Balance

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an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

I try to do yoga 4-5 times a week. Yoga is all about balance, much like life is. Often times one of my sides if off balance and I cannot get into a pose really well or hold one as long as the other.

If you are into any type of energy work or spirituality, then you know that the right side of the body represents masculine and the left side represents feminine. I am fascinated by this when people complain of aches or pains on one side of their body and I wonder where they are off balance in their thoughts, actions, and feelings.

The masculine side is characterized by logic, facts, systems, and self-interest. The feminine side uses intuition, feelings, openness, and the unselfishness of our nature. If we see them as separate, instead of embracing both qualities within us, then we are living in duality.

If both sides are in harmony, then your masculine and feminine energies are balanced and you have better health, harmony, and are conscious to all beings. You may have heard the terms divine masculine and divine feminine; this is unity within, which in turn, will foster unity without.

In order to have healthy relationships with partners, nature and everything in-between, there has to be a union of these two energies within us first. But most of us do not have this and our relationships will reflect where we are off balance.

We are currently off balance at this particular time in history. We are anxious, fearful, panicked, overwhelmed and angry. Shelves are empty and people are scared. We are ignoring one another instead of helping and staying as far away from anyone that we even perceive as a threat.

Where is the humanity in any of it? Human touch is what makes us all thrive, yet we are afraid to even look at one another.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to buy into the fear. I cannot control what happens tomorrow, nor can you. The best that I can do is be responsible, make smart choices that don’t put myself or others in danger and keep doing what I do.

I’m not wearing a mask, I don’t have any Purel, I haven’t stock-piled toilet paper, and I most certainly haven’t stopped my yoga practice or auditions. In fact, I think I might go out to eat later and enjoy a nice dinner with a glass of wine.

Call me irresponsible, call me crazy or call me ignorant. I don’t care. I’m calling it living without fear because feeding into it, only creates more hysteria and I don’t operate from that place. If I have learned one thing on this journey, it’s to respond not react; there really is a difference.

All that is being asked of you at this moment, is to remain balanced. To stay calm. Love those in your life a little more because you are being forced to be with them now and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Look at the positive and stop focusing on the negative and all of this will leave as fast as it came.

Nurture the feminine aspect of yourself and the masculine one as well. We are not at war with one another, in fact, we are in this together. This is an opportunity for us all to unite and make conscious choices that will raise the vibration of our planet, instead of ones based on fear that lower it and send us all into a tailspin.

Love, laugh, play games, share meals, talk. Everything happens for a reason-maybe this one is simply to appreciate what we have and those who are in our lives, just a little more.

In The Arms Of An Angel

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In The Arms Of An Angel

This morning at 6am I did a good thing for myself and went to yoga. Sometimes I go even when I am not feeling it, because I know that is when I need it most. It grounds me. The place I go to is a real community too and speaks all the spiritual lingo I like, which I appreciate.

But this morning when I arrived the instructor was in the room stretching to this song and I had to leave and go to the bathroom to wait for it to finish.

This song reminds me of my brother, Dean, who died at the age of 30. God, he was just a kid! I’ve gone through his things a hundred times looking for clues, and I see evidence of a young man who was sentimental, scared and feeling so despondent.

He kept cards we had all given him and ticket stubs from baseball games and the like. His life was barely getting started and my life has never been the same since his death.

As hard as I tried to get my head around the news when I first heard it, I just couldn’t accept it.

I had been out for the evening with my ex-husband. One of the only nights we took a much needed break from owning a restaurant. My sister was sitting in the back booth when I came in and simply said, “You need to call Mom.” She was so odd, I remember saying, “Did she win the lottery?”

She didn’t win the lottery, but she did have a police officer show up at her house and tell her that her son was dead.

He was found in a hotel room with copious amounts of drugs in his system. There was no note, even though my father told everyone at his funeral that he had killed himself. An investigation was done and the coroner said the cause of death was “unable to determine.”

When I think about him alone in that hotel room it makes me utterly distraught with sadness. I wonder why he didn’t call me, like he had so many other times in his life. It mattered not to me if he needed money or just wanted to tell me how hard he was working to make things right. I always had an ear for him. I thought we shared everything, but I guess he couldn’t share how utterly broken he felt with me, because he was my big brother and he felt he should be strong.

I just loved him! I know my boys would have loved him, too. They would have seen what I saw in him, when the rest of the world didn’t.

I know he watches over me. He is my angel, which is pretty ironic, since he did so many devilish things when he was here. He was always into trouble. Most of my childhood was filled with his antics, but I never cared, never judged him.

When I talk about feelings, change and authenticity, I am a person who understands how really precious our time here is. My brother was my friend, my hero. He always had my back and I tried so hard to have his. He was a person who was always up for an adventure. He was a person who not only walked to the beat of another drum, he created the beat.

When I say, “What’s the worst that can happen” it’s because I know what that is.

The worst thing that can happen, is that you don’t tell the people in your life how you feel about them. How much they mean to you and how much you love them.

I never got to say goodbye to my brother. He just left. The last time I saw him was not the best of circumstance. I was at his court appearance for some trouble he had gotten into and it didn’t fare well for him.

When the Balif came and handcuffed him, he looked back at me before they lead him out another door. If I close my eyes I am back in the courtroom with that look. I felt so helpless at the time cause I was just a kid, too. I wanted to do something for him but I felt like I couldn’t. If I had the day to do over, I would have jumped over all of the benches and held him, told him how much I loved him and that nothing was so bad that he had to take his life.

Please do not take anyone in your life for granted. Do not think that you have unlimited days with them to tell them how you feel or to make things right with them.

Life really is short and often times the people we love most, are taken from us without notice. Embrace everyone that you love, everyone that you want to love and everyone that you yearn to make things right with.

 

 

Mirror Mirror

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Man In The Mirror

I’m a sucker for Disney movies! I watched Snow White this week and as the evil step mother looks into the mirror and asks, “Who is the fairest of them all?” I had a revelation.

I used to hear the word “mirroring” all the time when I was forced on this spiritual journey. You know what I mean by that because, well, you don’t really have a choice. Once you start seeing things differently there’s no not seeing them, so you have to just keep going.

I digress.

I would hear spiritual teachers say, “You don’t like that person because they are mirroring something back to you.” What did that even mean? The more I thought about it, the more confused I got.

I mean, there were some women in my life with a resting bitch face that could be sold on Halloween. And the men? Equally as ugly. They disregarded me, treated me as though I were beneath them or tried to control me, just to make their disempowered selves feel  more powerful. Was I them? As hard as I tried to see it, I just didn’t, because I knew I was nice, so I couldn’t grasp how I attracted so many meanies into my life.

Well, it took me a very long time to get this one, so I am going to share it with you just in case you are wondering what the people (we’ll call them mirrors) you are looking into are really reflecting back to you. (You should get excited now..this is a game changer!)

They are mirroring YOUR unhealed wounds. Things that happened to you in your childhood. You see, at some point in your childhood, someone either made you feel less than, disregarded, abandoned, unsafe, bullied, controlled, disempowered, unloved, and plain old not good enough. All of the big ones!

And because no one cared what your feelings were, you were just a child after all and what kind of a voice were you allowed to have…you learned to stuff it all inside. And now, years later, you’re wondering why you keep attracting the same boss, the same men, the same women. Blah blah ad nauseam.

This little kid, now a grown ass adult, has been trying to get your attention for a long time. But you keep shoving it down, ignoring its pleas and outright dismissing any wrong doing to it, much like the adults in your life did to you. But now the little kid has had it, so all of that pain is surfacing, begging to be healed once for all, by way of the asshole standing in front of you, making you feel horrible.

This is mirroring. You are not, nor have you ever been this horrible person who is making you feel bad. This person who puts you down, embarrasses you, makes nasty comments, tries to control you, takes advantage of you, lies to you or maybe even dismisses you altogether, is someone from your childhood.

Your response in your body is a telltale sign that you are being triggered by them and is an opportunity for you to finally listen to that little kid who was shut down. The way you feel when you are around this person, their tone of voice or something they say, the way they look at you or even roll their eyes when you talk, are all clues that this mirroring is happening to you.

Your unhealed traumas from childhood show up in random people as a gift. I know that sounds ridiculous, but once you see these people for who they are, you will no longer be controlled by them. You can look at each of them as a door that is opening, until finally that little kid is set free.

Who were when you came into this world, before the adults in your life gave THEIR shit to you? I’ll tell you…amazing, limitless, lovable, strong, talented, brilliant, beautiful and innocent.  Take that back! You have the key, but as long as you keep holding onto the stories that were given to you, instead of making your own, you will attract the same people who disempower you, until you do.

The step mother in Snow White saw this purity in her step daughter and she was jealous of it. People who put you down, treat you poorly and judge you are really jealous of you because they see all of these qualities in you but do not know how to give it to themselves, so they take yours instead.

We all possess beauty, inner beauty. There is no need to disparage someone else to have it. If someone is doing this to you, then it is because you have unhealed childhood wounds that are needing attention.

There is no need to look at people who don’t love you unconditionally anymore. We’re done with that! Lesson learned! And if you haven’t yet gotten it, then ask yourself what it is they are showing you that needs to be healed. Do you love yourself enough to finally get this?

See all of those people as alerts: “Danger Will Robinson!” your inner child is saying, begging you to look at it, hear it, help it.  We only ever attract people into our lives who mirror how we feel about ourselves on the inside. Does that make sense? I hope so!

Stop looking for mirrors, unless you’re doing your makeup or hair. Look within! That is where all of your answers are and your freedom too.

Apology

a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.

It’s Too Late To Apologize

Is it ever too late to apologize? I’ll leave that answer up to you.

The other day I got released from a really big job. My manager (the most amazing woman ever) apologized to me. It was completely unnecessary because that’s just the nature of the business, but she knows how hard I work and understood what it meant to me. She followed it up with a “I  believe in you.” It was truly heartfelt and I appreciated her acknowledgement of me as a person and an artist and the struggles that we go through.

But sometimes people apologize and don’t mean it. If you’re one of those, you should know that an apology without meaning is really manipulation. Have you ever had someone say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” This is the worst apology of all because it really isn’t one. What it is, is a passive aggressive way of saying I’ll let you think I am acknowledging your feelings, when really I don’t give a crap about them at all.

I have had a few turdy people do some pretty shitty things to me in my life and I have never expected an apology from any of them nor do I want one. An empty person can only beget an empty apology which leaves you feeling emptier, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather be at a table with those who bring something to it, in lieu of those who only know how to take.

Here are my thoughts on an apology.:

1)An apology is not a confession. If you’re confessing, you’re only thinking of yourself and not the person you are apologizing to.

2)An apology should not be done with an expectation either. This is called an agenda and an agenda is all about you.

3)An apology is not some magic pill that you think is going to make you feel better once you do it. You’re swimming back in the me waters again. Save that shit for the confessional!

4)An apology should not be done because you think it will make things better in a situation, like a family thing. This is called acting. A person in touch with another person’s feelings will know when they need to say they are sorry, it won’t be scripted.

5)An apology is not something that requires the right time or the right circumstance. If you think this way, then you live in denial, because there is no much thing.

In it’s simplest form, an apology is the acknowledgement of another person’s feelings and how you may have trampled all over them. In order to know this, you have to have empathy. You have to have the ability to understand the feelings of someone else and be able to share those feelings openly and honestly. If you can’t do that, then don’t bother with an apology because it won’t be taken as one. (See 1-5 for where you are coming from).

But there are those times when we think we might need to apologize to someone, when it isn’t necessary at all. I think these apologies are from our own guilt because we know we did something that may have upset someone else, but it wasn’t intentional. An apology with an energy of fear or trepidation around it might be some program you’re running which has absolutely nothing at all to do with the person you think you need to apologize to, and you might want to look further into that.

My gauge for apologizing is simple. If I can see, hear or sense that I have upset someone in my life that I care about, then I do not hesitate. The relationships I have are far more important to me than my ego, so I acknowledge my part in someone else’s sadness, anger or frustration because my heart becomes lighter when I do so. A heavy heart is a burdened one; let that shit go.

Relationships that matter to us aren’t always easy. Sometimes things are said or weren’t said, and we wish we could go back and do things differently. But living in the past doesn’t work for anyone because it’s over. It is the present that counts.

Our time, our energy, our attention lets the people we care about know that we hear them, see them and understand them and that no matter what is going on in our world, we honor them by noticing what is going on in theirs as well.

And at the end of the day, that’s all any of us really want, isn’t it? To be honored, seen, appreciated and loved for who we are, by those we care for most.

 

 

Beauty

a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

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This was my dog, Bernie. He was so beautiful internally, that his essence made its way into the external and I found him utterly handsome.

He had about five teeth in all and the two bottom ones protruded. He snapped sometimes at other people, mostly men, because usually puppy mills are operated by them, so as you can imagine, dogs don’t trust or like them.

When we first found our way to one another it wasn’t love at first sight. I didn’t see his beauty and he certainly didn’t see mine. I saw a dog who needed  a lot of rehabilitation, he saw another person who was a threat.

I foster dogs and he needed fostering, so I was tasked with getting him ready to be adopted. He was broken, scared, full of distrust and peed everywhere. Most dogs who come from puppy mills have suffered greatly and worst of all, have never felt love. They have never been touched by a hand, unless it is to grab them and throw them in another cage to mate (hence the snapping). 

His name was Big Bang when I got him. Ridiculous for sure! Bernie means victory bringer, strong, brave bear, so I thought that fitting since he was so determined to heal, so I changed it.

He grew on me pretty quickly and when it came time to give him back to the shelter, I couldn’t. How could I? He had learned to trust me, understand what love was and not flinch when I went to pet him. We had a bond.

Bernie used to spin in circles on command when he saw me and ran little laps around the yard because he was so happy when I came home. He loved to cuddle, too and be held.

Bernie spent nine of his twelve years of life in a puppy mill, so this display of utter joy was beautiful to behold. If you’re not aware of what a puppy mill is, please look them up. This post is about beauty, not torture, so I don’t want to get into it.

Bernie was with me for awhile, until he was tragically hit by a car and died in my arms on the way to the animal hospital. I bawled for days over his death. It was completely unnecessary. A freak accident.

But the beauty that he brought into my life remains. I keep his photo on my living room shelf and my desktop. I knew how beautiful Bernie was, which is why I miss him so much.

Sometimes beauty is right in front of us and we don’t even see it. For one reason or another we just don’t recognize the beauty in someone or something and we pass it over. Beauty does not argue nor does it hold a grudge when this happens. It has a wisdom that understands we cannot see inner beauty if we do not posses it ourselves.

It is of the utmost importance that you understand that no one is ever rejecting you. People are either vibing towards what you have to offer or they aren’t. It’s really that simple. One you understand this, you will never see anything or anyone as rejecting you again. You will see it as a form of directing you towards those who honor you, instead of those who do not. There is so much power in that.

Real beauty, the inner kind, does not need validation, an apology or forgiveness.  It is love without conditions because it is divine and pure of essence. Inner beauty is all that should matter to any of us, but too often it doesn’t.

When I was in my thirties there was a certain young man who took me out for a date. I wasn’t that attracted to him ( I was in a “only if he’s handsome and vapid sort of stage” at the time) but a co worker insisted I go, pressing me about how nice he was and even agreed to come along. Can you imagine? That poor guy!

I remember this guy in particular because he made me a collage afterwards. I was moving to New York for work and he had taken clippings from magazines of Manhattan all relating to me and my life. He was genuine and kind only wanted to show me how much he liked me, but I was too into appearances then, so I dismissed his beauty, the one that truly mattered (the inner kind), thanked him for the collage and said bye.

He saw my beauty but I could not see his. I was so focused on career, getting ahead and dating jerks that didn’t give a crap about me, that I didn’t value it.  How could I, when I didn’t even value myself?

I finally understand that beauty is not a surface thing, but an inner thing. It’s how someone makes you feel internally, like you’ve swallowed a rainbow. It’s how you light up when you see them because they do the same. It’s a knowing that they have your back no matter what is going on around you and they are the first person you want to be with when you’ve had a stellar day or a shitty one.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by beauty for a good part of my life. There have been times where ugly seeped in, both inside and out, but all and all I’ve been pretty lucky and I find the more I focus on beauty, the more arrives.

I spend most mornings out back in my yard listening to birds. They chirp to one another in their bird lingo (probably wondering when I am going to feed them) and some mornings a nice breeze blows through the tree branches and I hear the wind chimes on the back porch ring.

There is so much beauty in this world! Sometimes it’s right in front of us and we don’t even see it, but if we just change our focus, we will witness miracles.

May you find beauty in your world, no matter who or what gifts it to you and appreciate it for all of its glory and wonder.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.     

Kahlil Gibran

Needs/Wants

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This is an especially great time of year to evaluate your life and figure out what you need versus what you want.

Kids are great at telling you what they want, especially around Christmas. I don’t know what your house is like, but my kids don’t need anything. It’s like Christmas happens every day of the year for these guys.

But there is something about Christmas that brings out the kid in all of us. I used to circle toys in the Sears catalog (I am really dating myself here) basically the entire page. Needless to say I liked it all.

I still like everything. But the truth is, I don’t need anything. I pretty much buy myself what I want throughout the year. I don’t need a special day to treat myself special. I just do it. But I do like treating my boys like royalty, so I kind of go overboard on Christmas.

It’s the one day of year where we get our innocence back. We get permission to be a kid and take in the wonderment of all of the lights, hoopla and selfishness of asking for what we want. I honor this in them because there have been times where their innocence was threatened and they were forced to grow up way too early.

Kids don’t have it easy today. Keeping them safe, grounded and on the right path isn’t easy either. I think the key to being a good parent is being a good listener.

Kids have incredible logic, too. They will always tell you the truth (at least when they are little) and if you give them a voice, they will pretty much continue this into adulthood.

I give my kids the gift of freedom, a voice, and unwavering support in their endeavors. I always have. If they don’t want to do something, I don’t make them. If they don’t like someone, I honor that and don’t force a relationship. If they tell me this is what I want to do, I do everything I can to help them achieve it.

I don’t have all of the answers and I am certainly not perfect, but I do the best that I can. And I’m pretty sure they know that their needs and wants are all that matter to me.

I thought about this needs versus wants thing yesterday, when I went to yoga class to get a good workout in and arrived to see the teacher in tears. I offered to go so that she could continue crying without an audience, but she insisted I stay.

Ah geese, I thought, I just want to leave right now. I can’t with the drama! But there was only one other person there so I resigned to staying, because sometimes we have to put others needs ahead of our wants and the only way you know when to do this, is by being present.

I wanted one thing yesterday but was needed for something else.  To be there for this woman who said she would feel better if she taught and that it would help her feel less emotional. So I just let go and went with the flow and allowed myself to be in the moment.

I left the class feeling calm, relaxed and very grounded. Today I woke up sore as hell, so in short, I got exactly what I wanted.

This morning my youngest asked to me look into a school in South Carolina for him. His older brother is a huge fan of his and supports him whole heartedly and he told him about it. I never would have wanted to live in some small southern town, but I know my youngest needs to be given every opportunity his two older brothers were, so I am keeping an open mind about it.

Maybe there is something you want or at least you think you do, but maybe just maybe you are getting exactly what you need right now. I heard the other day that we are exactly where we are meant to be-otherwise we would be elsewhere.

So maybe where we are at this very moment, is exactly where we need to be, whether we think we want it or we don’t. It all goes back to embracing the present moment. Because right here, right now, everything is absolutely wonderful.

 

Finding Your Voice

cloudSometimes in life we have to find our voice. And while it may resemble a storm cloud with a megaphone at first, if we are just learning how to do this, it is far better to rain on someone else’s parade, then continuing to do so on our own.

I’m not one who struggles with this too much, especially when it comes to writing. I do however still find a bit of trepidation when I want to tell someone I don’t like something.

But I’m getting better at it for sure.

Often times when we are faced with a situation where someone crosses a line or boundary which makes us uncomfortable, we have to find words to let them know, even if it upsets them.

Actually, upsetting another person should not even come into play when we are expressing our needs, wants and desires, but we have all been conditioned to believe this.

This is old thinking, old programming. We get so worried about what someone might think of us that we wind up not saying or doing anything, which is probably the worst thing we can possibly do.

People don’t admire people who don’t speak up. The may not like them either. In fact, they just might call them names or say they are crazy. Throughout history this has been done to people just questioning authority, the system.

So I say question it! In fact, question everything! Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable deserves even more questioning. Why should you sit back and say nothing? There are enough people who do that, which is why change never occurs.

It’s the people who are bold and brave enough to step into their power and raise their voice that get shit done. And if you can’t say something to somebody but they can say and do whatever the hell they want to you, then you might want to question yourself for allowing that to be so.

Yesterday I listened to one of my children recount an incident that occurred during the day. He was sticking up for his brother (props to him) and an adult screamed curses at him. When all was said and done the powers that be took the adults side and I had to find my voice to tell them what I thought of that.

I was super proud of my son for having his say. Even more proud of him for sticking up for his brother. This show of bravery is to be truly admired, since this is the kid who was made to feel like shit by my husband’s parents, every time he said something. He has worked hard to find his voice and I don’t care how loud or untuned it is, it’s beautiful.

Often times the words may not come out as eloquently as we would like, but it is never the words we should be worrying about anyway.

It’s the action. Showing someone that you have their back and letting them know that no matter who tries to tell them their opinion doesn’t matter, it actually does, because they matter.

Words are empty without action. It’s like the Charlie Brown teacher in someone’s ear who is trying to understand why your inaction of not wanting to offend someone offended them even more.

It is the people who are not afraid to make enemies that make the most change. After all, what is an enemy but merely a person who is jealous?