The Art and the Beauty of Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie

I love gratitude… 

The entire practice of being more thankful and appreciative for the things, events, and people in my life completely transformed my life for the better. I noticed somewhere along the way that when I was more present, and more appreciative of the good things that I had going on that even the not so good things seemed less intense, less scary, and gave me less anxiety. The word gratitude comes from the Latin words gratia and gratus. These mean grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Merriam-Webster defines gratitude as “the state of being grateful: thankfulness.” I came across another definition that I really loved from the Harvard Medical School. They said that gratitude is, “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” I would also add to that, at least in my own gratitude practice, that I gained a deeper connection with myself. I also learned to appreciate the person that I was, my quirks and all, and it led to a deeper love of self. This is not self-fish, this is necessary for maneuvering gracefully through this world. If you don’t learn how to love yourself, the outside world can tear you apart. So, to me, gratitude is also about self-preservation. I talk more about this in my YouTube video this week and there is also a short gratitude exercise. You can find the video here: https://youtu.be/NgUz4KrlvyI

According to scientist Dr. Robert Emmons from the Greater Good Science Center from the University of California Berkeley, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages (2003):

  1. First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
  2. Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?

We might be tempted to think that gratitude then is some new age concept, but really it is at the basis of numerous religions, spiritual practices, and philosophies. The concept of gratitude is not new. As an example, the ancient philosophers Seneca and Cicero both made comments on gratitude. In Letters from a Stoic, Seneca said,

“We should try by all means to be as grateful as possible. For gratitude is a good thing for ourselves, in a sense in which justice, that is commonly supposed to concern other persons, is not; gratitude returns in large measure unto itself. There is not a man who, when he has benefited his neighbour, has not benefited himself, — I do not mean for the reason that he whom you have aided will desire to aid you, or that he whom you have defended will desire to protect you, or that an example of good conduct returns in a circle to benefit the doer, just as examples of bad conduct recoil upon their authors, and as men find no pity if they suffer wrongs which they themselves have demonstrated the possibility of committing; but that the reward for all the virtues lies in the virtues themselves. For they are not practised with a view to recompense; the wages of a good deed is to have done it. I am grateful, not in order that my neighbour, provoked by the earlier act of kindness, may be more ready to benefit me, but simply in order that I may perform a most pleasant and beautiful act; I feel grateful, not because it profits me, but because it pleases me.”

Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” To take it to a more modern place, the former writer and amazing human being, Dr. Maya Angelou said, “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.” I believe this too! I believe that when life sees you loving to live it, it will give you more reasons to keep doing just that!

It has also been scientifically proven that gratitude improves self-esteem, improves sleep and neurological functions, lowers stress, increases immune functions, leads to a more positive attitude, makes our relationships better by enhancing our empathy and reducing negative emotions, enables us to live a happier life, and really just leads to a better overall quality of life. So why would we be hesitant to this? Everything that we do is a choice—and that includes the decision to be hopeful, to be grateful, and to view this world from a place of love. That can be hard and for many people; the default is to despair, to thinking things can never work out, and to be reactive to life. I do believe that practicing gratitude helps us to be proactive and to grab life by the horns and say, “this is how I want things to be.” So how can you incorporate more gratitude in your life?

Celestial Goodness’s Tips for increasing Gratitude in your life:

1)     Say “thank you” more. Not just when someone does something good for you, but also when its just you around and you feel thankful for something—whether it is a delicious meal, or you feel relieved at how something unfolded. Maybe you paid off your student loans—congratulations! Or maybe you finished a huge project and just feel the relief of that. You can also incorporate “thank you” as a replacement for “sorry.” Maybe you were late to something. Instead of saying, “sorry that I am late,” try, “thank you for waiting for me and extending your time.” 

2)     Send a “gratitude letter” to someone that you want to thank for something. Letter writing is not a lost art, and it is so meaningful to so many people to get real mail! I had a pretty good pen-pal streak with my friend Valerie, and whenever I get real mail from any of my friends, it really makes me feel a burst of joy! 

3)     Write down a list of things that you are grateful for and that you appreciate about your life right now. Take a look at it often and be reminded of the wonderful things that you do have to feel good about!

4)     Do a random act of kindness. There is no shortage of ways that you can infuse kindness into this world. You don’t have to be Oprah to do something good. 

5)     Do a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar. Create a journal or decorate a jar that you write down things you have to be thankful for. Going back to read these can be a real treat. If you are kind of lazy about journaling like me, there are some great free digital journal apps that make things easy! 

6)     Read books on gratitude or other feel good topics. We absorb a lot of information from the world at large. Be a gatekeeper of what goes into your mind. Balance some of the heavy world news with stories that uplift the soul. 

7)     Make a feel good stone. I love crystals as many people know. I have a special one that I wrote love on one side and gratitude on the other. When I need a reminder about this, I might hold it in my hand to feel a burst of these emotions. 

8)     Talk about it. Talk about the things that you are grateful for with your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. Hold space for their joy. 

9)     Give to a charity. You don’t have to be Oprah to do good. Even $10 can go a long way in helping!

10) Give compliments. I love to give people compliments and to see their eyes light up. I think we should hear the good things!

I hope that the next week is a wonderful one for you; I hope that you are able to practice more gratitude and more love. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may things unfold in the most beautiful of ways.

Celestial Goodness: Affirmation…Speaking Goodness into Your Life!

A famous Hebrew proverb says, “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.” In fact, many religions and spiritual paths have a similar saying or notion. Why is that? It is because words are so very powerful and that transcends culture, religion, and spiritual practice. When I was a little girl, there was a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” However, that never felt true. Words stung when they were not said from a place of love. Even as an adult, if I say something mean-spirited, I can feel my body recoil and tense up. Our body knows the power of words. Buddha said, “words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are true and kind, they can change our world.” I do believe that when we spend time to make our personal lives and the world around us better, that it spreads even further than we can imagine. There is an infinite ripple effect of goodness that stems from the good that we do, where we are—this extends to the words that we say. Hear more on my YouTube video for this week: https://youtu.be/yo9uXdDeT3Y

Last week we discussed how using the beauty of our imagination through creative visualization can yield some very powerful and positive changes in our lives. This week, we will talk about the power of words, and how you can bolster your creative visualizations by tending to what you allow to come out of your mouth. If you know me, you know that I try to be careful about what I say, and also what I allow the people that I love to say around me. Before you think that I am some kind of totalitarian new age Pollyanna meanie, what I mean by that is our words are very powerful, and yet it appears that humans gravitate towards talking more about the things that they don’t want. Think about why in Harry Potter, everyone referred to Voldemort as “He Who Shall Not be Named.” By speaking his name, they gave him energy and power. The same thing goes for your life. Give energy to that which is good—to that, which fills your soul with joy, and love. Sprinkle good words around everywhere you go. Give compliments, and lift others up with your words. You would be surprised to see how everything blooms under these conditions.

If I spend time with someone, I can almost have a good sense of what is going on in their life from what they talk about and how they talk about it. Someone who always complains about the lack of money in their life, will almost inevitable, never have enough. The person who complains constantly about their health, will certainly see a deterioration in their health. The person who says that there are no good (men, women, person, insert your pronouns here), will almost never find it. You can’t find something if you push it away with your words. I want to hear my friends talk about the things that are going well in their lives, and let that energy permeate all the other areas of their life. I want to hear about the beautiful relationships that they plan to have with amazing people. I want to hear about how well work is going for them, how they feel fulfilled, and delighted to be working with good people doing what they love. 

We have to say what we want! We must talk about the things that we want as if we know that we are worthy of having them. Essentially, we want to help talk the things that we want into existence. I encourage you to not only talk about them, but also believe that you are worthy of what you ask for. 

My former therapist, Alphonso once told me that I was being reactive to life—meaning I was accepting whatever came my way instead of proactively asking for and receiving what I wanted from life. I found the notes for this in my old journal. I often pondered that question. Why am I being reactive to life? A lot of us grew up feeling ashamed or guilty if we asked for anything or for anything extra. We perpetuate the Oliver Twist narrative. “May I have some more sir,” or things we don’t even like, and feel despair when we don’t get even sloppy seconds of cold porridge. Some of us did not grow up making our own decisions or even being involved in the decision making process, and that can cause a paralysis as an adult. It is actually just as easy to make the statement about why you can have, do, or be something as it is to the contrary. In addition, when you get the things that you want, you are in a much better place to help other people and pay it forward.

I learned a very important lesson from a young woman that I went to law school with. She grew up in a wealthy family, went to Ivy League schools, and always asked for what she wanted. I was stunned when I heard her ask for one extra point on a paper. She felt that she deserved that point, and why should she settle for less? It was not just limited to exam points, it was anything and everything. That was transformational. I thought maybe she got the things that she wanted because of her upbringing, but no, it was simply because she had learned one of the most powerful lessons in life. Ask for what you want. Those of us who may have grown up in the church have often heard, “Ask, and it shall be given; seek and you shall find it; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” But how many of us are asking? Seeking? Knocking? 

I ask for anything that I want, because either I am going to get it, or I will be right where I was before. We should do the same with our lives. We should ask for what we want from life, from our partners, from our relationships, from our careers, from everything. Many of us are afraid that if we ask, we will be seen in a not so positive light. Who does this person think they are to ask for X,Y,Z? What empowers them to ask for this? But who are you not to ask. I can assure you that my life up to this point has taught me that there are people out there not only asking for the things that they want, but fully advocating for themselves to get it!

Please believe that you are worthy of what you asked for. Not believing that you are worthy of what you asked for is like asking for success, but preparing for failure. One way to get to that place of belief is by utilizing affirmations. In the 1920s, the author Florence Scovel Shinn introduced her book, “The Game of Life and How to Play it.” This book influenced thousands of people to use affirmations, including Louise Hay (founder of Hay House Publishing), and Shakti Gawain (author of Creative Visualization). Affirmations are positive statements that something is already so. These statements affect both your conscious and subconscious mind. Repeating affirmations can help to create a mental image in your conscious mind, which affects the subconscious mind, and ultimately impacts and influences your behavior, actions, habits, and outlook. This powerful activity can totally transform your life, impact what you create, and what you manifest. Affirmations can be done silently, out loud, you can sing them, write them down, and do them as often as you like in a given day. In her groundbreaking book that I talked about last week, “Creative Visualization,” Shakti Gawain gives these tips for affirmations:

1)     Always phrase affirmations in the present tense, and not in the future. It is important to create it as if it already exists.

2)     Always phrase affirmations in the most positive way that you can. Affirm what you do want, not what you don’t want. 

3)     In general, the shorter and simpler the affirmation, the more effective. 

4)     Always choose affirmations that feel totally right for you.

5)     Always remember when doing affirmations that you are creating something new and fresh. You are not trying to redo or change what already exists.

6)     Affirmations are not meant to contradict or try to change your feelings or emotions.

7)     When using affirmations, try as much as possible to create a feeling or belief, an experience that can be true. Temporarily suspend your doubts. 

Here are a few examples of Affirmations: (Florence Scovel Shinn & Shakti Gawain). 

·       I am at peace with myself and with the whole world.

·       I love everyone and everyone loves me.

·       My good now flows to me in a steady unbroken, ever-increasing stream of happiness.

·       Divine love floods my consciousness with health, and ever cell in my body is filled with light.

·       I give thanks for radiant health and endless happiness.

·       All that is mine by Divine Right is now released and reaches me in great avalanches of abundance, under grace in miraculous ways.

·       My life is blossoming in total perfection.

·       I am whole and complete within myself.

·       I now give and receive love freely.

·       I am an open channel of creative energy.

·       I always communicate clearly and effectively.

·       It is ok for me to have everything I want. 

·       I am open to receiving all the blessings of this abundant universe. 

I urge you to create some of your own affirmations. Create them for all the areas of your life, and practice them repeatedly. Repetition is a power tool for training or retraining the brain. I also challenge you to watch carefully what you are saying to yourself and to others for the next week. How are you talking to yourself? I pray that you would never call yourself stupid, or anything demeaning. I also hope that when you talk about the things that you want, that you do so with enthusiasm and the belief that you can have it. I am asking you to demand the most from life, and allow it to be the most beautiful unfolding ever. This is not to say things you don’t want, won’t happen, but as my dear friend Mr. Rishi says, “Life is filled with hills and valleys. As you practice this, the space between the dips in the valley lessen, and your time on the hill becomes longer.” I may have mentioned this before, but apparently when Kurt Vonnegut had something good happen, he would look up and say, “More of this please.” I hope “more of this” happens for your life. I hope you use your words wisely to allow for “more of this.” May the stars shine brightly over your week. Have a joy filled and love filled week, and practice your affirmations!

Creative Visualization: The Beauty of our Imagination

From: Unsplash

The imagination is a beautiful thing. As we get older, I don’t believe that we are encouraged to use it as much anymore. When I was a kid, my grandma had a cherry tree, and I knew how to climb it. I sat for hours at the top of that tree, swaying in the breeze, and imagining all kinds of wonderful things. On some days I was a pirate on the high seas, and some days, I was swept up in a fairy tale. Something about growing up, and getting a job, and doing the routine aspects of “adulting,” means that there isn’t a whole lot of time for daydreaming. But I am going to advocate for it here, and on this week’s video on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/A2fxIGeZL5g

It is my theory that we need some time for our minds to picture life as we would like it to be, or just to wander and be in the clouds like my favorite Disney character—Belle. Or like Albert Einstein. I talk about him a lot, but hey the guy was a genius—Einstein took time each day for day dreaming. He even said that before he solved a problem, he spent 95 percent of the time thinking about the problem, and then the other 5 percent solving it. He would sometimes take a walk or play music, and this was also part of the process. He was an advocate for taking down time to let the imagination be free, seeing this as an essential part of the process to solving larger problems. He said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.”

But here we find ourselves in 2020, “adulting” as best as we can, and probably not doing much daydreaming. Before 2020 began, one of my favorite cousins and I would often talk about what we wanted for our lives in the upcoming decade. She referred to 2020 jokingly as the year of “clear vision.” She also said that we would be able to see not only our vision, but also the fears that have held us back, and then be able to surmount them. Now that we are a little more than halfway through 2020, you might wonder…is she still saying that? She is! She says that if nothing else, this year has granted a lot of us the opportunity to take time and think about what we want for our lives, what is working, what is not working, and think about where we can push the reset button.

Toya (one of my favorite cousins) and I 🙂

When I have needed a mini reset, I frequently turn to books. One of my favorite books, hands-down is, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles,” by Marianne Williamson. When I was going through a particularly challenging time, I read it so much that it has creases in my favorite spots. This is one of those books that I will give to someone else as a gift, it is that good. I have sent many copies to friends and family, but I would never loan out my copy. The whole book is replete with wisdom, and there are many amazing quotes to choose from, however, there is one that is a favorite. It is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela, I think because it is so powerful. When I read it, I let the words soak into my heart and my soul. No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, I think there is something in this quote for everyone.

Marianne says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  

We must overcome any fear that holds us back from shining our light, and from living our best life. Getting back to my cousin, even though this year has had its challenges, some heavier than others, she still says, “2020 is the year of clear vision.” What does 2020 vision mean? From a medical standpoint, It is a term that is used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) when measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision. This is important! 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. So this does not mean that your vision has to be perfect. It just means that you may need to refine it or get clear. I love to say that we should get clear about the things that we want. But how do we get clear?

One tool for getting clear on your vision is through creative visualization. Another favorite book of mine is, “Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life.” This book is by the author Shakti Gawain. She says, “Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. There is nothing at all new, strange, or unusual about creative visualization…It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.”

Most people have either seen or heard of the movie, “The Secret.” The creator of “The Secret” Rhonda Byrne, said, “Visualization is the process of creating pictures in your mind of yourself enjoying what you want. When you visualize, you generate powerful thoughts and feelings of having it now. The law of attraction then returns that reality to you, just as you saw it in your mind.” 

Essentially, with creative visualization we are being more conscious about how we use the power of our mind. We are also tapping into the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction is about focusing our mind in such a way that we manifest more of what want so that we can live our best life. Visualizing is an extremely important part of this. When we get in the car and turn on our GPS, we put our destination. The GPS helps us to navigate there—sometimes we have to recalculate the route, but ultimately you will arrive at your destination. Our lives are the same. If we do not visualize the end point—the life we desire—we will drive along the road of life with no destination. We will end up anywhere life takes us, and waste precious resources along the way. Remember that everything that we see right now was once just a picture in someone’s mind.

When I first started learning about creative visualization and visioning, I felt very frustrated because I could not form a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted. When I closed my eyes, I just saw darkness, and then my mind got overtaken with fear based thoughts, and thoughts that were rooted in lack. What do I mean by that? We have been trained to believe that resources will run out, that there is not enough, and worse, that we are not worthy and good enough to have nice things and experiences, and the ability to live our best life. This is not true. To overcome this requires a retraining of the brain to realize that 1) we are worthy 2) we are love 3) the universe is abundant and 4) we should be living our best life each day. Again what living your best life means is different for each person, because we all have our own vision.

It is important to RELAX when doing your visioning work. Don’t put needless pressure on yourself. Remember that you are co-creating with the divine, and honestly, you have the easier part of the creating. You are not worried about the how or the when, just the what. Relax, close your eyes, and allow yourself to use your imagination. See your life the way you want it to be. How does it look? Where are you living? How does society look? How does the world look? Who are the people around you? What are you doing as far as career/purpose? How is your love life? How are all of your relationships? How are your finances? The answers to these questions do not have to look anything like what they are currently. You only need to dream big, and let it play out in your mind. I recommend doing this “daydreaming” for at least five minutes per day. Build it up! Whenever a thought comes into your mind that you can’t have something, ask this question: WHY NOT ME? 

Shakti Gawain and others advocate that when doing creative visualization, you need three things to form your INTENTION. (Intention is a big deal by the way!!) 

She says: “There are three elements within you which determine how successfully creative visualization will work for you in any given situation. 

1)     Desire. You must have a true desire to have or create that which you have chosen to visualize. By desire I don’t mean addictive, grasping desire, but a clear, strong feeling of purpose. Ask yourself, ‘Do I truly, in my heart, desire this goal to be realized?”

2)     Belief. The more you believe in your chosen goal and the possibility of attaining it, the more certain you will be to do so. Ask yourself, “Do I believe that this goal can exist,” and “Do I believe that it is possible for me to realize or attain it?

3)     Acceptance. You must be willing to accept and have that which you are seeking. Sometimes we pursue goals without actually wanting to attain them; we are more comfortable with the process of pursuing. Ask yourself, “Am I really willing to have this completely?

The sum total of these three elements is INTENTION. When you have total intention to create something—that is you deeply desire it, you completely believe that you can do it, and you are totally willing to have it—it simply cannot fail to manifest, and usually within a very short time.”

I utilized these tools to help create my own vision. I believe that in using creative visualization, you can still make 2020 your year of clear vision. Let you imagination work for your good. All of this is not to say that you won’t take action when the time is right… but visualization and using your imagination is one part, an important part, of the equation.

So let your imagination free my friends! 🙂 As you go into this next week, please take a few minutes here and there to picture the life that you want. Not just for you, but for this world. Daydream, use your imagination, and dream big. There is a visualization exercise in my YouTube video for this week, so be sure to check that out. I believe in your vision with you, and I know that with the divine, you are currently co-creating, and will continue to create a beautiful life for yourself. Have a wonderful week.

Your mission for the week ahead!

Life after Disappointment…

I have heard people say that 2020 is cancelled. We are living in cancel culture times, where the instant someone or something does something that is seen as offensive, the general masses are expected to withdraw their support. While, I do not believe this leaves any room for atonement and redemption, I am not going to police people and tell them who or what to support. What I will say though is that perhaps we should take a deeper look at what the disappointments from 2020, and what disappointments in general can teach us. Once we take a look at that we can then take steps to move forward. Undoubtedly, 2020 has doled out an overdose disappointment. We could probably sum up the whole whole year by the word disappointment. The dictionary defines disappointment as sadness or displeasure at the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. Have you felt this in your life? Have you felt this emotion at some point this year? Check out this week’s YouTube video on Life after Disappointment. https://youtu.be/mR96KxKcaGQ

Paris

I have. I am one of those people who has the calendar planned out as far as I can go. I love experiences—strolling through the bookstore, having a delicious meal with sweet conversations with friends and family. I love live music and theater, but mostly, I love to travel. I love airports, nice hotels, waking up in a new place and wondering what I will see. I love that no matter where I am in the world, most people are still facing the same issues, and still finding ways to live and love their life. So you can probably imagine my own disappointment this year when everything started to get wiped off my calendar. Outings to concerts, Hamilton, Once on this Island, and so much more. I had gatherings with friends, a reunion trip to Comic Con with my friends of 20 years. My friends from university and I were to converge on San Diego, spend days sitting by the beach and reminiscing, picking up where we last left off. I also had trips to Thailand, Singapore, and the UK scheduled with my love. While we have both been the the UK, neither of us have ever gone to Thailand or Singapore. I had spent hours in the bookstore perusing sites to visit, foods to eat, and just planning out what to look forward to. Adventure called. You can imagine how my heart hurt; but my own disappointment was mild in comparison to those who suddenly found themselves without work, or in the midst of illness, loss, and grief. Many friends of mine—especially those in the service industry or in the arts found themselves out of work, wondering what was next, or how they were going to pay the bills. My family and friends in health care spoke to me with weary voices, tired and fatigued from what they had seen on the front lines. Often disappointment does not come by itself. It is accompanied at times by anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, and sadness.

As the days turned into weeks and then into months, I have asked myself the question many times. What is it that this year—2020 is trying to teach us? Rest? Recharge? Move in a new direction? Tend to our health? Spend time on the things that matter? All of those things perhaps, but also, once we have regrouped from the disappointments, we must ask: What can we learn from disappointment? 

In looking back at my own life, each time that I have felt profound disappointment, somewhere down the line, I could see how that previous painful moment was paving the way for something better for me. And its not just me—I am sure if you pause and look at your own life you may see a moment where your disappointment was palpable. This is not to say that some things are easily explained in life. Some of us have lost people in this time, or an entire livelihood. I don’t have an explanation for why that is, but I hope that once you have grieved, that you will move forward with your life.

Many famous folks have recounted their own tales of how disappointment spurned some amazing moments in their life. There is a saying, “Man plans, and God laughs.” We may plan for things to go a certain way, but we must realize that things may not always go according to our plan. Sometimes the stars aligning in ways that we do not expect. Yet, we must always expect that life is conspiring on our behalf.

In my own life I have experienced countless disappointments, and what felt like failures. Only now I see that life was trying to encourage me to move in another direction. I graduated from law school in 2008 at the height of a global recession. I wanted to practice immigration law but small firms were shuttering, and it just seemed that no one was hiring. I sent out over 300+ letters and resumes. My mailbox was filled with rejection letters. I cried, but I picked myself up and kept trying. I ultimately made the decision to leave my home state and my comfort zone and move to the East Coast. Not only did I obtain a career that I enjoy immensely, I also saw how that disappointment was meant to push me outside of my comfort zone. It also lined me up for some other major life events.

I have also had relationship disappointments. These led to some pretty major heartaches and ultimately some soul searching. With each “failed” relationship, I received much needed clarity about what I wanted, what I would not stand for, and where I needed to heal in my own life. When I got divorced in my late 20’s, I left an abusive relationship. I felt so foolish, like how could I get myself in that situation. I felt that I had failed at love and that I had wasted precious years of my life. I went through a period of massive healing, and it was definitely not easy. Healing is often messy, painful, and so many people avoid doing the work. But when I was able to strip away everything that I thought I wanted, and everything that I thought I knew about myself—I discovered me. The authentic me. With therapy and other magical tools, I developed a deep relationship with the divine. This ultimately led me to a healthy and beautiful relationship. I have no regrets about the past disappointments.

My disappointments were also tied to my ego. I felt that if I didn’t achieve a certain thing, or if I failed at something, I would be exposed—people would see me and judge me harshly. But I was the one doing the judging to myself. I was my worst critic. In this life, we will fall, but we must never stay down. We have to get up again. 

Someone once said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived moving forward.” And so, how do we get from the point of disappointment to the point of transforming and transmuting that experience into something good?

1. Sit with the emotions. Do not cast your feelings away, each one is valid. As a human being, we are granted a wide spectrum of emotion. Each provides us with an important message. Disappointment can usually be accompanied by sadness, anger, or denial. Feel those things, but promise you won’t stay too long in emotions that drain your energy. 

2. Be kind to yourself. Do not take the disappointment as a reflection of who you really are. You are still smart, still beautiful, still courageous, still kind, still able to move forward.

3. Do a SWOT analysis. In business, SWOT means, “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.” Business uses this as part of their business strategy, but I think it is useful as well for humans. I just change weakness to “areas for development” and threat to “unknown factors.” What are your strengths, where do you need more training? Certifications? Healing? What are the opportunities that you can see? What do you want? And what are some factors to consider? Economy? Another person’s issues? Timing?

4. Keep moving forward. Try again, try something else, or make your own opportunities. 

5. Get the energy out in productive ways. Exercise, meditate, spend time in nature to clear your mind. 

6. Realize that what happened may not be about just you. We are all connected like a spider’s web across this great planet. Sometimes you are the stepping stone in another’s destiny. My friend Desi always says to me. You don’t know what role you play in the grand scheme of things. Do you think Dr. King’s grandmother knew that her grandson would change this nation? 

7. Believe in yourself, and know that you are worthy and deserving of good things

These are just a few ways to move forward after disappointment. I do believe that like Oprah says, disappointment is life’s way of moving us in a different direction. It is a delay but it is not a denial of who we are meant to be. Our birthright is to triumph. I believe that for you. Sending you so much love and positive vibrations. Have a beautiful love filled week.

The Fifth Element: Enter the Ether and Let Love & Spirit Light the Way

Greetings beautiful soul. Yes, that’s you! Thank you for joining me in this space and for reading my blog. I definitely appreciate it. Over the past several weeks, I have written about the four classic elements: Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. I have shared some lessons from each element, and offered some suggestions for incorporating more of each element’s lessons in our lives. Most people believe that the story of the elements ends with the classic elements, but there is another very important element. The Fifth Element is not just a movie guys! It is also the most important element. It is everywhere, occupying spaces that we can’t even see. It is synonymous with “Spirit.”

This week on my YouTube channel, Celestial Goodness 1111, I go more in depth on the fifth element. Check that out here: https://youtu.be/MTMhXJibSro

Getting back to the element of Spirit, in ancient Greece, some of the well-known philosophers like Aristotle felt that something was missing from the classic set of elements. There had to be something else, and so they came up with the notion of aether. The word “aether” comes from ancient Greece and means, “upper air, pure fresh air.” Medieval alchemist referred to this fifth element as “quintessence” which is literally Latin for the fifth element. It was thought to have a pure and heavenly quality. Later, scientists like Albert Einstein would observe that aether occupied the space between all things. His observations on this led to work on wave theory, the theory of relativity, and also the concept of dark matter.

Because of the nature of historical research and what has been lost to time, we can surmise that other civilizations before the Greeks had a term for the phenomenon of that which is both nothing and everything. In Eastern and other ancient traditions, this concept is also known as qi, prana, or mana. To the Polynesians, mana was the spiritual life force and healing energy that permeates the universe. Whatever the name, this is the primary energy of the universe. It is an impersonal force that resides in all things and all spaces. It is vital life giving energy. Prana is the breath and is considered as a life giving force—it is the universal force that flows in and around the body. That is why there is such a strong emphasis on prana in Hindu philosophy. If you have ever meditated, or done yoga, not only would you be encouraged to focus on your breathing, but you may have heard the Sanskrit term, “Om.” Om is the sacred sound of the universe. It is the all-encompassing cosmic vibration of the universe. Each part of the symbol represents an important aspect of reality. The Unconscious State, the Waking State, the Dream State, Illusion or Maya, and then the Absolute State—the blissful state. In that state of bliss, we are everything and yet nothing. In that state, we are unconditional love. Unconditional love is exactly what it sounds like—love without conditions. Just as prana, the ether, and this vital energy of spirit is everywhere, so is love. Love is unlimited.

Om/Aum

The great lesson of the element of spirit is love. Ziggy Marley has a beautiful song called, “Love is my Religion.” I love to read up on different religious and spiritual philosophies. What I have realized is that at the core of most religious and spiritual philosophies is this concept of love. Not just love for self, but love for one another. To me, the fifth element of spirit has the greatest lesson of any element, and that is the lesson of love. In saying that, I believe that all of our religions/all of our spiritual paths lead to love. There is is always reference and deference to love. 

Whenever I see something crazy happening in the world, my intuitive thought is that we have forgotten how to love. Spirit and love are with us at all times even if the experiences of the world have overshadowed that. It is what we are seeking, but if we stop for just one moment, we would realize that spirit and love are constant. We need not seek for these things, they just are, and we just are. How do we remember that we are love? We need just remember to breathe. When we become conscious of the vital life energy within us, we should feel gratitude for it, and then we should seek to see that in others. 

The term, “Namaste,” means I bow to the divine in you. It is used both as a greeting and in parting. Imagine a world where we could not only see the beauty and love within ourselves, but in each person that we met? Imagine if we extended that to everything around us—the earth and all its creatures? Just imagine.

“I bow to the divine in you.”

I don’t have to tell any of you that we are in unprecedented times. Because of all of the uncertainty that accompanies most of the events that have transpired, there is a looming anxiety, a sense of fear hangs over the planet. Fear weakens us physically and energetically. The world is in dire need of people who remember themselves; what do I mean by that? The world needs people who remember that we came from love, and to love we will ultimately return. It needs people who can not only sense that love is their own essence, but who can see that love in their fellow man. We also need to extend our love to the planet, and in so doing, show our love for the future generations who will inherit this place.

My small prayer for this world is simple. To the Divine, all knowing energy that permeates through this universe, please let love show itself each day and in way in all places. Please let us remember that we are love, and so is our neighbor. Please let love lead us—in our actions, decisions, and thoughts. Please let love triumph over hate.

How can we incorporate the lessons from spirit into our lives?

1.     Breathe—there is power in your breathing. How are you breathing now? Take deep controlled breaths, and feel the energy moving through your body.

2.     Meditation and Prayer. A clear mind through meditation, and the ability to have conversation with the divine increase your spiritual muscle. Some have said that prayer is how you communicate with the divine, and that meditation is where you receive an answer. 

3.     Do something kind for someone else. Encourage them to pay it forward. There are many simple things that we can do that do not require a ton of resources. Pay for a friend’s meal. Listen as someone tells you something going on with them. Make something meaningful for a loved one. 

4.     Extend love to yourself. I encourage you to say three nice things to yourself each morning for a week. I would be curious to hear how you feel at the end of the week.

5.     Practice gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools that we have to keep us present and in the flow of good feelings. What are you thankful for right now?

6.     Do something good for the Earth. Plant something. Clean up trash. Donate to an organization that is actively doing something to care for the planet. 

7.     Connect to nature. Go outside. Hug a tree. Put your feet in the grass. Smell the air after a fresh rain. Listen for the birds. 

8.     Be open to the signs that you are receiving from spirit that life is working out. We are constantly receiving signs that things are working out. Open you eyes and your heart to receive them.

Thank you for reading this. I would be curious to know if any of these lessons have made an impact in your life? 

As you head into a new week. I will say to you, Namaste my friend. I bow to the divine in you. I hope that this week and onward that the lesson of love find you. The world needs your love right now. We need whatever essence you bring. You can make a difference right where you are with whatever resources you have. I believe in you. I love you. Have a beautiful week.

Have a beautiful week!

The Element of Fire: Forging Ahead

There is something mesmerizing about fire. Perhaps, it is the depth of colors flickering around, the sound of wood crackling, or maybe the heat produced by this element why people have been captivated by fire since the beginning of time. Over the last few weeks, I have written about water, earth, and air. Next week, we will talk about spirit—the fifth element—the ether and the heart. Each of these elements is magical in their own way, and contains simple but important lessons for our lives. But for now, for today, we will focus on the element that holds a special place in my heart. I have learned many personal lessons from fire. Some of these lessons have been painful, but they have all held nuggets of transformative wisdom. P.S. I dive further into this on my YouTube video for this week. You can check it out here: https://youtu.be/23kM61f6snE

Photograph from Unsplash

Why are human beings intrigued by fire? Fire comes from a chemical reaction between oxygen and some sort of fuel (wood or gasoline) heated to ignition temperature. Several scientific reactions happen during this process that ultimately creates heat, light, and soot. In the unfolding of this process, we can see that fire is the element that both destroys and creates. Fire needs to consume something—wood, coals, or gas. Fire needs something material so that it can flourish. In the process, it creates energy for us to have light to see, a way to cook our foods, and heat to warm our homes. If we make the analogy that there is a fire within us—the eternal fire of our souls—we must therefore be careful about what we consume, and about what we allow to burn within us. From our consumption, we will also be creating. How are you tending to your soul at this moment? What are you creating from what you have allowed yourself to consume?

On a spiritual level, fire is transformation and the determination of our will. Fire represents passion, creativity, and purification. Without the pressures of the heat from fire, a diamond remains a lump of coal. Without the fire to create the process, the coal never reaches its full potential. Many of us have gone through our own individual trial by fire. So many times, we are encouraged to turn away from what is difficult, what is hard, and what appears to be an obstacle—but in doing so we are avoiding the process that is meant to polish us. Rabindranath Tagore said, “Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”

When I was four years old, I went through a very painful lesson associated with fire. My family was still living in Jamaica at the time. We were in Portland parish, which is basically like being in a tropical rainfall. Everything is lush, vivid, and so green that it is almost blue. In fact, we lived at the base of the Blue Mountains, which derive their name from that glorious green/blue color that stretches out as far as the eye can see. On this particular day, my grandmother—who was a teacher—was in our living room helping students from the community prepare for the Common Entrance exam so that they could get into high school. My mother was on the other side of the island, attending Teacher’s College, and my father was away from the parish working.

My grandmother had hired a young woman by the name of Jolly to watch me and to help with things around the house. I was a curious child; sometimes I climbed our cherry tree and sat up there for hours swaying in the breeze. Other times, I was wandering around the yard playing with our cat Frisky, or the dogs. Like most houses in the country, we had an indoor kitchen and an outdoor kitchen. Most people in the country prefer to use the outdoor kitchen because the food just taste better cooked over a wood fire. Jolly had been putting clothes on the line to dry, and I found myself in the outdoor kitchen area. A pot bubbled up with the scent of something heavenly, but even more intriguing were the golden orange flames flickering back and forth. I was mesmerized to say the least. I had some paper with me, and I ripped it up and threw paper bits into the fire. Eventually, I got too close and the yellow dress lined with lace that I was wearing combusted faster than I could scream. I was stunned—too shocked to react, and also conscious that I could get in big trouble.

Maybe it was because I had been quiet for so long, that Jolly came running to find me. She screamed, and ripped the dress from my body. She also suffered a burn on her hand. I will always have gratitude for her, because she probably saved my life that day. In the process, she got hurt as well. A fitting lesson for all of us is that when we play with fire, we might not be the only one to get burned. Everything happened so quickly after that. I remember people descending to the house to help figure out what to do. I remember smelling the burning of my own skin, and feeling immense pain. I cried until I did not think it was possible to cry anymore. And then, I slept.

The clinic

In the community, we had a small clinic that had weird hours, and we were miles away from any hospital. I had to wait a few days, but my grandmother’s friend took me on a bus to Kingston. As the bus jostled, I felt everything on my wound. I spent four months in the hospital in Kingston. I had suffered second and third degree burns across my stomach, all the way up across my underarm and into my back. My parents came to visit me, and I could see their grief. I did not know what it meant at the time, but I blamed myself.

As I grew up, I was so ashamed of my scars that I always layered up so that no one could ever see them. Once in elementary school, I wore a sleeveless shirt and a boy in my class saw my scar. He made fun of me for weeks after. I got so ashamed, that I would wear a sweater even in summer time. It is amazing how one moment in our lives can impact us so deeply. Years later as I learned more about self-love, and healing from childhood wounds, I made peace with my scar and with the incident that caused it. Scars are a reminder that we survived something, that we healed, and that we are alive to see another day. Some of my favorite quotes are about scars. Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” Khalil Gibran said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

A few years ago, my aunt announced that she had a gift for my mom, my other aunt, and I. She was taking us to see the motivational speaker, “Tony Robbins.” I would have to use four days of personal leave, but she thought it would be worth it. My other aunt and I upon finding out the conference was in Secaucus, New Jersey, started planning how in the evenings we would go into New York City and have fun. We would soon find out that this was not that kind of conference. We were there each day from 8am to almost midnight. I was irritated, but the materials that we covered were interesting and I could feel the seeds of change being planted in my mind.

I found out that during the conference, each participant would have an opportunity to walk across hot coals. Having had the experience of being burned before, I felt anxiety take over. Hot coals? What? Were they insane? Apparently tons of people had done this before, so I knew that it was possible. We prepared our mind for this, learning a mantra that we would say during the process. We were paired with a perfect stranger so that we would not have our friends and family as a crutch. I was paired with a young man from Spain. We talked about why we were at the conference, and our dreams and hopes for the future. When it was time, we encouraged each other, and then just went for it. I wanted to cry so bad, but I could not let fear keep me prisoner. I made it across the coals, and then I just cracked open. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I felt proud of myself, and I knew in that moment—if I could walk across hot coals, there was nothing that I could not do. I felt like the phoenix rising up from my own ashes. It was a powerful experience and one that has stayed with me.

So what can we learn from fire? 

1.      Just as fire consumes what it is fed, we too must be careful about what we feed the fire of our soul. We must feed ourselves with the things that nourish our spirit, and we must not feed the fire of those things that might consume us completely. 

2.      Purification is a necessary part of life. Like a forest fire cleanses away that which does not help the forest to survive and thrive, sometimes we must also purify our own lives. 

3.      Sometimes when we play with fire, we might not be the only ones to get burned. Think carefully about how your own actions in life might impact not only you, but also the entire ecosystem around you.

4.      Sometimes you must walk through the fire—courageously, boldly, and without fear. This is your process for becoming polished, like the diamond that you are. This is where your personal testimony resides. What have you already overcome in your life?  Let your scars remind you that you have already survived and healed from other things—you can do it again. 

5. Like the great phoenix, you can rise again after everything goes up in flames. There is a great tendency placed on us by society to think that there is no future after something bad happens in our life. That is not true—you can rise again, and you should. Life is a constant cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Something is always ending for us, and with every end, there is a new beginning. No matter what phase of the cycle you are in, you will begin again.

6.      You have the will, the determination, and the personal power to take action and to achieve your dreams. When I wrote about air, I mentioned your vision and seeing it unfold in your mind. Fire is the place of action—what steps will you take to manifest the vision?

Fire is a powerful tool for teaching us important life lessons. You are a courageous soul, with a love light that shines brighter than any eternal flame. As you move forward into this next week. Think about where you can take action. Do not be afraid to fail, for even if you do, you can rise up again! I have faith in you, and I believe in you. Have a wonderful week

The Element of Air: Thinking things through….

The world is at an ingress—an ingress is an entry point. The word itself stems from the Latin word, “ingressus,” which also means “go in” or “to enter.” Most of us can feel it building, we know that the world has changed, never to go back to whatever it once was. But what will it become? I think the answer lies in each of us. We all have a responsibility to make the world what we would have it be. We can each visualize what that means for us and then take steps to make it so. For me, I hope for a world filled with more compassion, more empathy, more love, more joy, and just more kindness for one another.

The last few weeks we have done a deeper dive into the elements of water and earth. This week, we learn important lessons from the element of Air. Air is the sign of sunrise, spring, and new beginnings. Undoubtedly, the world—humanity is at an entry point in the process of beginning something major. What that is has to unfold, but it is my belief that none of us are here by accident. We are all here for this time because we are supposed to be. Either as witness or as participant to what is yet to unfold. 

Last week we entered into what is known as a Mercury Retrograde phase. This retrograde happening in the sign of Cancer will last until July 12th. Saturday, the 20th was also the beginning of the Summer Solstice, and today, Sunday the 21st the world will experience an annular eclipse at 0 degrees in the sign of Cancer. Whenever a sign is at the 0 degree—also known as the ingress, it is said that the sign is in a critical degree; when this happens, we can tell that something important and major is beginning.

These events are joined with four other planets and our northern and southern nodes all in retrograde. You do not have to know exactly what this mean to realize that they are all huge cosmic events on their own. Although the retrograde and the solstice are in a water sign, they hold particular resonance to the lessons of the element of Air.

As the sign of the intellect and of higher thinking, air teaches us about the power of our thoughts. We realize that it is through our thoughts that anything in our world first comes into being. Once we think it, we can create it, and then it manifests in real life. When you want to build a house, or write a story, it all comes together in your thoughts first—then the blueprint or the outline, and then you take action and it manifest in this physical plane. What are some things that you want to manifest in real life? Think about these things with love, see them clearly in your mind, and then write this down on paper. Your vision is yours alone—that is why you got it. Your vision is important, and as a great spiritual teacher once said, “You must believe it before you can see it.” Most people want to see something before they believe it, but air teaches us that you do not have to see something to know that it is real. Your visions, your dreams, and your goals are absolutely real. Believe in them, take steps to bring them into reality, and you will see them.

Going back now to the Mercury Retrograde. When most people hear the term Mercury retrograde, they clamp up and groan—oh no, my technology is going to break down, my travel plans are going to go haywire, and uh I better not sign off on anything major. Why is this? In Roman Mythology, the God Mercury was known as the messenger god. He ruled over communication, technology, travel, commerce, and luck. He was also a notorious trickster, hence why sometimes in retrograde times, it feels like someone is playing a trick on you! Mercury’s Greek counterpart is Hermes, and his Egyptian counterpart was the God Thoth or Djehuty—God of Wisdom.

I hear the complaints about Mercury retrograde all the time, and my response is always the same. Treasure the time. It is a divine gift; it is a time to seek inner wisdom. It is a time to reset and to slow down. 2020 feels like one huge retrograde actually. So, what does it mean when a planet is in retrograde motion? We speak about the planets from an Earth centric perspective. The other planets orbit Earth at a different speed than they do the Sun. When this happens, it creates the illusion that a particular planet is moving in reverse compared to Earth. In reality the planet has not changed directions, it just appeared to do this from Earth’s perspective. 

One of the best analogies that I heard for Mercury Retrograde was this. If you drive your car every day, what is going to happen? Before long, it will need service—new tires, an oil change. Humans are the same way. We also need times of rest, time to recharge. When Mercury retrogrades and we suffer delays, we are sometimes forced to slow down, to see things from a different perspective, and to rest. Most astrologers suggest that in retrograde periods we should do things that begin with RE. REST. RECHARGE. REJUVENATE. REVISIT. REMIND. REVITALIZE. The list goes on. I have had some really amazing things happen in my own life during retrograde periods. When something does not go as planned, I chuckle and ask the divine what is it that I need to see? Imagine running down a path and missing all the jewels hiding alongside the road. Maybe if you were walking more slowly you would see the twinkling and gain a treasure for your personal treasure chest.

Retrogrades also carry lessons for the signs that they fall in. In this case, both the Solar Eclipse and the Mercury Retrograde fall in the sign of Cancer, a water sign. The sign of Cancer is associated with emotions, feelings, and the need for nurturing and care. These topics may come up for you in the next few weeks. Because of the Eclipse energy, you are also being encouraged to think about what you want to see manifest in your own life. Eclipse energy can be intense, and it can bring sudden transformative change. Sometimes we are not ready for the unexpected changes that life can bring. To pull air back into the discussion, you have probably heard the phrase, “Anyway the wind blows.” Sometimes eclipses can blow your life in a new direction. I have found though, that sometimes when we think things are falling apart, they are really falling together. So, what are the lessons from air that you can use to make the most of this retrograde and eclipse season?

  1. Visualize your life and the world the way you would like to see it. Spend a little time each day picturing the life that you want. This also gets better and easier with practice.
  2. Thing about anything “toxic” in your life that no longer serves you. Seek out better air. Allow the wind in the sails of your life ship to change direction.
  3. Check in with your breath. How are you breathing? Shallow? Calm? Do you need maintenance? If so, do not be afraid to rest, to nurture yourself, to rejuvenate, and to recharge.
  4. Read any contracts or anything major that you need to sign very carefully before making your final decisions. You can sign things in a retrograde, you just want to be extra careful and make sure you understand all terms clearly.
  5. Revisit goals or dreams that have been sitting off to the side. Apply the sharp energy of air—the brilliant intellect, the wisdom, the vision, and the desire to create something. Communicate clearly what you want to manifest in the physical plane and believe that it can and will happen. 

I hope for you that this retrograde and this eclipse season sparks beautiful and necessary changes in your life. May your personal retrograde and eclipse season gems light up your life in meaningful and positive ways.

Happy Summer Solstice 🙂

A Small Prayer (From Last week’s Water video)

low-angle photo of lightened candles
Photo from Unsplash

I was asked if I could post the prayer from last week’s video on water, which is up on my YouTube channel (Celestial Goodness 1111). May this prayer provide your heart with some comfort this week! 🙂 Lots of love!

To the divine, all knowing, all loving energy of this universe, we pray that our collective mission will be to move this planet and humanity towards a place of more love, more kindness, more compassion and more joy for ourselves and our fellow human being. We desire a better world for everyone. Please protect those who are in need of protection at this moment, please fill the hearts and minds of those who need it with love. Inspire and provide us with the energy to do what we can, where we are, with what we have, so that this world may be one that we desire to see. May we all be blessed. May we keep our hearts open to love. Blessings to you!

Getting Grounded: Connecting to the Element of Earth in unsettling times…

Photo from Unsplash

I am what many would call an empath. I find that I feel emotions very deeply, sometimes to the point of even feeling physical pain. To say that the times we are in have proven to be heavy would be a large understatement. Many days when I hear news or see stories while scrolling on social media, tears have come to my eyes. I have felt the overwhelming sadness of the world. To help me cope during the unprecedented times in which our lovely Earth finds itself, I have worked on seeking out the good—the better side of humanity, the stories of hope, and love. I have also been visualizing the world that I would like to see. One filled with more compassion, more kindness, more overall love. Additionally, I have been remembering some lessons from the sacred elements. This week, I will focus on the element of Earth—its lessons, and especially the importance of grounding. 

There are many lessons that come from the Earth element. It is from the Earth that I learned important lessons of life, death, and rebirth. As the Earth experiences seasons, so do we—as humans. Sometimes we are birthing something, sometimes we experience death, and sometimes something comes around again in the form of rebirth. Like the great mythological phoenix, sometimes we too have to rise from our personal ashes and start again. 

My little sister likes to remind me that after winter, must come spring.

There is also a lush abundance that we can find in the Earth. Everything is always provided for. The birds always find enough food, the plants will grow with rain, sunshine, and the minerals of the soil. We as humans tend to worry that there won’t be enough, but that is a mindset that helps to keep us from having enough. That is often referred to as a “poverty mindset.” We don’t believe that we are worthy of enough so we live in the energy of lack. The Earth, abundant, rich in resources, and beautiful in the way that it nurtures and nourishes us, reminds us that we will always be taken care of, and that contrary to what we see on TV, that there is so much to go around. When you feel unsure about that, call on Divine help. It really does work. Feel like the birds, they do not worry for they know they will be taken care of…

So let’s talk about grounding. A lot of people confuse grounding with centering. It is easy to do as they both sort of relate to getting yourself to a more peaceful and calm space. I would say that centering relates more to a place within yourself that you retreat to when the external world is in chaos. Returning to your inner sacred space helps you to remain calm, and clear headed. Centering to me is finding the anchor of your soul and returning to that place to find true and genuine peace.

Grounding on the other hand refers to a specific form of connection with the Earth. This is why grounding is also known as “earthing.” Physically grounding yourself either energetically or in nature. Why is this even important?

On the scientific end, the world we live in has lots of electromagnetic energy floating around. I am giving you the total I am not a scientist perspective lol. We know about the existence of positive and negative atoms and molecules. The earth has a high negative electromagnetic frequency, and as humans we can build up a lot of positive electromagnetic frequencies just going about our daily lives. When those frequencies build up inside of our bodies we can feel:

Photo from Unsplash

Spacey, dizzy, tired, lightheaded, disconnected, like our head is up in the clouds, nervous, anxiety ridden, depressed, just imbalanced. We can also have trouble sleeping and focusing. 

Because of this, we use the earth’s frequencies to balance out our own. This helps us to get rid of excess energy and to calm and slow us down so that we can get more in touch and in tune with our external and internal world. It helps us to be present. 

There are other know benefits of grounding. 

When these things are present, you are also in a better energetic space for manifesting your dreams, and for manifesting more prosperity and abundance into your life. 

How do we ground?

Here are some tips for grounding both physically and spiritually!

  1. Go Outside. If you can, put your feet in the grass, and literally connect to nature. If you are close to the beach, put your feet in the water or in the sand!
  2. Hug a Tree. If you know me, you know I had to throw that one in! Tree-hugging it turns out is good for your health!!!
  3. Eat Earthy Foods. Anything that comes from below ground is good here. Beets, yams, potatoes, carrots, and other ground vegetables. If veggies aren’t your jam, then eat chocolate. Raw/dark chocolate from the cocoa plant is an amazing grounding tool, and delicious too!! I learned on a visit to Cozumel that it is best to have at least 70% dark chocolate if you are eating chocolate! Either way, this is a total win-win.
  4. Address issues that need to be healed. (Go to Therapy) Nothing can be healed unless it is faced. Nothing that remains unhealed will allow you true peace. Healing the things that bother you at your core is also grounding.
  5. Watch uplifting content (like my channel). Seek out things to read, listen to, and watch that make your soul soar. https://youtu.be/01RUU0L_2Qk (Link to this week’s video).
  6. Move your body—dance/run/walk/play. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, dance in the elevator. Be free!
  7. Take a salt bath or soak your feet in salt. I recommend Epsom salt, Himalayan pink salt, and then adding essential oils.
  8. Drink herbal teas. Some of my favorites are ginger, lemon, peppermint, and chamomile.
  9. Utilize crystals like black tourmaline, jet, jasper and black kyanite.
  10. Garden. This is good too if you don’t have access to many green spaces. Turn your home into a green space!
  11. Take time for stillness and silence. Make time to disconnect from technology and just be. Light a candle, some incense, and just relax. Listen to the sound of your breathing and relax.
  12. Say affirmations like: a) I am safe b)I am secure c)I am grounded d) all of my needs are taken care of.
  13. Meditate. Check out my latest Youtube video for a grounding meditation.

I hope that you are able to incorporate some of these tips into your own life. I hope that you will feel grounded, secure, focused, and that happiness will always find you. I also hope that you will feel worthy of abundance and prosperity, and that these things will find you! Please let me know if any of these tips work for you!

Lessons from Water: Speaking Life into our Lives

Bermuda

Alexa, play Ocean sounds.

Nothing, and I mean nothing relaxes me like hearing the sound of water. Maybe this is because I was born in a hospital that overlooks the Caribbean Sea, or because I was raised next to a river that flowed out of the depths of the Blue Mountains. In every place that I have ever lived (minus a brief stint in Madrid), I have been close to a large body of water—river, lake, or sea. I never realized how important the element of water was in my life, and what water could teach me.

Brief minute for self-promotion—My YouTube video for this week is a Deeper Analysis into the Lessons from Water. You can check it out on my channel, Celestial Goodness 1111. Thank you. https://youtu.be/h1g0OHnv360

There are many creation stories and mythology that showcase just how many cultures around the world revered water. A few years ago I began to learn how ancient people and cultures revered water—they knew its power, its magic, its ability to nourish and nurture us, and just how simply beautiful it could be. They assigned deities to water—powerful ones, whose legacies live on today. Many years ago, I learned about the beautiful goddess Yemaya who has roots in West Africa. Her stories traveled to the Western Hemisphere with the unfortunate enslavement of African people. The first depictions that I ever saw of her was as a beautiful, very curvy black woman. She is sometimes depicted as a mermaid. Growing up on an island, you hear myths and stories of mermaids, but often wonder. To see yourself in a figure of grace, beauty and power, is also an amazing thing. To see yourself represented is a powerful moment for the mind. Yemaya is not the only water deity. Many people have heard of Poseidon/Neptune, Oshun, Mami Wata, Nephthys, Sedna, and so many more. These stories live on because water has many lessons for us. They contain lessons of our personal power, lessons of transformation, and lessons about our ability to speak life into our lives.

Author: Dedric

The Tao Te Ching also frequently mentions water. Verses 8 and 78 are so telling and important. In the Tao, water is considered to be the supreme good. For me, it is a supreme teacher.

What did that verse mean to you? What did you glean from it?

Verse 78:

We learn from the Tao that we should flow with life…. Nothing in the world is softer than water, and yet it can take down any obstacle. Water is powerful. As human beings, we are made up of approximately 70 percent water. Our brains—85 percent. We too are powerful, but so often we forget.

When we forget our power, we make the mistake of saying things that are not true, not only about ourselves, but also others. We give energy to things that hinder us from creating the life that we desire. We say things like, “I am stupid,” or “I will never get/do/become such and such.” When we forget our power, we do not speak life into our lives. Most religions and spiritual practices talk about the power of words. In the Bible, in the book of Proverbs, Solomon said, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Humans believe more in the power of words than we might even let on.

We say “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That is not true. Words can hurt. They can leave deep wounds that can take time to recover from. But words can also build us up, inspire us, motivate us, and help transform our lives.

If we hear the words, “Abracadabra,” or “Open sesame,” these mean something. To some people abracadabra is gibberish spoken by magicians, but it has roots in Aramaic and Hebrew. In Aramaic, it means, “I will create as I speak.” That is the same for “spelling.” When we spell, we put symbols (letters) together to form words that mean something to us. We are constantly casting spells with our words. What are you casting? Even J.K. Rowling recognized this concept in Harry Potter. Voldemort was referred to as, “he who shall not be named.” This is because saying his name gave him energy and power. These are all reasons why we should be mindful of what we say. Our words carry energetic vibrations that help or hinder us in creating the life that we desire.

The Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto did a study on water, which he talked about in his book, “The Hidden Messages of Water.” He said that “We are water and water wants to be free. Water responds to loving and positive messages.” When we say things like, “thank you” and “love” to water, the molecular structure transforms. When we say hurtful and hateful things to water, the structure also transforms but into more chaotic and less beautiful structures. While people have tried to discredit his work as pseudo-science, this principle of speaking life is the basis for many healing modalities like reiki. Also, imagine how you feel when someone gives you a compliment, versus harsh criticism. You can feel that in your physical body. As I mentioned before, we are made up of a high percentage of water. We respond as well to love and kindness.

So here is the argument for changing how you speak about EVERYTHING. I can almost tell what is going on in someone’s world by what they talk about, how often they talk about it, and how they talk about the things that they want the most. If you are constantly saying something over and over, you are essentially casting a spell to bring more of that thing into your life. If you are constantly putting yourself down, before long you will be hunched over, bowing under the weight of your own words. If you say, love will never come, or money will never come, chances are it probably won’t. Speak with confidence about your life and about the things that you want. If it has not happened yet, be patient like water, and know that it will arrive.

Please speak lovingly to yourself. If it is hard to do this at first, you must practice. One day, one step at a time. Say these things: I am a beautiful person. I am a soul worthy of love, abundance, peace, and joy. I challenge you now to take stock of your life, and to take stock of how you speak about life. Do you talk about the things that you want as if you could get them? Are the words that are coming out of your mouth hate filled, bitter, and angry? What does your life look like right now?

My cousin recently told me that our thoughts/(chi/life force energy to some folks), actually can impact the chemistry of our blood. The body is truly amazing. You are also amazing. Treat your mind, body and soul as if you know that you are amazing. treat yourself as if you are worthy of all the good things. Start with what you allow to come out of your mouth, and what you allow to go into your mind.

That is why I believe in you. This is why I encourage you to learn the lessons of water—flow with life, and speak more goodness, beauty, love and joy into your world. You deserve it!

Playing in the river—Portland, Jamaica