The Runway Grows Shorter

By Jo Mooy

Your life journey happens on the runway, and it maps to the decades of major life passages.

21st century know-how—fabled technology—military might—medical miracles—scientific genius! None of it mattered when a microscopic virus stopped the world in its tracks. Whatever held us enthralled in early 2020 came to screeching halt. I don’t know anyone who was unaffected when the pause button was pushed.

During my Days of The Pause, after the initial fear that we’re all gonna die passed, I became a cinematographer. Then a “don’t hold your breath for a recording contract” guitar player. I read lots of books. I bought a new set of watercolors. They’re still not opened. I wrote articles for future retreat books. Would in-person retreats ever return? I gained weight. I lost weight. Then I stopped doing things. That was the most therapeutic. I sat for hours pondering the world’s plight and knew that nothing would ever be the same.

I’m not a “Bible person.” I only know two things from the Bible—the 23rd Psalm and “To everything there’s a season,” which I mostly learned from the song “Turn Turn Turn” by the Byrds. During a morning of major Pause Ponderings Ecclesiastes floated into my mind. To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to tear down and a time to heal. A time to love and a time to hate. A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time for war and a time for peace. Every crisis happening all over the world fit snugly into one of those sentences.

Then the deeper dive began. What was my role in all of it? Did I still have one? If so, how will it look? Will it change? Of course it would because I was no longer the same. My grandson’s college graduation reminded me of my own. So I trolled a life review. The roads I took in life weren’t by chance. Each detour supported some of my aspirations and goals. I punted on a few of them—like the Peace Corps or becoming a forest ranger. I didn’t do either though they were near the top of my list after graduation. Others panned out in ways I hadn’t expected. What stood out the most vividly wasn’t the missed goals. Rather it was the “runway.”

Everybody has a runway. It starts at birth and ends with death. The journey happens on the runway. It has a limited amount of time. It subtly defines you. It maps to the decades of major life passages, like birth, puberty, school, marriage, jobs, having children, grandchildren, and death. At the beginning of the runway, you’re young and filled with inspiration and passion to make a mark and get things done. You’re convinced you’re unique and that you have all the time in the world. You don’t! But it takes around the sixth decade on the runway to realize that.

I call my good friend of forty-plus years, “Em3.” Our runways run parallel, though our beliefs and politics are polar opposite. Anything occurring on the national stage, especially political, prompts a fierce sparring match. We once went at it like gladiators. Today we go at it like two aging Sumo wrestlers. At the end of the match we always “agree to disagree” because the friendship ultimately means more than the politics—which changes like the weather.

Recently Em3 told me she was depressed and sad. I asked her if she was ill. She said, “No, it’s about the country.” I asked her to clarify what she was talking about because I don’t watch opinion news. She presented a long list of concerns along with her biggest fear that the United States, the country she loved, was going to disappear. I told her all empires rise and fall, even the great Roman Empire only lasted 1,000 years. That didn’t sit well. Because she’s well-versed in Bible lore, I offered the one thing that helps keep me sane when chaos reigns and the entire world feels out of control: To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven. A time for war and a time for peace. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to be born and a time to die.

I asked her what she thought two aging matrons could do to solve any of the current issues? Did she envision us leading an army of gray haired women on walkers or canes and marching on Washington? After the laughter we reminisced on the past. Once upon a time both of us marched on Washington – she for her cause, me for mine. We called congress to complain. We wrote exquisite letters to senators that our Jesuit teachers would be proud of. We lobbied. We cared passionately and enthusiastically. The journey in the middle of the runway was a heady time.

Today, we’re both in our seventh decade. Our time is running out. The runway grows much shorter. The point of “lift off” is coming. We gave it our all and we fought the good fight for our causes. But that shorter runway in front of us means focusing on the future, not on what’s happened. Legions of younger women and men are behind us. Their runways are much longer than ours. It’s their world now, just as it once was ours. It’s time to let go and pass the baton over. It’s up to them now to do what needs to be done and to do it in their way. It’s no longer ours.

Every generation has a season and a time. Our parents taught us their values then passed the torch over to us. We did the same with our children and grandchildren. Will they do it better? I’m sure they will. All the runways seem endless when you’re young. But they will grow shorter. Empires rise and fall. And to everything there’s a season and a purpose. Our purpose now? Heal in silence! All will be well. It always is.

Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email jomooy@gmail.com.

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It’s Never Too Late

By Larry Komorebi Moore

Nine vital keys to building and nurturing healthy relationships.

I was born with a disability.

Back in the fifties, most children like me were “shut-in.” There were no children “like me” to play with, and I was shunned by the other kids because I was different. My parents also got divorced when I was two. Without siblings, I grew up alone and feeling unlovable.

By the age of three I was not walking yet, so a friend put my mother in touch Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, a local hospital that specialized in treating children with disabilities. After a full physical and psychological workup, they offered to admit me immediately.

What followed was a series of operations—seven to be exact—spaced almost evenly between the ages of three and 15. New medical ground was being broken here, and some of the procedures were experimental, although not dangerous. Muscles in my legs were lengthened, transplanted, and even severed in some cases. Bones were straightened. Between hospitalizations, I had to wear plaster casts followed by heavy and uncomfortable braces.

My recovery from these operations was sometimes slow and always painful. Each time I had to learn how to walk all over again. I fell down. Often. But each time I fell, my mother would run up to me and ask, “Are you hurt?” If I was okay, her next words, which may sound cruel to some, were: “Then get up.”

I would struggle to get up as I was told, and I know it broke her heart to watch, but the doctors had told her what to do. Time after time, and operation after operation, I did get up, without help, and I grew stronger each time.

Early adulthood was a little better, and I managed to make friends. I even found a girlfriend! Life was good for a while, but it didn’t last. Looking back, I didn’t know what love was, but it hurt just the same when she left. The next relationship didn’t fare much better. Or the next. I dropped out of college. Once again, I found myself feeling alone and unlovable.

I was the problem, you see, but I didn’t understand that what I was doing wrong. Without the “normal” experiences that most people acquire in their early years, I was unknowingly sabotaging my relationships with women who just couldn’t understand my inner emotional turmoil—or deal with it. I drank too much, and I was stoned most of the time and, probably worst of all, I found myself drawn to women who were just as “broken” inside as I was. Suddenly, I was 40, alone, and I felt finished. I stopped looking for love. What was the point? Would the world even miss me if I were gone?

Then, in the middle of the darkness, something shifted inside of me, and I heard and inner voice say: “Get up!”

In a psychological sense, I got up.

Thanks to a copy of The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, I began to look inside myself for those things I’d spent my entire life looking for on the outside. Meditation made me feel better. A lot better. I quit the drugs. I bought and read more spiritual and self-improvement books. A lot of them. I began to see more clearly. Then I found a group of fellow “seekers” on the Internet and—miracle of miracles—I met my future wife. We clicked in a big way, and in 1999 we got married. Happily so. Twenty-two years and counting, and as impossible as this sounds, we have never had a serious argument.

How is this possible, you may ask? I’ll tell you. My studies taught me nine vital keys to building and nurturing healthy relationships:

1. You have to love yourself first. Yes, warts and all.

2. We all fall down. The trick is to always “get up” again.

3. You can do it if you refuse to quit. Confidence is sexy.

4. Never settle. Wait for the one who will complete you.

5. Be patient. They are looking for you, too.

6. If they try to change who you are, they are not the one. Move on.

7. Communicate. Speak truthfully, and listen with an open heart.

8. Don’t keep secrets. Those will come back to haunt you.

9. Never make a unilateral decision—especially one that also affects your partner! Partnerships should always be equal endeavors. This is most important and has kept my marriage stable and happy for over 20 years.

My marriage is the best decision I have ever made. That was true in 1999 and it’s still true in 2021. We have been partners in three businesses, including my current one as a relationship coach. Before that, I was a social worker, and before that we operated a massage therapy practice. Not all of these endeavors have been successful, but that’s not really the point. Life is a roller coaster of good times and bad.

Life: It’s not how much you want, or even how much you have, it’s how much you love. I love my wife and she loves me. We are happy, through the storms and the sunshine.

Isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Author’s note: Curious about the 7 Action Steps you should take right now to keep the “Honeymoon Feeling” alive in your relationship? Download my free ebook here: https://freebie1.learninginlight.com/h2h.

Larry Komorebi Moore is a Relationship and Healthy Communications Coach. With a B.A. Summa Cum Laude in Social Work, Larry has worked with people from all walks of life, from young adults to seniors to the disabled. Post-graduation, he received Master, Relationship and Life Purpose coaching certifications from Transformation Academy, and he wrote two ebooks, one to help people overcome shyness and the other on rebuilding relationships. Larry lives in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife, Lydia, and their cat Mimsy. Visit him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearningLightLarry

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From Anger to Forgiveness to Peace

By Noelle Sterne

Six principles and eight tools to help you eradicate your anger, forgive, and arrive at peace.

Too often we hold onto hurts, slights, annoyances, insults, betrayals, wrongs, resentments, and outright anger for months, years, decades, and, before we blink, a lifetime. You know the stories: Brothers estranged for 25 years over an argument they can’t remember, mother and daughter who exchange only frosty Christmas cards, childhood buddies who parted over a single adult remark, an employee’s silently seething career-long resentment at the boss.

Most of us carry other angers too, like trunk loads of rage at the person who cheated us out of a large sum or suddenly walked out of what we thought was a great marriage. Or smaller gnat-biting angers: the proverbial uncapped toothpaste tube, empty dish left in the refrigerator, coat not back on its hook.

Anger and resentments, whatever their size and importance and whoever we see as the perpetrator, poison our outlook and blacken our perspective. But we can vanquish these devastating feelings. Here are six principles and eight tools to help you eradicate your anger, forgive, and arrive at peace.

1. It’s okay to get angry. You are entitled to feel anger at the other person’s wrongdoing, to burst out with disappointment, shock, rage. Those emotions are cathartic and healthy.

BUT . . . too often we hang onto these emotions. We never seem to express them enough. Any slight reminder starts us off again. They become our chronic reaction, hardening in us like coal. Unhealthily, these reactions translate into physical symptoms and full-blown illnesses, and these are connections mainstream medicine has begun to accept.

Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life offers enlightening correspondences between emotional causes and physical illnesses: arthritis is associated with criticism and resentment, bursitis with repressed anger, and malignant growths of all kinds with rehearsing old hurts and held-in resentment.

So express your anger. Scream into a pillow with the door closed, shout on the highway with the car windows rolled up, or curse in the basement with the exhaust fan on.

2. It’s not okay to cling to your anger. Express—Yes. Obsess, linger, replay, grind away—No. This is the stuff of disease, depression and decrepitude.

Even if your anger is buried beneath your daily activities, you can be sure that it is siphoning off your energy, enthusiasm, and hope. It’s plugging up your joy in living now and tainting your outlook for tomorrow. But—you can free yourself.

3. They needed to do that. This statement, impossible as it may seem to swallow, suggests one way to freedom. It’s the first real step in forgiving others.

See the culprit’s misdeeds or terrible actions as not entirely personal, not aimed specifically and maliciously at you. But if you feel they were directed at you, accept that too.

Either way, go deeper. It’s more likely that something very deep inside them was the real cause. Through the incident with you, they may have been reacting, at bottom, to lack of childhood love and support, fury at an absent parent, frustration at a stalled career, jealousy of everyone, feelings of unworthiness…In other words, they needed to do that.

4. It was the best that they could do at that moment. As you see they needed to do it, recognize too it was the best they could do at the time. This recognition doesn’t mean you’re condoning or excusing them, or feeling superior. Rather, accept that at the moment of their unforgivable action, they acted in the best way they knew how. Wherever they were in their development and even with good intentions, they were doing the very best they could.

5. The sin against you simply “missed the mark.” The wrong you feel they perpetrated upon you can be seen another way. In Aramaic, the original Biblical language, the word for “sin” also means an error or mistake. From this standpoint, a sin is not irrevocable, to be pushed in our faces at the Last Judgment. It is simply a mistake. As author and Unity minister Eric Butterworth writes, it is “missing the mark” (Discover the Power Within You).

So, see that other person’s wrongdoing as simply missing the mark. As you do, you’ll gain distance, put space between you and the action, and stop your blame.

6. Continued resentment and blame don’t hurt the other guy. Hugging those angry feelings close only injures yourself. Dr. Fred Luskin, author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, points out in an interview (with Salley Shannon, “Five Steps That Could Change Your Life,” Woman’s Day, February 1, 2004), “By carrying around these hurts, you are letting the person who harmed you continue to inflict new bruises.” I doubt that any of us is that masochistic.

Forgiving Advice

How do we stop the self-imposed damage? Here are eight effective tools.

Learn. Ask yourself what you can learn. Maybe it’s forgiveness (see below). Maybe it’s an admission that the offender is a mirror of you (oh, oh). Would you have acted similarly if the situation were reversed? Take the lesson. It will save you anger—and grief—next time.

Remind. New Thought teacher and author Gerald Jampolsky advises in Goodbye to Guilt:

Regardless of the seeming justification, if you feel tempted today to blame anyone, remind yourself that in the loving eyes of God we are all sinless and innocent.

Affirm. Hay gives powerful affirmations (Love Yourself, Heal Your Life Workbook):

• I am willing to go beyond my own limitations and judgments.

• I forgive them, whether they deserve it or not.

• I release myself from prison. I am safe and free.

• I give myself permission to let go.

Repeat: The moment those fiery thoughts about this person enter your mind, replace them with repeated words such as “Love,” “Namaste,” and “You are Loved.” Amazingly, even though it may take a few (or more) repetitions, your anger will dissipate. You will begin to feel moments of rest.

Meditate. Think of the individual in love and light. A Course in Miracles (Workbook, Lesson 78), instructs us: “Let me behold my savior in this one You have appointed as the one for me to ask to lead me to the holy light in which he stands, that I may join with him.”

Visualize. See an image of this person in Light, extending a hand to you, smiling. Hear this person speaking with you in a flowing exchange. This visualization can be very comforting.

Ask. Ask your Inner Voice what you may have done to cause or contribute to the situation. Letting your ego go, you become open to candid introspection, and answers will come.

Ask again. To heal the situation, ask your Inner Voice what to say, if to say anything, in what circumstances, and when. You will be told. And will feel blessed release.

Act. As the answers come, act and say what is in your heart—in person, on the phone, in a letter, or in your imagination. You will know you did the right thing by the feeling of freedom that comes.

So free yourself from the prison of angry condemnations. You will lose nothing and will feel much lighter. As you let go of anger and forgive, you will feel peace.

Author, editor, writing coach, workshop leader, and academic mentor, Noelle Sterne has published over 600 stories, essays, writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, and occasional poems in literary and academic print and online venues. Publications have appeared in Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul (five volumes), Inspire Me Today, LiveWriteThrive, MindBodySpirit, Journal of Expressive Writing, Mused, Pen and Prosper, Romance Writers Report, Ruminate, Sasee, Textbook and Academic Authors Association blog (monthly), Thesis Whisperer, Transformation Coaching, Two Drops of Ink, Unity Daily Word, Unity Magazine, WE Magazine for Women, Women in Higher Education, Women on Writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, for 30 years Noelle has assisted doctoral candidates in completing their dissertations (finally). Her published handbook to assist doctoral candidates is based on her professional academic practice: Challenges in Writing Your issertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Psychological Struggles (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2015). In Noelle’s spiritual self-help book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), she draws examples from her academic consulting and other aspects of life to support readers in reaching their lifelong yearnings. Continuing with her own, she is draft-deep in her third novel. Her webinar about Trust Your Life can be seen on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95EeqllONIQ&feature=youtu.be Visit
Noelle at her website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com.

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The Lessons of Dance

By Arielle Giordano

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.—Wayne Dyer

Dance takes you out of your mind and into your body! It can help you live with passion, enjoy your life journey and stay in the flow. Here are five important life lessons you can learn from dance:

1. Listening: Dancing takes you into music. You listen to the beat with your inner and outer rhythm and move to it. This helps you to hear your inner voice and what people are telling you, both of which are important parts of everyday life. Relax and listen to the quiet within—the subtle voice that speaks to you when you are not actively trying to hear! You will connect with your deepest heart and its guidance.

2. Balance: Dancers need good balance to move and perform, and balance building helps you to keep your life in harmony. Dance steps also promote good posture. I teach students to stand with feet hips distance apart and lift up from the hips. Shoulders are slightly pressed back and down and hips slightly forward. Stand on the right leg and lift the other leg and then reverse and lift the left leg. This exercise tests your balance. If you wobble, reposition your body in correct posture and do it again. (And be sure to have a chair close by to hold onto just in case!) Balance in your life can apply to work vs. play. The latter includes family time, doing what you love to do, being creative, participating sports or a physical activity, dancing with friends and solitary time.

3. Rhythm: Dance is rhythm, and rhythm is dance; it is the primal heartbeat of your soul. Dance teaches you to move gracefully in life and find your own rhythm. It is also a source of healing because movement is good medicine—calming, relaxing, and centering for the body, mind and spirit.

4. Grounding. Moving your feet in the rhythm of dance and connecting to the Mother Earth is grounding for your body, mind and spirit. Dance also helps you to become grounded in the truth of what you know. Stand your ground and dance barefoot on the Earth!

5. Flow. Dance flows gracefully from one step to the next. If you miss a step, make it part of the dance. You know when you are in your flow or out of it, and the same sensations apply to life in general. Dancing makes you aware of the truth flowing in you. Stay in tune and flow with it.

Dance can set you free. Let go in your body, enjoy and have fun.

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.”—Agnes de Mille

Transformational Life Coach Award-Winning Author & Speaker, Professional Dancer. Arielle’s Award-Winning book for Best Self-Help Award: Dancing With Your Story From The Inside is available on http://www.Amazon.com. Her professional career includes the Lead Faculty Area Chairperson and Professor for the College of Humanities, History and the Arts at the University of Phoenix. She is a published co-author of Transform Your Life Books 1 & 2 and author for Tampa Bay Wellness, Conscious Shift & Transformation magazine. She has published her 4th book, an Instructor’s Manual for Barlow Abnormal Psychology 4th ed. and authored Psychology, A Journey 3rd.ed. Study Guide published by Nelson Education, Toronto, ON. She has also studied philosophy at the College of Integrated Philosophy with John DeRuiter for twenty years. Arielle has been a featured guest on radio and television, in newspapers, and the media across the US and Canada. She is a certified Essentrics Stretch and Dance Instructor. Arielle offers coaching sessions, classes and workshops and a free 30-minute Consultation. Websites: http://www.dancingfromtheinsideout.com, http://www.ariellegiordano.com. Email: agbeautifuldance@gmail.com

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Everything Changes

By Jo Mooy

Nothing is ever lost. It’s all evolving and transforming into it’s even more perfect form.

It’s hard to keep track of all the tumultuous passages that happened over the past 18 months. Few were immune to a pandemic that isolated nations and kept us separated from our families and friends. Many called the fallout from Covid a “life-altering experience” and said there was no going back to the way things were. As our world shrank to a few physical walls, we were left on our own to cope.

After watching endless hours of TV, a few found coping to mean cleaning out clutter in the home. For others who were isolated without a buffer or friends to bounce off their thoughts, their normal beliefs were replaced with odd-ball ones. Some turned to more spiritual pursuits—spending plenty of time in nature, trying different meditation techniques, or chanting. For them, isolation became a major healing process that’s still unfolding in its depth and understanding.

I found Covid’s isolation liberating. It freed me from every obligation I previously thought was so important. I rebooted myself and relished each moment I claimed of not doing and not going. Time was mine! I could sit on the lanai and watch dawn’s rise and still be there at noon without any guilt. How delicious that was. I reread favorite novels. I also resurrected some of my favorite teachings of the great Zen Master Suzuki Roshi.

One teaching in particular helped immensely with the death of a very dear friend named Madri. One of Suzuki’s students named Lewis Richmond told this story:

The Master gave an extended talk at a monastery in California. When the talk was over a young student raised his hand to ask a question. “You know,” the student said, “you’ve been talking a long while about all these complex Buddhist teachings. I don’t really understand anything you’re saying. Can you tell me what you said in a simple way so I can understand it better?” Everyone in the room glanced around. Some of the monks, stunned at the impertinence of the question, began silently praying on their malas. Others laughed nervously. Suzuki however, took the question quite seriously. He waited for the laughter to die down and then he quietly said, “Everything changes.”

Madri was an integral part of my community’s social and spiritual sphere, and she seemed eternal. She died seven days after being given a dire stage-four cancer diagnosis. The day of the diagnosis she was shocked. Three days before she died she told me, “Can you believe this is happening?” Then in her own Zen moment she added simply, “Everything has changed.” There was power, simplicity and magnitude in those three words.

Months later, they seem to be etched on my soul. I look at everything around me now with different eyes and deeper feelings. The impermanence can be startling. Some changes, like coal to a diamond takes billions of years. Other changes, like the lifespan of a mayfly, are over in five minutes. Each of us, along with the loved ones that we hold so precious and dear, will also disappear one day. Nothing lasts forever—Everything Changes.

Madri knew this on a deep soul level. She planned out her final instructions in a tabbed three-ring binder, which she began a year before any sign of illness. When I asked her about it she said, “Everyone should do this because things can change quickly.”

Looking anew at everything around me, I again hear the words: “Everything changes.” A fragrant yellow rose is blooming on the tall shrub. One day there’s a new bud. In two days the flower opens. In five days it’s as large as my palm. In eight days the petals are falling off. I don’t despair at its demise—but I rejoice in it’s limited beauty. The fragrance it had still lingers in my scent memories. It changed form but its essential essence remains.

When Suzuki said “Everything Changes” he was also teaching his students how to practice detachments. Detachment isn’t about not caring. It actually teaches that all things are related to all other things in a Cosmic connection. The only thing to realize is that it’s all evolving and transforming into it’s even more perfect form. Nothing is ever lost. Not loved ones, not the rose, not our very existence. The truth is, being here, experiencing life as it is, allows everything to eternally change towards the perfection of itself.

Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email jomooy@gmail.com.

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Just Breathe

By Jessi Franz

Remembering to breathe has been my saving grace—and it can be yours, too.

These four little words have been my saving grace for many years. Don’t forget to breathe. It sounds so simple right? We breathe in, we breathe out, it doesn’t take much thought. It’s a natural thing for the body to do. Breathing is the process of moving air into and out of the lungs, mostly to bring in oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide. But to me, taking that intentional deep breath means so much more…

Control is something we, as humans, are constantly seeking. We naturally crave and desire it. We “need” control over our finances, our families, our children, our belongings. We prefer complete control over how our day goes, what we think, and what we say. We want to control how people perceive us and their opinions of us. We control how we look by spending thousands of dollars to change our appearance, going on new diet plans, and purchasing name-brand clothing. We control our emotions—God forbid someone perceives us as weak.

Here’s the thing: Trying to control every area of our lives will drive us insane. In reality, what we do have control over is very limited. When we try to control everything, we enjoy nothing, and we forget to just…breathe—and that’s the one thing we do have control over.

Don’t forget to breathe…My husband’s favorite words to our kids when they are melting down: “Breathe.”

I remember my dad saying these words to me when my best friend, my grandpa, passed away. It rocked my little 8-year-old world. Here I am, now 31 years old, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The heartache, the pain, the confusion. I remember screaming at night, “He’s coming back.” My dad told me, “Just breathe.”

I remember the waking up to the doctors telling me, “don’t forget to breathe” when I overdosed.

When I was raped, and my body was being taken over and violated by a monster, I remember thinking, “Don’t forget to breathe.”

I remember being screamed at and spit on by a man who “loved me” and just repeating over and over, “Don’t forget to breathe.”

I remember my now husband saying these four simple words to me before walking into an ugly custody battle over my girls…“Don’t forget to breathe.”

Remembering to breathe has been my saving grace—and it can be yours, too.

Life is constantly surrounding us with ugly things and disappointing ideals. Social media, the news, people’s arrogant opinions: We are being told what to think and how to believe; we are constantly being told we are wrong. Don’t forget to breathe.

When you are hanging on my a thread and don’t know how much more you can take, don’t forget to breathe.

When you’re sending your children out into the world, don’t forget to breathe.

When you’re stuck at home with them, don’t forget to breathe.

When you’ve lost a loved one and the heartache seems too much to bear, don’t forget to breathe.

When you’re going around and around in circles with your spouse because you can’t just seem to get on the same page anymore, don’t forget to breathe.

When your world has been shaken to the core, and you just cannot seem to catch a break, do not forget to breathe.

Decrease the stress, increase the calm. Detoxify your body of the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and negativity. Be intentional with your breathing. Calm those heavy emotions you have been tirelessly carrying. Relax your mind. It’s been working overtime.

Show yourself some grace and don’t forget to breathe.

Jessi Franz is the wife of an amazing, supportive husband, TJ, and she has four beautiful children. She is a public speaker, university graduate with my BA in Behavioral Sciences, certified Master Life Coach, Recovery Coach, Relationship Coach, Goal Success Life Coach, Happiness Life Coach and Life Purpose Life Coach. Jessi has made it her life’s mission to help as many people as possible, in all walks of life, to find peace during chaos and confidence in their authentic Self, and to help them embrace their personal journeys. She has completed extensive studies on many therapeutic techniques to help beautiful souls overcome adversity, whatever it may be, and to reach their full potential. Contact her at jessifranz90@gmail.com.

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Wait for the Storm to Pass

By Mary Boutieller

Sometimes we just have to make the space for our own healing.

Throughout our time on the planet, events happen that can unhinge the solidness, the sureness of our lives and, when those things happen, we know to slow down and wait for the storms to pass. When everything is calm, we tend to go about our lives on a pretty even keel, humming along our merry way. So recently, with all apparently going well, I found it hard to explain why I suddenly felt unmoored without a reason that I could name. I just felt a little sad, a little in-between things.

As is my habit (I’m ashamed to admit), I might first try to ignore these things. If they persist, I will deny their existence and brush away the sensations like an irritating gnat. Then, I’ll get very, very busy, thinking that whatever “this” is, it will see it’s being shunned and go away. Finally though and pretty much always, I have to stop what I’m doing and be with the uncomfortableness of it all. Does anyone remember the song lyrics: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings?” Ughh!

Of course, in hindsight, I can see lots of reasons why I might have felt unsteady. As Jerry Lee Lewis famously sang, there’s a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on” in the world! As sentient beings, we can’t help but tap into the general consciousness of the world around us. The question is: How do we handle these times in the healthiest way possible for our highest and best good?

Eckhart Tolle said, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

Once we strip away the nonsense and the distractions that move us further away from our present moment experience, we can move toward it and try to understand what’s going on inside. Instead of rationalizing and intellectualizing it, I had to move into my sweet little emotional heart and just feel it. I had to acknowledge it—I had to say it out loud. And I had to be okay with it instead of trying to change it. The truth is, I was feeling ungrounded. It was as simple as that.

So what did I do about it? I did lots of little things to nurture myself: I slowed down, did some yoga, took naps and long showers. I hugged on my sweetie, talked with close friends, and didn’t expect too much from myself until I had settled back into my own skin…until I felt that the world and I were going to be okay once again. Sometimes we just have to make the space for our own healing.

Martha Postlewaite wrote, “Do not try to save the world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it. Only then, will you know how to give yourself to this world so worthy of rescue.”

What is it that you do to ground yourself in the “dense forest of your life?” To whom do you reach out when the road you are on feels a little shaky? Is there a poem that sings your song, a movement that feeds your body, a place (or person) that you call home over and over again? Go there, be there, breathe there, and realize that you have always been okay.

As independent beings, we forget that it’s necessary for our own well-being to reach out to others, even if it is just to hear ourselves think out loud. Loved ones hold that space for us, books help us understand the journey, music frees our soul’s imagination, and life itself presents gifts right in front of our eyes. We just have to be open to it…to all of it.

As you start your day today, let it be a reminder of our interdependence, our connection and our need for each other. Let us remember that the tapestry of our amazing lives is made from one thread joined beautifully to another.

And the next time you are feeling a little blue, take some time to go within, then reach out. Your friends, your teachers, the Universe is waiting.

Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.

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You Are Not A Petunia

By Gregg Sanderson

Bloom where you are planted.

Baloney. It makes sense if you are a flower, or a tree or a corpse. Somebody else plants you. But you’re a person. You can plant yourself anywhere you please.

That’s just one of the differences between you and a plant.

There’s more. You can choose the company you keep. You can converse with others of your species. You can be an insufferable jerk. It’s all up to you. What power! What freedom!

Suppose, you plant yourself in a job you don’t like. There’s no question you can bloom right on the spot. You can also change the spot, because you’re a you, not a petunia.

The same goes for relationships, location or any other life situation.

This is not to say you can’t bloom where you planted yourself. As a matter of fact, it will help you get to a new plot, if that’s your choice. Few flowers get picked when they aren’t blooming.

Enough with the metaphors. Wherever you are in life, it was your choices that got you there. It’s your choices that keep you there, and it’ll be your choice when you do something else. It can also be your choice to enjoy it all.

What it boils down to is to get rid of your justassoonazes…That is, “I’ll enjoy my life justassoonaz 1)I get in a relationship, or 2) I get a new job, 3) I reach enlightenment, or 4) I dump this loser.

Immediate NOW—No waiting.

To quote my favorite people of wisdom:

“…What you seek is not outside of you. It is not a gift from another person. It is yours… Let no one, therefore, hold you hostage. Not your partner, not your boss, not your family…and certainly not your God.”—Neale Donald Walsch

“You can’t outdo you, so lighten up with all the “to dos,” the “shoulds,” and the “musts,” and appreciate the magnificence that you already are.”—Mike Dooley

“Isn’t it nice to be responsible? You don’t have to depend upon anybody else to make you happy. Of course, many people do and that’s OK. If not there’d be no such thing as country music.”—Gregg Sanderson

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.

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Promptings, Dreams and Whisperings

By Linda Commito

Paying attention to messages can be a valuable part of our safety, well-being and connections to those we love.

Have you ever gotten a message, heard a voice in your head, had a dream, felt something in your gut . . . that prompted you to do or say something that you wouldn’t normally consider . . . but that you simply couldn’t ignore? Some people believe that angels sometimes express themselves through dreams or “whisperings.” I can attest to these messages, including the voice that told me to slow down and move into the next lane just as my tire blew, saving me from a major accident. I have learned to pay attention.

Sometimes a prompting or dream invites us to totally change our lives. A dear friend, Diana, was living in Wisconsin, when she had a dream to move to Columbus, Ohio. She did and within a month, she met a minister, who was to become her future husband, and she began a new life as a dream therapist. Another friend, Rachelle, who listens to inner promptings, decided to join the Peace Corps, celebrating her 60th birthday in Jordan. Later, a prompting took her on a journey to work at an orphanage in Ecuador and more recently to move to a challenged neighborhood of Chicago.

It is always validating to me when I get a message three times. When I was at loose ends, trying to decide where to live after having my life upended, I got three promptings in 24 hours that pointed to Colorado. Living in New England, it was a drastic decision to consider moving 2,000 miles away when I had never been further west than New York. Determined, I learned how to put up a two-woman tent in my backyard, picked up a friend’s sister and off we went in my Ford Pinto (the one with the exploding gas tank) for an amazing adventure. It was the best decision I could have made. I created a whole new way of life, eventually started a business, and still remember the funniest road trip I’ve ever taken!

Decades later, three different friends suggested a move to Florida, a place that I never would have considered. And here I am, happy and enjoying my life.

Oftentimes, I find that people whom I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time pop into my head, and I usually try to send a note or make a call to let them know I’m thinking about them. Sadly, as I’ve shared in a previous blog, I missed an opportunity to call a friend who passed away and I regret that. But this time the message was for my mom.

My mom had a dear, long-time friend, Lil, whom she had not heard from in a few years, and for some reason, Lil kept popping up in my mind. She had moved out of the area, and the number that my mom had for her was disconnected. Prompted by my own experience, I decided to contact my mom’s pastor to ask if he had Lil’s number. He didn’t, but gave me her daughter-in-law’s contact. Undeterred, I called and she gave me Lil’s phone number which I then gave to my mom. They had the most wonderful conversation, sharing how much they missed and loved each other and how they had been praying for one another. My mom and Lil were so happy. About 10 days later, my mom got a call from Pastor Gary. Lil had died in her sleep. Mom and I were both grateful that they had had a chance to connect and share their love and appreciation at just the right time. 

And sometimes whoever is in charge has a funny sense of humor. For years, I had been a vegetarian and once had a dream that I ate a big hamburger. I decided that it would be ok to have one this once and went out to dinner with a friend. The hamburger arrived and I cut it in half. As I went to get a bite, the hamburger literally flipped out of the bun and skidded across the floor. LOL! But I still had the other half. So, I proceeded to take a bite and my jaw locked. OK. Message taken.

I do believe we have so much information available to us beyond our five senses. Our wisdom, intuition, and understanding help us to pay attention to messages that could be a valuable part of our safety, well-being and connections to those we love. I’ve never regretted following my promptings, but only those I’ve chosen to ignore. During these strange and challenging times, it seems more important than ever to follow our promptings, acknowledge the signs, pay attention to our dreams, and tune in to our inner and outer guidance.

Many blessings to you and your loved ones.

Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.

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