Mind, Body, Spirit Connections

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Chapter in Jennifer's Life~

The Laundry Mat~

Sometimes the greatest miracles are born out of our own needs. If you remember my last chapter, I  referenced our time on the St. John's river and touched on both the challenges and joys. In my former life, going to the laundry mat was certainly not a "favorite" thing to do or even something I enjoyed. But, living on the river, alone all day with a three and two year old, the weekly trips to the DeLand laundry mat became my great escape. (Yes, I guess I was a bit bored too).

On one of my weekly jaunts, I sat down next to a young black woman who had two children close to Max and Zoe's age. We introduced ourselves and the kids to each other. Amy and I discussed how difficult it was to find time for ourselves with two little ones. She went on to describe what it was like living in the projects, how hard it was to find employment, and a little about how the "system" didn't work because you couldn't get childcare until you found employment. "How are you supposed to find a job, if you have no one looking after your kids?" New to town, she had no one to watch them. I was having a similar issue as I wanted to have some free time, but all of the day cares required at least 20 hours a week, which I could neither afford or desired. My best friend lived over an hour away and I had no family down here.

Amy and I met up again the following week and continued our discussion. She told me many of the women in the projects were in the same predicament. These were the Clinton years and welfare reform was in full swing. I started to brainstorm, thinking that maybe I could start something in DeLand where mother's could, at the very least, be able to job hunt or take advantage of the workforce training programs. My best friend who worked for United Child Care confirmed the loop holes in the system and joined me in my efforts to create an alternative.

In the meantime, Amy invited me to the projects to hear other women's stories. At first, seven showed up. The following week about eighteen women, some with babies in tow, came to talk. And in the listening and sharing, a shift began to happen and word spread that someone was really listening --and maybe something would happen. The issue was not "laziness, being uneducated, or not caring" -- the issue was self-esteem and comfort level.  None of these women were going to leave their kids with someone they didn't trust, hop a bus for 30 minutes to a college campus to take GED classes, and look for employment when they didn't have anything to wear to even "try and look confident".

The Housing Director heard of these "listening circles" and became intrigued and inspired. I told her that we wanted to open a family resource center where the moms would come together and study for their GEDs and other moms would watch the children in the same building. The whole program would be based on bartering. Shortening a rather lengthy story of how we started the Family Resource Center, she offered a building in the Spring Hill area of DeLand for $100 rent.

Over forty women showed up that first week to plan. The air was charged with excitement. Furniture started appearing. And the women went to thrift stores, found paintings, books, toys, and dishes for the kitchen. "We want this to feel like a home, not a program." Homeless men who were living across the street came and installed the kitchen cabinets, helped us paint, built racks for the books, and lifted the heavy items. Mike showed up soon after we opened. He appointed himself the "doorman". He never missed a day in five years. And, he welcomed each person as they walked through those doors with a big smile.

News of what was happening traveled fast. It was a slow day if 60 people had not passed through the doors for some service or to barter and help. One memory etched in my heart is of a young woman struggling to read Cat in the Hat.  I asked her why did she want to learn how to read now? She looked at me and then pointed to her son and said, "I want to be able to help him with his homework." But, the real miracle was how everyone in the neighborhood came together -- Blacks, Whites and Hispanics. If we played bingo, we played bi-lingual bingo. Families spent the evening playing bingo, sharing their food, laughing and bridging imagined barriers  At Christmas, we had a white Santa and a black Santa - which delighted both the kids and adults.

I witnessed countless acts of kindness~

One woman came to the Resource Center with her husband and two small boys. They were dirt poor and had just driven down from Kentucky. The husband said, "I'll be right back. I'm going to find some food." Locking up the doors at 5pm we all knew that he was never coming back. Gloria, a middle-aged black woman who was there helping out, looked at her and said "Don't you worry child, I'll take you and your boys in until you get settled." Just like that. No hesitation.

And, my miracle, was finding Earnest. He was 6 years old when we met. It was love at first sight for both of us. His mama had 6 other children, and was soon to be a grandmother at 28. She said "Take him. He'll have a chance." Earnest, Max and Zoe grew up in the Family Resource Center; privy to watching how God moves us in the most unusual ways and for reasons not to be known immediately. I had no idea that the laundry mat was going to lead me to one of the most significant adventures of my life. Nor that hundreds and hundreds of lives would be changed, including mine.

The doors have closed on the Family Resource Center long ago, but the memories, stories and miracles continue~

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

We all need reminders of how to stay on course when our circumstances conspire to throw us completely off our path. Sirena's open and honest blog about her own circumstances and her mantras to help stay centered, positive and optimistic is a treat.

4 Simple Mantras to Help You Stay Positive and Happy

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

An entire day facilitating healing~

I am celebrating the fact that I will be in healing sessions the entire day. What does this mean exactly? Imagine how good a hot shower feels, or a dip in the pool on a really hot day, or a soak in the hot tub if your joints and muscles are aching. Now, imagine being bathed in divine healing energy, like a waterfall, all day. This is what I will be experiencing with gratitude.

It does not go unnoticed that today is the 29th - which is an 11 - a significant power number. And, the rescheduling of all 3 sessions on Friday. I have no doubt today will be powerful and transformative for all involved.

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

The Four Agreements~

Andy, my husband, is reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read this book years ago, and have since, given this little treasure of a book to friends and family as gifts. I re-read the book this week appreciating the inherent wisdom behind the four agreements.

Be Impeccable With Your word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform you life.

Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

I had the opportunity to work with agreement two yesterday after a phone call with someone I love dearly. I took a hurtful comment personally. In the midst of experiencing the 'ouch', I was able to draw back and take a larger perspective and 'hold' what was truly happening; in all of its complexity. This was not easy to do because I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. And, it was not instantaneous, either. It took some processing, sorting through, and crazy dreams last night where my "stuff" was being stirred.

As you work with The Four Agreements be kind to yourself. It takes vigilence, gentleness with self, and a dash of humor~

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Health Tip ~ Loving our bodies

Health is not only physical, but emotional, mental and spiritual. If there is one area where I think women battle the most, it is their self-image. We are bombarded with images of how we "should" look and how we "should" age. Anne Lamont is a phenomenal writer and speaks so honestly about her own battle with self-image.

Please watch and adore yourself~

Anne Lamott on Body Image - Video - Beliefnet.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quote of the Day~

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.

-Wayne Dyer

Monday, July 25, 2011

Intention of the Day~

Not to miss anymore blogs!

Honoring commitments is a better way to state my intention for today. It was not a matter of not honoring, or knowing that I had to write Sunday's blog, but more a matter of executing. I can, of course, give a plethora of excellent reasons why I didn't make it to the computer yesterday, but the attempt to do so becomes the act of finding excuses.

For any commitment we make to ourselves and others is just that - a commitment. And without falling into the 'perfectionist' mentality, I think we honor our commitments by 'doing the best we can' in the given moment. We all know when we fall short -- the mind begins to dredge up excuses.
The value of setting the intention is not undermined by falling short of "perfection." The value is inherent in the act of setting, and willingness to commit, to your intention.

A Chapter in Jennifer's Life~


Jennifer's life was so filled yesterday that she did not get to share a chapter. Sunday I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being filmed for the Hospice DVD we are shooting for a National Reconcilition Program.

I do NOT like being in front of the camera. I would rather have my fingernails ripped off (only if heavily sedated). Regardless, it is not a 'happy' experience and I sound like an idiot -- my words and perceptions. Of course, I am comparing myself with others and thinking that I must and should sound smooth, melodious and brilliant.

The filming on Friday at the Hospice Care Center was spectacular. One staff person in particular, who read a poem about a patient, had me in tears. She herself began to cry, as well as the producer and his wife. The power of her word, and her delivery was remarkable.

I would like to think that some day I could learn how to deliver words with such grace and power.

Tune in next sunday for a really long, juicy chapter!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

For anyone needing an uplift, inspiration and a new perspective, treat yourself to this video and its incredible message.

Check out Beliefnet.com!

Fearless Friday: Accepting what is

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

Spiritual Reconciliation Program~

I am celebrating the making of a DVD for a National Hospice Spiritual Reconciliation program. Four years in the works, we are finally shooting film today!

I'm dancing along with many others who have worked so hard to see this program to fruition. I am off to the airport to pick up the producer.

If any of you reading have been working on something ( a project or yourself) for a really long time and you have recently experieced some success, please celebrate today.

All steps forward are a cause for CELEBRATION!!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~


It is imperative that "WE" understand that we are a "WE" and not separate beings -- egos --  an "I" swimming in a soup of billions of "I's". The global worldview of separateness permeates everything; our cultures, values, religions -- the very fabric of our lives. Massive, powerful institutions thrive on the "I's" believing in their separateness. We feel alone, dis-connected and depleted. We cling to our "stories" and dramas, failing to understand that in every moment we have the opportunity to surrender, relinquish control, "change the channel" (as my son coined) and not remain in the illusion and trap of separateness.

This is an epic battle~

Leading edge science is verifying what we know in our deepest of hearts -- that all of life is deeply inter-related and we are interconnected -- a vast, energetic web of light, vibrational patterns and frequencies, that intersect on multiple levels and impact each of us. We can not afford to waste any more time in playing out roles and scenarios that deplete our energy, creativity, joy and capacity to love.

Take responsibility for every thought, word and deed -- "Ahimsa". Make this a practice. Practice the art of "witnessing" -- pull yourself out of a "drama" (likely enacted a thousand times) and just watch in a detached manner. Notice what you "feel", not your habitual thinking. Break free. The willingness to 'let go' allows the shift in consciousness to occur and find the place of heart-centeredness.

From this place -- all things are possible~

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health Tip - When the mental shampoo doesn't work~

10 Ways to Let Go and Overcome a Bad Mood

Lori Deschene ~ Tiny Buddha

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” ~Unknown

Contrary to popular belief, even positive people get in bad moods.

Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night. Or you feel overworked and overwhelmed. Or perhaps something happened, and you keep dwelling on it. Going over and over in your head how you froze up in a meeting, or spoke too aggressively to someone you love.

Whatever the case may be, you feel something you don’t want to, and you’re not sure how to change it. You just know you need to do something before acting on that feeling.

The reality is you don’t have to act on everything you feel. Still, emotional responses happen so quickly that it becomes challenging to put space between feeling and doing.

It may seem like the answer is to stop responding to life emotionally, but that’s just not realistic. Paul Ekman, one of the foremost researchers on emotion, suggests it’s near impossible to bypass an emotional response because of the way our brains are set up.

Perhaps the best goal is to identify negative feelings quickly and improve your state of mind instead of responding to feelings with more feelings. Odds are if you choose the latter, you’ll do something you’ll regret later.

I’ve come up with 10 ways to overcome a negative state of mind:

1. Get to the root.

If you’ve ever snapped at someone who didn’t say or do anything to offend you, you’re familiar with this common dilemma: you feel something but you’re not entirely sure why. So you start looking for explanations. The kids are too loud. Or the TV’s too small. Or the car’s too dirty.

Maybe you’re afraid of acknowledging someone hurt you because you prefer to avoid confrontation. Or maybe you’re disappointed in yourself but admitting it is too painful. Whatever the case, it’s time to get honest. Lashing out won’t address the problems that are creating your feelings.

2. Be real.

There’s no point in pretending you’re full of sunshine when internally you feel like crying or screaming. You’re entitled to feel the full range of emotions and express what’s on your mind when you need to. Don’t worry about bringing other people down; you’ll only do that if you dwell in negativity.

If someone asks what’s wrong, be honest: “I’ve had a rough day, I don’t feel so great, but I’m sure I’ll feel better when I…”

3. Complete the “I’ll feel better when I …” sentence.

Everyone has something that’s guaranteed to put a smile on their face. Playing with your dog. Watching re-runs of Friends. Jump roping to bad 80s music. It’s helpful to have this Ace in your pocket to pull out when you need a smile. (If you’re on Facebook, read more ideas to make you smile here.)

I know yoga always enhances my mood. I also know when I feel bad I’m less motivated to go yoga. It helps to remind myself it will be worth it in the end if I push through my discomfort because yoga always helps, at least a little.

4. Take responsibility.

Sometimes when you’re down it might feel like you have to stay there. But the truth is we can influence how we feel by choosing what we do. Sitting around sulking causes prolonged sadness. Doing something proactive will help you start to feel better.

When you realize you’re the only thing standing between you and a smile, you get motivated to take action. That’s the thing about feelings: you can’t sit around waiting for them to change. You have to do something to change them.
5. Think it out.

The best way to change how you feel is to change how you think about what’s bothering you. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, identify what you learned and what you can do with that knowledge to make your next moments better.

Instead of dwelling on everything that’s out of your hands, focus on things you can actually control. How honest you are about your feelings. Whether you take responsibility or blame other people. Whether you cling to pain or let go. You can’t avoid feelings, but you don’t have to exacerbate them with negative thoughts.

6. Change the story in your head.

Sometimes when you’re in a bad mood, it’s tempting to cling to a story that justifies it–and then retell it over and over like a picture book you’ve heard a million times. And then he said this…And then I did this…And then I messed up…

Visualize yourself closing a book and taking a new one off the shelf. Then start telling yourself a different story. One where you’re not a victim. One where you’re not powerless. One where you’re accepting what happened, and moving on so you don’t lose anymore time to that other book.

7. Want to understand.

Even if something happened to create your bad mood, you’re responsible for maintaining it–and it’s easy to do that if you refuse to see the other side of situations. If you want to believe your best friend meant to hurt you. Or the world is against you. Or your boss didn’t promote you because she’s out to get you.

Instead of fueling your anger for your friend, feel compassion for the pain she must be in–she’d never hurt you on purpose. Instead of thinking the world is against you, put your day in perspective. Everyone has bad days. Instead of imaging your boss is out to get you, realize she had a tough choice to make, and you’ll have more opportunities to advance down the line.

8. Uplift yourself.

Diffuse your negative feelings by generating positive ones. Watch something funny and silly on YouTube. Or watch something inspirational that reminds you people are good–life is good. I recommend Validation. Every time I see it I feel good about myself and want to pay that forward.

9. Use the silly voice technique.

According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, swapping the voice in your head with a cartoon voice will help take back power from the troubling thought. (As mentioned in 40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain.)

When you start thinking about the interview that went downhill, do it as Bugs Bunny. When you rehash the fight you had with your boyfriend, do it as one of those high-pitched mice from Cinderalla. Sound ridiculous? It is. That’s the point.

10. Repeat.

You’ve tried everything but your mind is still being stubborn. Now it’s a battle of wills: the part of you that wants to let go against the part of you that doesn’t.

Repeat this to yourself: “I still feel bad. I accept it. I know I won’t always feel bad, and it will change as soon as I’m ready.” Simply affirming that you won’t always feel bad–that you’re not destined to feel angry, sad, or frustrated forever–and that you are in control of your feelings might motivate you to let them go.

What are your tips for overcoming a bad mood?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quote of the Day~

Everyday, give yourself a good mental shampoo.

Dr. Sara Jordan~

I like this one!

We clearly understand the importance of washing our bodies, brushing our teeth, fixing our hair --  basically showing up physically put together. But, a mental shampoo?  I love the image of this and the implicit message. While we are washing our hair, we could also scrub our mental screen clean of any unwanted, unnecessary, and harmful thoughts.

Imagine -- a squeaky clean mind!

Now, what will you fill it with today?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Intention of the Day~


This is a term Desmond Tutu uses which means to choose to forgive rather than retribution, a belief that "my humanity is inextricably caught up in yours."

My intention for today is to delve deeper into the meaning of Ubuntu; to understand the capacity of the human heart to forgive the unforgiveable.

My friend forwarded me the following website -- Theforgivenessproject.com -- and I am deeply moved as I read the stories of forgiveness. I encourage all of you to experience this incredible website and read the stories, especially the one by the parents who founded the The Forgiveness Project.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Chapter in Jennifer's Life~


I first moved to Florida in 1993, three months after my daughter Zoe was born. My son, Max, was only 18 months old. We moved down to Astor, and lived on the St. John's river in a little 800 square foot cottage. Life was rustic. Snakes, gators, bears, manatee, eagles -- no air conditioning or washer/dryer in those first years. I swear mold grew in between the fat folds of my daughter's legs.

My favorite activity was to pile the kids in the car and drive half an hour to DeLand to the laundry mat. It was on one of these trips into the metropolis, when Max was just about three, that he said to me "Mom, don't worry, when I die, I'll come back and you can call me Christopher." Verbatim. I wrote it down. After this statement, many times when we were in the car, Max would tell me about his brothers and sisters on the "Camel" planet. He would talk about watching me and his dad, and asking God when he could come down and play with us. Needless to say, I was terrified by his first statement (triggering every mother's worst fear of losing their child) and intrigued and perplexed by his other statements. Statements that were very matter of fact, and not imaginative play.

I had never heard of Cassadaga, the Spiritualist Camp located not far from DeLand. But, somehow, I ended up there in 1995 and wandered into the Cassadaga Bookstore. I was looking for any book that might explain Max's pronouncements. Little did I know in that moment how much my life was about to change. I pulled off the shelf a book that had "Reiki" in the title. "What is Reiki?" I asked the store manager. As he began to explain, he stopped and said, "Ask him," pointing to a man who had just walked into the bookstore. "He's the Reiki Master."

1995 was a year of extraordinary growth and change. I devoured every new age, mystical book I could get my hands on. I became a student of the Reiki Master, taking Level 1, 2, 3 and eventually becoming a Reiki Master myself. We started a Reiki healing circle that continues to meet to this day in Cassadaga. I found myself in a profound healing journey where I was able to address deep issues, enabling me to dismantle dysfunctional behaviors and be more available and present for my children.

I re-visited Cassadaga today with my sister Becky. She met with a psychic. I traveled down memory lane fondly remembering the people I had learned so much from. It seems like another life time. But, as I walked the streets of this little town, I honored the incredible impact Cassadaga has had on my life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

21 Habits of Happy People

~Contributed by Cindy Holbrook

“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Happiness is one aspiration all people share. No one wants to be sad and depressed.

We’ve all seen people who are always happy – even amidst agonizing life trials. I’m not saying happy people don’t feel grief, sorrow or sadness; they just don’t let it overtake their life. The following are 21 things happy people make a habit of doing:

1. Appreciate Life

Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends Wisely

Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate

Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously

Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving

Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.

6. Do What They Love

Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life

Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than work. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh

Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive

Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.

10. Gratitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.

11. Invest in Relationships

Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Their Word

Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Meditate

Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.

14. Mind Their Own Business

Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

15. Optimism

See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.

16. Love Unconditionally

Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence

Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive

Accept what can not be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care

Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence

Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.

21. Take Responsibility

Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these habits as you own. The more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle – the happier you will be.

Most of all: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF ~

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

My Sister~

My sister Becky is down for a visit with her daughter, and her daughter's best friend. Becky and I are only 13 months apart -- what was my mother thinking? Growing up we were never very close. At the ripe age of six, she stated that I had left mother's womb a mess. Unfortunately, due to circumstances and family dynamics completely beyond our control, it was downhill from there.

Not until we were adults, and in the painful process of examining and taking responsibility for our own wounds and hurts, did we begin to open to each other in new ways. Over the years, Becky and I have become very close. In the last four years, our relationship has evolved further as we have allowed ourselves to trust one another with our deepest feelings and dreams.

I celebrate my sister today and her fearlessness. I have always admired the warrior in her even when it was destructive. Her energy of yester-years was "bring it on" I can take anything. Now, her energy is more reflective, her wisdom born out of experience, and the warrior is seeking -- "Where is my place? Where am I going?"

Becky desires to live fully, to give fully, to know fully who she is and to participate in life with all of her being-ness. How can you not help but admire her? I celebrate the person she is, the person she is becoming, and our friendship.

Who are you celebrating today?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

Thought becomes Form~

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings...
As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.

— The Dhammapada
(Sayings of the Buddha)

Global One TV - Eric Bell

Our consciousness is like a garden and we must tend to the fertile soil of our minds and hearts mindfully and with awareness. Are we sowing seeds of love? Or, seeds of fear? If there are weeds in your garden, gently pull them out. Thank them for again reminding you how important it is to sow only love.

A helpful spiritual practice to keep us aware of our thoughts is Ahimsa -- "non-violence through thought, word and deed." For most of us, it is fairly easy not to engage in a 'violent deed', but catching ourselves with thought and word is not as easy.

Practice Ahimsa today~

Any time you find a thought arising that is harmful pay attention, and replace this thought with something kinder. When a word slips out that is unkind, or perhaps it is the 'tone' of voice, pay attention and try again. It's ok to say, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." And, be gentle with yourself. This is not an easy practice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday's Health Tip

Transfer of Health~


Lot's of wonderful ideas, health tips and recipes. I have become quite a fan of Quinoa lately and found this recipe on their site. Try this yummy salad!

Pea Quinoa Salad

Recipe: Irresistable Pea Salad

Summary: This is a salad my husband and I fight over. He packs a lunch for work each day, filled with gluten-free, protein-packed food from our fridge. Community property rules of the fridge don’t apply to this salad – every man for himself!


•1 cup cooked peas

•2 cups cooked quinoa

•1/4 cup dried cranberries

•2 TB toasted almonds, chopped or slivered

•Salt / Pepper to taste

•Juice of 1 Lemon

•Olive Oil (about 1/3 the amount of lemon juice)

•1 TB (heaping) Dijon Mustard

•Honey to taste


1.Toss peas, quinoa, cranberries, almonds, and lightly salt and pepper.

2.In a separate bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard and honey. Taste and adjust as needed.

3.Toss dressing into salad mixture, reserving any extra dressing for future use on salads or vegetables.

4.Taste and make any adjustments to seasoning, if needed.


Quick notes

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Diet tags: High protein, Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Quote~

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves." -William Arthur Ward

It is so easy to see 'what is wrong' in a situation, or in a person, or in ourselves. That critical, discerning, judgemental voice just seems to leap into our consciousness unannounced and uninvited.

The havoc this inner critic can cause is unbelievable. It starts out as a small observation (negative, of course) and then the mind is careening down a slippery slope gaining speed as it heaps onto the smallest observation more and more negatives. You find yourself either highly worked up in some type of self-righteousness or emotionally exhausted and completely deflated because you have beaten yourself up.

Why do we do this?

That answer would take all night long. So, I'll pass. We all have some idea why we slip into these places. A possible alternative is what William Ward suggests -- "seek to discover what is best in others." Now he doesn't say 'see the best in others,' he says "seek to discover" and this is key for me as it implies a conscious action and willingness to look beyond a 'flaw' and dig deeper until you discover a treasure. This conscious decision pulls us into an entirely new and brilliant place of opportunity and possibility. For not only can you shift a relationship with another, but you will also shift your own awareness of yourself.

It is the "act" and willingness to discover what is good that allows the best in ourselves to be revealed. Again we are coming down to a simple choice. In the moment, when fear is nipping at your heals, and you feel yourself starting to slip down that slope, put the brakes on a say "Hold on one minute!"

I choose to discover what is best or good in this particular situation, person, or with my 'self'. Try it. You will find a more balanced place to rest.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Intention of the Day~

Staying on Track~

I was so intent on going to yoga today, after missing a month and a half, and attending to some "must do Monday" details, that I am late sharing Monday's intention with you!

It's seven days into our 10 day cleanse diet and I find myself wavering.


Because I have been absolutely vigilent. I mean not a grain of sugar has passed these lips, not an ounce of processed food, not a pinch of white flour, and not a whiff of alcohol and I am NOT losing any weight. Futhermore, I am exercising too! Last night I ran/walked 2 miles plus 20 minutes of weight training. I was feeling so good and convinced that when I hopped on the scale this morning, I would have lost some significant weight.

Nada! That means 'nothing' for those who do not know rudimentary Spanish.

For me, this is where I start wavering. Why am I killing myself if I am not going to be rewarded with some poundage loss? Vapors of chocolate mist whirl before my nose, bewitching me. "No", I say to myself sternly. "You can't quit now." "Oh, but I want to", my inner child cries. "It's just not fair."

If there is no weight loss tomorrow, my 4 year old persona, Molly, will more than likely appear and yell "cease and desist IMMEDIATELY", while stomping her feet. I, the adult, will have to softly admonish her, carefully explaining why it is important to follow through and stay the course.


Molly will win - Thank God!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Chapter in Jennifer's Life~

Loss of Innocence~

I just returned from a weekend long meditation retreat. It was intense as one would imagine. And, there was plenty of time to go in deep and connect with my 'self' and to experience the energy within me and the collective energies of the group. In answer to a question about Zoe, the teacher recalled an incident that happened to me when I was sixteen -- "when my life was threatened." She went on to say that my fear for Zoe stemmed from that event and the fact that this remained unhealed.

I had very purposefully, conveniently, and quite efficiently tucked away that incident -- and here it was being dredged up in front of 18 people. Thankfully, she did not go into details. But, I will. I've decided that it is important for my healing, for letting go of my fear for Zoe, and for being completely honest and naked.

I was 15 and had a mad crush on a Senior who was completely out of my league. Didn't stop my feelings, and I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to hang out with some friends in his crowd. They called themselves the "West Hill Gang." Bob was the most popular boy in school - handsome, A soccer player, good student, and nice guy. I had barely turned 16 when I had a dream of Bob's ghost walking down the high school corridor with a shot gun over his shoulder. It wasn't a week later that Bob shot himself in the head over the loss of his girlfriend. Needless to say, the horror of this event impacted many. Over 800 people attended his funeral.

That night we were all up at one of the West Hill gang's homes; drinking, crying, commiserating, trying to make sense of his senseless death. There was a man there that I had never met. Quite a bit older, and friends with some of the other guys in Bob's circle. We talked some that night and he offered to bring me home. I forget all of the details, but I needed to be home at a certain hour, and no one else was leaving anytime soon. So I left with this stranger.

And, yes, he tried to rape me on the way home. I do not consider that "my life was threatened", more that my soul was threatened, and at the most vulnerable time imaginable. I somehow managed to talk him out of this act, but it cost me a very high price. Not understanding what was happening, or how to handle the situation, and afraid to say anything to anyone, I accepted his invitation to date. It was the only way out I could think of at that moment to save my virginity, not piss him off, and get home safely. 

To say the next three months or so was disgusting is an understatement. I sold my 'soul' to protect myself. He eventually tired of me as I was not "putting out" and left. What I did not understand or feel until last night, when I re-lived and 'processed' this event, was how terribly wounding this had been and how trapped I felt. I had compromised myself on such a fundamental level. I also realized that this compromise tainted many of my relationships with men.

So, there it is. A memory pulled out of the mire and muck to be cleaned off, re-lived, and healed. It will take me awhile to lay everything to rest. But, I am hoping that I can now let go of my 'fear' that something is going to happen to Zoe.

And let that beautiful girl live and shine in all her glory!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~


Since I am spending the weekend in a meditation retreat among like-minded people, I thought it only fair to share a blog today that might help you if find yourself amongst 'not-so-positive' people.


10 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

Being Healthy~

Today I celebrate my health and the health of my family in this moment. I am not, for one millisecond, going to take this for granted or think that it is a permanent state. I just read a heartfelt email from a husband asking for everyone to pray for his wife, the love of his life, who is fighting stage 4 lung cancer. He asked us to make sure we turn to those we love, and give them a hug and tell them how much we love them. I have another dear friend who is also battling a re-occurrence of cancer.

Like breathing, it is easy to take our health for granted. I know. I have been doing so. Finally, I said "enough is enough" and pulled in the reigns. Ever since my birthday, and with all the travel in the last few months, I have been over-indulging and not exercising. I had slipped into a place of "un-mindfulness" as it pertained to what I was ingesting and how much! Andy and I are in our 4th day of a cleanse diet -- no sugar, white flour, alcohol, or any processed food. How do we feel?


Today, we celebrate our commitment to our health. We celebrate that we can walk the three mile loop, and work out in the gym, because we are not suffering from chronic pain, a debilitating disease, or some other condition that prevents us from exercising.  We celebrate that we have fresh, nourishing foods that we choose to eat. We celebrate the joy of being alive in this moment.

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday's Spiritual Thought


The speculation and judgement about Casey Anthony is inescapable. Many described themselves as "addicted"  while watching the trial unfold. And now, after the 'impossible' verdict of not guilty has been declared, there is no shortage of commentary about this trial and Casey Anthony -- the murdered, the soon to be 'celebrity' and on and on it goes.

I am struck by the level of anger, dismay, blaming, judging, assuming, and criticalness directed towards Casey. Is it possible that we are projecting on some level our own internal frustrations and judgements, and Casey is a convenient, high profile villain, to distract us from our own issues? (The intensity of emotion is similar to what I witnessed after the death of Osama bin Laden). Whenever we have strong reactions, we must be willing to look within and ask, "What is being triggered for me? Why am I so emotional about this? What is it about this young woman, this case, that evokes such anger, judgement, and disgust in me?"

This is the question one should be asking. Strong emotions are an invitation to look inward and explore our own fears, hurts and judgements.

Let's put away our judgements today and turn inward with compassion and love~

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday's Health Tip

Eat Kiwi ~ Wear Kiwi

Want younger looking skin? Try the incredible Kiwifruit. Kiwi is loaded with vitamin C, one of the key vitamins that keeps our skin looking young and vibrant.

Can't afford those expensive face creams? Let a Kiwi ripen throughly (antioxidants increase as the fruit ripens) and either eat this yummy fruit in slices, or place them over your eyes -- reduces puffiness and dark circles. Here is a wonderful homemade recipe for making a kiwi mask to apply directly on your face.

Kiwi Facial Cleanser (for dry or oily skin)
This recipe is courtesy of www.Spaindex.com

  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon orange water
  • 1 tablespoon apricot or almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground almonds
  • 2 drops orange (or your favorite citrus) essential oil
Puree the kiwi fruit in a food processor until liquid. During processing, add yogurt, orange water, almond or apricot oil, and ground almonds. Process until thick and cream like. Add essential and stir to mix. To apply, massage gently over neck, face and décolleté to cleanse. Rinse well. Makes one application.

Kiwifruit is also a good source of vitamin E, another antioxidant that can help you achieve great skin by fighting against the formation of free radicals. Another benefit? Eat that fuzzy skin (it's edible) and it will help with constipation. Not that any of us suffer from this malady!

What are you waiting for?

Go to your nearest grocer and pick up 3 or 4 of these cute, fuzzy brown/green fruit. Slice some and pop them into your mouth and let the others rot so you can make your mask!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quote of the Day~

Dana and Christopher Reeve
"Once you choose hope, anything's possible."
       ~Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve's accident left him a quadriplegic. Almost completely immobilized, Reeve's with his beautiful wife Dana, harnessed the energy of hope -- creating a foundation to increase public awareness about spinal cord injury which has raised more than than 64 million dollars for research and assistance to others with disabilities. He truly became Superman through his sheer will to live a passionate, full and creative life. He lived nine "superman" years after his accident producing films, writing, giving speeches, raising money, and being an incredible father and husband. The way he lived his life created hope for and inspired millions.

We can choose hope everyday. It does not matter what our circumstances are, or what obstacles lie before us, hope creates a powerful energy where anything is possible.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Intentions for this Day of Independence~

Let us all remember and thank every man and woman who have given their lives to protect ours~

Let us hold in our hearts every man and woman who has returned home scarred and maimed~ 

Let us send a prayer to every man and woman who are still in the battlefields today~

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Chapter from Jennifer's Life~

Summer of 1986 ~ Spying on my mother ~

We are all searching. Many of us are called to find a deeper truth, propelled by an inner sense that something is "missing" or perhaps a dis-satisfaction with our current circumstances. My mother began searching in the early 80's. I don't know what was going on in her mind or heart. She was, and is, an intensely private person. I do know she was struggling and not happy.

Mom began going to a Yoga Center in Woodbury, CT fairly regularly. She also became a devotee of Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusurdandasji, who resided in Ahmedabad, India. More than 116 years old at that time, he was traveling little, and his spiritual heir, Anandi Ma, traveled the US and Europe offering public meditation programs and Shaktipat initiations. This was a vast departure for a woman who had claimed to be an atheist her entire life.

Concerned that my mom was involved in a cult of some sort, my father and sisters sent me to "spy" on her. The thinking, I assume, was that since I had studied comparative religion and philosophy in college, I would be capable of discerning whether or not this was a legitimate group and practice. In hindsight, I think they had hoped I would talk some sense into my mother!

Ah, but God does like to have a good laugh (frequently)~

I drove home from Pennsylvania to attend the weekend program with mom. Little did I know what I was in for. We were seated before an alter - cross legged. The proper term for this is  'lotus position', but I was unable to execute that particular move. The room was packed, and everyone was chanting in a language I certainly could not identify. I was very uncomfortable. Mom was on my left side, and a man with a shawl draped around his shoulders, sat on my right. I closed my eyes and tried to relax into the music and chanting. In my mind's eye, I saw a beautiful woman, dressed in purple, walking into the room.

The chanting ended as Anandi Ma took her seat at the alter. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes to see this beautiful, childlike woman, dressed in a purple Sari smiling at all of us. She was shy, radiant, and the energy in the air was electric and palpable. I will not go into all of the details that occurred that day. Suffice to say, I was literally blown wide open during the meditations, later learning that my Kundalini had awakened. In fact, I was asked to return the next day and receive 'Shaktipat' -- the bestowing of spiritual power on an aspirant by a yogi.

Mom couldn't wait to get home. She was no dummy, and had known full well what her family was up to. Beaming she opened the front door, with me still in "la-la" land tagging behind, and announced (smirking, mind you)  "Jennifer is going back tomorrow to receive Shaktipat!"  My one sister made the sign of the cross, the youngest rolled her eyes and my dad, God love him, looked at me forlornly and left the room.

I guess I was his last hope~

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Feel Happy and Stress-Free: 7 Simple Tips to Stay in the Now

Saturday Blog Share~

As most of you know, my spiritual practice is simple -- be in the "now" (present moment) and practice mindfulness. I say 'simple' but this has been a twenty-five year journey of continuing perfection. It is not an easy practice. But, one that has led to more and more joy in my life, feelings of bliss and happiness, and a quiet, peaceful contentment. The blog I am sharing today provides 7 practical, simple tips to finding your joy.


Feel Happy and Stress-Free: 7 Simple Tips to Stay in the Now

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday is for celebration~

Happy July 1, 2011~

I am celebrating today, this milestone of blogging (almost) everyday, for the last 6 months. I missed a couple early on, and a day in February. But, since then, not a one. I celebrate this accomplishment because there  are very few things I do EVERY day. Brush my teeth and take my vitamins (only because Andy puts them out for me every morning) are the only two things I can think of. 

Hmmmm...I think I'm being too hard on myself~

OK, upon reflection...I say "I love you" many times throughout the day to Andy, my daughter, my son, and anyone else who happens to cross my path. I sink into a state of "gratitude" many times during the day, starting first in the morning while I am still in bed, and Andy is making the coffee, feeding the animals, and laying out the vitamins (I know, what a life!). This is sacred time for me. I treasure the early morning sounds, the stretching of my body feeling how wonderful it is to be alive, and then the purposeful meditation of praying for those I love, for all beings and the planet, and floating in this luscious haze of gratitude.

I think because I start my day in this way, I open a door that lets the gratitude float in throughout the day. I stop and say "thank you" often. Other times, I will feel a wave of warmth and loving energy envelope me that makes me cry, and again I find myself in gratitude. I celebrate this!

I am also celebrating today the fact that my son, Max, finally found a job! After two months of searching, he was hired by Papa John's. Do not particularly like their pizza, but I am thrilled for Max. He is also in his new apartment rolling up his sleeves getting ready to clean and paint. This is good.

Another celebration is the incredible response to the "Remember Me' essences that we just unveiled! Just in the last two days, I have mailed out 32 sets. "Defies description" was perhaps the best comment I have received as it so aptly captures the experience. I have given up trying to describe these incredible essences.

And, so I must close, with a thank you and celebration, to Beth Hays who created these amazing essences. You truly are a gift in the world -- a channel receiving the divine. What a difference you are making in this world~