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  • My Weird Valentine Idea

    I have lusciously sweet plans for Friday, my first-ever Valentine’s Day with David. Romantic culinary wizard that he is, he’ll be recreating the restaurant meal we shared on our 6-hour first date. (And I have a few decadent surprises up my sleeve, too.) But I was inspired last night with the idea for a more unusual Valentine tradition that my precious man has enthusiastically embraced. We’re going to write love letters to one another, seal them up in envelopes, and hide them away . . . not to be exchanged or opened until Valentine’s Day, 2015.

    Why not exchange and read them on the spot? Love letters are easy and fun and habitual for both of us, but I’m going for something a little different here.  It occurred to me that when we write our usual love letters, we’re already—as we’re writing—imagining the recipient reading them. What might we say if that weren’t the case? The most enthralling aspect of this relationship for me has been the radical honesty we’ve each willingly brought to it.  But I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon:  As we’ve progressed as a couple, each of our respective capacities for authenticity has steadily deepened.

    For so long now, “authenticity” has been my buzzword, my mission, the holy grail of my daily practice. I thought I knew all the tricks for coming clean with myself and others . . . but now the exquisitely safe container of this beautiful partnership is giving me the opportunity to stretch my authenticity muscles in ways I’d never come close to experiencing before.

    When I conduct writing workshops to lead students inward, I tell them they MUST assume, while doing the writing exercises, that no one will ever see their words.  Later, of course, they might decide to share something, but writing while imagining being read is writing in shackles.  It will never produce your most raw, uncensored truth.

    David and I have prided ourselves on our mutual transparency since the very beginning of our us-ness. Yet we both recognize it’s snowballed beyond what either of us could have then imagined.  What cavernous depths of authenticity might we be expressing a whole year from now?  Projecting ourselves there in our imaginations is what will fuel Friday’s letters.

    Ever the practical one, David asked how we were going to remember a year from now where we’d hidden the letters. So I opened my electronic calendar and wrote myself a reminder note on the date February 14, 2015.

    I don’t know yet what I’ll write in David’s letter on Friday. And it will be 367 days before I find out what he writes in mine. But I know it will be real, and I know it will be true . . . possibly the truest either of us has ever been.

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  • Have a radically different Thanksgiving!

    Thanksgiving. It’s about being grateful, right? About recognizing all the external stuff in our lives that we should be feeling gratitude for. That’s all fine and good, but this year I want to challenge you to step up your game. I want you to channel that gratitude in a completely new and different direction.

    Because here’s the problem: Quite often, there’s a subconscious program running when it comes to the concept of gratitude. We’re told again and again that we should be grateful for the good things in our lives, but what if – gasp – you know on some level that “grateful” doesn’t quite accurately describe what you’re truly feeling? Then you’re forced to pretend to be thankful, so that no one will discover your secretly dark, ungrateful heart. Now you’ve given yourself one more thing to be inauthentic about, one more thing to judge yourself for, one more opportunity to energetically beat yourself up.

    Let’s face it — being authentically grateful is not as easy as it sounds! And there’s a reason for that. We’ve been programmed to look outside of ourselves when making those lists of things to be grateful for. Our homes, the food on our tables, our luxuries. Even if we nobly look past the more materialistic aspects of our lives and focus on being grateful for our relationships with loved ones (which is a step in the right direction), we’re still looking outside of ourselves.

    And guess what. Deep, real, delicious joy doesn’t ever happen from the outside in. Can you feel the truth in that? We keep thinking:  “As soon as I can get xyz in my life, I’ll have this joy thing in the bag. Then I’ll be truly grateful.” But what happens when xyz shows up? That’s when we decide it’s really abc that we wanted after all, and we start chasing abc instead.

    But xyz, or abc, or whatever pdq-circumstances you manage to manifest will never bring you true happiness, no matter what they are . . . until you learn the most basic, most misunderstood, most significant skill you’ll ever master:  the art of deeply loving and accepting YOU. That is the only path to daily, sustainable, joy, and the only position from which it’s possible to feel the deep bliss of authentic gratitude.

    So here’s my Thanksgiving Challenge for you: Before the family arrives, before the turkey goes into the oven, before the bags are packed for the airport . . . carve out a bit of time for YOU. Sit in silence with the intention of deeply, sweetly, loving YOU and feeling gratitude for who you most truthfully are. If that brings up some discomfort, allow yourself to feel grateful for the realization! Make a commitment to finding things to love about yourself and new ways to accept and honor YOU. Do a NakedWriting with the prompt, “If I wholeheartedly adored and accepted myself, it would be for these reasons: . . . ” Then treat that list like the pure gold that it is! Read it several times a day! Commit to believing it!

    Celebrate even the smallest shifts you’re able to make in your ability to genuinely love yourself. That IS something to be truly grateful for! You’ll start to notice how releasing your long-held self-judgments just naturally makes you less judgmental of others. You’ll start to notice how being at peace with yourself causes all of your surroundings and life-situations to magically become more peaceful as well. You’ll discover that the more authentic your love for YOU gets, the more fun it is to freely pour love into everyone around you.

    I promise you that if you make self-love your top priority, soon genuine THANKFULNESS will become your truest, most natural state of being.

     

    (I’m super thankful this week to be featured in Breaking Limitations alongside many of my most beloved teachers — Eldon Taylor, Robert Holden, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Joan Borysenko, Gary Renard, Sandra Anne Taylor, Denise Linn, Michael Neill, Deborah King, Marci Shimoff, and more. I’m tomorrow’s speaker! It’s a fantastic event, and you can still get in on it here.)

     

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  • 49 is the best age to be

    I’m 49 today. 49 freakin’ rocks. I love 49 more than any other age I’ve ever been. Who would have guessed that 49 would be the age I’d feel more right about myself, more worthwhile, wiser, sexier, more ME than any of those commonly-regarded-more-desirable ages that preceded it? If you’re not 49 yet, I’m telling you . . . hold onto your hat.

    ‘Cause here’s what happens: You find your groove. You’ve been around the block enough times to know what you want, and you’ve finally figured out that knowing what you want and surrendering fully to that desire is what will create it for you. You’ve stopped dreaming and started expecting. You’ve become a master at the art of expectation with full-on juicy anticipation, so the Universe has happily begun to plop every bit of it into your lap.

    Whatever age you are now, I want you to understand that getting older is the bomb! You stop settling, and start settling IN instead. It actually does take some adjustment! Creating shitloads of wonderfulness for yourself can feel awkward as hell until you get used to it. But little by little, you allow it. You settle into the bliss. You settle into the trust that it really does belong to you now, and you deserve it, and you can bask in its yumminess with full abandon.

    If you pay consistent attention to who you are, and continually strive for greater levels of authenticity and vulnerability and connection with your fellow humans, the aging process will naturally be an ever-more enjoyable and glorious journey for you. I guarantee it.

    From where I sit this morning, 49 is just the beginning. A shiny, shiny, glorious beginning.

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  • Miracles & Soul-Scrubs

    To kick off Mother’s Day, my 11-year-old Katy and I got up early and paddled our kayaks out into the middle of our lake. We’ve found it to be the best spot for talking to my mom, who passed away last November. With a gorgeous sunrise reflected in the water and love-filled Mother’s Day wishes pouring from our hearts, we listened. We both felt my mom directing us to go down a particular finger of the lake, so we silently paddled that way. As soon as we cleared the corner, we spotted a familiar shape on the water — a duck Katy had previously befriended and named “Flipper.” We paddled closer, and simultaneously realized that Flipper was being followed by a brood of fluffy, brand-new, unbearably sweet baby ducklings. There were at least 20 of them — I had no idea they came in sets so large! Flipper swam in sweeping, serpentine loops to show us her joy, and the whole batch of babies followed in sync with her every move. It was breathtaking to watch. (Thank you, and Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.)

    So, how is your soul-scrub going? From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate all of you who have been sharing your soul-scrub stories with me! Nothing makes me happier than hearing how these steps are serving you. I, too, have experienced a few happy miracles since we’ve started this process. One of those happy miracles has me feeling especially juicy-joyful and tingly today!

    For this third and final week of your soulful spring-cleaning, we’re going to look at the beliefs you have about the world around you. If you followed last week’s suggestions, you’re already well on your way to shifting any stagnant old beliefs about yourself that needed spring-cleaning, so now it’s time to look outward a bit.

    One of the most useful rules-of-thumb we subscribe to in Juicy Joy Training is this: Adding is always easier than subtracting. (In math class, and in life, too – lol!) A spring-cleaning program implies a purge, and most of us feel the sense of freedom in that concept. But the truth is, nature abhors a vacuum. You can’t successfully delete anything from your life unless you simultaneously replace it with some new, better thing. It ties into the whole “energy can neither be created nor destroyed” logic. But energy can change form. That’s why, in the JuicyFeel process you did last week, instead of focusing on banishing your unloving thoughts about yourself, you instead focused on solidifying some better thoughts to replace them.

    Here’s a parallel: I’ve found that when I want to drop a few pounds, the best way to accomplish that is NOT to plan deletions from my diet — (I don’t do well with restriction of any kind!) — but instead to deliberately add in more healthy, nourishing, alive foods. When I do that, the less nourishing, more calorie-dense foods naturally fall away.

    The same is true with our spiritual spring-cleaning. We could approach our soul-scrub as an attempt to banish our destructive thoughts and feelings, but that sounds a bit like “resistance,” no? And we all know what happens when we resist . . . (In case you’re just dropping into this community for the first time: What we resist, persists.)

    So a far better approach is to add in the thoughts and beliefs we do want, so that everything not in alignment with those energies can naturally fall away. It’s all about breaking habits. Are habits easy to break? Hell, no. Can they be broken? Absolutely.

    I’m sure there are things you like about your world, and things you don’t like about it. And I’m sure you know that focusing on the things you don’t like will bring you more, and more, and more of the same. The following JuicyFeel meditation audio will scrub your soul by filling your soul with Divine Love . . . until anything not like love will have no space left to hang out in.

    Meditation for Filling with Divine Love

    Some spirituality practices would stop right there. If the purest, best, most incredible flavor of love is always readily available to every one of us, why would we care about any other flavor?

    Because it’s fun. Because it’s juicy. Because we chose to be here in this human form and every one of us has — right up there at the top of the checklist on our soul’s plan — “Love one another.” So as yummy as Divine Love is, we want to fill up with World Love, too. World Love includes the kinds of love you feel for your red-hot soul mate, your best friend, your cockatoo, fresh raspberries, a half-price shoe sale, and the reflection of moonlight on a glassy lake. It feels different from Divine Love. Divine Love feels soft, safe, and protective. World Love feels exotic, unpredictable, thrilling, earthy, wondrous, dazzling, splendid, dangerous, miraculous, reckless, but good, good, good. World Love’s got an edge to it. That’s what makes it so exciting.

    So take a moment now to make a quick list of things you appreciate. Do it haphazardly, off the top of your head. Who are the people you care about? What brings a smile to your face? What’s your favorite food? Favorite hang-out spot? What makes you laugh?

    Appreciation is love. You love these things — probably in vastly different ways and to varying extents. Since you’re reading this in your human form, the love you express is World Love. Here’s another little process you can do in your head whenever you feel like you need a mini soul-scrub going forward:

    Allow yourself to fill up with Divine Love, as described in the above audio. Really saturate your consciousness with the abundance of this phenomenal love, until it feels like it needs to burst right out of you through your heart center. Then call to mind the things you just wrote on that list. With your imagination, observe the different kinds of love flowing from you to all of these things. You filled up with Divine Love, but the love you send out is World Love. World Love has as its basis, Divine Love. World Love is just Divine Love tinged with humanness.

    Let your love for all these things take on different characteristics in your imagination — different colors, textures, degrees of chunkiness. Let’s say you love your family, your home, your community, nature, animals, your romantic partner. Imagine that the pure white Divine Love takes on a different color when it becomes your love for each of these things. Maybe your crazy-sexy, passionate love for your partner is red; maybe your love of nature is green, or your love of your favorite hobby is blue, and your love for a child is pink. Don’t let yourself get caught up in specific labeling; just let that idea guide your imagining so that you feel a rich, vibrant rainbow of swirly, tie-dyed, textured World Love flowing from your heart. Doesn’t it feel glorious to love so much? See if you can crank up the flow to a passionate gush.

    Once you can vividly imagine that feeling, see if you can imagine World Love not only pouring from your heart, but pouring into it as well. Observe a steady flow of World Love pouring into your wide-open heart from all the beings and things you’re now allowing to love you. Allow nature to love you. Allow the billions of people you’ve never met to love you. Think of the question that Einstein claimed was the most important question of all: “Is it a friendly universe?” This JuicyFeel will leave no doubt in your consciousness about the answer, as you blissfully receive all that yummy World Love rushing into your open heart.

    If you missed the first two parts of this 3-part series, they’re in the two prior posts. And if you’re still in the process of purging your physical surroundings (I still have a bit of that going on, too!) my beautiful and awesomely talented friend Karen Drucker has offered the following song as a gift from her to inspire you in that process. (She’s doing a spring-cleaning now, too.) All of Karen’s music is soul-scrubbing in itself, filling you with her pure, gorgeous energy. You’ll love this.

    Free download: One Small Step, from the CD Hold Onto Love

    And if you missed the call I did a few days ago with my brilliant friend and mentor Eldon Taylor, about the nature of beliefs and how to effectively work with them, you can click here to listen. He’s a masterful soul-scrubber, too.

    I hope this spring-cleaning program has brought you your own flavor of happy miracles. (I’m off now, to enjoy mine!) As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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  • How is your soul-scrub going?

    How is your soul-scrub going? If you’re just now joining us, we’re one third into a massive Let-Go — a spring-cleaning extravaganza on all levels — physical, psychic, and emotional.

    I went a bit overboard this past week with the stuff-purging. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. One closet, another closet, a few drawers, a garage . . . until I’d made FIVE FULL-CAR TRIPS to Goodwill. Did my work suffer from this non-stop, OCD-ish, manic purge activity? You bet. Did my kids whine about me not bringing my A-game to parenting them this week? Oh, absolutely.

    But was it wicked-worth-it? Hell, yeah! It felt — and continues to feel — FREAKIN’ AMAZING! Who knew how much the clutter-stuff that shares our space could drag down our energy? I mean, I was paying lip service to it when I brought it up last week, but I had no idea. lol

    And that meditation for soul-cleansing is always so cathartic. I hope you’ve made liberal use of it, and are feeling the yummy, freeing effects. (If you missed that download last week, see prior post.)

    Okay, ready for the next step? This one is a biggie. We’re going to clean out that cobwebby cupboard of beliefs you hold about yourself. I talk a lot in Juicy Joy Training about your “filter.” Your filter is that energetic membrane that separates you from the rest of the world and determines your perception of reality.

    We’re constantly deleting perceptions and allowing other perceptions into our consciousness, and what gets deleted and what gets allowed in is determined by our filters. All the beliefs we’ve accumulated throughout our lifetimes (conscious and unconscious) are what make up this filter. Filter-Fixing is the Juicy Joy process by which we eradicate the beliefs that aren’t serving us, and enhance and magnify the ones that are. When you understand Filter-Fixing techniques, you can actually begin choosing what gets deleted and what gets allowed through.

    Changing the beliefs that make up your filter changes your life. Today we’re going to look at the beliefs you have about yourself. Is there anything about you that you’d like to be different? The writing processes we do in Juicy Joy Training are called NakedWriting, because the goal is to be as emotionally naked as possible when you do them. So set the intention now to be emotionally naked as you do the following exercise. It’ll customize the JuicyFeel meditation for you.

    NakedWriting: Lists About You

    Without over-thinking it, make a “Like” list of all the things you like about yourself. Include aspects of your personality, physical appearance, your intellect and abilities, your strengths and weaknesses. Then make a “Don’t Like” list of all the things you wish were different in all those categories.

    Look at the items on each list. Which list has more items that you spend a lot of time thinking about and giving attention to? You’re more focused on the second list, aren’t you? Doesn’t it make sense that these aspects of you would be glaringly present in your reality, given all the attention they’ve been getting from you?

    These two lists are showing you what’s in your filter regarding your perception of yourself. The things on your “Don’t Like” list are there because you’ve had some situations or relationships in your past that lodged judgments of those things in your filter. Period. They are not true in any objective sense of the word. They’re showing up as “real” in your physical world for no reason other than the fact that they have taken up residence in your filter and you have nourished them with your attention. So let’s do a bit of spring-cleaning on your filter.

    Take the list of things you love about yourself and add to it, but this time, don’t be restricted by “reality.” Add any attributes you wish you had. To fully clear your filter of the items on your “Don’t Like” list, you’ll need to reverse each of them by putting its opposite on this list. For instance, if you have “clumsy” on your “Don’t Like” list, you’d add “graceful” to your expanding “Like” list. Make the “Like” list as long and luxurious as you want, adding whatever is important to you. You can include personality traits like confidence or kindness, physical traits like fitness, external labels like job title or education achieved. This list defines your best self, precisely as you would like to be.

    Done? Okay, now stretch your mind for a moment and see if you can wrap your head around this crazyass statement: Your best self is your true self. This “Like” list came from your deeper consciousness, your spirit aspect. It’s in alignment with what you believe would bring you the most joy, therefore it’s part of your soul’s plan — the plan that the Universe is always helping you out with. This ideal you is your soul-self, the you that’s been around since the big bang, or whatever you believe started it all.

    The version of you with all those judgments on your “Don’t Like” list is a far more recent creation. It’s clearly the impostor. Listening to the following JuicyFeel meditation will spring-clean all those energy-sucking, erroneous beliefs from your filter. It’s embedded with subliminal messages that Eldon Taylor (top dog in the subliminal messaging industry, and very cool guy) put on there for me himself.

    Meditation for Spring-Cleaning Beliefs

    Spend as much time with this process as you possibly can this week. Do this instead of watching TV or stalking your friends on Facebook. Do it as you fall asleep at night, and in the morning as soon as you wake up. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel and the more you’ll look forward to it. You’ll probably want to make adjustments and tweaks here and there. Go ahead. Let Mirror You evolve into ever-widening realms of fabulousness.

    Think about Mirror You throughout your day. Think about how exceptional it feels to be that You and little by little, you will become more and more like Mirror You in your daily life. It will be a natural, easy process. You won’t have to struggle to make the changes. You’ll be led by your joy, not by some nagging, guilty sense that you need to improve yourself.

    Have fun with this super-critical step this week, and I’ll bring you some new tools next Friday.

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