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May You Live To Be 100!  {#2 in my series on resilience}

May You Live To Be 100! {#2 in my series on resilience}

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Baba died last year just before her 99th birthday.  She spent her last decade in care homes after she had become blind.

You could hear her universal salutation when anyone left her room or her presence…

“May you live to be 100!”

and it didn’t matter who it was, they would smile.

 

Today she would have been 100.  Pic:  On her 98th birthday, my mom was helping Baba to see her beautiful cake using finger-vision.  That’s the only way when you’re blind!

 

Susan + Gail

 

Just a side note…my sister…who died at 21…would have had a birthday today as well.  She would have turned 50 today.

There we are, me at age 2 with my sister at her 1st birthday party.  She was born with brain damage, recurring seizures and cerebral palsy so at this point she wasn’t able to sit up for her cake or her pic.

 

 

 

Dr.  Joan Borysenko tells us there are commonalities among people who are resilient.  These things come from studies of folks who have survived holocausts and other devastations.

Last week I wrote about Persistent Creativity.  Dr. B calls it Radical Creativity.   More here in this post {#1 in my series on resilience}   This week {#2 in the series on resilience} is FAITH.   One of qualities that creates resilience in everyday people is FAITH.

Having a belief in something that you believe is bigger than the situation you find yourself in.

In our family, I learned that there were important callings in the world. 

To be a doctor or a lawyer was best.  Teacher was next.  Anything else was okay  but if you really wanted to earn Baba’s respect become a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher.

Now, if you wanted to shine for all time and bring eternal honor to the family then you had to become a priest.  Not all families would have such an honour.

Choosing to follow this path earned much more than her respect.  Truly, she believed an entire family could earn eternal blessings if one person chose this as their life’s work.

Baba was often heard to tell strangers that she had doctors, lawyers and teachers in her family but did you know there were three (3!) count them…3 ministers in the family!?

This was like a direct blessing from and to God at the same time.

When I think of resilience + faith…I think of my grandmother.

IMG_0924She was the eldest child in a family of many.  Her mother had 21 pregnancies but lost every other one.  So there were 10 children in the end.  Baba helped to raise her siblings and even though she was born in Canada didn’t learn to speak English until she was in school.  She once ran away into the woods with her youngest infant brother to prevent their father from selling the baby for money.

IMG_2430Baba grew up in the days when women did EVERYTHING.

They not only did the housework and raised the children, they worked in the fields and helped with harvesting.

They had few choices, little education and dreams of a better life not for themselves but for their children.

Life was physical, grinding and there really never was any money. Everything was precious.  No one owned books and few could read or write.

She eloped to save money.  She only had 2 children in order to give them a better life.  She raised turkeys INside the farmhouse one year so as not to lose any to cold weather, disease or predators.

She told me this story so I would know what she did in order to save money to put a down payment on a house in the city.  She dreamed of  her children getting a better education in the city and her dream came true.

Everything she did, she did for her family.

Her belief in God was the ground upon which her family was grown. 

Baba’s resilience stemmed from her deep faith as a member of the Orthodox Ukrainian religious community.  This belief made every loss, struggle, win bearable for her.

IMG_1222Almost 2 decades ago, she almost died.

She had gone to the hospital with an emergency, slipped into a coma and we were told she was going to die.  The priest was called to administer last rites.  It was the Ukrainian priest so the rites were in Ukrainian.

I’ll always remember that night as we all gathered around her hospital bed with the priest swinging the chanter, incense filling the room and him singing and chanting in Ukrainian with my mother harmonizing.

It was unbelievably beautiful.  As though we’d been transported back in time to ancient places with ancient rituals.

Part way through the blessings the priest looked up and asked if there was anything anyone wanted to say.

I said yes…tell her we forgive her.  The priest’s eyes popped open!

Why he asked?

Well, I said, she’s been really cranky for the last 10 years and not very nice. So he asked us all to leave the room.

We left her with him.  I went home to bed that night knowing I would probably not see her alive the next morning.

When I arrived at the hospital the following day, Baba was sitting up brushing her hair and she had her teeth in.  I was stunned.  Baba, what happened?

Baba said the priest told her in Ukrainian she had to forgive everyone for everything.  And you can’t argue with a priest she said!

I am here because I forgave everyone, she said.

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That was my first adult miracle experience of the power of forgiveness.  The doctors had no explanation for her recovery.

Baba lived for almost 20 years more after that night.

And I learned that forgiveness is a transformative internal force that when given forth can sustain your life and when withheld can extinguish life.  Forgive everyone for everything.  A resilient action step.

 

For me, resilience is faith in something bigger than the situations we find ourselves in.

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I have faith in the transformative power of forgiveness.

With it, our lives have more possibility. Without it, we are weaker, more vulnerable, less resilient.

 

Happy Birthday, Baba!

Baba used to sing this tune to me in Ukrainian.   My cousin and I recorded a simple version of it for Baba one Christmas and I listen to it now when I want to reminisce about Baba and her stories.  (Click the arrow to listen)

 

Interested in engaging with the transformative, resilience-bestowing powers of forgiveness?  More good stuff here…

You can hop on info train for the soon to begin (in July)  Forgiveness House Program HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Listening Imperative:  what does THE BODY want?

Listening Imperative: what does THE BODY want?

some bodies crave sun

some bodies crave wind

some want crisp mountain air

some wish for sleep

sometimes your body will express your feelings as symptoms of pain or symptoms of emotion

 

Did you know

that unacknowledged anger, resentment, hostility or tension from fear or anxiety may come out as an ache or a pain, as a bowel disorder, insomnia, or a rash.

 

Let’s see what your body is saying…

Close your eyes.

Imagine

female body outline

Forgiveness can release.  Listening imperative.

What Really Caused My Writer’s Block

What Really Caused My Writer’s Block

Sticky Emotions

I’ve been deep in planning (for a few months) which as most of us know is code for de-cluttering, reorganizing, getting clear and making changes.

What I always forget is that sometimes deep planning necessitates grieving and letting go. Those sticky emotions take time. In my opinion more time than I wish them to take. I’m an action-taker and that’s my comfort zone.

Recently I said good-bye to a dear friend who has left 3 children and a husband after a brief terminal illness.   She was a high school friend and the one I would run to when I ran away from home after a teenage fight with my mom.   Her illness and passing re-surfaced much emotional residue from that time in my life.

 

too much grief

On the “heals” of her death was the realization of how much I am still grieving the closing of my music and movement school

(2 years ago this month)

and recognizing how much I miss the community I had created over 2 decades with the children and moms I used to see weekly.

Truly feeling how different my life is.  Much less busy-ness. More quiet time. A little more lonely time. Less dancing, singing and full-on play.

 

It’s just stuff, right?

I had an enormous collection of instruments that were designed and specially created for young children. I’ve been selling the instruments and movement props over these few months and every time I watch someone walk away with “their” loot…I go in to shock and it takes me a week or two to un-numb myself.

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These photos show a fraction of what was there.  There was another whole storage area I don’t have pics for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0676  IMG_0681

 

 

 

 

There was a vibrant green entrance, a waiting area, reading nook, kitchen and administrative office too (not shown).

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While I didn’t close Musicalia simply because I was exhausted (‘cause I was REALLY exhausted) my energy level was a factor in the decision. I was ready to stop hauling equipment, managing hundreds of people, administration, support staff and working 18 hour days. I was ready for a life with less of a load.

It’s been 2 years since the closing and I am finally beginning to notice a positive shift in my energy levels. I can stay up later.  I can read and study and take in new information.   I’m not drained and exhausted all the time.

Forgiveness

I’ve had forgiveness work to do around the drama with the landlords of the building I was renting during that time.

They raised the rent by over 30% in one year after I had invested tens of thousands of dollars renovating a slum-landlord-type space.

They decided now that it was so lovely (and had a heat pump, new floors, lighting, new walls, new bathroom, security system and thermal security window treatments and EVERYTHING was to fire codes) it was worth more so they wanted more. I rented + renovated the space thinking I’d be there for at least 15 years.

Before pic Musicalia

BEFORE

 

 

 

 

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AFTER

Pursue legal means? It would have defeated the purpose of being able to afford the space and keep doing the work. In the end, I decided to look at the good that could come out of closing the chapter on two decades of my life.

Dreams

I had dreamed of having more time for my husband and friends. I thought about what I could do with this new chapter coming. I could start painting again or I could create a new business…maybe an online business. I could work less, carry a lighter teaching load in some other way and maybe have a day or two off every week.

Then, I watched my entire life’s work be sold off…

Then, I watched my entire life’s work be sold off, stored and otherwise gifted to organizations in my town. It felt as though my own child had died.   I still haven’t been able to part with all the puppets. I have hundreds and hundreds of stunningly beautiful puppets. I know they’ll have to be sold too.  Sad.

I still teach but only part-time and not groups only private lessons and not in my own studio but in children’s homes.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’m not letting go so easily?  I do need a reliable income as after I’d closed the school, my husband informed me our finances were not what I had been led to believe.  More grief.

too much grief

All this grief takes time to sort through. Sometimes I think I’m okay. It’s been 2 years, right? Should be getting over it by now… and then I meet a parent of one of my students on the beach while I walk the dog and I end up in a puddle of tears while they tell me how much they appreciated what I had built in the community.

In fact, the tears have been streaming the entire time I’ve been writing this post.  I walk away from the writing and then come back to write the next day and it starts again.

 

Too much grief

I know this is where my writer’s block was stemming from. Too much grief.

It is so much easier to step into a new life, to keep stepping out, keep working, continue building my coaching practice and doing real world things with real people.  Take action in the direction away from pain.

Too close to sadness

Writing brings me too close to my sadness.   It requires a kind of engaged stillness that releases pain and I don’t really want this blog to be entirely about pain. I would like to write about something other than pain and yet this is where I seem to need to be right now.

I enrolled in a grief course last fall.  In Second Firsts  I learned that actually stepping into a new life IS the way out of grief. I don’t think it’s really worked for me the way I had hoped though. The sadness is obviously still there inhibiting me and moving away from it seems to magnify it somehow.

How to embody sadness

Lately, I’ve decided to embody the sadness. Let it really rise up. Let in inhabit my whole being and BREATHE it in.

This morning I woke up in the clutches of ‘something’ so I just lay there and I breathed and watched as the numbness and grief and immobilization of my body gradually rolled away until I felt lighter and clearer.

Then I was up out of bed to finish writing this post.  Something I haven’t been able to do for months.  So thanks for reading:)

And if you’re interested in a little more….

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In the spirit of stepping forward…… forgiveness is my speciality

I’m almost ready to launch Forgiveness House.  It’s a 5-week Online Retreat for women.  It’s one of the areas of life I REALLY know well. I started having dreams (literal nighttime dreams) about it in March of of 2013 and knew right away I was supposed to create this.  I’ve been following spiritual breadcrumbs ever since.

I know I’ll be able to help women who want to create more vibrant lives and I’ve been supporting women in this work for almost 30 years.

This new program is an extension of what I’ve been doing naturally most of my life.

Hop on the mailing list…I’ll send you info as soon as Forgiveness House is ready.

Do you know someone who may be interested?  Please pass this info on.  I’ll be keeping the price point very low (around $250 and will include a 1:1 session with me) for this first round.

 

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Forgiveness + Business {10 Steps to Increasing Your Energy For Biz}

Forgiveness + Business {10 Steps to Increasing Your Energy For Biz}

Energy cords

Forgiveness + Business.

Many moons ago I heard Oprah say,

 

“Forgiveness means giving up the hope that the past could have been different.”

 

I wrote that down.  I loved it.

Since then, I have learned even if you logically accept the past is in the past, it doesn’t mean all your energy is with you now in present time.

You may be physically + psychologically in present time.  You take actions that move you forward in your life.   You work hard.  You also feel tired or frustrated that things are not moving as quickly or smoothly or as synchronistically as you’d like.

Your mind + body have let go of the past but your spirit has not.

Your spirit may not be energetically 100% in present time.

How does this impact your business TODAY?

If you have NOT forgiven someone or some event in your past then you still have energy from present time that is being siphoned to the past.

Really?

Yup.

This means that you have less energy available for business NOW.

uh-oh…

Don’t worry…you can help yourself.  Keep reading.

Okay…imagine this.  (Like…close your eyes + imagine…do it now…).

1.

Imagine your body.   Standing up.  (Kinda like my little drawing above…)

2.

There are 100 energy cords emerging from the image of your body. (Probably from the back of you…in the direction of the past.)

3.

These cords are available to connect to some past event or relationship in your life.

4.

Now…

See a past event that bothers you.

Notice how many of those 100 energy cords from your body are still attached to that past event.

Intuitively…imagine…how many cords?  81?  64?  23?

5.

Now that you have imagined this…how many cords can you pull back into your present time?

You’ll probably notice that quite a few can be pulled back just with your awareness that you were still connected in some way to the past.

6.

Now that you’ve noticed and intuitively pulled your energy back to present time, how many cords are still connected to the past event?  54?  17?  You’ll have your own number.

7.

Put your hand on your heart.

Say, “It’s safe for me to have more energy in present time.”

You will probably notice that you can pull more cords to present time.  You will have fewer cords connecting you to that past event.

8.

How many cords still connecting you to the past event?  46?  12?  4?

9.

Hand on heart.  Say, “I am willing to release that person/event.  I am willing to let go of this issue that keeps us connected.”

You may notice that you are able to pull a few more cords back.

10.

Whatever cords are left…ask yourself what would have to happen for you to pull these cords back to present time?

Journal, pray or talk to a friend about this.

Even if you still have a few energy cords connecting you to the past event, it will be less + you will begin noticing an increasing willingness to want to feel good + let go of energetic connections that drain you.

Over the last 10 years I have lived with this process using it for myself, clients + friends.  

I have experienced significantly more energy available for present time in play, work + relationships.

I’d love to hear your results with this!    I love it when readers leave comments!

 

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There’s an F word for that

There’s an F word for that

forgiveYes, today is all about the F word.

Of course, if you’ve spent a weekend in the company of extended family you may be muttering that other F word.    (!)

…uh-oh…

While the original F word can be hugely satisfying + a super-charge release of energy I have another idea for you today.

 

Forgiveness.

I know we hear that Gratitude is the key to a more satisfying life.  This is true AND not complete (in my humble opinion).

My experience is that I’ve just never seen the kind of miraculous results from a  Gratitude practice that I’ve seen from a Forgiveness practice.

Pros and Cons of Forgiveness

pros

  1. Forgiveness can heal physical ailments quickly. (I don’t know why exactly except I’ve experienced this myself and seen it in others.)
  2. Gives you an emotional lift that may override devastating financial losses.
  3. Releases you from the emotional pain of child abuse.
  4. Frees up more love in your heart which you can then share with yourself or other people.
  5. Allows you to live in present time, rather than past time.
  6. May give you the inner juice + confidence you need to walk away from abusive relationships with family, friends, lovers, work mates or bosses.
  7. Heals broken hearts.
  8. May help you live longer.
  9. Forgiveness releases stress.
  10. May erase some of the lines of age on your face.
  11. Will put the twinkle back in your eye.
  12. Creates inner peace.
  13. Creates emotional clarity.
  14. Can shorten your to-do list. (Because you’re not trying to be an action figure to hide the emotional pain you carry…yes, sometimes people/women become human doers to hide their inner pain and resentment.)
  15. Instant forgiveness is possible.
  16. There is no shelf life on the effectiveness of Forgiveness.   You will feel better whether you forgive now or in twenty years.  If you Forgive now you will feel better now.  If you wait twenty years….why would you wait twenty years to feel better?  (sheesh…)

cons

  1. Not all that needs to be forgiven is easy to forgive.  Sometimes Forgiveness is the last thing you want to do when you really need to do it + can most benefit from it.
  2. It’s not as easy as Gratitude.  Forgiveness means consciously walking into the places that are shadowy and dusty + where the light has not been shining + sweeping them out.
  3. Sometimes Forgiveness can not be done alone.  Sometimes you need a friend, supporter, guide or spiritual permission-giver to get the job done.
  4. We weren’t taught how to overcome the resentment feelings.  Resentment feelings are the reason we DON’T forgive.   As children + teens we probably practiced saying “I’m sorry” and “It’s okay” and were expected to get on with things and that all would be well.  There was little attention given to where the pain was lodged after an offense + how it may sit there and the “it’s okay” was not really “okay”.
  5. Unforgiveness may be something you inherited from your ancestors + you may not really find it easy to let go of past hurts.
  6. You might not know what to put in place of the things you’ve forgiven.  You may unconsciously come up with new things to have to forgive, new dramas and hurts and transgressions in your life in order to feel safe.  Yes…if we’ve carried unforgiveness and resentments, they’ve got a niche inside our spirits that keep us anchored to a place in time and space.  Letting that go may create feelings of insecurity.  Feeling lighter and less burdened may take some getting used to!

How to Forgive

The how-to is actually another blog post.

It’s also…a live workshop (in 2014).

How to forgive is, in fact, a whole e-course…an entire digital retreat.

 

For today…

1.

Decide if you have something you would like to place under the light of Forgiveness.

2.

If you do, then place it there.  The awareness that you have something you may like to forgive is where we all start.

 

Choose blame or change 403

Forgiveness creates miracles, expands self-love, sparks synchronicity + exposes us to a true sense of Peace on Earth.

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