Creating Space

Imagine a closet, with clothes hanging neatly in it. Periodically, more clothes are added…sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. As more and more shirts and pants and jackets and dresses are hung in the closet, joining the outfits already there, space becomes limited. Eventually, there is no room for even one more item. The closet is so tightly packed that it’s impossible to tell what’s in there or to easily remove anything to wear.

Creating Space

Today’s Sunday Short was inspired by a snippet of a meme I saw. There’s more to it than I’m sharing today, however the part that impacted me was this:

Make space for the next version of you…

Like the closet described above, our lives, our inner and outer lives, can get so packed with “stuff”, physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically, that we reach a point where we just can’t add or do one more thing. When that happens, our growth becomes limited, stifled, halted. There’s no space for us to expand who we are.

Here is a short, and by no means complete, list of ways to make space, so the next versions of our beautiful selves can appear.

Declutter physical space

If it hasn’t been used, worn, read, looked at, or enjoyed in the last 6 – 12 months, get rid of it. The tried and true method of creating three piles…keep, toss, give away/sale…works. Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, suggests holding each item to see if it brings you joy. If it does, keep it and create a place for it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Clutter clogs up energy, and clogged energy affects us. When I start to avoid my creative studio, because I’ve allowed mail, or documents, or books to pile up, that’s my signal to clear the space, literally, so I can create in there again. Cleared space allows me to breathe and move freely.

Declutter emotional, mental and energetic space

This is just as important as clearing a room or the house. Our minds and souls get filled with regrets from the past, losses, wrongs done to us and by us, and people who walked with us for a time and no longer do. Our thoughts return to those memories and we fret over them, even though there’s nothing we can do to change them. This is inner work, but so necessary to free us up to grow. Let go of those things that are constraining you. Let go of all of it. Pray. Meditate. Cut energetic cords. Write. Draw. Allow the cleansing and healing of past wounds. Do whatever works for you to uncover and them move that old, old energy through the heart and out. Then turn around and stop looking into the past. There’s no growth possible when our attention is constantly focused behind us.

Experience new things

This is one of my favorite ways to create space. It’s easy to get stuck in the ruts of old beliefs, habits and patterns, limited ways of thinking, and feeling comfortable. Nothing has opened up my life like trying new things has. It doesn’t have to be daily, but at least once a week, do something you’ve never done before, or do something in a fresh way, visit new places, eat different foods, learn a skill or hobby you’ve always been interested. Life loves a body in motion, and as we open to new experiences, more opportunities will appear, to experience, and we grow to meet them and inhabit them.

The beautiful thing is, as we create space around us and within us, expansion is inevitable. Our lives shift. Change occurs. We grow. And suddenly we realize, we are not the same person we were a year ago, nor do we want to return to being who we once were. We don’t “fit” into that space anymore.

We have become the next version of ourselves, and it is marvelous. With great excitement we journey on, knowing the next version of ourselves is on its way.

Create Space

Seven Wonders

Today’s Sunday Short was inspired by a meme I saw on Instagram recently, by Power of Positivity. It listed the “Seven Wonders of the World”. These weren’t the monuments and structures created by mankind in ancient times. I was captivated by this meme because it listed the true wonders of the world…our abilities to sense and perceive and love while in this realm.

Seven Wonders

My creativity kicked in and I chose to create seven mini memes using each of the wonders with my own photos. The fun was in creating and also in looking through photos and finding the perfect representation of the wonder. The original meme that fueled my inspiration is posted at the end.

The Seven Wonders of the World

Seven Wonders The Grand Canal, Venice, Rome

Seven Wonders The lone piper, in The Highlands, Scotland. Hear the song he played HERE

Seven Wonders Creeping phlox in my backyard garden

Seven Wonders One of my veggie bowls.

Seven Wonders Elissa, Dayan and I with our feet in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Cinque Terre, Italy. We felt the sea wash over our feet and the enormity of our experience, a long awaited trip to Italy, wash through our hearts and souls.

Seven Wonders Dayan and I experiencing a moment of hilarity on the Italy trip.

Seven Wonders The love between these second cousins, London and Aubrey, is profound.

Can you feel the magnificence and the wonderment of these human abilities? How grateful I am to be able to experience these wonders on a daily basis. And how mindful I want to be that they truly are gifts.

Seven Wonders

The Hero of My Own Story

This extremely brief Sunday Short was inspired by two things. A meme on Pinterest caught my imagination. It was made from a series of photos featuring the women of the fantasy fairy tale on TV, Once Upon a Time. These women journeyed together and individually, figuring out who they were in the Story. While they all were in various relationships, those did not define them. What did was the strength they all discovered within themselves, the strength to step into their unique roles and the strength to overcome challenges and thrive.

Secondly, I’ve been doing a 7 Day Book Cover Challenge this week, in which I post a different book each day without explanation or review. The photo of the book tells the story. I’ve chosen books that have created change in my life…and resisted the urge to explain how.

The Hero of My Own Story

And so, in bringing those two ideas together…the Once Upon a Time meme and the book cover challenge…I created my own photo display, using a slight variation of the words on the meme that I was captivated by.

It is presented below, as a creative expression of my journey, without further explanation. I am smiling…

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

Listen to Yourself

I love a quote I came across this week, attributed to Tiny Buddha. For today’s Sunday Short, I adapted the words slightly and created a meme.

Listen to Yourself

Reading the quote, added below, I wondered why I’ve found it so difficult in the past to listen to myself…listen to my own voice, my own heart, my own intuition, my own instincts. As a people pleaser, I was much more apt to listen to what someone else said was true for me, even when I knew those “truths” ran contrary to what was right for me.

Thankfully, a time came in my journey when I chose not to live an outward life that was out of sync with my inner life. This happened as I got to know myself better, accepted who I knew myself to be, and let go of the desire to please others.

Living as my authentic self required inner work that then allowed my outer expressions of self to shift and come into alignment. I’m at my happiest, most joyful and real self when I listen for Divine guidance and then listen to myself, trust my intuition and act accordingly.

Life has become a magical adventure that began with a simple command. Listen…

Listen to Yourself

The BEST Thing for Your Heart

It used to freak me out, in my early blogging days, if I didn’t know what I was going to be writing about by 4:00 in the afternoon. I’ve learned much about going with the Flow and trusting in Divine guidance these last five years. So heading home tonight at 10:30 pm, and still not knowing yet what I was going to be writing about was not cause for alarm. It simply meant I remained open to possibilities during the 20 minute drive.

I realized, as I arrived home, that my desire to remain open following my question, What story shall I tell today? was in alignment with a discussion my daughter Elissa and I had earlier in the evening. There was my answer.

The BEST Thing for Your Heart

As a health advocate I promote a plant based diet as an excellent way to maintain a healthy, disease free heart. However, there’s another practice that I recommend as the very best thing that can be done for the heart.

Keep it open.

Opening or closing the heart is all about energy. When something hurts us, emotionally, mentally or physically, energy moves through the heart, by way of the heart chakra, and out of the body. At least, that’s what the energy is supposed to do. When we hold onto the pain, by rehearsing it in our minds over and over or by verbally telling the story of our pain repeatedly to others, the energy doesn’t escape. Instead it circles around and around the area of heart.

When we grow tired of feeling the pain, rather than release it at that time, we tend to wall it off, trapping that old energy within. We build elaborate protection around that old wound, so that no one can touch the pain. However, that energy is still there. When something similar happens to us or we experience a trigger that hits that old wound, the trapped energy moves again, around and around, creating fresh pain. So we build stronger walls to contain it…and on and on the pattern goes.

How then do we heal? We learn to open our hearts and keep them open. It begins with physically opening up the chest area by keeping the shoulders back. We don’t cross our arms over our chests or slump forward. Both actions effectively block the heart chakra.

When something triggers the old wound, rather than protecting ourselves, we feel the pain, acknowledge the old hurt, and allow the pain to pass on through. I’ve experienced this. I can actually feel the energy release and dissipate. Layer by layer, wound by wound, we open and release.

Trust me. Life will bring situations that allow such healing to take place. Then…stay open. Keep the heart open and refuse to close for any reason. It takes awareness. It takes practice. However, it is possible to open the heart and never close it again, no matter what is happening. I know. This has been my journey the last five years.

I am grateful to Michael A. Singer, whose book The Untethered Soul brought this teaching into my life. I’m grateful for all that life has brought to me, as I’ve remained in the Flow, so that I could learn to release old painful energy and open up my heart. I’m grateful for the conversation with my daughter. And I’m grateful that when I asked a question, the Divine answered. Stay open.

Yes, I am. My heart is wide open…and so full.

The BEST Thing for Your Heart

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A Message from My Dad

Father’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays for me, as it is for many others. I enjoyed a brief chat with my stepfather Walter this afternoon. When my sister returns from vacation, we will take him and my mother out to dinner, to celebrate him.

My thoughts have been on my dad the past few days, with the approach of this time of special recognition for fathers. I had even decided already that I’d write a Sunday Short about an item that belonged to my dad, that has meaningful significance to me. And then, my dad changed that slightly, by visiting me and sharing a short message with me. That’s not unusual. Many people had visits with their fathers today.

The thing is, my dad passed away eight years ago.

A Message from My Dad

I love the award that my dad received, almost 20 years ago, in recognition for excellent customer service at the car dealership he worked for. Dad supervised repairs and body work. He was great with cars…and even better with people. I’m sure the award was well deserved.

What brings me joy is that the award is made to resemble a golden Oscar, the award handed out each year in the film industry, for the Best of categories. It makes me smile for two reasons: I adore movies, and the Oscars is a must-see event for me every spring. And…my dad’s middle name is Oscar. Seriously! How appropriate is that?!

Near the end of his life, Dad had his children look through his mementos and select what we wanted to take home. He was, quite literally, handing out memories for us to keep. He was amused that along with other treasures, I wanted this Oscar. It means a great deal to me. I have it displayed in a little vignette that contains the award, a photo of Dad, and a small container that holds a portion of my dad’s ashes.

A Message from My Dad

There it is, the little story I intended to write. Dad added to it though.

He visited me last night, in a dream. It is common for those who have departed to visit their loved ones in dreams. These aren’t typical dreams though. To me they feel more like a visit. There isn’t anything happening. It’s a face to face conversation with one I love, who is now in spirit.

Dad appeared to me, in my house, looking like he was in his mid to late 30s. I remarked about the dark hair on his head, and even touched his neatly trimmed mustache, which was black as well. He looked so young. It made my heart ache.

Dad hugged me. And then he shared these words:

“I am so proud of you, Sissy, for taking care of your health. You are doing well. And the things you are learning, about the connection between the health of your liver and your pancreas…they are true.”

I know. That seems like a strange conversation for a father and his daughter to have. However, it carried great meaning for me. I have turned my health around. And I continue to learn how to improve my wellbeing even more. I just listened to a webinar, presented by my health mentor, Anthony William, on the very thing Dad mentioned…the vital connection between a healthy or unhealthy liver, and a healthy or unhealthy pancreas.

It’s important information for me. My dad died of pancreatic cancer, a cancer that is on the rise. In addition to my father, I’ve lost three friends to this type of cancer and I know of many others who have succumbed to this horrible disease. If taking care of my liver is good for my pancreas as well, then I’m all for that. I’m grateful that Anthony’s new book, Liver Rescue, is due out this fall. I’ve already preordered it.

I’m grateful as well for my dad. It could be argued that my dream was just that, a dream, created by my subconscious. The hug felt real. The man who spoke to me looked like my dad. His words were relevant to what I am learning. I’m going to accept it for what it appeared to be to me…a loving visit from my sweet dad.

And his advice was sound. Just before he vanished, he looked into my eyes and offered these words:

“Take care of your liver.”

I smile when I think about his words…such a Dad thing to say…even while I feel a little catch of emotion in my throat.

I will, Dad, I promise. Thank you for caring. Happy Father’s Day. I love you.

A Message from My Dad

Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

The meme that grabbed my attention this last week at first made me smile. The wise words weren’t from Einstein or a great leader or a well known author. In fact, they weren’t uttered by a real person at all, but rather by a fictional character that is decidedly non-human. The words have stayed with me though, and burrowed deep within my heart, generating ripples of thought.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

The quote is “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

And the being offering that sage advice is the ancient, green tinged Yoda, from the Star Wars universe. In the scene in which Yoda speaks these words, he is counseling young Anakin about the dangers of the Dark Side.

The conversation includes the warning, “Fear is the path to the dark side…”

Those words bring extra clarity, for me, about what Yoda is talking about.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

My thoughts about Yoda’s wisdom are these:

I notice he says train yourself to let go, implying the act of letting go isn’t necessarily a natural, or easy, response. The verb train comes from the Latin “trahere”, meaning pull or draw. The early verb sense was ‘cause (a plant) to grow in a desired shape’ and it was the basis of ‘educate, instruct, teach.’ Yoda is telling his student to educate himself, grow himself, into one who can let go.

Because, the more natural tendency we have, when we fear losing something or someone, is to cling, and hold tightly. Clenching tenses up the body, clogs up energy, and directs attention negatively to fear.

And that is the key word here…fear. Yoda reiterates that it is fear that leads to the dark side. Fear that causes us to cling. Fear that closes down our world and obliterates the light, casting us into darkness.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

Fear of loss can involve more than losing a loved one, or our own life. We can fear losing status, or a job, or income, or perceived love, or something we strongly identify with. Fear of loss can involve change, which is another level of fear in itself, and the belief that we will lose pieces of ourselves if we lose traditions, habits, beliefs, perceptions, fond memories, comfort or safety.

For me, fear of loss comes down to outcomes. I was afraid I would end up with an outcome I didn’t want, so I did my best to hold onto the way things were or to control what the outcome would be. Both only plunged me deeper into fear.

Training myself to let go of everything I feared to lose meant letting go of outcomes…letting go and opening up to curiosity and faith and trust. I learned to quit clinging. I learned to open my heart and quit protecting it. I learned to be okay with not knowing what was just around the river bend, as I entered the flow of life.

Letting go doesn’t mean I push people away or shun them. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what I have and relationships and my grandchildren and digging in my garden. It means, I hold everything with open hands and an unafraid heart. It means the joy of loving is greater than the fear of losing. It means I don’t attempt to control people or events. It means, ultimately, that I can relax and appreciate all that is, in this precise moment.

Training…growing…is an ongoing journey. Learning to let go is a lesson that continues to pop up for me occasionally, and rather than react to it, I can lean into it and see where in my life I need to let something, or someone, go…where I am clinging instead of flowing.

Because, to the dark side I will not go. I am open to everything…and attached to nothing.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose