Spirituality and Self-help

LAST ROW ON A MINI PLANE

I was sitting a few rows behind a woman not much younger than me. She was dressed in a trendy brown skirt with a complimentary cream blouse. Her hair was dark brown and it looked blown out in a hurry. I admired her outfit and the fact she was wearing her hair down, because the thought of travelling in an airport exhausted me. I couldn’t imagine wearing anything other than jeans, a warm pullover and tennis shoes. My hair thrown up in a blonde bun. The brown haired woman looked so relaxed on the plane. This was definitely routine for her. She must travel for work I concluded. As the flight attendant was making her rounds through the cabin before lift-off, the brown-haired beauty whipped out her iPhone Plus and threw in some earplugs. Some of you may judge me for eavesdropping. Well judge rig...

TIME IS THE BIGGEST TEST OF DEDICATION

Some things in life are inevitable. I am not talking about fate here, but the choices we make because they are right for us at our core. We may not even be aware we are making these choices at first.  Yoga is something that had been suggested to me as career years ago, but I brushed the idea away as it wasn’t the vision I had for my life. It was not what I went to university for. I also knew at the time I simply wasn’t good enough to teach it and I didn’t have the money to train (I still don’t). But today yoga is still something I do on a regular basis.  There are certain things that we will reach for time and again for support and, without intending to, we learn from them. They help us grow. There are people we grow closer to and develop strong relationships with because they are there an...

HAPPINESS IS SHIFTING GEARS

Happiness comes in the moments you learn how to shift between the gears. When the road starts to get a little bit harder.. and a little bit taller.. and you push your foot down on the pedal picking up speed – making it quickly over the hump. It’s when life changes and you slip through the crack just in time to see something new and experience something amazing. Does anyone else see the people around them stuck? Stuck with cinderblocks tied to their feet? With each year change became harder and quicksand started pulling them under. They stopped fighting the sinking feeling and started to give into the weight of the world on their shoulders. They forgot to beam in a different direction when the trees started to shade. Sometimes I worry about being stuck like mud. Always reaching ...

BRIDESMAID-ING: 8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

He asked. She said yes. And then? She asked you. Minutes after he was no longer just her boyfriend, you were no longer just her friend. You were someone she’d want up there helping her seal the deal. It’s an honor! It’s also not about you. And sometimes that’s the hardest part. Over the past year I’ve gotten married and stood up in four other weddings. Having done the preparations numerous times, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned for bridesmaid-ing well. Brides aren’t the only ones who can earn the “zilla” added to their name. We’ve all gotta do our part not to lose our cool on the big day. Here are eight things that have helped me!    1. Celebrate; don’t control.  We can all agree that weddings are some of the BEST events of the year. And yet, there is a tendency in all of us to ...

MY THREE YEARS ON THE COUCH

It all started when I read Sue Monk Kidd’s book Traveling with Pomegranates: a mother-daughter story. In the book she mentions that just 18 months before, she had ended seven years of Jungian analysis. Her analyst gave her a farewell gift, a framed picture of a woman making her way through a forest. Her analyst said to her, “You’ll be fine if you follow your spirit and travel with your instincts.” Soon after this, Sue Monk Kidd got her famous book published: Secret Life of Bee’s. And it’s been all uphill since then (in a good way). I was reading Traveling with Pomegranates in someone else’s living room, on a borrowed mattress on the floor, because the week before I had fled my abusive husband and my life was turned upside down. Her words struck me like lightening. Seven years of Jungian an...

COMFORT ZONE – ENTERING THE DARK UNKNOWN

The cliff is nearby, I can feel its tough, strong, and steady presence near my still form. I have landed on the bottom of the dark unknown, but not in a standing position. No, rather, I land awkwardly on my right hip, but the landing was light. The ground beneath me is rough but cool, as if at one point in time a river once flowed willingly, freely, but now has dried up. But there is always water beneath hard ground…  I stand slowly to my feet, a calm curiosity is felt within me. My eyes are wide, desperately trying to adjust to this deep darkness outside my comfort zone. My legs feel stiff, probably due to the fall. As I stand straight and tall, assessing my surroundings, my tight muscles relax. Incredibly, there is no pain in my right hip. My guides – guides I have known long ago, who on...

DRAGONS IN OUR LIVES

Do you remember the ruby-colored dragon from the movie, Shrek? Yes! The love sick dragon with flattering and fluttering eye lashes… How cute was that!  Let me quickly walk you through that part of the story… Remember how Donkey and Shrek set out on a quest to bring Princess Fiona from a place far, far away where she has been locked and trapped for as long as she can remember?   Shrek and his side kick arrive at the sight, more like an abandoned tall tower. While Shrek goes looking for Fiona; Donkey ends up waking a sleeping dragon accidentally, which later turns into his romantic interest and a champion in the end of the movie for consuming Farquaad as in “swallowing him whole”, one of the best scenes in the movie, I believe!  Don’t we all have a dragon or dra...

8 HERBS EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW

I grew up in the Midwest attached to my Grandmother’s side, making herbal medicine. I would tag along behind her singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider until she gave me the look. I knew the look meant I better keep quiet or I’m going to be standing in the infamous kitchen corner. We had our ritual walk out to the garden every evening after dinner dishes for my entire childhood. We prepared herbs almost every summer night until I was “too old” to do such things. One fantastic summer, my west coast older cousin came to visit for the summer. It was the best summer of my kid life. Then one day, her whole teenage world crashed. She was wrapped up in blankets with  pain relievers and terrible menstrual cramping. My Grandmother, being her natural herb savvy self, held my hand and we went into the garden ...

THE ART OF BECOMING

As September rolls around, it is hard to avoid the feeling of newness—a new month, a new season, a new school year for some. The days get shorter and the trees begin to brown. It is a time to turn a new leaf (literally and figuratively). But, I have recently found it somewhat challenging trying to accommodate for this state of newness, and I would like to believe that others struggle with it too.   I am a college student transferring to a new school this fall, away from my friends, family and boyfriend. I graduated with an associate’s degree in English from my community college, but it was hardly easy. I come to my new school with three years of fumbling around, waiting tables, interning in a big city and developing and coping with a mood disorder—all of which have become how I define myse...

HOW TO OVERCOME THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT

Every painting session for me is a life lesson. It’s my subconscious guiding me towards what it wants me to change in my world view. This particular watercolor sketch, created while sitting on a windowsill in Paris, amidst a heat wave, was a huge breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a realization, to which all almost 40-year-olds arrive. It’s quite amazing, however, to witness it manifest itself while painting. I guess I call it “letting go.” I tried so hard to measure out axis and relational positioning. I was mindful of perspective and the direction of all lines. Yet, there’s always room for human error. Your hand wants to keep going, not constantly stop for the math to catch up. Therefore, there were tons of mishaps, tons of re-dos and not having an eraser drove me insane. I gue...

BLIND WALKING

It feels as if I am walking, walking blindly into unknown territory; as if a cloth is over my eyes, and a gentle wind at my back forcing me to move forward. But I’m stuck. Is it fear? I think so. I feel as if I am being gently pushed off a cliff, a cliff I have walked patiently on for many moons – years maybe – pacing back and forth from the edge, afraid to get too close, afraid to peer over to see a hint of what could be there. But now there is a gentle wind behind me, forcing me to make tiny, awkward, clumsy steps forward. I have one foot on the edge of the cliff, steady and securely on the rocky ground, and one foot over the edge. I feel gravity pulling my foot out further, so that my leg becomes outstretched. My foot begins to lower, slowly giving into the gravity pull, slowly I begin ...

CONSTANT SEEKER: LEARNING TO NAVIGATE YOUR LIFE

What to do if you are never satisfied with yourself and what you do. You think that giving up is an option? I tried, believe me. I was not satisfied with it either. I was at my five-to-nine day job, next to the copy machine working constantly because tomorrow was a deadline for everything. I felt the heat of the machine and even an open window could not hold the hot air around me. It was my fourth job I had changed in five years. I thought I would go crazy. Since the moment I graduated from school, the constant seeker in me had woken up. I picked up my first job in children’s library and attended classes at University. That was my life. It might have been very satisfying, but it was not. When half of a year past I started questioning what I am going to do next, what my next steps are...

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