Illuminate: 4 Ways to Discover Your Shimmer

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There are a few facts and beliefs that suggest that you are radiant.

First of all, everyone is made of stardust – your very composite nature is heavenly.  Health wise, you would get pretty sick if you did not get any sunlight and vitamin D. And according to the Shambhala lineage of Buddhism, everyone has a basic goodness that shines through like the Sun always shining behind the clouds. And if many of the metaphysically channeled materials of the last 30 years are correct, you are a spiritual non-physical LIGHT-being currently having a physical experience.

You can let your light shine through in your day-to-day experiences and relationships.

During physical incarnation everyone does things that they are proud of and things that they are not so proud of, but remember as you delve in the work of self-discovery to always be truthful to yourself and to be gentle. Beating yourself up in any way diminishes your lovely divine light. Everyone who comes here intends to grow and evolve spiritually. Imperfection is fine along the path to enlightenment. If you had nothing to work through, you would not be here.

True self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses can be difficult to pin down or to get a glimmer of because we forget things so easily or exaggerate and distort memories. While I promise you that you are a beautiful light in this world, some people have difficulty identifying evidence of their radiance. They just don’t keep good enough track of the shining moments in their lives, while many are good at telling and retelling the stories of the darker moments that have happened. A healthy self-image records a more balanced record of who you are including your light and shadow parts. The first step to shining is developing a record of mindful and accurate awareness about the patterns that emerge in your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and communication.

How do you Shimmer or Dimmer?

I would like to propose that you become an anthropologist in your own life: witnessing and documenting there various ways that you let your inner light shimmer or become a little bit dimmer.  You will need a tool to help you start gathering data on yourself. The purpose of this data is to be used in understanding yourself better, recognizing and appreciating your strengths, and clarifying your weaknesses to make decisions about areas of your life you would like to improve.

Begin developing a daily practice of recording in a journal answers to the questions below. It is ok if you don’t get to do this every day, but the more regularly you do this, the greater data you will gather on yourself. When you are doing this, try to think of examples from your current day, though past examples may need to be addressed in this manner repeatedly to be processed. It is ok if what you are reflecting on happened in the recent or distant past. The point is to look for examples of your positive (shimmer) or negative (dimmer) behaviors so you can learn more about yourself.

Witness How You Showed Your Shimmer

  1. Begin by priming the mind by spending a few minutes thinking about an instance during the day (or past) when you responded positively to a situation or to another person. It helps if the outcome was seen by you as satisfying.
  2. Complete this sentence, “Things that made me happy about the above situation (or interaction)…”
  3. Then complete this sentence, “Based on how I handled the above situation, my strengths are…” This gives you a running tab of evidence of all your awesome strengths and ways you SHINE!
  4. Start noticing patterns. Are you good at saying kind things to people? Are you brave in facing fearful circumstances? What good traits keep coming up in your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and communication? Start connecting the constellations of your brilliance.
  5. You could also write about something you experienced today that was positive, then maybe consider wishing that other people could enjoy something similar. Maybe send the feeling of experiencing the nice circumstance to someone in particular. Practicing gratitude and then sharing it is good for helping you develop a sunnier disposition as you realize all the nice things in your life and feel wonderful sharing the energy of those things with others.

Witness How You Let Your Light Become a Little Dimmer

  1. Now, prime the mind for a few minutes thinking about a time (during the current day or in the past) when you responded negatively to a situation or another person and did not get a positive outcome.
  2. Complete the following sentences, “Things that annoy me about the above situation are…” and “Based on how I handled the above situation, my weaknesses are…”
  3. Also consider writing about how you might improve future similar situations or work on addressing your weaknesses. Maybe come up with some action steps that you can take. It is ok if you are not ready to address a particular weakness of problem. Just kindly noticing your negative patterns is the first step towards personal development.
  4. You could also just write about something you experienced today that was negative that you were not able to resolve completely. You could really connect to the feelings of others who are suffering in a similar way and wish them relief. When we share the energy of relief from suffering, we connect to others in a compassionate way that boosts the LIGHT we put into the world.

By recording information about your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and communication every day, you can begin to gather evidence of your positive and negative patterns over time. You can see how things repeat, evolve, or change. Writing it down is better that just noticing it in the moment and hoping to remember the insight for a later time. Record what happens and what you learn from your experiences as a concrete developmental guide for yourself. When you feel down, review all the instances when your shimmered, showing your awesome inner light. When you encounter a dimmer circumstance that makes you feel a familiar frustration, look back on the past patterns for improvement opportunities that are under your control. Start noticing the brilliant moments when you overcome negative patterns. Notice the areas that you just aren’t ready to fix yet. Through documentation in a journal, start witnessing your growth at whatever pace is in your highest good.

Overtime, you will start to get a more complete picture of your inner LIGHT and the areas in your life that you use a bit more illumination. What a glorious bit of stardust you will become!

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Kindred Souls Will Find You

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Metamorphosis by Mika and Kuri via DeviantArt

Ruminating on loss

Loss is inevitable, inescapable, irrevocable.

How do we make sense of it?

I don’t know.

I sometimes wonder what to think, when I am given the usual ‘pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ speech and told to ‘get on with it,’ in the midst of personal loss. Should we be able to pin ourselves together and get on with it, even when our hearts are breaking and our bones are shattered? Should we be ready and willing to embrace our losses as the ambulance carries us away, tourniquet quietly stopping the bleeding as our fingers turn blue?

Certainly, it’s true, we have no choice. It is what it is. There is — in fact — no way to get through life without experiencing loss.

(And, as an aside, what a drab gray ride life would be without its ups and downs, carrying us like autumn leaves toward the ocean.)

No matter how fast you run, loss finds you

Loss is a part of life that no one can outrun or escape. We experience our first loss on the day of our birth. As we move slowly and painfully out of our mother’s body and into the cool light of this world, we lose our sense of being completely absorbed by and connected to someone else. We become separate beings that very first moment, after that first breath.

We cannot return to the womb, although there seem to be plenty of us who think that is a viable option. We are out here on our own and it stings. It is no wonder we wail at the top of our lungs the moment we arrive. Where is the warm, moist, safe, sweet dark soup we have been soaking in for all these months?

Gone.  All gone.

Who do you think you are?

Not much later, we lose our sense of our own truth, the rightness of our instinct, our intuition, feelings. We are instructed to follow orders, to toe the line, to eat our peas, to tie our shoes. Being like everyone else is paramount.

Lose your sense of identityIt is best not to stand out too much. Don’t blow your own horn. Don’t be a show off – the world doesn’t need another one of those.  

Hiding Our Light

So we silence ourselves and we stamp out the spark inside, we mask our faces, and we mark time.

That we are not ourselves concerns no one – least of all us. We are fitting in to this little life that we have embarked upon. We quickly forget all the promises that we made before the time of our birth – all the lessons that we were sure to learn, all the places and people we would reach – all the light that we would burst forth with, dazzling the whole world with our bright spirit.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the varnish of our spirit is stripped away.

And we are left with the wreckage, the sliver of us that remains intact. The bit that cannot be sanded away.

Hold On

That is what we must hold onto. That is what must never be lost. That is the part of us that makes us, us.

And, the thing is, we cannot give it away, no matter how hard we try. That raw diamond may end up buried deep within us, but it can never be lost.

Waking Up Alive

Years pass. One day we awaken. We come back to ourselves, usually through terrible loss.

We rediscover our inherent strength, hiding beneath small fears and trembling hands. We shake in our boots. We can’t sleep.

Our love has left us and there is a fissure that we cannot repair – that no amount of tears can fill – that no amount of food or wine or sex can cauterize.

And we are called upon to look for the part of ourselves that we put away, that we boxed up years ago and stuck in the back of the coat closet. We must find her now. We need her. Only she will do.

Shaken and Stirred

I suppose that losses come along to shake us from the stupor we are in.

They are what awaken us to spirit and help us find the will to go on, even after the limbs of our life have been severed or broken.

We are resilient and powerful. That is what loss teaches us: that we can survive. That we can endure and rebuild our lives, no matter how terrible our losses seem to be.

We have greatness inside us and we can tap it, as long as we don’t allow ourselves to completely forget or erase who we are. We are vessels of spirit. We are connected to the universe, part of the tree of life, necessary to the world. We each have gifts to bestow and bless upon those around us.

Waking up today I realize I am a part of this huge soul-skin family. No matter how shattered I might feel from time to time, I am not alone.

I am surrounded by the amazing grace of other kindred spirits, and that knowledge makes me glad.

 

Say Goodbye: Ending Toxic Friendships

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How far down the road are you willing to go before you realize that you have gone the wrong direction? It is human nature to believe that we have it all under control, that we know what we are doing but let’s face it, even the best of us have stayed our welcome in our comfort zones a little too long.  Look at The Buddha. It took him seven years to realize he was on the wrong path with starvation, neglect, and self-abuse as a pathway to enlightenment.

It’s really okay to say I don’t want this anymore.  In fact if it wasn’t said, how could we ever evolve?  We would be putrid with the stench of murky stagnation, and no one would ever want to be near us.

When it comes to friendships, this is a truth that is so essential that our very life force depends on it.

When a friendship has overstayed its welcome, both parties know. It is like having a corpse lying on the floor in the middle of a vibrant garden party.  You can smell its decay over honeysuckles, sweet pea, tea and chocolate truffles. And if you are not careful, you end up tripping over its remains and landing face first in the grass where a dog has just marked her territory, mussing up your fine attire while everyone calls you the fool.

There are just some moments when you know there can be no more compromises, when you realize your friend has not taken your best interests to heart and you must let said person go.

Relationships are a pathway to your best self. The very best of those you choose to relationship with will hold a key that was always yours, given to them before either of you touched your feet on the planet’s surface.  They know your best and worst without you having to say a word and are willing to spar you until you get your shit right and take you into their arms with the greatness of their love. The deliciousness continues when there is a mutual desire established to make the other person smile, laugh, and grow.

We teach people how to treat us.  If we are silent because of mistreatment that is clearly evident to both parties, it becomes Palestine level hostile territory. You both will begin to count the things that you have done for each other. You will hold the remaining power you possess over the other person. Resentment will hold you both at gunpoint, and then you will toxify each other with your darkness. Suddenly you will awaken to the realizations that all of those little snide jokes, subtle insults and the blow-offs were hostage negotiations for your soul.

But I need my friends, you will think, as your dignity trickles down your leg.

It doesn’t matter how long you have known someone, if it isn’t healthy, you are a hostage and captor as is your counterpart. Your sick game continues with each of you playing either role until someone is strong enough to squeeze her sweat-stung eyes shut and pull the trigger before the last tear falls.

Let it be you.

Spotting a Toxic Relationship

If you are afraid to tell the truth in any relationship, there is no relationship at all. We need to give ourselves permission to speak the truth when we are hurt at the very moment our heart has been pierced. If a friendship is ever going to get past the first flush and get real, admissions of mistakes and exposure of our worst selves is inevitable. If you have difficulty allowing this to happen, you are participating in the creation of a toxic environment.

In healthy relationships, respect and understanding to the commitment of cultivating a relationship is present. In unhealthy relationships, boundaries are blurred through the most vulnerable moments.  As you pour your heart out, the information may be reserved for another moment when among friends, it is used to weaken you. Gift giving and other heart-felt moments will be used to keep you hanging on in a tiresome dance of besting. You may hear your bestie say terrible things, and you excuse it thinking she would never say anything like that about me until the day comes when you  meet your confidences face to face in the form of an invasive, sensational question being asked from someone you don’t know.

What makes toxic people?

Toxic people make toxic people. When we are silent to our own needs and put the needs of others above all else, we are creating a toxic environment for ourselves that will naturally permeate all other relationships. In the silencing of our true nature, we lose our uniqueness and our psyche, heart, and soul become diseased.

When we ignore our intuition screaming in our head - run, yet we step closer, we have a real problem on our hands. Our own judgment cannot be trusted. We will therefore attract untrustworthy people.  They can spot us a mile away.  We are the ones wearing the graphic tee that says “naïve prey.”

We need to first make sure we are the happiest we can be in the present moment with ourselves. We need to make sure we enjoy solitude, our inner wildness, our assertive attitude, and our flaws before we go outside ourselves to make solid relationships. It is essential to get to know and fall in love with ourselves. We need to have a healthy dose of selfishness. We require individuality, our own identity. There must be a reason for wanting to share our moments with another person that comes from the core of who we authentically are. That takes serious integrity.

Integrity is a balm for toxic people. It is a force of energy that commands respect and straightens the spine.  It tells us that we are worth the very best of life through its unconditional sustainment in all that lives. Those that do not possess or understand it are easily detected – they are the same as our underdeveloped selves and because of that, we may fall hard for their potential.  While such a person may appear to be kindred to our own days of being a demi-goddess, it is not up to us to take them under our wings and create them. Who created us? Our excruciating pain of learning the hard way did.  So, when they walk into our sacred space in short shorts, fuck-me pumps, a whole lot of smooth talk and zero substance, it is okay to gracefully decline engagement in favor of your heard-earned life wisdom.

Letting go of unhealthy friendships is the very best gift you could give yourself. Sometimes, friendships that have no anchor just dissolve, but others have such a deep rooted spur in the heart that they need life-changing truth spoken with fire before a quick goodbye.  Follow your heart. Love yourself first.

Know limits, boundaries and choose friends wisely with your intuition as your guide.

 

 

 

 

 

Persephone and Demeter

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Persephone yawns and stretches from her slumber. The trees respond with kisses of green bud promises. The flower bulbs planted in the autumn reach out to impress her with their dazzling array of colors. Coaxing her to return,  she is beckoned to shed the grays and browns of her winter clothing and cloak herself in their kaleidoscope prism.

The birds sing in accordance with Demeter’s joy of her daughter returning. The birds, the animals, the people engage in the renewed mating rituals of the season. The winds whisper, “She is coming. Persephone returns.” And the mother responds to the words with rains of happy tears and dabs the scent of rejuvenated earth to entice her daughter closer.

My nature heeds the calling as the wheel turns from icy winter winds that left me breathless, to the return of daughter to mother.

I was estranged from my mother for over 18 years. By my own hand, I severed the cord between us, rejected her wisdom out of spite. If the words came from her, they were lies and falsehoods in my mind. I despised the idea of her loving me because at that time, she couldn’t love me the way I needed her to and I couldn’t give love to her.

The parting of ways was vicious, brutal, and in written form. I wrote a letter describing why I no longer wished her to be a part of my life. I called her out on her behavior toward me as if by doing so she’d fall at my feet and beg forgiveness. Maybe, I expected her to do that. What I hoped to accomplish by writing that letter was to instill guilt and shame with my anger and rejection. I slapped her face and walked into the underworld with my eyes closed to her love.

I attempted, half-heartedly, to re-engage a relationship with her twice in that time. Neither of those times was I ready to see her as anything but a cold woman who withheld affection if I wasn’t perfect to her standards. I expected her to be Demeter, the ever loving mother. I held her to such an impossibly high expectation that anything less was not acceptable to me.

And so I slept without dreaming during the darkest years of my life.

My anger towards mom was so venomous to my heart that I plotted her demise in short stories I’d write, a play, a painting, a drawing. With each creative endeavor, I found nothing. Blank canvases and gray washed depictions of my denied roots, my lost heritage falling behind me in hateful words and actions.

I embraced my lover Hades with such completeness that I lost myself in the darkness. I surrendered my heart to injury, accosting it without thought to the consequences because those, too, were unbearable. I moved through the thickness without finding the light of hope within myself. Where I was had no winds to herald my rebirth for in a way in that time, I died.

I became a daughter again when I realized through the boy I had placed in my custody, just how powerful the love of that child was in my heart. For every bad choice he made, my heart ached and I cried tears of longing for the connection to my own roots. Before then, I had not understood the sacrifices a parent makes to love a child.

I suddenly found the world had become brighter. A light was dawning – calling me. I could hear the birds telling me to return home. I could see the flowers rising out of concrete enticing me to return. The smell of my mother’s kitchen haunted my heart. I could feel her reaching out to me. I could feel my shame and guilt that I’d so carefully placed at her feet reminding me that I’d burned that bridge.

I could still smell the smoke of that fire I’d set 18 years before.

But I ignored the lies I told myself throughout my time in darkness. I set down my pride in a heaped up pile of scrap at the curb. I reminded myself of her smile, her laughter, her conviction when she saw injustice. I changed how I saw her. The winds shifted and I could hear her calling my spirit with her own. I picked up the phone and called her.

That first call was frighteningly naked.

I stood before her shedding my anger, refusing to give in to my fears of rejection, dropping them to the floor like the rags they were. We bonded by being mothers together. I confessed my darkness to her, my disillusionment, my sense of losing her. I explained the reason I’d buried myself in the world because I could not see myself well enough to be loved. I discarded my cocoon, my shell and reached out my fragile tendrils seeking a re-grafting of my family tree. She watered my efforts with carefully tentative tears and rejuvenated faith in me.

Without my anger there was no longer pride or anxiety to hold us apart. For the first time I saw her, not as my mother, but as a woman. I saw her with scars and wounds, some healed, others healing and she was beautiful. I’d forgotten just how lovely she is. 

She told me, that although painful, the bridge that I’d set ablaze had been extinguished not long after I started it. She waited hopefully, like Demeter, for my return. When I rediscovered the bridge to return to my ancestral lands, I took out my ropes and my trees and I began working on reparations. I started at my side, she started at hers. When we’d reached a point of understanding.

I sobbed with relief and ran the distance between us with cautious steps, careful words, and noticed the bridge had been reinforced with her love.

After our reconciliation, I returned to Michigan, my home state. On her 65th birthday, I sat at her dining table in her welcoming kitchen and I drank kawphy*, ate homemade blueberry buckle (my great grandmother’s recipe), and loved my mom with such a deep sincerity that I tear up.

After breakfast, she and I went downstairs and onto her patio. She produced the letter I’d written in ancient tongues of a wounded woman/child. I read it and felt ashamed but she wouldn’t allow me to linger on the past. We hugged tightly, cried, and then, together, we lit that letter on fire and let it burn. It was one of the most profound moments of my life.

Not a day goes by that we don’t speak, email, or post something on each other’s Facebook walls. Our relationship has become a key part of my identity. I know that someday I won’t be able to call her, but to me, that makes what I have with her now so valuable and precious that I can’t imagine taking it for granted or discarding it again. My roots and heritage are found in the wisdom and love of my mother. My only regret is that I took so long to remember I love her.

Spring returns. Persephone has found Demeter once again. I, the daughter, found my way home and together with my mother, we rejoice in rebirth and reclamation of a woman’s wisdom.

*(Kawphy, in my family is a sacred ritual. It is a time of sharing, conversation, and the exchange of ideas that flow like the warm beverage between familial spirits)

 

Kansas City Hen

For years I have felt like a character from Oz stuck in the land of black and white. Startling contrast was the depth and vibrancy of my color compared to the world of the mundane – especially the corporate world. Somehow my dazzling patterns, bright, and cheerful disposition was brought down by the heavy landscape. I missed my home. I missed my people. I missed my song.

Surrounded by sadness, my colors began to fade.

How in the hell did I get stuck in Kansas? More importantly how the hell was I supposed to get back home?

When I landed in Palm Coast, FL I knew I had arrived somewhere special. Each friend I met seemed to have an extra bit of magic, color, or sparkle. The palm trees swayed in the wind against a bright blue sky . It is impossible to be unhappy in the presence of a palm tree.

Slowly, but surely the color seemed to come back into my cheeks. My hair changed from brown to vibrant red, to platinum, before settling into a merger of the two, a pastel pink mowhawk.

The past five years has been a time of transformation. I have have shed my wintery coat of grey doldrums and learned to relax in my own skin.

How?

I started to focus on the things I enjoy! Family, friends, food, theatre, art, music, and love… What resulted was a zest for life; a magical whirlwind of creativity has swept me up.

I realized that with self confidence I could fly, but more importantly I realized that with the support of others it is possible to soar.

When I had been in the heart of “Kansas”, I met my own Glenda the Good Witch- a friend who gave me my own pair of ruby slippers disguised as a piece of sage advice. She said:

“The best gift you can possibly give a child is a happy parent.”

I clung to these words as if it was the last bit of color left in the universe. I nurtured this bright and warm bit of passion she gave me, and allowed myself to pursue my wildest dreams.

It has been a labor of love. I have fought hard to rekindle the magical fire of my own creativity. The warmth of my happiness has not only brightened my life, but it has engulfed my community. Happiness is like that. It spreads easily.

Today, I encourage you to internalized this gift. Find your happiness. Wear your own shoes proudly and return to Oz.

We are all cheering you on and awaiting your return.

MaMachine: Reclaiming Your Identity After Motherhood

Becoming a mother is a transforming experience. Something magical happens as we embrace this role. We instinctively nestle ourselves into caves of safety and comfort and guard our precious children with all of our might. We care for them and love them unconditionally. We dance with them and sing to them when they need to be soothed. We endure the pain of sore, tired, and overworked breasts to ensure their growth and good health. We fix three lunches because the first two weren’t good enough. We carry them on our backs even when we’re weary. This instinct to nurture our young is primal and we proudly do it with joy in our hearts. We freely give them everything we have… including our own sense of self.

But what happens when you give so much of yourself that there’s none of you left —  when you can’t remember what your own ambitions and dreams are outside of your children? What happens when you’ve lost the lover, the artist, the dancer, the rock star, the rebel you used to be?

Motherhood isn’t martyrdom and we are not machines. It’s easy to become a drone like creature when you’ve allowed yourself to be buried under the duties of parenting. This robotic transformation is sneaky and often occurs without our knowing. There’s nothing wrong with giving unconditionally to those we love, just not at the expense of our own well being (or sanity). It’s okay to indulge in life’s beautiful pleasures. As a matter of fact, by doing so, we teach our children to live more fully. We’re at our best when we balance our responsibilities with personal growth and fulfillment.

Here are five ways to spice up your life and go from ‘MaMachine‘ to “MaMaChic’!

#1 Be Spontaneous.

Set flames to your daily routine once in awhile. Join a yoga class. Go to a concert. Go dancing. Have wine night with friends. Make love in the middle of the day. The smallest act of spontaneity can rekindle that lust for excitement that used to burn within you.

#2 Get Creative.

Indulging your creativity is a marvelous way to show some self love.

#3 Rekindle old Flames.

I’m not suggesting that you scour Facebook looking for your high school sweetheart! Think about things that you enjoyed before becoming mommy. Ponder all of the things you think you don’t have time for anymore and write them all down. Choose one and make it a priority.

#4 Be Selfish.

This one sounds pretty bad…I know! But it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. After all, your happiness is just as important as anyone’s.

#5 Pamper Yourself.

Hot baths. Red wine. Chocolates. Fresh flowers. Green Juices. Tropical smoothies. Date nights. Indulge…you’re worth it!

Desperately Seeking Silence

Image by Greta Tu via Flickr

Image by Greta Tu via Flickr

In memory my father, Wallace Earle Berry

June 29, 1926 – March 18, 2003

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. ~ Deepak Chopra

Rest and Renewal

According to Wayne Muller, ordained minister and author of Sabbath – Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, the reason that the idea of celebrating a Sabbath is starting to gain ground again is because there is a rising sense of understanding that it is only by resting we are renewed or reborn into our lives. Silence is the moist ground from which our realizations, creativity, and inspiration rise. If we never slow down, never grow silent, or never take time to just sit with ourselves—how can we possibly expect to care for others? 

Women, in particular, need to heed this advice. We tend to take care of everyone and everything except ourselves. We think that if we constantly give to others we are being good wives, daughters, mothers, worker bees and lovers. As a Buddhist, I believe that my outer environment simply reflects my inner life as a human being.  If my inner life lacks peace, my outer environment will mirror that. At its most fundamental level it is a sort of cosmic ‘What goes around comes around’ energetic.

So the darkness shall be the light,

and the stillness the dancing. ~ T. S. Eliot

Turning Within

Think about it. By turning inward to take care of ourselves, we create stillness and peace. By adding simple things like silent meditation, prayers of gratitude, or rituals of grace into our everyday activities, we are—one drop at a time—creating a movement of women who are planting seeds for peace.

Silence is the one place where each woman can hear spirit, if she chooses to listen. In silence we can hear the still small voice asking us to forge a luminous, authentic life. We can hear our own heart beating and feel the life that permeates every cell in our bodies. We become aware of our aches and pains, of the ways in which we drive ourselves into the ground always thinking that ‘doing’ is more important than ‘being.’

Natural Woman

We can feel the heartbeat of nature — the plaintive call of song birds, the rustling of trees, the invasive scent of orange blossoms — only if we get quiet.

So, take a moment to call in a healing breath, and quiet your senses. Listen to hum of the air conditioner or the buzzing of the lights. Become aware of how you are sitting and where your weariness is residing. This person is the person who needs your care. Treat her with the same tenderness you often reserve for your children or your spouse.

Take a down day at least once a week

Clear some time for yourself each week. Do not plan anything during that time. Allow an empty space on your calendar. Take a nap. Sit and stare at the mackerel sky.

Remember how you felt as a child – so unencumbered and free? Go in search of that child.

See if you can do nothing for an entire afternoon.

Send guilt packing. She’s got other fish to fry.

Do it.

You will be amazed at your own renewal.