don’t you think?

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!

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!

Stop Rolling Over and Playing Dead


Dear Beautiful Human:

I was called to write these messages because it’s time for you to stop rolling over and playing dead. When a dog takes this pose, it’s considered cute. When a human lives this way, it’s a tragedy.

Dogs are unique because our purpose is to show you how to live in love. How to be love. We may walk on four legs, instead of two, but any dog you ask will tell you that he knows more about love than any human he has ever met.

Have you been watching and listening? Or do you spend your time regretting decisions you have made or worrying about what may happen?

When your inner world is calm, you see your life differently, you speak more thoughtfully, and you act with integrity. You show up more authentically and respond, instead of react, to your outside world.

And that makes all the difference.

In these days leading up to your big Heart day, I asked some friends of mine to help me remind you that you came from love, you are love, and you are seen.

Isn't it timeto stoprolling over and playing dead_

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Love you loads,

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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.

What Makes You Come Alive?


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  – Howard Thurman

It’s the year-end, and you may not be happy with how 2017 treated you. You may have started setting your goals for 2018, determined to have a better year.

Instead of being regretful, frustrated and angry at the world, why not try a different approach?21 Day Challenge

It’s the 21-Day Heart Dancing Challenge. Designed to help you create a daily mindfulness practice, it also will change your perspective on yourself, your life, and your place in the world.

Don’t believe me? Nothing I say will convince your intellect that a daily mindfulness practice brings more peace, happiness, and joy in your life. The skeptic in you will always resist. The cynic that loves to snicker at these concepts is probably having a field day right now.

I can’t fight your skeptical or cynical voices. They’re in your head, not mine.

What I can do is throw down a challenge. Join the 21-Day Heart Dancing Challenge, establish your daily practice of meditation, journaling, and intentional creation. If you have faithfully completed each day’s work, and you still don’t believe in the power of daily practice, I will publicly acknowledge that you were right.

On the other hand, if you find at the end of the challenge that you have changed and feel more alive, then we both win.

Do we have a deal?