Awareness

Life is a Laboratory

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In a recent discussion with a group of seekers, we were talking about a new thought concept, a mindset shift. It was a challenge for some of us. I said it's an experiment, just try it on for size, see how it fits.

It got me thinking about how life is really made up of a series of experiments. When you think about it, life is a laboratory. 

A laboratory is the place where the scientist explores, experiments, gets messy, fails, tries again and then reorganizes and experiments again. 

Life is the open space, the playground, the highway, the laboratory when we experiment within our human experience. We're always experimenting, as our own life scientist, trying things on to see if they fit. 

Whether it's a new shampoo or sweater, or a different car make, or a different route to work, or a fresh perspective, or a different part of the world, or a new thought pattern that leads to a different action, or a new relationship or a new way of being in a current relationship, or a new career path, or a new word we haven't used before. 

Try. Fail. Try again. Succeed.

One of the most important aspects of the laboratory is the notion that a failure is an integral part of the experiment. It's not, necessarily, a dead end. But rather, a failure provides answers and clues as to where to go next and where not to go next.

Have you found yourself quitting because you hit a wall, or got a no, or couldn't find the solution, or because success hasn't come? If the answer's yes, trust me you're not alone.

Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." If he didn't believe in the laboratory which included failure, would he have discovered electricity? Probably not. He also said, "I've never done a day's work in my life. It was all fun." So there's that!

Or Einstein. He said, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." If he wouldn't have allowed and embraced failure as fuel in his laboratory he would not have discovered the Theory of Relativity. He also said, "Failure is success in progress."

[Related: "6 Reasons Why Progress, Not Perfection"]

Or Henry Ford. Or Madame Curie. Or DaVinci. Or JK Rowling. Or Beethoven. Or Lady Gaga. Or Steve Jobs. Or Mother Teresa. Or Oprah Winfrey. Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or Sally Ride, who said, "All adventures, especially into new territory are scary." The list goes on. And on. And on.

Embrace the Yet

Yet it such a lovely word! And, yet is an important tool to use in your life laboratory. The yet is encouragement. The yet is taking failure and reframing it into a phase, a phase that's part of progress. Yet is progress. "It hasn't happen, yet." 

Life is a laboratory.

So, experiment. Play. Explore. Fail. Embrace the yet... Experiment some more. Brainstorm. Change. Succeed.

Repeat. 

[Related: "The Trifecta of Failure"]

[Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash]


What's Through That Portal?

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What's behind that door? Looking at these spectacular doors it's kind of a delicious mystery. 

When I was in France recently, I found myself taking numerous photos of doors. Doors that were weathered by history and by the lives of those who had ventured through them. Some wandering aimlessly, some with direction and purpose. Some opening to welcome in weary travelers and others entering with the relief of being home. 

Doors that seemed to be portals to other times, certainly to other worlds and memories of other worlds.

The doors in these photos were in seemingly frozen-in-time villages in the French countryside and Loire valley that I simply fell in love with. I could see myself there, passing over one of these thresholds, creating a life there.

Portals fascinate. What lurks on just the other side and beyond? What answers lie in waiting? Are there secret codes or keys that unlock their gateways and life treasures? 

There are so many great portal stories in literature, where the hero or heroine passes through one and finds a whole new adventure, a new way of being where choices made change lives. Think of Dorothy's front door in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or the wardrobe in Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There's something powerful about the sense of wonder that takes over, a freshness of spirit and Vivre, as one embarks on life's new direction.

I'm thinking about portals and pathways a lot right now. As various life choices present themselves. 

And, as it so happens and as I write this, we are in the midst of a powerful cosmic portal. It's all the more timely, this notion of doors or gateways or portals opening. A dear friend shared this with me this week and I've become a little obsessed with it.

It's called 8-8 Lion's Gate. It happens every year on August 8th, but this year it's auspicious because three days later on 8/11, the Leo New Moon partial solar eclipse takes place, the most extraordinary since the powerful lunar eclipse on 8/11/99. And, in the meantime, there's a massive convergence of planets taking place that "brings the potential for healing your relationship with your essential self."

So, on 8-8 the Lion's Gate cracked open, which signifies a huge cosmic shift, change coming, and invites an opening for transformation and manifestation. There are a bunch of articles on the internet that explain it much better than I could.

Like here, where she talks the meaning of the numerology too: "8 is the number for the balance of power and infinity. 11 is a gateway for transformation. A powerful combo." 

And here: "this can be an influx of divine wisdom."

And hereI love what he says, "The positive energies combining 8-8 Lions Gate with the Leo New Moon Eclipse create a groundswell of heart expansion, creative pursuits, and explosive new growth. Deep dive into the spiral momentum of rapid ascension."

Basically, the time window between the 8/8/18 Lionsgate and the lunar eclipse on 8/11/18 provides a portal for deeper understanding, letting go of what doesn't serve you anymore and calling in your higher purpose.

Sign me up!

Portals are also internal openings into your own truth. In other words, a phrase or thought can crack open an opportunity for growth.

“Vulnerability is the portal to feeling. Feeling is the portal to strength.” ― A.D. Posey

A portal of communication is also an opening for open-hearted discussion and relationship.

Transparency is the portal to real authenticity.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." ― James Joyce

So, how about taking a bit of time this weekend, while in the midst of Leo the Lion's Gateway of transformation, and ask for what you want in life. 

Light a candle. Feel the energies in your body. Interestingly, you can feel it if you get quiet and still enough.

“Praise is the portal to the presence of God.” ― David Brazzeal, from Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul

Meditate and pray to let go of what isn't working in your life and then to receive your higher calling. It's a powerful prayer and one that's worth repeating. A lot.

Then, release it all under the new moon. 

Enjoy this portal. I'll see you on the other side. It's a wonder what awaits! 


A Bit of Midyear Perspective

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Perspective can either keep you present, or not.

Since I chose “Perspective” as my word and theme of the year, I thought it would be a good idea to check in on things, at midyear. So, I'm reviewing, dialing in on meaning and expanding views. 

Perspective can make you lighten up and not take things so seriously, while at the same time Perspective can help you get really serious about the most important things.

“I realized I can find my way to the MRI room by the ceiling tiles and the exit signs.”

This is what my dear, dear friend said to me during her hospital stay. Her perspective is reeled in, tight and small, exactly as it needs to be. Her perspective is, as with all of us very close to her, laser-focused on what is happening in the moment. Pain management. More IV needle prodding. More meds. Code calls. More questions than answers. More doctors/specialists/surgeons being added to team. More note taking. Then, more answers. More prayers. Finding humor in the tunneled view.

And, more trips to the MRI room, "go 20 ceiling tiles and turn left at the exit sign."

We talked about how what was and is happening to her is sharpening her perspective. Making her braver. Cherishing deeply her sister who is steadfast by her side. Receiving love and support as true medicine. Raising her self-advocacy to a level she didn’t know she had in her. I’m in awe of her strength and marvel at her capacity for continually falling back on her inner work, her spirit. 

It's true that Perspective gives you a helicopter view of things, the big picture, the long stance.

But, sometimes all you can handle is what's directly in front of you. Moment to moment. Conversation to conversation. Tile by tile. And, that's exactly how it should be in that moment. 

I found I was beating myself up because I wasn't meeting my writing goals, things that are a part of my helicopter perspective. But, when I reeled it in, got really honest and acknowledged that my view is on my friend and that is my intended perspective right now, I was able to let it all go. It’s perspective that starts the process of letting go.

This is where I am. 

I had referenced in the earlier post that "Perspective is your canvas," meaning that on the grand canvas of life, your wise and knowledgeable prospective is the base coat and then is augmented by the various colors with which you use to create your story and pave your path. 

Sometimes, the canvas shrinks, out of necessity or out of choice. And, you feel like you're out of paint, or you've turned the paintbrush over to others, as information and input bombards you. This could be as lab test results keep rolling in. Or by incessant news coverage of depressing world events. 

For me, I need to shrink the canvas so I don't lose sight of myself. For starters, for me that means turning off the news. Perspective gets wonky when it's clouded by frustration, anger and sorrow over what's happening. 

And, shrinking my canvas means being present with my friend.

That's when inner perspective takes over. Inner perspective is moment to moment. It's trusting that more will be revealed in the right divine timing. It's the white space on the smaller canvas.

In time the larger canvas, the glimpse of the helicopter perspective, the wider lens will be beheld again. 

Until then, this is it. Tile by tile. And, it's enough. 


A Life of Intrinsic Value

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Value. It’s such a small word with big meaning.

I was originally writing a post about what people might say about you after you’re gone, which was inspired by a rather scathing obituary that recently made the news. Not because it was about someone of celebrity, or that it was beautifully expressed. But, because of the powerful, painful punch it packed in very few words. “She will not be remembered…” were the words said about a woman who had abandoned her children, by her now-adult children.

Susan Soper, author of the book, Obit Kit, and writer of many an obituary, says this is a more common thing that you might think, vengeance-driven obituaries.

It got me thinking about what people might say about me after I’m gone, hopefully a few decades from now. As part of an exercise in some coursework I recently completed to become a breathwork facilitator, we were asked to write our eulogies, as if someone was reading it today. It was pretty eye opening.

It wasn’t necessarily the accomplishments or successes that I felt compelled to include, but rather characteristics and relationships are what rose to the surface. It struck me that what I wanted said about me was something like: “She lived a life of value by giving meaningful value to others.”

I mean, the truth is you have no control over what someone says about you. What they say has more to do with their experience of you than anything else. However, projecting what you would want your epitaph to be, or the consensus on your behalf after your gone, then having a say today in what you want that epitaph to be gives you some direction, a mission, for how you want to live your life. What’s said then, is a reflection of what and who you are leading up to your eventual life exit.

What would your epitaph be if someone wrote it today? Does it differ from what you aspire it to be?

Then, the news came out about Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. And, it shook me, particularly as it was on the heels of Kate Spade’s death by suicide.

They both brought such value and beauty into people’s lives by what they produced in their own. I watched a CNN special about Anthony Bourdain and the love came pouring in about how he impacted people.

Then, a comment in an interview with a friend of his gave me pause: “He always said he has lots of friendships that only lasted a week,” which while a function of his job, perhaps shed a stronger light, according to this friend. Perhaps, he didn’t have many deep, intimate, soulful relationships.

Certainly, I would never trivialize the inner demons or mental health issues that drove Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade to end their lives, by suggesting anything trite that might have “helped”. What they experienced or felt is something beyond my understanding.

But, what it did for me was to start to more closely examine what a life of value truly means to me. And, for me, it’s going intrinsically into that value. In other words, focusing on deeper, more intimate connections with the important people in my life, deeper connection to myself and then to the cosmic and karmic connection to “one”, that is all in nature.

Perhaps there’s a level of this that you can relate to. We all want to matter, to have meaning and to give meaning. It’s the very basis of humanity. It’s easy to stray from that simple thought when we’re pushed and pulled by all that’s going on in the world right now. But, it starts and ends with your own intrinsic value.

These are some guideposts I’m rededicating to, which I know will help me to fulfill my living epitaph.

  • Be generous
  • Be honest & forthright
  • Be aware of changes in behaviors of loved ones and have direct conversations about it
  • Be available
  • Be grateful
  • Be responsive & communicative
  • Be assertive in my desire for connection
  • Be transparent when asking for help when I need it
  • Be diligent in my self-care: sleep, meditation, prayer, exercise, healthy food - creating inner strength that will guide through difficult times

Add value to other’s experiences. And, receive value from others when it’s offered.

It’s reciprocity. It’s kindness. It’s humanity.

That’s value. Intrinsic. Life-affirming value.

 


What Are You Supposed to Do? Stop Saying This

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“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Those were the first words uttered by a client during a recent creative jam session. Which made sense because we were there to jam about the very thing that was underneath the question: life purpose.

In fact, the words “supposed to” drove the first part of our session, it was said 10 times in the first 20 minutes to be exact. It felt like something that was easy to hang on to, like a habit.

So, doing what we do in jam sessions, we played with the things that were bubbling up.

I asked her what that meant, as in, supposing to do anything.

And, what a gift that was. In our discussion, we discovered "supposed to" is not a very helpful proposition when exploring life purpose.

“Supposed to” is passive, as in it’s a directive that’s happening to me, rather a directive I’m helping navigate.

It means ”I’m not the one in charge." As if someone or something else is dictating my purpose.

It reflects the feeling of "required to", as in, follow the rules. It's confining, rigid. 

Simply put, "supposed to" is nothing more than an expectation. In other words, the supposed outcome of something is the perceived expectation of that outcome.

But, when it comes to examining life purpose, until you’re clear about what you desire and what your soul is calling you to do, then “supposed to” becomes esoteric, it’s derived from something outside of you. Then, they become rigid expectations we put on ourselves.

But, what’s the basis for them?

I mean, when you think about it that way, who is it that dictates this mysterious “supposed to” when it comes to exploring your purpose?

Society? What is a person in my place in life, supposed to be doing?

Your younger self? What I am supposed to do now, since my younger self is disappointed in/judging how far I've come at this point? Your younger-self expectations on your now-self can be harsh sometimes.

Family/friends? I’m supposed to be further along, supposed to live up to their dreams for me, etc. Or "they think I'm supposed to be..."

By believing you need to discover and act on your “supposed to,” places you on another roadmap besides your own.

The Reframe

Believe me, I could relate to my client and friend, because I do it too. So, I got as much out of this reframe as she did. Here are a couple things we came up with.

When the urge to say 'supposed to' creeps in, catch yourself. Know that whatever follows that phrase doesn’t really belong to you. Instead try this:

I’m focusing on what life is calling me to do next.

I want to get clear on what I'm doing, where I'm going, with my life.

I intend to do what's right for me, right now.

My mind, heart and spirit know my purpose. I’m listening to that.

This becomes: I know. I am doing. I am living and being my purpose.

Because here’s the thing, your life purpose isn’t some grand oh-my-god sea change that takes place in a nano-moment aha, and then everything after that is nirvana and different.

Rather, it’s an unfolding, an inner and outer journey, a doing-and-being reckoning that doesn’t happen because you’re supposed to. It happens because you’re paying attention to your own life and following your own roadmap.

You may be asking, what am I supposed to do with that? Ah, and so it begins…


Some Establishing-Shot Perspective

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It was a clear evening as I headed toward Pasadena for dinner. When I crested a hill on the freeway, the panorama made me pause. It was an expansive view, the roadways curving through the San Rafael Hills where homes were nestled in, and with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

I thought, if I were writing this scene, this would be a great establishing shot of Pasadena.

In classical filmmaking, the establishing shot is the wide or long shot at the beginning of a scene that sets the tone, and indicates where, and sometimes when (time period), the ensuing scenes are to take place. It can also provide an instant glimpse into the concept and/or character relationships in the story. 

What happened when I took in the stunning establishing shot of Pasadena on that evening drive, was I got a sense of scope, with an eagle eye view, of what lie ahead in terms of landscape and architecture, as well as greater clarity on the direction I was going to take.

It got me thinking about what it might look like to apply the same idea to life, pausing for establishing shots in order to gain some clarity and perspective.

What does that mean? To my way of thinking, it means to stop what you’re doing in a given moment and take an energetic step back to peruse the bigger picture. And, also it means to view a total landscape before getting started on something, whether it's starting your day or launching a big program.

I often like to pause for an eagle-like perspective. It keeps me on track toward a bigger goal and also helps me to refocus on the present moment.

It can take place in smaller as well as grander moments. Such as:

  • Taking a broader glance at what’s on your desk, reprioritizing the day
  • Looking at the year ahead with a wide lens, highlighting special dates and deadlines. Navigation is sometimes clearer from a higher vantage point.
  • Focusing in on health – paying attention to the signals in your body, asking ‘where am I and where do I want to be when it comes to health?’
  • Zooming in on your living space – arranging things so they feel fresh and comfortable, and getting rid of excess that doesn't belong.
  • Picturing your life – through a life establishing shot, looking at where things are working and where they’re not, whether it's a job, a relationship or an idea. A broader perspective helps to light the way for more of what’s working. Also, from that establishing shot, you can visualize the life you desire. 

Pausing often to take these brief life establishing shots not only add layers of texture to your roadmap, but they keep you aware and present to your own life story.

Why not give it a shot? 


Time for Spring Cleaning - of the Mind

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Spring is in the air. I had the pleasure of experiencing the first week of Spring in four different states. On a cross-country road trip with my sister, we drove a car load of my family treasures that were stored at her home in Austin to my home in Los Angeles, passing through West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. I'm still mining the rich gems from that trip...

When I got home, I entered into some Spring cleaning in order to make room for said treasures. That meant cleaning out closets and drawers. It was at times mindless work, but I found my mind was anything but "less". In fact, it was just the opposite. I had to pause to journal because I had so much to capture from my amazing sister road trip.

So, pen poised over the page, and nothing came. It’s not that my mind was blank, it’s that my mind was racing. I felt the need to go from mind-full to mindful, which meant I needed some clarity.

Mind chatter is non-stop. If it’s not about the to-do list, it’s about a conversation we had or want to have. If it’s not about the email we need to answer, it’s about how we’re judging ourselves for it. And, everything.

If it’s not about the ache in our back or knee or shoulder, it’s about the movie we watched last night and our commentary on it; or the birds chirping or the lawn mower too loud at 6 am, or the cat sitting nearby, or what we’re having for breakfast, or how fat we feel, or how great we feel; or about the article we read on student activists, or the full moon, or the latest tech darling, or the rise of consciousness, or the fall of cryptocurrencies. We’re thinking about everything except nothing, which is kind of the goal when trying to clear the mind.

I realized when my thoughts were speeding around themselves, that my mind is like that cluttered closet or drawer, where things are placed to possibly be categorized or dealt with later. And if someone calls or starts a conversation, I need to store what's on my mind at that the moment so I can get back to it later.How many thoughts do we keep in there, just in case we might need them at some point, no matter how obscure the thought, or seemingly useless the information.

It got me thinking, clean out the closet or drawer, clean out the mind!

I took a gander into the storage shelves and was kinda surprised (and not) at all that was in there, besides the obvious stuff like pens, paper and tape. I also found: old glue, flower food, loose change, a 2016 calendar, recipes, gum (no idea how old), keys (no idea what for), batteries (probably dead), picture hangers, lens cleaner, magnets, cat toys, old coupons, menus (to places I’ll never go), loose nails, loose paperclips, 3 lighters, a door stopper, etc.

All stuffed in there haphazardly with the idea that their day will come; each item holding a glimmer of hope that it will be taken out and used for what it was meant to be. Not a chance of that happening while mired in the recesses of that closet!

The same can be said for our minds. There’s so much junk in there that the clarity gets buried alive, the brilliant ideas jumbled amidst the quagmire of waste. What junk are you stuffing in your mind that is not serving you and your highest good?

Clean out the closet, clean out the mind. Oh my, what to do with all of that open space? 

Empty everything out at once – It’s best to start with a clean canvas or an “empty drawer.” Meditation, the practice of clearing the mind, is a great way to start. If this has proven a challenge for you, start with just a few minutes. When the chatter comes in, focus on your breath. In, out. In, out. John Viscount in “Mind What Matters: A Pep Talk for Humanity” says the moments in a still mind are deeply healing and peaceful. He says, “In the silence between your thoughts, you will tap into the larger universal mind. This is where some of your greatest work on Earth will be accomplished and you won’t even know you’re doing it.”

Examine the contents – Pay attention to each voice participating in the mind chatter. Only then can you determine which are dedicated to raising your consciousness and which are ego-driven to keep you stagnant or small or stuck. Michael Singer in the book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself takes it a step further by saying “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it…If you watch it objectively, you will come to see that much of what the voice says is meaningless…a waste of time and energy.”

Give it a wipe down – Clean out the dust and cobwebs once it’s empty. Lose a bad habit; clean out your email, in other words, delete almost everything and unsubscribe from almost all of them; let go of an unhealthy relationship that clouds your mind; have the conversation you can't stop thinking about; or exercise to release negative and low vibrational energies.

Let the space breathe – Go off the grid for a while. Disconnect your phone, put down your pen, no email, no television and no social media. Spend time with just yourself. Don’t busy your mind with more incoming junk. Stay in the space between your thoughts. Listen to your breath, feel the energy in your body. I plan to do this a lot more often!

Be very selective about what you put in there – Now that you’re space is open and clear, you have complete choice about what you allow into your mind space. Be intentional. Only invite stimuli that will nurture your clarity. Monitor what your read, see and speak. Once you're mindful of this it becomes a way of life.

Do away with the Junk Mind – You don’t need it anymore. At this point in organizing a closet or drawer, this is where you would compartmentalize the items as you put them back in the drawer, in nice little neat compartments or dividers. 

But, with a clear mind you actually de-compartmentalize, doing away with the need for separation of thoughts and conflicting voices. With a clear mind, complete alignment with your oneness and universal purpose is not only possible, it’s unstoppable.

Get into daily cleaning - It's an ongoing process. When you see the thoughts gathering to dump into the junk mind stop, breathe and assess. Go back to #1. Meditate and get clear!

And, the bonus? You get to know your Self like never before, stripped bare and clean, open to all possibilities. Just think of the choices you can make from that place?

Happiness? Joy? Love? Peace? Contribution? Friendship? 

Genius.

Related: Start Today, Live Life Anew


The Subtle Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go

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Photo by Felix Russell-Saw

She had bright orange hair that kinked around the nape of her neck. She wore a black lace miniskirt, black tights and combat boots. With a smile that lit up the room and a hyena giggle that pierced it. She greeted everyone by name and with interest. She’s my favorite Coffee Bean barrister and on that day, when I was still sitting on the edges of victimhood after my computer was stolen, she woke me up and got me present.

As I watched her interact with a woman, going beyond your basic barrister and customer moment, I was surprised as I got tears in my eyes. I was suddenly really emotional.

It continued throughout the morning. But, what I realized is that they weren’t tears of sadness or loss. I had certainly shed several tears bearing those descriptions. No, these were tears of gratitude. And, hope. And little flickers of joy. Life. Humanity.

I choose this.

I was still feeling anger and wanted vengeance at some level. I’d just received a denial of claim from the valet company who’d parked my car when it was robbed, which felt like being victimized all over again. And, was getting no response from the garage company where my car was vandalized. I wanted to see the security camera footage. I wanted to catch someone to make someone responsible for the crime. Every morning I woke up with a nervous stomach. The butterflies of vengeance.

Then I saw this Lao Tzu quote: “Victimhood is staying in the suffering.”

Those feelings of gratitude, as surprising as they came, softened the edge of vengeance enough to see through it.

Gratitude reminded me that to dig deep into my own personal power for what to do next. Gratitude reminded me that people are good and most often want to do the right thing.

I appealed to a person at the valet company, with kindness, with directness. And, it worked. They paid for my broken window. Gratitude.

My insurance company (Liberty Mutual rocks) took care of me. I felt heard, believed and resolved. More gratitude.

I felt empowered. Which I realized was the antidote to the suffering. The key to unlock the gate in order to leave victim-hood.

But, could I put it behind me? The nervous stomach still persisted. It still gnawed at me that someone needed to pay for what they did. But, I noticed that what was really underneath the nervousness was something more.

The thing is, I really wanted to just move on. But, I felt guilty about that. Was I giving up if I let them get away with committing a crime against me, and who knows how many others? Why did I want to pursue it? Because, I felt guilty if I didn’t.

Is it giving up if I let it go? Or if I let it go, is that giving up?

It got me thinking about the difference between giving up and letting go. It seems there’s a fine line between them yet they’re vastly different. It comes down to the feeling behind it, the intention inside it, and the embodiment of it. It's a mindset shift.

Then, it got me thinking about all of the other areas in life where giving up or letting go can either hold you down or set you free. Where things didn’t happen like you’d planned. Where a dream fell short of realization, over and over again. Or when you wake up one day and look around at your life and things aren’t what you thought they’d be. 

In this context of giving up:

Giving up is staying stuck in the what ifs. The if-only’s. The I-won’t-be-successful-unless-that-thing-happens. The expectations that start to feel unhealthy.

Giving up is the stomach ache. It’s catching your breath and holding it. It’s shoulders that hug your ears. It’s the energy that gets stuck. It feels heavy. Like being deep under water and holding your breath, in the moment right before panic sets in.

Giving up feels sad and like failure. Falling just short, or way short. Always wondering what could have been. It feels like letting yourself down or letting another down who might have invested time and energy.

Giving up is a never-ending feeling of not quite getting there, of feeling less than.

Giving up is rooted in regret.

It can live in your psyche and permeate everything. Giving up shackles you to the very thing you’re trying to release.

Giving up keeps you in the past.

Letting go, on the other hand, is a beautiful release.

Letting go is acknowledgment of the ending of something, a moment, a life phase, an exhausted effort, a situation that doesn’t serve anymore. Whether it's a relationship or a job or a long ago goal imagined in a former self.

Letting go is releasing what isn’t working anymore. What you have no control over. Events in the past that have nothing to do with the present. That can’t be changed because they’re over with, gone, dead and buried in the past which has nothing to do with right now.

"Letting go is the exhale." Andrea Quinn

Letting go feels like a full breath with an exhale that courses all the way through the body. It feeds the present not the past. It fills it up while at the same time creates alive energetic space where the “stuff” has been taking up room.

Letting go is an unlocking.

It’s the oxygen tank under the water.

It’s air.

It’s the turbo fuel injection.

It’s freedom.

With letting go, comes clarity. It clears the fog.

Letting go is removing yourself from the one-foot-in-one-foot-out syndrome. You know that place, right?

The profound gratitude was the beginning, the way in, to letting go for me.

I was still holding the grief and violation in my body so went to see a wonderful reiki healer who helped me to work the energy out, to release it.

It was during that session when I felt a complete and full feeling of gratitude that it all happened. I actually felt grateful that the event happened.

I released the attachment to the violation. It was something that happened to me, but I let go of the suffering. And, the guilt for wanting to move on.

Letting go put it in my past where it actually is anyway.

Letting go is a 4-letter word. Letting go is love.

Related: Letting Go is a Four-Letter Word where I go into more depth on the subject of Letting Go

Giving up or letting go is a matter of choice.

What’s the solution, not what’s the excuse?” Jack Canfield

Sometimes, it’s a deep-seated desire or lifelong dream that you’re not ready to give up on. The feeling of giving it up can feel like you’re giving up on yourself. Believe me, I'm a lifelong proponent of not giving up on your deepest dreams. 

But, this is where letting go becomes a powerful tool for not giving up on yourself, where you move out of victimhood and into empowerment.

The language of victimhood is full of blame and self-pity and resentment and regret and excuses.

The language of empowerment is about the solutions and taking back your power and letting go of the energy that’s keeping you stagnant.

"When you don’t want to let go of it yet, trust that there’s a better way." Dina Strada

The empowering choice is to let go of old expectations around it, of what you wanted it to be or thought it would look like, all those years ago.

The empowering choice is to change the thoughts within the dream or goal or relationship. It all starts there. 

Give that desire or dream or goal or relationship a fresh conversation. Bring it into the here and now. Modernize it. Give is a new wardrobe. Apply today’s technology to it. Reframe it. Be open to a new way.

For me, the clarity that came from letting go of what happened with my computer, and all of the stuff that come along with that situation, has freed me to look more closely at what's really important. To inventory other things I've been hanging onto, dreams and otherwise. Reviewing and releasing some. Reframing, changing the thoughts and conversation around others. Recommitting in a new way.

That's letting go, not giving up. 

 


Want Some Purpose? Follow Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Heart

 Tim-marshall-heart hands

Photo by Tim Marshall

I was naked from the waist up, except for a thin paper vest that opened in the front. I felt very vulnerable and not a little bit nervous. 

The technician was kind, but definitely was moving through her day by rote, and seemed bored when moments before she'd called my name in the waiting room, introducing herself in a monotone voice. “I’m Julie. I’ll be doing your echocardiogram.”

A few weeks earlier I'd been driving across Los Angeles when I suddenly had no idea where I was, literally didn't know what city I was in nor what day or time it was. I literally said out loud, "Where am I?" It was pretty scary. I'd also been having rapid heart palpitations. So, I was there for some answers. 

As I lay down on the table, trying to wrap the flimsy paper around me like a robe, I said, “I’ve never had an echo before.” She grunted, which I took to mean, “Yeah, so? I've done hundreds.”

Instead, she said flatly, “Lay on your left side,” after which, with cold precision, and cold fingers, she connected me to the machine by gluing electro pads onto my chest.

She turned the monitor, so I could see. The dark pumping mass that was my heart took up the screen.

I watched the monitor as a massive electrical storm ensued. Inside the deep purple pulsating cloud was a continual flash of crazy lightning in a spectrum of color and intensity.

“It’s like a thunder and lightning storm inside my heart.”

“Yes, it is.” She could have said, 'Uh huh."

It was a mind-blowing concept, for me anyway, in that moment. I’d only really thought of the heart in terms of feeling. As in heartfelt expressing, or a heart full of love, or a broken heart because of sadness or pain. I mean I've actually done a ton of work around living and being in an open heart. 

But, this, seeing this, alive and outside of my body, all lit up and frenetic, it was a combination of delicate mechanism and a powerful electromagnetic force all at once.

“My heart is badass,” I said. Finally, a hint of a smile. 

Then the tears flowed. I surprised myself with how emotional I became. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt splayed raw and exposed. You'd think I might have been embarrassed, given the constant stream of tears. But, I wasn't. It was beautiful. I truly couldn't believe I was watching my own heartbeat. It wasn't some blip, blip on a monitor. It was my own heart, up close and personal. 

As she maneuvered the cursor, carefully taking measurements and notes, I felt a warmth seep down over my head, what I can only describe as love and a protective awe for this organ that I take for granted. And, at the same time, I was enamored and held captive by its sheer strength and will. 

Suddenly, I felt a kinship with Julie, this stranger with whom I was sharing this incredibly intimate moment. I asked her if she knew how lucky she was to be able to explore hearts all day long.

An eyebrow raised.

I asked her what she was looking for. She snickered and said, “There’s so much going on in there; there are numerous things we look for.” I paused. 

“It’s so incredibly profound to be witnessing my own power source. I could look at it all day,” I said.

She said, “I’ve been doing this for five years and no one has ever said that.”

I knew I was getting all woo-woo on her, but I didn’t care. She needed to know what an incredibly moving thing this was. I asked her what she found the most rewarding about her job. She said, "It’s the knowledge and understanding of what I’m seeing. I know exactly what’s wrong or not and the doctor relies on my knowledge. I show him what to look for."

Then, I felt and saw her pride in what she does. She is honored to be with hearts all day long. And, I saw her desire to be seen. And, so I gave her some heartfelt recognition. She looked at me for a moment.

"Everything looks good," she said. "Although I'm not the one that's supposed to tell you that." 

I exhaled. My attention drifted back to the monitor.

It got me thinking. If that lil old heart's been beating the same consistent, reliable rhythm every second of every moment of every day for my entire life, then who am I to live a less than meaningful or purposeful life? It was like, how dare I? I owe it to my heart to live full out.

So, if the heart is your power source, shouldn't it have a say in things? 

Sure, you're the one making the moves and taking steps toward what you want. But, for a purpose-filled life, the heart is the true navigator. Our very own hearts provide the blueprint for how to live.

And, really, it's a seamless balance of both following the heart and leading with the heart. When you "center" yourself, it's settling into this balance.

Lead with your heart

What does that mean? It means being respectful of life.

It means using the heart as a lens through which everything filters.

Have something you want to say? Maybe it's a difficult conversation? Take a moment and filter it through your heart. Process the words through that love mechanism and the right words will always appear.

Follow your heart

Trying to make a decision? Allow your heart to lead the way.

Trim the fat. Always ask yourself the question, “Is this what my heart wants to do?” Truly. It trims the fat from the decision.

Follow the heart-speak. She’s the ultimate GPS guide, a deeply rooted Siri, the one who knows, really knows, what you want and where you're going.

It makes you want to take excellent care of your heart. Which means we are also its pit crew. Making sure there’s fuel and exercise or training to keep it strong. And, the right amount of rest.

Listen to the clues for when she tells you something is off. For me, that little episode in the car was my heart's way of telling me my thyroid medication was too strong. A small adjustment was all that was needed and we were back on our way.

Your heart knows your purpose. Ask her. Listen to her. Honor her. Love her.

After I got dressed and tossed the paper robe away, I noticed my beating heart was still up on the monitor. I stood there for several moments, just watching it pump and thrive.

I reached up and placed a hand kiss on the screen. “I've got you," I said. "And, I’m counting on you.  To lead me. To point the way. I’ll follow you anywhere.”

You can’t go wrong when you follow your big, beautiful, badass heart.


The Moon Had a Message - It Was Simple and Profound

 It could be meant for you too

Ganapathy-kumar-163082

The moon woke me up.

4 a.m. and I was wide awake. I could practically feel its energy and like a magnet, a moon magnet, a lunar longing, it pulled me out of bed and outside in robe and slippers, just as the eclipse of the super blue blood moon was beginning.

I texted my sister in Austin to see if she was watching. She was, so we texted as we watched it together.

I tried taking pictures, to capture the view that my naked eye saw. But, nothing came close so I gave up and stayed with the moon. It was incredible as a deep, blood orange veil eased over the pale blue orb.

It was chilly so I got in my car and continued watching through the moonroof. And, it was in that container, my car, that I was able to self-contain and connect to the truly awesome cosmic experience. 

For several moments the moon remained blood orange as I thought about how it woke me out of a dead sleep. It almost felt urgent.

So, what the heck, I decided to ask her. "Is there something you need to tell me?"

I recalled a man I know who once had a profound entheogenic journey with the moon. He was in the middle of a spiritually transformative experience while utilizing the ancient plant medicine, Iboga, an African shrub root still used in rituals and healing journeys, when the moon gave him a deep message about his life.

It wasn’t through plant medicine that I felt this deep connection to the spectacular moon before me, at least not this time, but I felt like if I listened intently there might be something there for me too. It's often said that during a full moon it's a good time to release what isn't working anymore and to set your intentions, your goals for what you desire in life. But, in that moment, sitting in awe of her strength and beauty, all I wanted to do was question her.

What do you want to say? I asked. What am I to know? What can I receive from you? Is there something I should be doing? I asked these questions and more, out loud. And then I shut up. My eyes locked on her and I listened. Just listened, for a long time. 

It got me thinking about the power and life of the moon. For that remarkable moon event to occur a lot needed to meet all at once. It's been a long time coming and the moon showed up effortlessly to do its thing. Just think about all that had to happen for these to take place in concert: a supermoon (extra large because it's closest in it's orbit to the Earth), a blue moon (the second full moon in a month), a total lunar eclipse (when the sun, Earth and moon line up) and a blood moon (the moon turns red as it passes through the Earth's shadow).

Lots of preparation had to take place, astrological planning and movement and alignment had to happen precisely to meet this particular window of opportunity, this moment in time. This was her moment. And she was ready for it.

She seemed to be waiting for my stillness, for my full attention. Then, I got it.

The moon itself was illustrating its message: This is your moment.

My whole body relaxed as I opened up and received the following message from her. And, the hit I got was that it most likely wasn't a message just for me, which is why I'm sharing it. 

The Moon's Message:

This is your time.

You’ve done all of the prep work. In fact, you’ve spent a lifetime in preparation. Everything you've done has brought you here, to this moment in time. You’ve spent a lifetime of intake, studying, learning, watching, improving, gathering input.

Now is the time for output, for visibility, for communicating, by expressing intimately as well as globally, with one person and many. For imparting what you know.

You have the knowledge and wisdom. Within your stories, and you have many, you have much to share. And, you know, you know how. 

It’s all coming to you. The more you use your voice, express your thoughts, share yourself, teach others, the more will come, is coming. It’s already in your field of ownership. In your flow of momentum.

Trust what you know. Trust your life experience. Trust that you’ll do it your way, authentically. Don’t worry how others are doing it. Trust your intelligence. Trust your voice. Trust your words. Trust your body, it always knows when you’re in the flow, in alignment. Trust your mind. Trust your spirit. Trust yourself.

Trust what you love.

This is your time. Everything is in alignment with where you’re supposed to be and what you’re to do, right now. And, when it’s not, trust that you’ll know that too.

No more waiting, questioning, doubting, worrying.

Own your shadows. Behind the brightness and light there is always shadow, where growth takes place. And, sometimes, as with the moon, your shadows are going to show. That's okay. Don't judge them. Don't get lost in them but rather mine the gems and lessons. They will serve you in your best moments. 

"We are all like the bright moon. We still have our darker side." Kahlil Gibran

Embrace the decluttering. This is the reason things have been removed from your field of ownership. To cause a pause, an opening, space, more room to settle into what's real. [For me, it was a stolen computer. Think about where you've cleared or cleaned out space, or perhaps something you might have lost.] 

So, go deep, into deep wisdom. Communicate from there. Love from there. Live from there. Be, from there.

It was like getting a permission slip from the grand master teacher.

What happened next brought it all together in a way that only moon, the sun, God and universal source could do.

As the moon set, from where I watched the entire western sky was a luminous pink. What the super blue blood moon manifested by shining in her moment, in her time, was absolute splendor. A splendor that spread over and permeated everything within its sphere. In fact, as the moon set, the sky in its rich glow, remained. The moon left a lasting impression, an impact that touched so many, just by being all that it had prepared to be.

The message continued:

When you are in your time, in alignment with your truth, your soul's work, your supermoon divinity, the result is a splendor of life riches which will have a lasting impact not only on you but on everything and everyone you come into contact with. 

Then, as the moon hung for a final few moments, it greeted the most glorious sunrise. It was as if they both acknowledged each other’s beauty and purpose in their collective duty to serve the universe. It was as if the sun said, "Well done." And, the moon responded, "You take it from here." It was awesome to witness.

The next morning as I left home before dawn, the still super blue moon was hanging high above a crystal blue horizon. Once again bidding a bonjour and adieu to the sun as it rose with a gold and orange fanfare.

And, it got me thinking about how she's still in her moment, this moment. It’s still her time. She showed up to do her job. She didn't sit back and rest on her laurels, convincing herself that her moment had past or stop herself out of fear that she won't be able to live up to her previous splendor. No, because what happened the night before only further solidified her purpose, her power, her strength, her time, as she just continues to express herself, shining her light as only she can. She's the friggin' moon. It's always her time. 

As I drove toward my destination I passed a billboard that said, and I kid you not:

#ThisIsYourTime

You just can’t make this stuff up.

It was a sign, on a sign.

So, if there was something that resonated with you in that very cool message from the moon, that stayed with you, that hit you where you live, then it's definitely meant for you too.

This is your time. Trust it. Be it. Live it. Own it.