when a song becomes an experience

I share –  a lot.

I tell you stories, ones I think you might relate to and, from time to time, I’ll drop in a subtle statement that reflects the way I move through the world.

This week’s blog is not subtle. You might not be able to relate.

I’m writing it anyway.

I quite literally feel my way through the world, with my whole being, physical and energetic.

I never understood, before I developed my language and understanding, why I hated crowded spaces and sporting events. (Imagine a crowd of thousands with a collective anger at a referee coursing through your body when in reality you could not care less about a bad call.)

There were (and still are) visceral experiences in my life that I have zero explanation for.

I broke into tears one night as if I had lost someone dear to me, called all of my family desperate to make sure everyone was ok and once they were all accounted for, I kept crying more until, like someone flipped a switch, it was over. To this day, I have no explanation. The whole thing lasted almost 30 minutes.

I’ve had sensations and understandings about things that I’ve always trusted but couldn’t ever quite wrap my head around.

Another example: I remember during my first year of college, having a severe desire to get to a phone to call my younger sister (this was before cellular phones were in everyone’s pocket). I call home, my hand navigating to wrap around the necklace I am wearing that connects me to her and when she answers, the first words out of my mouth are “Tell me what happened”.  Her response was to break down crying from a significant heartbreak that had happened earlier that day.

It’s not unusual for me to be overcome with an almost panic-like urgency to reach out to someone only to hear them answer “ How did you know I needed you?”.

I finish people’s sentences all the time, and/or summarize what they are saying with what they call the “perfect” word choice. It’s almost like it’s fed to me from another place – I never feel the right to claim “ownership” of said word or summary. It’s as if I can “read” the energy of the words they are searching for.

I hear nuances most people don’t. I see things most people pass by. It’s how I’m wired. I don’t know any other way to hear or see. I don’t know how to “unknow” these things.

What I take as normal turns out to be anything but ordinary.

Over the last few years, as I’ve delved more into meditation, spiritual growth and personal development, I’ve opened a deeper connection with myself and with my intuition.

I’ve shed many layers of stories and identities. I do it so quickly now that I feel almost like a completely new human being every day, having learned, seen, heard or integrated some new level of understanding.

It happens so often and yet each one is significant and meaningful. Even the tiniest things like the sip of coffee before my first skydive that brought tears to my eyes. I could literally taste the love and care the barista had invested. Sheer delight.

I just finished a second audio book (I’m officially obsessed) called How to be Here by Rob Bell. I’m a huge fan of his podcast called, appropriately, the RobCast. Rob’s roots are in being a pastor and I’m a particular fan of his translation of the Bible which I’ve never understood.

All Bible references aside, the man is a remarkable speaker, writer and a joy to listen to. This book specifically talks about the art of presence and taking the opportunity to BE in the moment. To get out of doing and to get back to being.  

This was one of my primary actions in 2017 so this book was a great way, after The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer I told you about last week, to carry me into 2018.

So now, combine my finishing of this book on presence, right after completing a book on surrender, with my finely-tuned intuitive feelers on high and you get the following story.

It’s an odd one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I don’t have words to explain most of what happened so I’ll do my very best to try and translate it for you and know that I’m walking into this effort knowing it will be clunky.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this. There’s a low grade rumble of the inner voice rising as I’m on the verge of typing this out and still, one of my pillars for 2018 is spreading the word. So my friends, this is the word this week.

I had just dropped my girls off at school and I took the opportunity during my quiet drive to connect with one of my soul tribe members; those beautiful people in my inner circle where I can always just be, find solace and show up exactly how I am with no excuse or explanation.

As we were disconnecting the call, I’m on my Apple headset and I hit the hangup/speaker button and the music on my iPhone unexpectedly turns on. It’s a stunning Deva Premal song I love called Gayatri Mantra that reminds me of another important member of my soul tribe.

As if the song is a gift for me in the moment, I surrender and let it keep playing, welcoming the sound of it. I relax into the song as I’m coming off the freeway. I’m waiting at the red light when something happens.

Goosebumps cover my flesh in a pleasant way, a signal for me to pay closer attention and I lean in to the sensation.

In a breath, while my physical body is sitting in my car, I am not.

I am expansive – not made of flesh and blood but pure energy capable of being all things and nothing. Breathtakingly soulful, present, aware and unbound.

A name of another tribe member flits across my mind. I can feel his joy from thousands of miles away – instantly. I check in energetically on another tribe member dropping a bit of love upon them and come back to the car – the traffic light has changed and I’m aware that I have to be present enough to make the physical body in the vehicle move with the flow of traffic.

I am suddenly conscious that movement by car seems remedial. I’m joyfully fascinated by how inefficient and silly this form of travel seems to me at the moment. Like an infant is fascinated by the discovery of her foot. “Ooh, I’m in a box, it moves when I press a pedal and turn a wheel.”

Another red light gives me the chance to free myself again. I close my eyes, just being. I feel no sensation of mass or gravity. I don’t feel physically contained. I feel lifted, ethereal, transcended.

When the light changes again and I know I have to move, I can only describe the sensation as “coming to”. My face is wet from tears I didn’t know I was shedding. I feel a residual vibration in my body of pure joy and radiance. I move my physical body very slowly, aware of each muscle and movement.

I am in awe of the experience. The song continues, carrying me back home.

Another incident, a few moments after arriving home, has me in a similar state. This one however is not external, this one, as if to prove the difference, is showing me the same sensations contained in a physical body. It’s like when you were a kid and put PopRocks in your mouth for the first time – my whole body felt that way; explosive and piqued.

I can’t describe this overwhelming bliss, I know only that it was.        

I took a branding quiz for my business once that was archetype-based from Cerries Mooney. I loved it. I feel a kinship with Cerries. I love her work.

During that process, I discovered I’m an Explorer and an Alchemist.

This story is an example of how I move through the world. Exploring what’s possible; transmuting and transforming until I find the right formula.

My experience in this story reconfirms for me, that I’m on the right path.

Why share this with you now? Again, I don’t know. I’m trusting if you’re reading this that you are more likely to know why, than I am. I am merely doing the part I have been called to do; to tell you it’s possible, because I’ve been there.

I also think I could show you the way, if you wanted to follow.

With Metta,
LC

 

as the tide changes

I started 2017 sitting in Vipassana, which if you don’t know, is a 10-Day silent meditation experience. Ten days, sitting in meditation with nothing but your own head, thoughts and ideas swirling around you. No books, no reading, no talking. You eat, you sleep, you meditate. It was life altering.

I can’t wait for the next opportunity to go. 

I took away a few tremendous lessons from this experience that most recently, in all of my angst, have come back into my awareness – as if to say hey – don’t forget what you learned…I want to share these with you. 

The first of those lessons is that silence and space are healing.

My nick-name growing up was motor mouth (or M&M as my Dad would call me). I earned this name because I never stopped talking. I have also been known to talk very quickly and, if I happen to be extra passionate about a topic, appear to be able to speak without breathing. It’s an illusion people have called me out on many times. 

I remember telling my Dad I was doing Vipassana and he laughed at me and gave me 48 hours before I cracked from my need to speak. It turns out that I love being in silence. 

After Vipassana, I committed to taking one 24-hour period of silence each month this year. I did great up until the summer. I loved my silent sessions. 

If I look back on the mounting angst and swirl in my life and the subsequent pain and emotional turmoil, it’s no coincidence that they align to the timeline of when I took the priority away from my periods of silence. 

On the backside of this Thanksgiving holiday – Saturday evening, on my drive back from Portland where I had spent the weekend, I did 14 hours of silence. It wasn’t the full 24 but it was a great reset – and a lovely reminder of how much silence can heal.

I actually turned my cell phone off and relied on the universe to guide me safely home and then wake me in the morning in time for my appointment. It didn’t fail – a dog bark came at the perfect time. 

The second major take away from Vipassana was the reminder that everything is always moving and changing. Things don’t stay the same, ever.  As my dear friend Brandi and I were walking along the river trail along Portland’s Willamette, we walked in silence for most of the 3 mile trail. 

Silence allows you to hear the messages of the universe more clearly. I heard many reminders on this walk. The one that triggered my memory of Vipassana was the reminder that things are always changing. 

If you touched your fingers in the river, as I did on Friday, and then a moment later, put your fingers back in the exact same spot, the river water would have changed already and your fingers would be touching something different. 

The same is true of life. Stand still long enough and what you are looking at will alter itself around you. And because of this movement, you too, even while standing still, will change. The wind will brush your face differently or your breathing will change the air in your lungs, your blood changing with the exchange of O2 and CO2. 

Sometimes when we find ourselves stuck somewhere we don’t want to be, we struggle so much to “get out” or to “force” our way through we often don’t recognize that sometimes, standing still is the best way to move. 

The third reminder and big lesson I took from Vipassana was that we create our own misery. We do this in one of two ways. We are either actively craving something we can’t have, and our want is so great that it makes us miserable or we are actively trying to avoid something we don’t want which also makes us miserable. 

The remedy is to approach everything with an equanimous or balanced mind. Now, I’m zodiologically a Cancer, prone to mood swings and influenced by the moon cycles. (Seriously, my last menstrual cycle backed itself up a week to align with the last new moon.) 

Balance isn’t fundamental to me. What IS fundamental is being swept up in the current and allowing my passions to show through, as well as my emotions. I’ve received feedback that it’s hard to keep up when I go from crying to laughing within a moment or two. 

All that said, what I’ve finally found, and yet often need a reminder of, is that the path to balance is through surrender. 

When something is causing me pain, sadness or aggravation, instead of fighting those emotions to try and stay in an equal mind, I allow them to come. 

Here’s the thing that amazes me most when I release the need to fight it, the big feelings last maybe 90 seconds and then I’m “right as rain”. (I think whoever came up with this colloquialism never lived in the Pacific NW).  

So as I step into the last month of the year, and out of the November that brought up so much, I was gently and gracefully reminded, during my periods of silence, of the lessons I have learned this year. 

  • I was reminded that space and silence heal.

  • I was reminded that surrender and being in-flow heal.

  • I was reminded that everything changes (and I don’t always have to be the one to change it).

  • I was reminded that standing still is sometimes the best course of action.

  • I was reminded that being in silence makes you a better listener.

  • I was reminded that the universe always has my back (and yours!). (I especially love that it was in the form of a dog barking.)

  • I was reminded that the lessons I learn are more effective if I integrate those lessons into who I am instead of trying to change myself to make them work.

  • I was reminded that if I show up in my full authenticity, nothing external can dim my light.

  • I was reminded that if I have the courage to shine my light, that those who need it will find me.

  • I was reminded of my roots, the power (and progress) of my journey and my desired destination.

  • I was reminded that my stories and experiences are valuable. Even more so when I have the courage to share them.

Thank you for being a safe place to share. For your encouragement and love. I am grateful for you. 

 

Expand Your Range

I’m minus 36 hours from what promises to be a life-changing, silent meditation experience called Vipassana (www.dhamma.org).

In preparation, I wrote an email to my former husband and this was the first line; “I’ve created and uploaded 10 videos for the girls, one for each day, onto my YouTube channel and set Kaila up in my CRM system so it will email her iPod each day with the video embedded into the file.“

This stands out to me for two reasons. The first reason is that I would never have considered myself to be a “techie” person but that sentence sure sounds “geek speak” to me. The second is the juxtaposition of the technological preparations for a silent meditation retreat.

In my mind, these two experiences reside on opposite ends of the spectrum.

It was a wonderful reminder for me of the importance of expansion; of stretching the boundaries of your comfort zone and, despite the fear, moving through the discomfort of the unfamiliar.

I am the first person to preach about doing what feels good and avoiding what doesn’t.

To me, there’s a difference between what doesn’t feel good and what doesn’t feel familiar.

Familiar is a sense of routine, it’s your favorite meal, your go to drink or the well-worn path from your bedroom to your car in the morning when you are on auto-pilot.

Unfamiliar is something we don’t know about ourselves, or our environment. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about what we can and can’t do. It’s the boundaries we place on our lives when we think about “good and bad” or what our previous experiences tell us about our skill set.  

These stories and/or boundaries we set are important and significant because they create a framework (or lens) through which we see and act.

As a child these stories keep us safe; fire is hot, the stairs are steep, I have a food allergy, etc.

As an adult, however, these stories can become full-blown cages if we are not careful.

I’ve heard my 10-year old daughter say a few times “I’m not good at that.” My response is always something along the lines of “If you say so, then it will be.” In other words, reminding her that she’s creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with her words.

I’m working to get her out of her “stories” and into a growth/expansion mindset; one that will allow her to change her lens and keep it fluid by habit and training. The hope for her, and for everyone I love, is to never have to feel caged by your experiences of the world.

My dream for my daughter is that instead of her stories, she has ingrained within her, a belief that she can do and be what ever sets her heart on fire; the capacity to witness her own boundaries when she puts herself in them, and the skills to work past them.

My dream is the same for you.

There is a very strong surge of power that comes from knowing you have the skills, capabilities and capacity to shift the outcome of a moment and to mold it into what you want it to be.

As I begin to plant new seeds for 2017 as a foundational year , I do so with the idea of expansion in mind. With the goals of gaining comfort in the exploration of the unfamiliar, rewriting my stories and dismantling my well-built walls as I set an example for my daughters (and hopefully for others who need it).

Because I can be a tech geek when I want to and as challenging as it might be; I can also be silent and without a phone, computer, book to read or notebook to write in for 10 days. (Even if my Dad thinks his “motor mouth” needed an extra incentive to make it past the first 36 hours.)

A girlfriend of mine shared a quote with me once: “Play your range.” I believe the credit for the quote goes to Nisha Moodley.

For 2017 I’m going with Expand Your Range. Will you join me?

Thank you for your patience as I worked through my wintering.  I continue to be blessed and honored that you are on this journey with me.

I’ve also been adding to this written blog via video. You can find the collection here on my YouTube channel. Subscribe today for random inspiration when you need it!

 

a few words on things we don’t understand

I was woken up in the middle of the night by my youngest daughter somewhere around 2 AM telling me that she was afraid. Of what, she didn’t know.

Eventually, it was spiders. She asked for her Dad (we’re divorced so not an option), a hug and a kiss but couldn’t calm down. As these things sometimes happen, it’s the night before a big event for me and sleep is important. I was tired, frustrated and couldn’t “fix” her problem so after a full hour of suggestions and ideas focused on ways to help her find calm, we settled on her sleeping in my room.

Then, as she fell quickly back to sleep, I started to recite my keynote speech in my head.

It was 3:40 in the morning the last time I checked the clock. The next three hours before my alarm went off felt like five minutes and my day started with my body feeling a bit like I was hit by a Mack truck. Lack of sleep does this to me as does a significant amount of energy work.

Because of the election, I’d been actively protecting myself energetically all evening. I’m an empath, which essentially means I feel my way through the world and on the night where my country’s energy (and dare I say the world) is focused on the same thing, my energies were spent making sure I was not channeling all of their feelings through my body.

I remember somewhere in the middle of the night starting to feel the pressure of being awake and needing sleep, falling down that slippery slope of blaming my daughter for her dreams (not something she knows how to actively control yet) and getting frustrated with my mind for not calming itself as my usual go-to sleep remedies failed me.

The anxiety creeping in.

I also remember Olivia Fox Cabane’s book The Charisma Myth where she tells of a similar night she had in a similar situation. Her remedy was to write down why this was the best possible thing that could happen to her. Not wanting to disturb my finally-sleeping-again daughter, I left the lights off and started to concentrate on why not sleeping was a good thing.

I don’t know, at this moment, why on the night before a big event my daughter had a scary dream that required my intervention for over an hour and disrupted my sleep pattern. I know a bit more about why my brain went haywire afterwards and it was difficult for me to calm down and sleep again.

I do however, have complete faith, that in a way I don’t quite comprehend, it’s exactly what needed to happen.

A long time ago I put my trust in things that are meant to be.

Not without a lack of control, or influence, mind you, but with full knowledge that some things are out of my control and that I have two basic and fundamental choices.

The first is to fight “it” (whatever “it” is) and be angry about it and all of the ways that it is “wrong” or “inconvenient”. The second is to accept “it” with grace and to trust that it makes sense in the broader scheme of things.

When I look back on my life and put all of the pieces together, it’s never failed to amaze me how something that shook me up, lead to one of the greatest leaps in my personal development or the most wonderful discoveries of my life.

This is the way I choose to absorb and process things I don’t understand. I do it with faith.

Faith in a design that was conceived long before I was, in the patterns and undulations of the natural world and in the evidence I have of my own life and about how these things have served me before.

I no longer believe in right and wrong.

I believe in information and in learning. I don’t ever know where the information and learning will lead me, but I always know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that it serves its purpose. Because it always has, time and time again.

I type this, a bit more tired than I would have been if my daughter had slept through the night, but also more prepared for today than I would otherwise have been, because I had a chance to practice my keynote one more time and that – that might make all the difference.

100 Days of Magic: Days 1-3

You hear over and over again in self-development circles that what you focus on expands. I’m making a conscious effort to focus on the things in my life that I find divine and magical. 

To me, magic is the alchemy of timing and awareness. Our job is to remain present and notice and then to take full advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. If it feels light and good; I’m in. If it doesn’t, I’m not – that’s how I live my life. 

When it comes to magic, it always feels light to me. Sometimes it’s like I have a magic wand and I can create whatever I want. It never fails to blow me away and to keep me humbled and in pure gratitude. 

While I’ve been posting these things on Facebook, I know that not everyone is in that environment. There’s also so much more to say than just the tiny little quips I post there. 

Because I love telling stories, I was designed to translate the universe and I have a lot to say, I wanted to start documenting the stories behind each magic posting.  They are long so I’ll only do a few at a time.  

Here is the expanded version of Days 1-3 of the 100 Day Experiment in Magic.  

Day 1: When I see light on my path (in photographs) or surrounding me I know my legion of angels are nearby. On Day 1 when I brought the experiment back, I felt surrounded by them. I can’t think of a better way to start. 

 

 

The other parts of Day 1 worth noting were the close of the first rental property sale; bringing a significantly needed financial breath. I saw a blue butterfly land on my dog and then me. In the Tarot deck I love and use for readings, a blue butterfly is on the 6 of Wands, a card that represents new beginnings and emerging from the darkness with a new set of wings (apropos given the financial deep breath). I had the joy of a fancy dinner with an amazing friend who is my #1 fan and constant cheerleader using an ancient gift certificate and while there, the piano guy plays the favorite song of a best friend I lost during my junior year of high school.  I’ve written about her before. 

Day 2: I had a tough chat with a friend and got off the phone feeling sad and just energetically off. I immediately got a text from another friend, completely unrelated about how special and beautiful I am. The second text was unprompted. Just a beautiful little shout out of love at the perfect time. I was immediately “righted”.  It’s magic when the right words at the right moment can revitalize you at a soul level. 

Day3: I was just coming off of a three-week vacation when this experiment started. As I frantically tried to unpack and get my house in order I misplaced my jewelry roll which holds all of my most precious and frequently worn pieces. I had NO idea where it was.

I filed a ticket with the airline for a lost item. I called my friend who drove me from the airport to search his car. I went back through all of the suitcases and my kids clothes and through every drawer in my room. I even called the grocery store we stopped at for lunch and some necessities to see if it fell out of my bag while shopping. 

I search relentlessly for four days. Then I used a tool from Christie Marie Sheldon called the “What Would It Take” statement or WWIT for short and asked the universe what it would take to find my lost jewelry roll. I repeated this about 4-6 times energetically imagining my relief and joy when I would find it.

I got up and immediately felt compelled to walk into my closet. I reached up on a shelf, grabbed a purse I haven’t used in a month and in it, under my winter hat (remember it’s July…) I found my jewelry roll. From question to discovery in less than 2 minutes. I love my energy tools!!

I hope you enjoy this journey through magic with me. I’ve hear from many that it’s inspiring and helps remind them to look for their own magic. 

Share your magic with me in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

The Power of Reccurance

Picture this: It’s a lovely sunny day. Your daughter is outside reading a book. You pause your FaceTime chat with your parents so you can go get your barking dog from the yard when the neighbor in the house behind you assaults you with his words.

This was my Saturday afternoon.

I opened the door and the neighbor, above me to my left starts to yell at me. He is very aggressive about telling me that he is tired of my dog barking. He threatens to call the police and file a complaint with the HOA.

This neighbor was the second in-person complaint.

The first one actually knocked on my door to tell me he was over it, while, of course, my dog barked at him like crazy.

I came back inside to my parents and I lost it.  

My dog is a half toy-fox terrier and half schnauzer 19lb. cutie named Bruiser and like me, he happens to love talking. (*barking).

My neighbor’s complaint, whose name I didn’t even know, was like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t help but just cry.

I don’t care that I’m less than a few weeks short of my 40th birthday; I cried like a baby.

But I wasn’t just crying about the man being mean.

It was the trigger that released a tremendous amount of emotion and stress that I’ve had balled up for a while.

It was cathartic and I needed it.

I’m grateful for the release (and for my cousin and parents who helped calm me down and reaffirm that everything would be fine; God bless family).

After a troubled night of terrible dreams, I woke up anxious about going to the golf course for my shift because what happened if Bruiser was making the neighbors crazy again?

However, as I jotted down the notes from my dreams (which I’ve made a commitment to start tracking) I realized that this whole scenario with the neighbor and the dog was an opportunity to realize where my power was bleeding out.

I was all “Yes, Sir. I’m sorry, Sir.” when he was talking to me. Then I cried and then I got angry. Anger gives me fuel so I started to do research and take action.  

Then I took an action I would NEVER have taken two years ago.

I went to visit my complaining neighbors, both of them – with the dog.

I introduced myself to the man who yelled yesterday because I didn’t know him.

We shook hands like proper people do. I looked him in the eye and let him know what my action plan was. I gave him a timeline for implementation so his expectations were set appropriately.

I then knocked on the second neighbor’s door (the first complainer). I listed for him the things I had done since our first conversation and told him I spoke with said other neighbor about the second part of the action plan. I told him I wanted to follow up and ensure he knew I had taken his complaint seriously.

I did all of this because I wanted to take my power back.

Not only did I take my power back, after months of anxiety related to this situation, I walked away smiling.

I am at peace and calm. I now feel like everything will be okay; and I know it will be.

Bruiser was terrific when we visited by the way. He didn’t bark once.

 Bruiser and me on Rattlesnake Ledge; he loved the 4 mile hike!
Bruiser and me on Rattlesnake Ledge; he loved the 4 mile hike!

 

 

 

A Blank Page

I was called to do a card reading last night from a specific deck I own called Nature’s Whispers. The artistry in these cards is insane and they always keep me visually stimulated. I did a three card spread signifying past, present and future. I took the top level messages (the words written on the cards combined with what my intuition told me about each card) and then I went to sleep.

I woke up this morning to an inbox filled with philosophy and a unique perspective on the world from an amazing human and fellow purpose-finder named Cedric. You can find his work here. Among being an explorer, traveler and craftsman, he’s a brilliant writer. He mentioned having troubles figuring out what to say sometimes.

I got out of bed and went back to the cards where I left them from the night before to read the deeper messages. Here’s what they said:

Past: Leap of Faith: Picture a beautiful fairy-like woman dancing on a single line from a spider’s craft; below her, a full web ready to catch her should she fall. She carries a magic wand, the tip alight. The message: take the leap, you will soar and if you fail, you will be caught.

No doubt I’ve taken many leaps of faith. When I fall, I keep getting caught over and over again.

Present: Adventure: Imagine a conch shell, floating high above the mountains of islands. A Mermaid in the shell looks down from above. Faces in the mountains look back at her, the sky and the full moon. The message: take a break and do something different to break you out of your routine.

My golf-course gig has certainly been an adventure as will getting back into tap dancing.

Future: New Experiences & Possibilities:  A woman riding a horse – this image is seen in the top of a tree. She wears a gold crown and a green velvet dress, a castle in the background, her horse wears a banner and bells. Royalty. A butterfly with blue wings rests beneath the tree – transformation. Flowers and color in abundance. The message: “You are on the first steps along a new path. You are being offered a blank page – what are the first words you would like to write on it? Your possibilities are endless.”

I love this line in particular: You are being offered a blank page – what are the first words you would like to write on it?

So if you are, in this moment, like my dear friend Cedric, experiencing a sort of “loss of words” think of the first words you would like to put on your blank page.

You don’t have to craft a whole sentence. You don’t have to have punctuation or proper grammar. You just need to decide what the first words are.

My first words are these:

Love. Embrace. Believe. Presence. Open. Fierce. Sacred. Divinely Magnificent. Radiant.

These words represent how I show up in the world; I lead with love in my heart. Embrace, believe and presence are my words to live by, the last five are my core desired feelings (From Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map).

These words for me are fairly steady. While they might shift and morph from time to time (i.e. radiant becomes golden and sacred becomes grace), they are very grounding and centering for me.

I found these words through many different influences and experiences, most of which I’ve written about through my blog posts all collected here.

All of these experiences and the words that I live by are also how I’ve crafted my business and the work I do with others.

This is the work I do. I help people find the first words on their blank pages.

This is what being an Insight Strategist is all about. You start with the basics, the infrastructure, the foundation and THEN you build. As Stephen Covey would say in his famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: begin with the end in mind.

What are the first words you are going to write on your blank page?

I’m always here if you need help defining them.  Always.

My “Worldy” View

I sat in my car this weekend with an incredible friend who was born in Kenya, has lived in many places around the world including, most recently, a 3 year stretch in London. We were having a conversation about American politics; a subject of which I purposely know very little.

Being an empath makes watching news and being around negative energy very damaging so I avoid it as much as possible. (I simultaneously find it very sad that our American political system fits this “negative energy” label.)

I was in awe of how much she engages in the system, her knowledge about the players and her commitment to understanding it all; not only in America but around the world.  She came across as supremely intelligent and worldly. I count myself blessed to have such worldly friends in my life. I also know that a few years ago I would have crawled out of my skin during that chat because I couldn’t participate.

I would have felt a crushing sense of ignorance.

I love evidence of how much I’ve evolved. It’s truly a positive reinforcement of what’s been so difficult for me. To see the evidence however, you have to know the story.

I was raised in a family where we were encouraged to be ourselves but to “fit in”. 

As I am half Portuguese/Chinese/Hawaiian and half Polish/French/Lithuanian I didn’t really “fit-in” in New Hampshire where I was raised. I remember everyone asking what I was (ethnicity-wise). The guesses ranged from Italian and Greek to Samoan.  It bothered me that people were so compelled to label me.

There were also other things that set my family apart when I was in NH. We ate rice every night for dinner. I ate strange foods that most people hadn’t heard of like li hing mui and pickled daikon. Saimin soup was a staple in our house.  By the age of 15 I had been to Hawaii 4 times.  

All of these things made me stand out as “different”.

When I moved to Hawaii, everyone recognized me as hapa (half-Hawaiian). They’d ask if I was a “local girl”. My New England accent was a dead giveaway that I was anything but local, so I worked diligently to learn the local dialect so I could fit in more.

I remember the freedom of coming to WA and running around the streets of The Ave and Capitol Hill in the late 90s. I could be whoever and whatever and no one cared; they didn’t ask a question about my ethnicity. These free spirits, that ran round with fishnet stockings held together with safety pins and tutus with combat boots and multi-colored hair could have cared less what I was.

It was one of my reasons for loving WA. I felt like I could finally relax until I got to my first WA university and one of my college roommates made a comment about my rice crackers right before she asked me to exit our dorm room because my food smelled offensive to her.

I went outside with my crackers (which reminded this lonely transplant of her family) and cried. I was 23 and my new-found sense of freedom from labels had shattered once again.

Fast forward to my last corporate gig that had me traveling around the world, meeting people from places I couldn’t point out on a map unassisted and learning customs I don’t know existed. I was educated on cuisines from around the globe complete with guides who spoke the language of the cuisine navigating my food sensitivities.

This broadening helped me be more cognizant of just how unaware my early commentators were.

It also helped me to recognize that because of my ethnic mix, most “foreigners” saw me immediately as more worldly than I saw myself.  

What had always made me locally awkward had made me globally ambiguous.

Almost everywhere I went people talked to me in their native tongue first. In France, they’d address me in French. In El Salvador and Puerto Rico they’d start with Spanish. I have a contingent of friends from Sao Paulo who said all I was missing was the language (my extroverted, talkative self and lack of boundaries about hugging everyone I meet is apparently normal in Brazil- what a relief!).

I began to love how universal I physically appeared to be; how easily, should I have been able to master the language, that I could slip into the population and be welcome.

I find it fascinating that I had to get outside of the United States of America to feel welcome in the world.  

I also find it amazing that my connection to the world at large made me feel more confident in the corner of the world I now call home.

I am blessed that it’s normal for my children to have friends of all different ethnicities who speak different languages at home than they do in school.

I find it reassuring that a simple, engaging conversation I had with my dear friend Karimi has given me a massive moment of appreciation for all of the above and the evolution of my own story.

It’s sometimes the most innocent and unassuming of conversations that end in the biggest personal epiphanies.

While my definition of worldly as it pertains to myself is more likely to include expertise in language, culture and cuisine and less economic, political or geographic; I’m good with it.  Having a collection of brilliant minds (and hearts) to fill in the gaps is part of what living is all about.

It’s a bonus that I now have a source of love and knowledge in this arena who I can call upon when I exercise, with gratitude, my very American right to vote.

What’s your worldly story?

Purpose & Magic

Before I left my corporate career to start this company,

I had a very specific job title I was after. I met with many people already doing the work. I rewrote my resume with this target in mind and for a while, my LinkedIn profile was a sales pitch for this role.

This week I found this position open at a Seattle company I’ve grown to love and admire during my research.

I contacted a friend who’s connected with someone there to see if could get a personal introduction. This weekend I sent over a resume and cover letter, newly refreshed and targeted to a friend for review.

Does this mean I’m giving up on the business I started?

Absolutely not.

So why the sudden change in direction? It’s simple. I don’t see it as a change in direction.

I set out on a mission when I started my company to find my purpose and place in this world. It’s one of the reasons my company name is Your Life Map.

At the time, I didn’t know why I was here. I couldn’t make sense of the collective of my life looking backward and I had a hard time understanding the path I’d been on and why it mattered.

I knew only two things: that I was miserable and that I wanted to change it.

So I took massive action to change it: quit my corporate gig, went to school, studied whomever I chose uninhibitedly. Bit by bit, the whole of my purpose started to make sense.

For the last 20 days I’ve been posting on Facebook about my “Experiment in Magic”.  

Functioning under the premise that what you focus on expands, the core purpose of the experiment is to document the coincidences (or as I prefer, synchronicity) that I encounter in everyday life.

I don’t think coincidences are truly coincidence. I think that coincidences are the universe’s way of giving us what we ask for. I also believe in divine timing, déjà vu and a universal consciousness that has many names-the most mainstream is God.

It’s through my experiment that I believe I’ve finally reached the first layer of awareness on my purpose and I have to tell you it feels absolutely fantastic.

I’ve shed a large layer of fear that has blanketed me for some time. I was lost in panic about showing up fully in this world for fear what others would think. If this and my last article are any indication – that fear is gone.

So why the job application?

Because I can’t just sit idly by and wait for things to happen. My responsibility in this life is two-fold: to notice and to take action.

I now know my purpose; I’m an insight strategist. I use my talents, strengths and universal gifts to help people and companies look inside to find the solution to their biggest problems.

I love people and I see how miserable a lot of them are at work. I have this visual image of me plucking people out of their cubes by the back of their collar and reigniting the fire in their bellies by helping them down the path I’ve just been down – to find their purpose and their passion.

It’s one of my gifts; it lights me up to guide others down this path.

I love business, too. I love the whole commercial, economic model, barter and trade, supply, demand and value concept. I think it’s a crazy, sexy, cool machine and quite frankly, I miss being an active part of it. I’m part of it in my practice today but it’s certainly not snappy enough for what I typically prefer to pace at.

Who am I to claim that now that I know my purpose that I have the vision to understand the best way for it to show up in the world?

I don’t.

So I must take action in all areas, pushing the envelope from all sides, pushing every button available to me.

And then, I’ll keep my eyes wide open for what the universe opens up.

The job application, this article, my Experiment in Magic, they are all catalysts.

I have no idea where I’m going, but I do know, I’ve never had more faith that it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be and as long as I keep my heart and my eyes open I know I’ll find the perfect route.

The Universal Gifting Program

I’m going to tell you a story. It’s got a few twists and turns but it’s grounded in these four events:

On Jan. 18th – I made a list of my 5 Focus Areas for 2016.
On Feb. 4th – I decided that Presence was going to be my Word of the Year.
On Feb. 5th – I got a recommendation for and started reading a business book called Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port.
On Feb. 6th – I was in a training program with Christie Marie Sheldon that was about the “business” of me.

The miraculousness with which the above four things came together for me was incredible. So you can see it the way I did, I’m going to walk you through the above bullets backwards chronologically. It’s a little random but so worth the journey.

As I sat through the training about me as a business, it occurred to me that I was excellent at my corporate career but in my own business, I’ve felt very much like a dud.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve felt like I lost my passion and fire for what I was creating.

This training had me ask a whole new set of questions:

  • What would it take for me to be the rockstar I am, working for myself (as I was when I was working for someone else)?  
  • What would it take for me to feel like my own brand and business is crazy, sexy, cool and fun like I think of other businesses I admire?

That same day I carved out some time to read my new book and here’s what I come across (pg.35-36):

“…to create a gutsy, passionate, ardent, provocative, courageous, valiant, vibrant, dynamic, luminous, and respected personal brand, you must be fully self-expressed. You can’t hide behind the shingle that you’ve hung over your door and you can’t water yourself down in any way, shape, or form. If you do, you won’t be of interest to the people you’re meant to serve.”

And then it hit me, like all things magic do – that the book was giving me the answer to my questions.

When I was working in Corporate America – I fully showed up. Everyone knew my strengths and opportunities because they were on display.  I didn’t hide behind anything. I was authentic and real and damn good at my job.  

In my business so far, I’ve been doing a lot of hiding. Afraid that if people saw who I truly am, without the shield of a title, job or a company that I would scare people away, both those already in my life as well as those who might potentially be a customer. There’s the shame of not being overtly successful that also feels necessary to hide.

In other words, I was doing exactly the opposite of what the book was telling me to do.

I should also point out that this quote is in a section of the book called Releasing Blocks which will make more sense in a moment.

I’m going to have insert another part of another story here for this to all fit together. Work with me – I promise it’s going to be good.

Each year, for the last 2 years, I’ve picked a word of the year. It has served me in so many ways I can’t list them all. This year it has been a struggle to pick a word. I knew well enough to just let it be and it would eventually reveal itself. This week it was obvious that my word for 2016 needs to be Presence.

And here is where this whole story melds together in such an insane way, it took me a long time to see it.

Going back to my first bullet of this story I’ll now share my 5 focus areas for 2016.

Here they are:

  1. All things Magic: This is where I boldly take ownership of my view of the world. (This is where I stop watering myself down).
  2. Getting the Money Love House in prime working order. (This is where I run my life and my company like the strong business woman that I know that I am.)
  3. Clearing blocks: Removing blocks and obstacles that I’ve put in my own way. (Because if I’m watering myself down obviously I’ve got some old wounds that need healing).
  4. Presence: being in awareness and not missing any gifts from the universe. (This was on the list before I “discovered” my Word of the Year and because none of this is an accident – its the one I kept forgetting. It’s also what I’ve been missing to piece this story together in real-time.)
  5. Grow my business: The focus of the recommended book given to me just last week that’s quoted above and, as another friend pointed out: the outcome of 1-4 above.

Do you see all of the overlaps and synchronicity in the above? There are so many it’s blowing me away.

I’m sharing this with you for a very important reason. When you set a path and decide where you are going, the universe WILL conspire to help you to get there.

It will give you clues and information and helping hands and helpful tips from everywhere. Do you think its a coincidence that I got this book recommended to me when I did? Or that in my 12 month training program with Christie Marie this business topic happened to be the focus area this month?

I don’t believe in coincidence. I was struggling and God, my Angels and the universe came to the rescue.

I’m reminded of an exercise in selective attention involving basketball players and a monkey.

The path to mastery on what I’m going to call the Universal Gifting Program is to be aware enough not only of what is coming your way but what you asked and believe to make those things come.

It’s about being present; a focus I will no longer forget.

I’m writing this in pure gratitude to the magnificence of the universe and it’s desire to help me live the life I’m dreaming of. It’s such a beautiful way to live.