For Self Care Affirm Self Love

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It was after my third child I became so involved with the needs of others that I forgot myself. I lost all of who I was before I became a wife and a mother. I thought it was more important to put those in need before myself until one day I came to a point that I could not see anything that resembled my former self. I gave until I came to a point where I could not give anymore. Frustration, confusion and self condemnation permeated my everyday. As a former trainer, coach, and personal motivator, one who helped others see the goodness within themselves just as they are,  I was not very good at practicing what I preached. Until one day I re-commited to put my faith and myself as a priority. Like the stewardess explains to the passengers on every flight, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first if you want to help others.

Self care starts with self–love, it begins each and every day with the words in your head. Start loving your self this very minute. You must experience self-love first before you can really experience anyone else’s love. Affirmations work in all of your life, write them down, write them down again read the often. Writing them down involves more of your senses. Record them (there is an app for that.) Repetitive use of affirmations will make its impression your mind and erase the old or repetitive thought patterns that permeate your mind far too often in a day, producing permanent desirable changes in you life.

1) Work with one or more a day as you wake and before you go to bed at night.

2) Use the second and third person and use your name…

“ The more I ________ love myself the more others love me.”

” The more ________ loves herself the more others love her.”

“The more you _________love yourself, the more others love you.”

3) Be sure to use your own name in the second and third person since your conditions from others came to you in that manner.

4) Look in the mirror and say them out loud, look yourself deeply in the eyes and say them until you eliminate all doubt and see the truth. Thoughts produce results, you have heard of the law of attraction? Well it is really no secret, it is written in just about every self -help book and taught by all thought leaders dating back to ancient times. We do not need to go too far back in time to see how valuable we are.

1 Corinthians 3:16 asks “ Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” We then get an accurate reminder of who we are in Luke 12:7 “Why even the hairs of you head are all numbered. Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Yes you are loved and worth loving no human can tell you any different. Man may wear you down but the spirit lifts you up.

1 Corinthians 2:13 says “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught.

What is self-love?

Self- love is acknowledging and praising yourself, verbally.

Self- love is loving your body and seeing its unique beauty.

Self-love is talking to yourself, gently and lovingly.

Self -love is surrounding yourself with people who nourish you.

Self-love is allowing yourself to have fun in all that you do.

Self-love is surrounding your self with beauty.

Self-love is developing your creative desires.

Self-love is creating an abundance of friends.

Self-love is rewarding yourself; never punishing yourself

Self-love is having confidence in your abilities.

Self-love is allowing yourself pleasure without guilt

Self-love is letting yourself win.

Self- love is letting others in rather than giving in to loneliness.

Self-love is letting in affection.

Self-love is following your own intuition.

Self Love is seeing your own perfection.

Self-love is taking credit for what you did.

Self-love is trusting in yourself.

Self-love is nourishing yourself with good food.

Self-love is getting a massage frequently.

Self-love is seeing yourself as equal to others.

Self-love is forgiving yourself.

Self-love is becoming your own approving parent.

Self-love is turning all you negative thoughts into positive affirmation.

I,___________ breathe in universal love, it fills and heals every cell of my body.

I, __________ attract into my life now and always only loving, positive people.

I,___________ am a unique person, I am priceless.

I,___________ deserve to be happy and I have the ability to share in the happiness of others.

I’d like to say just a bit about self-esteem. We can get so bruised and battered in our own mind. The world around us can make us feel we are not enough, which is what all that advertising is all about. “They” that tell us what we need, to feel “enough.” Self- esteem is a crucial element in our fulfillment and satisfaction of any kind.

Self Esteem Afrimations

I, _________, love myself more each day.

I, _________, am no longer dependent on anyone’s approval for my self-esteem.

I, _________, respect my own uniqueness.

I, _________, am confortable with myself in other people’s presence.

Every breath, I breathe in love and let it enter every pore; I let it fill every cell of my body. Every word I speak. I speak with love, I let it pour out of every cell of my being.

“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:20-21

 

No Diets, No Resolutions, Just use Better Butter

butter-health-food

When was first published in “The Jingle Book” in 1899 it read:

Betty Botta bought some butter;

Betty Botta bought some butter;

“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter!

If I put it in my batter

It will make my batter bitter.

But a bit o’ better butter

Will but make my batter better.”

Then she bought a bit o’ butter

Better than the bitter butter,

Made her bitter batter better.

So ’twas better Betty Botta

Bought a bit o’ better butter.

 

 There are two things I don’t do and find useless, Dieting and New Years Resolution. Not to say I don’t think of things to improve each and everyday of my  life. My ongoing pursuit is to Fear not, Trust and Forgive. To be more like my role models Jesus and his Mother! Now if I could only get my children to turn water into wine! Truth is the water turned into Whine! Mostly due to Fear!
It reminds me of a wise woman who would teach her students “Fear, I see you I will not partner with you, I send you away” I have used that with myself (not often enough) as well as teaching it forward to my clients. Much of our suffering in due to fear. We live in a culture that feeds us much to be fearful. Just turn on the news(no don’t.) Spend that time filling and fueling with good nourishment, however that may be for you!
 For my own personal self- care I have been meeting with others in a 12 step program for the last 6 years as a result of having been thrust into a the awareness of the world of addiction, which by the way, in my years of work in fitness as a personal trainer…..ALL my clients were addicted to something, food, sweets, alcohol, shopping, negative thought (self talk) and yes even exercise and many  were in recovery from alcohol or drugs of some kind. Then there were those addicted to Dr. prescribed drugs and wanted off. It all drove me to insanity. It was a tough challenge to “make” someone change. Oh, at firsts it there were many experiences  of success  for sure, however the majority stepped back into old habits (relapse). At that time I did not understand addiction. Hey, just eat right and exercise and all will be well! It just was a bit more complicated than that. I slowly began to doubt my self as a trainer because I could not “make” anyone “change.” Then I had children, when they were young I had some control over intake, output and activity, but as they came into their own… and technology helped steal them away, well let’s just say now I’m in recovery!
 The 2nd step is “I came to believe that a power greater than I can restore me to sanity.”  Doubt, fear, regret…..well, they sure do like me, and they keep coming around. They just don’t get it…..they think they know better as to what I need! The comfort is that I know I am not alone.  This year just to switch it up a bit I  choose  to back up my “sending them away” with TRUST.  I Trust that there is a power greater than I, I know I cannot do it alone, I need a greater power to stand in-between. I personally go higher than the universe and look to the creator to take all that is in the universe, and thrown my way, to help me,  “send them away.” “Oh God, here they come….I need you” and I look right at that doubt and fear and say “go, and take regret and karma crap with you!”  I look up and say “Thank you!”
 Oh, and then their is that PAIN thing, finding Joy in the process of life and through the aches and pain? Persevering with joy? Ughhhhh! Ok… Joy, Joy, Joy!
There are many things that have caused me great suffering. My attempt to control, controlling to avoid pain, as a parent protecting those under my charge to be free from pain.  How painful it has been to control being free from pain and protecting others, because there is not much I can control, pain and suffering is everywhere. Just stay tuned to media!  Trust, trust is the underliying factor in which I must remember! I Trust that when I listen to “Thy Will” I can know my true self, I trust where it comes from. As the universe  and the media will throw much to me that I must decipher, is it my will or Thy will? I can be assured that crossing through pain, is only through the strength I receive from God and the lessons that are whispered to me as Thy will. That is the beauty of the Greatest story ever told of Life, Death and Resurrection. Pain is a part of  life….Thy will chooses Joy! I may not like where I am…..where I am I will  like. I was comfortable in my previous role in this life. But I was asked to go to my Nineveh, like Jonah I have gone kicking and screaming and causing a ruckus. I trust that even though the road ahead is an unknown and somewhat of a dark place, I will not partner with doubt fear and regret. I will  ask for my mind, body and spiritual body guard to step in. I  will I trust that this is Thy will and in the end will serve many to discover a spiritual and emotional healing. My voice through God will change lives in more wonderfully than I could ever imagine. I Trust!
 Finally there is judgement. I always thought of myself as pretty laid back, allowing other to be who they are. Listening to others stories and thier perceptions of life. You can learn a lot by LISTENING of others relgions and politics rather than not talking about it. That being said I have grown bitter and frustrated with many aspects of our current cultural climate. It has gotten a bit nasty. Priorities, politics, and patience are lowered while  relativism and all the other isms of life are at an all time high.  I find as an adult who has spent most of my life on the pretty side of fitness and health, ( I call that, “the Choir”) am currently for no other explainable reason other than to “experience,”   another side in a precarious place.  It is hard to see this other side without judgment, anger and discussed. Yet I must trust, rather than judge, and when the big whale spits me out at Nineveh I will use my voice to speak to the “congregation.” There are more in the congregation that are falling through the cracks  and often being spoon fed morsels towards the path of ill health, paid for by……..us. There are those that allow or turn a blind eye while we all pay the price. Again I will not partner with self doubt and fear, I will allow the flow of direction as Thy Will. Allowing, Allowing, Allowing!   Easier said than done!
Hey…..doubt I saw that!…go away!
See how sneaky it is?
2 0 1 8 ….make it great!
Trust God
Choose Joy
Be grateful

Let Go and Love.

Forgiveness

This season of celebration the birth of Jesus Christ We can collectively

 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32

Forgiveness? What would it meant to bring forgiveness into your life? Liberating?  Let’s not wait for others forgiveness or acceptance. Let’s accept ourselves as well as others “as is,” even if they are not accepting of us.  Honest forgiveness means nothing is expected in return.

   Forgiveness softens and lights our path into the ever so brilliant world of loving-kindness.  Forgiveness is the meeting of the wounded with gracious healing.  Not just a band-aid, not scarred tissue but a total healing. We may have practiced and cultivated deep roots of fear, anger, resentment or guilt that are not so easily extrapolated. Forgiveness allows us to soften the soil that has buried our hearts. It allows the agitated mind to sink more deeply in the healing heart to flourish in this garden of life.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your father in heaven may also forgive you, your trespasses.”  But if you do not forgive neither will your father forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11: 25-26

  May this be a season, a year, a future of new life and many blessings!

Happy New Year201105-omag-forgiveness-600x411

  Meditation on Forgiveness

Slowly bring your mind to the image of someone whom you have had some anger or resentment. Allow a picture of them or a sense of this feeling to gather.

Invite them into your heart for just a moment. Notice whatever feeling may arise. Notice whatever feeling may come to you that may limit or deny their entrance.  Soften that feeling and bring gentleness to it. Don’t force it. Allow the truth of it to invite this person in.

Say to this person in your heart “ I forgive you.”

I forgive you for any pains you may have cause me in the past, through your actions, your words, and your thoughts intentionally or not.

Allow the feeling for a moment in the spaciousness of your heart for the possibility of forgiveness.

Open up the curtains of resentment, let go of the walls of anger so you may be lighter and your heart may be free.

It can be so painful to put someone out of your heart. Let go of the pain. Let go of the pain. Let go for a moment with the possibility of forgiveness.

Say, “ I forgive you for whatever you have done that has caused me pain and for whatever you didn’t do.”  “ For your words, actions that may have hurt me, I forgive you.” “ I forgive you. I forgive you.”

Allow the person to be in the warmth and stillness of your heart. Let the distance between you dissolve in compassion and mercy. Let them be forgiven. “ I bless you. I forgive you.”

 Now send them on their way. Not to push them from your heart, simply let them be on their way, touched by a blessing and the possibility of your forgiveness. Notice any feelings as they leave.

Now bring to your mind to an image of someone who has resentment towards you. Invite them in to your heart for a moment. Bring awareness to and feeling that may limit their entrance into your heart. Let the hardness be softened, let it be light, let it float. Bless them and say” I ask for your forgiveness.”

Forgive me.”

“Let me back into your heart, forgive me for anything I have done to cause you pain through my actions or words.”

Whatever fear of mine, whatever confusion that I caused, however I  may have hurt you. I ask for your forgiveness.

Let yourself be forgiven, Let yourself be touched by their forgiveness. Bless them and allow them to forgive you.

 Feel the forgiveness be received let it touch your heart. Draw it into your heart. However I may have cause you any pain through my ignorance, anger, and forgetfulness. Through my doubt, confusion or fear. However I may have caused you any pain I ask for your forgiveness.

Let it be so, let it be, let it go. Allow your self to be forgiven.

If the mind inhibits through any judgments, recriminations see the nature of this incriminating state. Notice how unkind we can be with ourselves. Let this tendency be softened with the love and patience of forgiveness.

Let go, Let God come sit with you in your heart.

Feel His forgiveness now touch you.

Let your mind sink into the heart. If your mind continues to feel deserving of this suffering, allow yourself to be held with the just  the possibility of forgiveness. Open your arms to receive the forgiveness.

Then let go, let God come sit in your heart. Let that person go with blessings and thanks for having spent just a moment as one.

 Now ever so gently turn yourself in to your own heart and say “I forgive you.”  Say your name “______I forgive you.” If your mind  persecutes, interjects difficult thoughts, makes judgments, feel that and let it soften at the edges. It is really not for you to judge.

 Let your self be forgiven. Jesus died at the cross for you. He bore this pain for you. Allow yourself to be forgiven by you. Feel this comfort and caring that wishes you wholeness and wellbeing. Allow yourself to o be embraced by his mercy and kindness. How unkind we can be with ourselves. How unloving we can be. Let yourself be loved. Begin to share this miracle of forgiveness. For all those who also have felt isolated and put themselves and others out of their heart. Let all around you be touched by the power of forgiveness encourage them with your forgiveness heart.

 They too will be healed as you wish to be. Encourage them also with blessings so that we may all share in our hearts forgiveness.  We all may be whole. Plant the seed and it will grow in this garden of life.

Let this mercy radiate outward, float from sea to sea floating gently as an ocean of infinite compassion.

May we all be free from suffering, may we all be free from pain. May all hearts be opened and at peace. May we heal the world with our hearts.   Let’s reflect on the word forgiveness. What does it mean? What is forgiveness? What would it meant to bring forgiveness into your life? Liberating?  Let’s not wait for others forgiveness or acceptance. Let’s accept ourselves as well as others “as is” especially if they are not accepting or forgiving to us.  Honest forgiveness means nothing is expected in return.

   Forgiveness softens our hearts and lights our path into the ever so brilliant world of respect and loving-kindness.  Forgiveness is the meeting of the wounded with gracious healing.  Not just a band-aid, not a hardening of scar tissue but a total healing. We may have practiced and cultivated deep roots of fear, anger, resentment or guilt that are not so easily extrapolated. Forgiveness allows us to soften the soil that has buried our hearts. It allows the roots of an agitated mind to sink more deeply into the healing of the heart to flourish and produce great beauty in this garden of life.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your father in heaven may also forgive you, your trespasses.”  But if you do not forgive neither will your father forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11: 25-26

Meditation on Forgiveness

Slowly bring your mind to the image of someone whom you have had some anger or resentment. Allow a picture of them or a sense of this feeling to gather.

Invite them into your heart for just a moment. Notice whatever feeling may arise. Notice whatever feeling may come to you that may limit or deny their entrance.  Soften that feeling and bring gentleness to it. Don’t force it. Allow the truth of it to invite this person in.

Say to this person in your heart “ I forgive you.”

I forgive you for any pains you may have cause me in the past, through your actions, your words, and your thoughts intentionally or not.

Allow the feeling for a moment in the spaciousness of your heart for the possibility of forgiveness.

Open up the curtains of resentment, let go of the walls of anger so you may be lighter and your heart may be free.

It can be so painful to put someone out of your heart. Let go of the pain. Let go of the pain. Let go for a moment with the possibility of forgiveness.

Say, “ I forgive you for whatever you have done that has caused me pain and for whatever you didn’t do.”  “ For your words, actions that may have hurt me, I forgive you.” “ I forgive you. I forgive you.”

Allow the person to be in the warmth and stillness of your heart. Let the distance between you dissolve in compassion and mercy. Let them be forgiven. “ I bless you. I forgive you.”

 Now send them on their way. Not to push them from your heart, simply let them be on their way, touched by a blessing and the possibility of your forgiveness. Notice any feelings as they leave.

Now bring to your mind to an image of someone who has resentment towards you. Invite them in to your heart for a moment. Bring awareness to and feeling that may limit their entrance into your heart. Let the hardness be softened, let it be light, let it float. Bless them and say” I ask for your forgiveness.”

Forgive me.”

“Let me back into your heart, forgive me for anything I have done to cause you pain through my actions or words.”

Whatever fear of mine, whatever confusion that I caused, however I  may have hurt you. I ask for your forgiveness.

Let yourself be forgiven, Let yourself be touched by their forgiveness. Bless them and allow them to forgive you.

 Feel the forgiveness be received let it touch your heart. Draw it into your heart. However I may have cause you any pain through my ignorance, anger, and forgetfulness. Through my doubt, confusion or fear. However I may have caused you any pain I ask for your forgiveness.

Let it be so, let it be, let it go. Allow your self to be forgiven.

If the mind inhibits through any judgments, recriminations see the nature of this incriminating state. Notice how unkind we can be with ourselves. Let this tendency be softened with the love and patience of forgiveness.

Letting go and letting God come to sit with you in your heart.

Feel forgiveness now touch you.

Let your mind sink into the heart. If your mind continues to feel deserving of this suffering, allow yourself to be held with the just the possibility of forgiveness. Open your arms wide to receive forgiveness.

Then let go, let God come sit in your own heart. Let that person go with blessings give thanks for having spend just a moment as one.

 Now ever so gently turn yourself in to your own heart and say “I forgive you.”  Say your name “______I forgive you.” If your mind persecutes, interjects difficult thoughts, makes judgments, feel that and let it soften at the edges. It is really not for you to judge.

 Let your self be forgiven. Jesus was born for you, Jesus died at the cross for you. He bore much pain for you. Allow yourself to be forgiven by you. Feel this comfort and caring that wishes you wholeness and wellbeing. Allow yourself to be completely embraced by his mercy and kindness. How unkind we can be with ourselves. How unloving we can be to ourselves. Let yourself be loved. Begin to share this miracle of forgiveness. For all those who also have felt alone and isolated and put yourself and others out of your heart. Let all around you be touched by the power of forgiveness encourage them with your forgiving heart.

 They too will be healed as you wish to be. Encourage them also with blessings so that we may all share in our hearts forgiveness.  We all may be whole. Plant the seed of forgiveness and it will grow and flourish in this garden of life.

Let His mercy radiate outward like a drop of water that drifts from sea to sea floating gently as an ocean of infinite compassion.

May we all be free from suffering, may we all be free from pain. May all hearts be opened and at peace. May we heal the world with our hearts and touch it often with forgiveness.

The Body Whisperer

Self Care for yourself or a loved one?

Your body has a language not often understood, Learn the language and how it speaks to you.

When you think of massage, you probably expect to be a passive participant — lying under a blanket as a masseuse presses and kneads your tight muscles. However, a Thai massage is a whole different experience.

Based on the northern style of traditional Thai Yoga Bodywork (Nuad Boran), is a sacred healing treatment that integrates Yoga, Ayurveda ( the Indian healing method that means “science of life”), and massage. It is often described as “lazy yoga.” It uses quite similar techniques as Swedish massage, but Thai massage also stimulates the acupressure points in relation to the concept of energy lines in order to provide relief, to stretch and loosen tightened muscles, to release tension and relieve joints. Thai Yoga Bodywork has many benefits for all. It uses the gentle pressure on energy lines and uses yoga like stretching to relax the whole body on a deeper level. The practice reduces pain and stress, promotes positive energy circulation, so you feel balanced and rejuvenated.

Thai massage is traditionally performed on the floor — you lie on a padded mat as the masseuse guides you through partner yoga poses and manipulates your body into stretches. Some traditional massage techniques, such as acupressure, compression and joint mobilization, are also used, but no lotions or oils are applied and you remain fully clothed for the session.

  • Enhances your practice of Yoga, Pilates, or other physical modalities.
  • Balances the body’s energy pathways.
  • Increases resistance to injury.
  • Relieves pain due to arthritis, stress, and overworked muscles.
  • Improves range of motion.
  • Insights for daily practices you can do on your own, at work or at play
  • A wonderful tool in your self-care toolbox

Wounded Woman Warriors Will Win!

IMG_2184_2.JPGI am thankful,

 Years ago in my bodybuilding days I stood out as one mean, lean muscle machine. A  sparky joyful little bundle of life. I would say that amongst my piers in the BB world I dressed pretty conservatively. None the less, I got “hit” on quite frequently.  It was my morals, values, quick wit and sarcasm that kept me pretty safe as a woman for the most part in those days.  I am lucky!

Since the “me too” campaign, I have been contemplating writing letters to the infamous parties that crossed my path and wanted to have  a piece of the action that entered into their game of life.  One of these predators suddenly shows up across the television on Thanksgiving day,….good I know where to send the letter!

It was when I was in my twenties and I was out at a dancing establishment  with my girlfriends ( I love to dance). I was soon approached by a “nice” man who I later found out was a “ Local boy hero.” He said “Damn woman you have nice legs!” Flattered of course, but not quite bowled over by“the line” a conversation ensued. He asked if I would be interested in getting together for a dinner. Cool as I was I said, “it is possible.” I gave him my “real number.” He did call and invite me to dinner…..Actualy he said “he would like to make me dinner.” (first red flag.) It is not every day one gets a celebrity to make them dinner and what the heck he might really like me, hey, I was single.  Fairly naive still, in my youth, I accepted. It was a rather nice dinner, good conversation, a few laughs, a bit of wine (not much, I was not that stupid, experience taught me well, but that’s another story.)

After dinner we sat and talked and then he made his first move, eh…. it was ok but my morals and values kicked in and I began to wonder how and why I did not foresee this coming? As many of you know for some the thought is, “I wine and dine you, you give dessert! “

The pursuit to the goal line began, 1st down ,1 yard, 8 to go. Second down, no gain. Third down was the long pass and I new I had to run fast to block the play. I thought of the “quick wit” play that has served me well and held my legs in a strong and sturdy stance. “Damn Woman, you have strong legs” was the next I heard. You see it is hard to get a pair of jeans off when the legs are held strong in a V formation. Fortunately, humor gave my team (me ,myself and I) The winning edge. I left with a notch on my belt and a humorous story. There was no scheduled future game! I was too tough of  a match!

I watch this man suddenly appear on the television on Thanksgiving day (someone must have had the day off) Well, well, well for sure it is time to write a letter. No need to expose a name, no desire to take down a career it is really the story that matters. The cathartic healing within from sharing, from forgiving!

My mission is to empower woman of all ages and assist in the healing of the unseen scratches that nicked at their soul, and the bruises affected their heart over time. For some it is just a game, get over it and move on, for many the story just needs to be heard!Stay tuned for the next story!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

 

 

 

 

The Mindfulness Practice

 

The mindfulness practice and indeed it’s a practice, can pretty tricky for me, as well with most others I can only imagine. I have practiced and taught for many years the art of being in the moment, following your breath, noticing the thoughts and let them go. Being “silent”  to “listen.” At times thoughts just seem to purge from the mind, like a bucket of water overflowing when it gets too full, an over abundances of thought just keep pouring in spite of the years of practice. Oh, how the desires of the heart conflict with the reality of circumstances in life, indeed causing suffering.

For many years quieting the mind seemed to work. I thought I had it down pretty well. As nature would have it there are timeframes where there is a great storm, a disturbing and disruptive force beyond my control, stripping the garden in which I was peacefully growing, back to the bare roots.   In the whirlwind of the storms I am grateful for the seeds that were planted, rooted, nourished, and added to over time. These roots have indeed held me strong in the tsunamis of life and I am filled with gratitude for having a plethora of tools in my shed to tend my garden. Especially the practice of meditation for in my current stage of life it helps to keep me in, or brings me back to, a momentary space of serenity, mindful of senseless thought that can take me out of the eye and into the storm.

What I found more helpful in the last few years however, is to returning to my family “roots.” of faith. Taking from the seeds that were planted early on in my life and pouring the overflow of thought into the place where those seeds were planted. What started to grow was an understanding that I needed prayer to fill and nourish my mind, my heart, my soul, rather than emptying it and “letting the thoughts go” or “giving it up to the universe.” The Our Father, and Hail Mary engrained in my youth and recently the Serenity Prayer has given me a “rebirth” or “understanding” that I needed in this perceived dark place that I entered into. Words that I can understand and comprehend, each time I recite them they take on new meaning and give fresh insight. Stories that I have heard before that I can touch, feel and relate to on a deeper level. Reminders to give thanks, forgive self and others. The story of life, death and resurrection that I grew up learning has given me great strength in a time of need.

In Parker J Palmers “ The Courage to Teach” he writes, “we all arrive in his world with gift.” But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Buddha spoke from his own experience and own heart. Everything needs balance; it is through quiet meditation and deep reflective thought, and listening to his heart that he found a way to be and to pass that insight to others. The eight fold path for healing from suffering, right understanding, right thought,
 right speech,
 right action, 
right livelihood
, right effort,
 right mindfulness
, right concentration. This is his wisdom that he has been passed forward for thousands of years that has taught others how to fertilize their soil, to nourish their being, to behold peace and serenity in this garden of life. He was called to share these gifts. Jesus teachings are of humility, charity, and brotherly love. Jesus taught his disciples a way of life to pass on that promises salvation and provides peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations here on earth. Through the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes and the “thou shalt not” phrases, through ordinary beings gave instruction to “flawed human beings” tools to pass forward live with one another life on earth.

As I continue to contemplate my story, this path, these gifts of experiences that have been presented throughout my life. I believe “ we all arrive in this world with gifts.” Parker states that “Some journeys [to true vocation] are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled.  But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” He also says that “ No real progress can be made without suffering, it is something to be proud of. And just because someone always desires more, does not mean they are not happy.” He states “I feel the happiest when I see, not only how far I have come, but how far I have left to go”

My journey toward my true vocation apparently is still in progress and has taken another turn down an alternate path, into the unknown. My deep passion has always been in service to others. As my story goes in relation to where I am now is about helping others it always has been. My mother died when I was a two-year old child, the youngest in a family of 6 girls. Five older sisters? I learned to become a helper early on, I learned to serve.  Some would say a traumatic experience, maybe so, but it was at this time I came to believe in God. I was told that she was and angel, with God in Heaven. I believed. I grew to understand the meaning of  life everlasting. She has always been with me, all these 58 years. I have felt her presence many times, I have had many encounters with her spirit. As a child growing up  I pretty lucky, I had many “mothers” in my life growing up. It takes a village, I had a village. My father with his creative mind and love of the gardening taught me the love of being in and tending to nature, he taught me Gods Grace in the works of tending the Garden.

In my early vocation my label was “personal trainer.” I worked with hundreds of men and women to achieve a their personal goal of wellness. It came to me on the heals of a 4 year journey into a life of competitive body building, winning several local, state and national awards. I was fortunate to be able to build a career in helping others.

Seeing that it was a world that in all outward appearances it looked healthy, but their were worldy woes that existed within. I soon became what I call and “ultimate bodybuilder.” I had a child. This gift taught me many things about serving others and brought it to a greater level of humility and joy. A single mother for 11 years before I met and married my husband. Together we had two more children that I was gifted with to further help me grow. I have spent the last 30 years caring for others at the expense of my own personal well being, my own serenity. On the road to recovery their are still many paths to explore.

 

I am learning to give up control, to understand that I can’t do it on my own.

I’m learning just how selfish I really am.

I’m learning to find pleasure in simple things.

I’m learning to take time to play, and rest.

Above all else, I’m learning to trust and pray.

Never before have I felt so inadequate, so out of control, so overwhelmed and so dependent on the Lord. I’ve always been deeply rooted in my faith in God. I’ve seen God do amazing things and I have trusted Him in times when  I struggled through the deep valleys in my life. Being a parent has tested my faith in ways I never imagined. Each day I’m forced on my knees, crying out to the Lord for wisdom, patience, peace and selfless love.

Where are you on your journey to your true vocation?  Where does your deep gladness, your passion, your caring, meet the world’s deep need?

Back to School…What was I thinking?

What was I thinking when I chose to undertake the task of two classes in the same timeframe during this current tumultuous storm of politics, religion, and cultural clashing that is undergoing a climate change of Biblical proportion? Cultural Considerations for Drug and Alcohol Counseling, and Spirituality and Helping are two subjects that are increasingly important to understand, as we are experiencing more than ever in our times such political, spiritual and emotional uprising. There is a calling for a closer connection between religious history and the sociology of religion, and for more integration between the study of religious movements and social movements in general (Hackett, 1989:461;Hannigan, 1991)

Growing up I was taught “Do not talk politics and religion” I cannot wonder that if we were taught to engage in conversations from a young age about politics and religion where we would be today. If “religion” were taught in our schools how we could be better equipped to converse today with all members of society.

Religion has existed for thousands of years to encourage cooperation and tolerance within communities. Defined as a social institution, where customs, rituals and belief systems are established and taught to offer guidance to be happy, whole and hale in mind, body, emotion and spirit.

With over 4,000 religions that exist in the world dating back to over 5000 years, religion is not going away. It is at this time in America and around the world religion in some senses is being threatened, challenged and reshaped by a questioning or rejection of beliefs and traditions. Stephen Protheros is says there are multidisciplinary perspectives and exchanges that are necessary. I agree! All the religions of the world share many ethical and moral concepts that matter socially, economically, politically and in regards to military. Prothero maintains that to not see or acknowledge the differences are “disrespectful, dangerous and untrue, it does not make the world a safer place by pretending that they are all the same.” If we are to accept and honor and resect each other we must have realistic understanding of at least the major world religions. What brings them into conflict and where they can find unity and harmony?

The fundamentals of all religions are peace, love and understanding and although they appear to bring us to one universal understanding of this, they differ in many ways. Huston Smith a world renowned scholar of religion states “It is possible to climb life’s’ mountain from any side, but when the top is reach the trails converge, at the base in the foothills of theology, ritual and organization structure, the religions are distinct.”

You don’t have to go far to see that the world is in an unhealthy state. The climate is definitely changing and we must understand the differences, the reasons why religious cultures encounter conflict with each other. Protheros states “ Tolerance and respect are empty virtues until we actually know something about whomever it is we are supposed to be tolerating or respecting.”

Prothero demonstrates and wants us to understand that in order to solve human problems we have an understanding that the problems of humans are different and their approach is also different. For instance Buddhist believes in no God, Christians and Jews believe in one God and Hindus believe in many gods. Hindus are looking to be released from bondage to samsara, a continuous cycle of life, death and reincarnation because of karma.

Karma is the effects and experience of the souls reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth, the solution is moksha, the liberation from the bondage of finite existence.          Stephen Protheros claim is that “God is not One.” For us to see religions as the same or that they do not matter is to not understand that their differences. The differences do matter. They are rivals competing with another for the same objective. To ignore or ridicule them is a naïve dangerous approach to understanding. If we are to develop knowledge and understanding of each other then we must acknowledge the diverse teachings that each religion is offering to explore what allows us to thrive in a happy and healthy manner with each other.

I tend to agree with Protheros. In order to understand my own religion, to explore my center, to develop my own sense of being, I have to go outside of my world to discover other people’s beliefs, experiences and values in order to define my own. As quoted by the German Scholar Max Muller “ he who knows one, knows none.” In order to broaden awareness and understanding of others beliefs I must gain insight into their world. This is essential for the development of intellectual conversations and examination about life, death and the pursuit of happiness amidst all the doubt and confusion that life has to offer. As we see our current state of affairs in the United States of America we can see that Religion causes great emotion and indeed has great power to stir people into action and move or threaten economies. We are constantly evolving as we undergo the shifts and changes that our present world is experiencing in this global economy. Religious differences and traditions are plentiful in the workplace and within our communities. The differences inside each of these religions are vast. Multidisciplinary perspectives, and exchanges are necessary especially in the helping professions. Religion can be a vital aspect of our identity that shapes our behaviors, values and beliefs, it can be useful in the process of facilitating the well being of others. Back to School……What do you think?