I recently went through an amazing course on the Power of Prayer and Meditation and through that experience really saw some of the patterns I was playing out. One of the biggest things I learned was how everything, literally, everything in our life is a mirror. I knew that before, but really got to see it in action. Because of this, I have been super aware of the thoughts and feelings I have when I am interacting with others.
I was recently talking to a very close friend of mine and listening to her talk about her life. She floated quickly from one topic to another, all with the current theme of something going wrong, someone doing her wrong, and all the tries and failures. She was upbeat about the next step, but I saw in her something that at the time I could not quite put my finger on. Later, when I was thinking about the stuff she said, and the people she talked about it, it hit me! Her life is a tragedy. Her life has been one misfortune, one misstep, one mistreatment after another. And, while her attitude is definitely one of surviving and picking herself up, the underlying theme is about the wrong that had been done and her ability to overcome it. I realized I was feeling sad when talking to her and now I understand why. When you read a good tragedy, you wince at the uncomfortable parts, and in the end, you are left feeling a bit sad. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, MacBeth - in all of them you feel a bit sad at the end.
I started to think about my own life. And, I started to see that I often talk about my life as a tragedy. The missed chances, the opportunities that I was not brave enough to take, the mistreatment I have had to overcome and I felt a little ill. My life is NOT a tragedy! Nor, do I want to have any energy or underlying energy of my life being a tragedy. I can see all the blessings and the good in my life, but yet, I too can see an underlying theme of things gone wrong and more importantly people who have done my wrong. I have forgiven them, but I have not released the energy associated with the events that makes them seem tragic still. I then started thinking about a lot of other people I know. And, so many of them have tragedy stories, the ones they are trying desperately to overcome but somehow, no matter how they try, this underlying theme of "I am overcoming a tragedy" remains. And, I thought of people like my parents and many of their generation as well as others I have met. They have truly tragic events in their life. Both my parents lost their Dad at a very young age, for my Dad, this meant becoming the "Man of the Household" as an adolescent and having to deal with lots of adversity with people trying to take advantage of the fact that his Dad was no longer around. And, yet, these folks don't see their life as a tragedy at all. And, I kind of want to clue them it that it is, but they don't have that perspective. In fact, they are grateful. They are content. They are happy. They do not see their life as a tragedy.
At the beginning of each year, I choose a theme for the year. It is usually the theme I am most working on or working with to deeper my own personal growth. This year, along with peace, no suffering, choosing again, the theme that has most emerged for me is Remembering Who I Really Am. Someone recently texted me and said, it is critical that you make your own decisions and follow your joy, because no one is an invested in your happiness as you. And, it is so true. Many of us are givers and we love the satisfaction of doing for others, the personal joy that comes from that. It is one of my greatest joys and I hope that never changes. However, I am also realizing that I am here to create something and it is my job to ensure I do that. That means I need to be vigilant about my own path and my own joy as well.
The key as we enter this year is to decide ahead of time Who You Are Going to be in any situation and then, to the best of your ability, live up to that. For example, who are you going to be when you get bad news? Who are you going to be when someone disappoints you or upsets you? Who are you going to be when someone else gets the thing you want? How we respond, how we show up, is completely our choice. But, we already know that. What makes this practice more powerful is to understand that there is truly nothing that can hurt you. God/The Universe is doing what it does to move things forward and that is all that is happening. Things happen so that you can grow and heal and increase your capacity to love. Often times, we label these life events as bad or negative. That is where this theme really comes to play. Is it possible that a loving God, a loving Universe, would be punishing you or wanting you to hurt? No, it is part of a larger design. And, our job is to REMEMBER. I know from personal experience remembering when you are hurting is so difficult, but there is no real other alternative. You can get swept away and lost in the pain, anger, etc, but that is just more stuff to clean up later. It is simpler to get still, feel what you feel, but as quickly as possible, REMEMBER your decision to trust, to know all is well, to know that this is part of a larger picture and to get back on your joy horse as quickly as possible.
My invitation to you is what I am practicing myself this year - Radical Self Accepting Love coming from Radical Knowingness that you are a perfectly created child of God. Not the kind of self love where you get massages and manicures (though, I encourage that too) but the KNOWINGNESS that you were created to go through experiences for a purpose. And, that you are where you are for a reason. You will stay here for a season and this will lead to whatever is next. KNOWING that is huge. Then, there is no reason for guilt, feeling bad, regret, or hopelessness. Becoming the type of person who goes, "YES!", when something "bad" happens, because you know it is on the path to your becoming a deeper version of yourself.
20 wishes as we enter 2020
I recently went to a Christmas party at a friend's house. I was very excited to attend, because when I was last at her house this summer, she told me that she completely redecorates her house every Christmas. Every single decoration she has inside, which includes shelves in the kitchen of Salt and Pepper shakers are changed. She then showed me her storage area where she stores all her Christmas decorations. There were shelves filled with storage boxes of goodies. Now, I am the type of person who loves anything decorated and I LOVE people who are passionate and get into something.
That's why it won't surprise anyone that I was so excited to see her house decorated. Sure enough, every one of the salt and pepper shaker sets she had displayed were now changed to Christmas salt and pepper shaker sets. Every framed picture in the house was wrapped to look like a Christmas present (I loved that) and she had at least 6 Christmas trees, every one of them themed and covered in decorations. Walking through her house felt like living and breathing Christmas. It was all so amazingly beautiful.
A few days later, I stopped by her house again. This time, knowing, what the inside would look like. As I approached her house, I noticed she did not have any Christmas decorations on the outside. No lights, no little snowmen in the front yard, not even a wreath on the door. This shocked me. Knowing what the inside looked like, I thought, "no one would even know she celebrated Christmas just by looking at the outside". And, that is when it hit me... it is not about the outside. It is not about anyone knowing she is celebrating Christmas. It is not even about me coming over and seeing all the Christmas salt and pepper shakers. It is about her, her joy, and her getting to walk through her house and feel the magical Christmas feeling, all day, every day. Christmas, like everything else, is an inside job. It is about the internal feeling she gets when she puts up the decorations. The memories as she tells me stories about who gifted her what and what came from her in-laws, and what was passed down from her parents. It is about the feeling of connection. The mementos that represent something bigger - a feeling of joy and peace, and connection.
The thought occurred to me, because I am reminding myself more and more each day, it all starts on the inside. Sometimes, we are so focused to get it looking right on the outside, that we forget to actually nurture and take care of the inside. Whether it is peace, love, joy, it all has to start internally for it to actually work. How often have you spent the least amount of time complimenting, listening, or even spending time with the people you love the most? It happens to all of us. Getting wrapped up in buying the perfect gift, or making the perfect Christmas dinner, and forgetting to take the time to really fulfill our insides first. As we move forward towards a new decade, the Roarin' 20s, make a commitment to foster the inside more and not worry as much about what the outside looks like. When the inside is aligned, the outside always follows!
I recently heard a song I loved in High School by Trisha Yearwood. The song is titled "She's in love with the boy" and the chorus has the line, "what's meant to be will always find its way". I started to think about that line. I believe that. What's meant to be WILL always find its way. I can see from my life that that has always been the case. I remember my Senior year of college, sitting on my bed, crying, after a hugely successful event on campus that I managed because on my way home, I had stopped to check the mail and got a rejection letter from Cooper and Lybrand internal consulting. It was my dream job - the one I wanted. I got rejected. I only had one other place left that I had applied and not yet heard from, Andersen Consulting. They were supposed to let me know by that day too and had not. That night I had heard from someone else that they had heard from Andersen and I hadn't. I assumed that meant I did not get that job either. I was devastated and scared. I did not know if I would have a job when I graduated. Mind you, it was November, Senior Year, but in overachieverville, this was bad news. I sat on my bed crying while my bestie and parents sat next to me. They had come out for the big event. And, instead of celebrating at the end of the success, I was on my bed, crying. I spent that entire weekend depressed thinking that I would be the only person from Georgetown graduating without a job lined up. I felt like a failure. On Monday morning, I got a call from Andersen letting me know I got the job. They called one group on Friday and my group, which was a different department, on Monday. That job was one of the best experiences of my life and put me on an amazing path. I am grateful every day for my time at Andersen Consulting.
That is just one example of things working out. I have millions. And, my guess is, you do too... if you think about it. Things do always work out. While we are going through the worst part of it, there are moments where we think, "this is truly terrible". And, in that moment, that feeling is real. But, like the Monday morning phone call, there is always a miracle around the corner. And, the miracle may not be getting the exact job, it might be something all together different. I really wanted the other job, but in truth, I have realized, I do not know what is best for me. Coopers no longer exits, Andersen Consulting is now Accenture and still opens doors for me 12 years after I left. Sometimes things in our life have to fall apart for the bigger, better, more aligned thing to come in. We all know that. But, we also can tend to forget it when life seems to be going not according to our big, beautiful plans for ourselves. In those moments, I find this to saying to be helpful - what's meant to be will always find its way.
What's meant to be will always find its way.
The power is that is that there is nothing to do. Like being in out of control rapids, sometimes you have to realize that you just have to hold on and get through a rough patch. Not falling in is success. We tend to want to be in control and at the top of our game for everything. Sometimes, the top of our game is just holding on. Another quote I love from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams: "What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?" To which, Maggie the Cat replies, "Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can." Very rarely does life need you to jump. If you can sit patiently with the discomfort, it will pass, and what is new will come through. It always does. The rain always stops and the sun shines again. Winter always transitions to spring. And, what is meant to be, always finds its way.
The next time you find yourself worrying and unsure about what might happen next, remind yourself, that there is nothing to do. This one spiritual practice could change your life. We tend to want to jump in, fix, discuss, analyze, be sad, be mad, take charge, hide under the covers, etc. But, in reality, there is nothing to do but to ride it out with as much peace as you can find. In these times, remind yourself, that this is God/Higher Power giving you an opportunity to release and let go and rely on it to get you through. It is our reminder that we are not in control. It is our reminder that we don't have to figure it all out on our own. And, most importantly, it is a reminder that no matter how alone we may feel, we are SO not alone. There is a benevolent, loving force that is handling things for us from the other side. This force brought us to this situation, the one that we think is terrible, and has us on our knees so that it can bring us out on the other side to a much better outcome - every time. I realize some of our life experiences, it may take us our whole lives to see what the better outcome was and some we may not get to know while we are here on earth, but I do believe, every one of our painful moments leads us to something better. That concept was really reinforced for me after reading about numerous people's near death experiences. In each case, they were shown the worst moments of their life, and how that led to something so beautiful and good. A great example of this is Anita Moorjani's story in Dying to be Me.
I end this post with a reminder to myself and to each of you that are reading this - have faith and trust. There is nothing to do. There is a wonderful plan unfolding. Your joy is your indicator on how to follow that plan. For those of you who have done Joy Challenge, you know in the difficult moments, joy may be a nap, going for a walk, taking a bath, or talking to a friend. Sometimes, in hard times, joy comes in the simplest forms. You can create this life to be whatever you want it to be but you don't get to choose how it unfolds, that is where trust and faith come in. When in pain, do for others. That can be as small as praying for someone, especially people who have hurt/wronged you, giving money to charity, or spending time with someone (parents, children, etc) and being present. Giving from your heart always lifts the spirits because it takes the focus off of you and what is or is not working and focuses it on being of service. You create with your thoughts, don't let reality deter you. Everything has to be created in the mind before it can be created in reality. Be more dedicated to creating peace and joy in your mind than you are to what circumstances are showing you. Have great compassion for yourself and everyone else in the situation. If someone is not doing right by you, it is because of pain within them, not about you. Have compassion for their struggle and have GREAT compassion for yourself. You too are doing the best that you can. Find gratitude for all the things that are always going right. I like to be grateful for my senses, my arms, my legs. When you are unwell in any way, it is such a reminder of how lucky we are that our bodies work (any part of them) and how much we benefit from that. It is a very uplifting gratitude practice for me. During the month of November, we are doing a 30 day gratitude practice in my Facebook Group, Adventures with Amina, based on Pam Grout's book, Thank and Grow Rich.
And, finally, trust that the unfoldment and know that what's meant to be will always find its way.
I woke up this morning to an interesting question, one that I have gotten a few times lately - are you creating or destroying? The Universe is constantly in motion, getting bigger, expanding, and allowing for more and more creative energy. Each of us have the opportunity to do the same - constantly grow, learn, adjust and create. However, often times, when things don't go our way, it is easy to fall into negative thought patterns that are destructive.
As I was pondering this question in the early hours of the morning, I realized that in every moment we we have a choice to create or to destroy. We can either look at a situation in our life and see a positive way to create something from the situation, or we can find ways to blame, complain, and make another wrong. Making others wrong, spending time in judgment is so easy, and it is a very destructive force.
True confession - that affirmation is still aspirational for me. Currently, I base my happiness on a lot of external factors. The least of which include the weather, and the worst of which include other people (who, have you noticed, are totally unpredictable?). Today, I woke up in a great mood and within the first 10 minutes of my day I got information which immediately turned that happy into anxious, worried, and generally icky feelings. And, just like that, I lost my own happiness.
My new habit has been to start my day with a walk. As I got dressed to go, the general malaise feeling followed me and I found myself dragging my feet (for 30 minutes!) from getting out the house. A walk is a sure fire mood-shifter for me, but once in that ick state, it is hard to even do the things that I know will make me feel better! When I finally got walking, I was still lost in thoughts of worry. And, then I saw my daily Abraham Hicks quote jump up on my phone.
Tell everyone you know: “My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.” And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel — and then, you’ll love them all. Because the only reason you don’t love them, is because you’re using them as your excuse to not feel good.
Excerpted from Asheville, NC on 4/30/05
And, there are days and moments, where sometimes just a simple reminder is all it takes to shift your mood. And, there are other days, where I can listen and read 100 of these before I feel a tiny, bit better. But, today, was the day where I just needed the reminder. And, I realized that I could feel ok, no matter what. It reminder me of my Non-suffering practice. It reminded me that I get to choose if and when to give up my Peace. It reminded me of Who I am Really Am and the power that is my ability to choose the way I want to show up in the world at all times.
Those of you who know me, know that I am into astrology. I just find so much of what they say to match my life experience. While I don't fully know it or study it extensively, I keep up with the eclipses and retrogrades. And, I know that July is going to be a full month of stuff - good stuff, big stuff, changing stuff, just stuff. For that reason, I thought this is a good time to remind myself of the fact that I can be happy no matter what. I get to make that choice. I do not have to give up my happiness based on another person and their personal drama, or an external event which I cannot control. I can be happy anyways. It is a really empowering feeling to know that I own my own happiness, and honestly, my own peace. They are mine and I get to stay in them (or lose them) based on what I decide. Don't let your mind fool you, like mine did this morning, and tell you that these things are out of your control. Take a moment to remind yourself of Who You Really Are and get your happy back!
I have been working on lessons of trust for... well... this lifetime. It is an area where I have a lot of good intention and an area where I get bumped off my path when the most minor thing goes "not according to plan" (the plan being my plan, not God's plan, hence the lesson in trust). And, over the past few months, I have been committed to working on surrendering. I did not tie that directly to trust, I tied it more to having peace of mind. However, what I have found in my process of surrendering is amazing examples of God making everything right by me. One example after the other.
I have had a difficult subject on my mind lately, having to do with trust. I want to trust. I know I should trust. I know that everything is working out for my greatest good. I KNOW all of this. But, the internal emotional feelings are one of pure fear. Not just fear, pure fear. Dread. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Feelings that I do not enjoy and like to get the heck out of as quickly as possible. However, I have been working on surrendering. One of the key steps, and the one I have often times tried to skip, is to sit with these "horrible" feelings and allow them the space they need to just be there. I have learned time and time again, the more openly I sit with them and allow them, the quicker they dissolve, whereas any amount of millions of activities to help make myself "feel better" only lead to temporarily forgetting (if I am lucky) followed by being stuck back in the same feelings over and over again until they pass. This time, I have made a conscious effort to just be with them without analyzing them, understanding them, fixing them, or running from them. It is actually a peaceful process if you can get to the place of disengaging your brain and just literally BEING in the feeling.
And, in each case, I have repeated what has become my new mantra - I could see peace instead of this or I choose peace. Both of them are a reminder of the commitment I have to myself that I am more committed to peace than to "figuring it out", "being right" or a big one for me, "knowing". This feeling of wanting to know, for me, is the polar opposite of trust. When I get into wanting to know, I am by default saying, I do not trust God to take care of me, so I need to know what is happening so I can plan to take care of myself. The funny part is, it sounds so logical and almost downright responsible to me. But, it robs me of so much peace. This need to take care of myself, to be in control, to know, it only leaves me with anxiety, self-doubt, and stress and never have I outsmarted God or the Universe with a better outcome then the one they had planned for me.
As you are moving through life, and you feel any of these feelings of discomfort, ask yourself, "how can I let the Universe handle this for me?" I have had some experiences lately, where I have not asked that question, but instead, decided (in some icky situations) to leave so that I could hold my peace and in a short period of time, remove my judgement of another person. And, the outcomes have been HILARIOUS! The good things that have shown up for me. The opportunities, the love, the grace of God, have been amazing. And, the weird (funny, not mean) things that have happened to the other person. I am starting to see that God knows how to handle every situation in the perfect way, and to make it right. And, if I don't get involved, God's way of making it right, is SO perfect. It is the right amount of validation for me, and the most amount of love for me and them. And... in the past few weeks, it has also brought me a good chuckle. Next time you are having a feeling of ick, thinking someone is doing you wrong, just hand it over to the Big Guns and get yourself back to peace and non-judgement as quickly as possible, and you can join in on the chuckles with me!
I have been working on manifesting a specific thing for months now, actually almost a year, and it is just not happening. And, it is frustrating because I KNOW how to manifest. And, I know how to make things happen. I know how to get clear and I know how to release and well... it is still just.not.happening. I coach people through situations like these, and I know, it will come at the time it will come, and in a way that we did not expect. It will feel like a complete and utter miracle when it happens. And, that got my thinking about miracles and how we give up on our desire a little too soon.
I have written about miracles before and defined them as something that happens in a way that is beyond our current comprehension as possible. It is based on what we currently believe is possible. If we do not believe it is possible, and it happens, we call it a miracle. And, each day, things happen that is beyond our belief! We watch videos of daring rescues and amazing feats. We hear stories of miraculous cures. Miracles are everywhere and when we get to see them in someone else's life, it lifts us and gives us hope. However, some of us are not able to see the miracle for one simple reason, we are not looking for miracles on a daily basis. And, while the miracles are happening, we do not have "the eyes to see" them. And, because we are not seeing them, we are so ready to give up, which can be good, sometimes it is a form of release. However, instead of giving up, we can grow miracle-minded!
How do you get the eyes to see miracles?
1. Celebrate the stories of miracles happening to others. When you hear a miraculous story, get super-excited and celebrate it! Then, remind yourself, if it can happen to them, it can happen to you and your miracle is happening right now!
2. Understand that you live in a vortex of miracles. Everything you need and that is aligned to your highest, spiritual path is already set up for you to receive. There is literally nothing you have to do to get it, other than stop rejecting it when it tries to come in (hee hee - easier said than done). So like a special order you have placed, remind yourself that the order has been placed and it will get here when it does, but it is definitely on its way!
3. Find evidence of your miracle right now. As humans, we are amazingly good at making up stories. We actually excel in taking normal, every day events and giving them deep meaning. Start taking a daily inventory of the things that happen to you and tell yourself the story that this is part of the miracle you have received. I love daydreaming stories of how things are working out for me and then looking for evidence that my story is true. Tell yourself, "I am a miracle magnet"; "Miracles find me"; and, "My life just gets easier and easier all the time". See what these affirmations, stories, and beliefs can create in your life!
Celebrating your upcoming miracle with you! I am partying like it is already here! Congratulations on deciding to be miracle-minded all the time! And... keep me posted on what miracles you create!
As I am sitting here starting to play Joy Challenge 2019, I have been thinking a lot about Flow, 0% effort, 100% return. It is the most magical feeling ever and I have been so lucky to experience it more often than not. But, there are times, where no matter how hard or not hard I try, I cannot seem to make it into that state of flow that I love so dearly. I started to think about what I do when I am not in flow. Because, of course, trying to get into flow is the #1 way to elude it.
I realized that when I am not in flow, I simply float. I remember floating a lot as a kid. When my mom got home from work in the summers, she would take me to the very large public pool. I LOVED to swim as a child and rarely got to go. Well, that is probably not true. I just did not get to go as much as I would have wanted to go - every day, all day long. No one in my neighborhood had a pool and I had to wait for my parents to come home from work to take me, which often times meant I was at the pool at 6 pm when there were almost no other kids there. I spent a lot of time making up dances in the pool to the 80s music that was blaring off the lifeguard's boom box and dreamt of being a lifeguard, so I could spend all day, every day at the pool. When I got tired of all that, I would simply lay on my back and float. I would notice how funny the music sounded as my ears were half under water, or how pretty the sky looked as the sun was lowering on the horizon. I would dream of my future, one far better than my current day reality, and well, float.
In the recent months, I have found myself returning to that feeling of float. I have definitely had moments of flow. They are always miraculous and amazing, but some combination of an extremely cold winter for this born-to-be-a-California-girl plus transitions in work plus life changes left me in a bit of a funk. I called it the Winter Blues, until I realized that was making me feel worse. That's when I realized, I am actually just floating. I have had a lot of these time periods in my life. Like, when I graduated college and decided to take the summer off to hang out in Europe while my Dad was stationed in Brussels before starting my cool big consulting company job. Sounds great, right? I worked at NATO in between fabulous trips to Italy, Greece, France, and around Belgium. What I did not realize was how lonely and sad I would be working at NATO. I had a college degree and a really prestigious job lined up when the summer ended. I was working as an Admin to a General and his regular Admin (a career Admin) hated me with a passion. To her, I was just a college kid whose Dad got her a job so she could travel around Europe.... which.... was true. She wanted nothing to do with me and worse, gave me the most menial tasks she could think of. Not only did she not see me as a bright, shining star, she acted like she did not see me at all. With only two of us working in a single office, it made for a particularly lonely day. But, I learned how to float.
Floating is an interesting skill, especially if you are doing it without water. When you are floating, you are there, but not really, you are in your own little world. You can hear sounds, like I did of the 80s music, but they are muffled, not clear and not fully getting in. You are focused on the sky and as such are not fully present to the current reality. I found myself sitting at my desk but I was not really there, not fully. Don't get me wrong, this is not a way to be for any extended period of time. But, it is a great way to be for a not-so-fun period of time. Because you can be there, and also be totally in your own wonderful bubble. And, you own wonderful bubble is a much better place to be then worried, trying to take anxious action, or blaming, complaining or getting back at someone else. These are all places that we all know is NOT helpful to be at. And, while what we really want is to get back into the flow, sometimes floating is a good first step to get there. Once I started floating, it was easy to sprinkle in some joy. I took a later lunch break and would watch General Hospital during lunch, which was my favorite back in those days. I volunteered to run all the errands, which got me out of the office and meeting other folks in NATO. And, of course, I spent any down time I did have, planning amazing European vacations which I took almost every other weekend. I found a lot of joy while floating.
As I prepare for Joy Challenge 2019, I found myself coming out of the float stage and just naturally doing things that bring me joy. We all know what happens next, right? Those little acts of joy is exactly how we get back into Flow! Next time you find yourself out of Flow, give yourself a break, turn over on your back, use no energy whatsoever and give Floating a try!
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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