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Archive for the ‘Vulnerability’ Category

Mother

Friday, July 12th, 2013


Tears flow

Grief softens

Time passes

Pain lessons

Life returns

Heart opens

Love expands

Remembering my beloved mother.

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At Home with My Emotions

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I’m hyper-sensitive. I have come to discover that means I am an empath.

I feel other peoples’ pain as if it were my own, even if I don’t know them. My face loses all color and I turn “sheet-white” if I watch something devastating or really sad. I cry easily at Hallmark shows, Maxwell House Coffee commercials, or even melancholy song lyrics.

I have known this for many years and have been made fun of for it. People would say, “You’re too sensitive” or “Lighten up.” For a long time, I thought that it was a bad thing until I realized my sensitivity made me a better listener and a better visionary.

It’s been a huge asset as an entrepreneur, writer, leader and artist. I relate to people in ways other people are not able to do so. I often understand what they seek and aspire to. I relate to their emotions. It lets me work with clients on more of an emotional level. I see past the facades and can speak to, create, and offer inspiration for what really matters.

Being an empath has allowed me to take a deeper dive inside my own heart as well as have in-depth conversations with those around me. I am able to question more, probe deeper, and create space for expansion.

It’s also been hugely beneficial in allowing me to connect when I teach, present, and facilitate. My empathetic ways allow me to feel my way through conversations on an intuitive level. It allows me to really “see” people for who they truly are.

Of course, it is not always easy. When someone else is in pain, it can be hard to distance myself from it. I tend to take on too much of what and who is around me. I want to help other people — at times to the detriment of myself.  

So, how do I navigate in the world as an empath? I know I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole when I am feeling overwhelmed and I don’t want to push people away in order to not feel. I need to be able to engage and be present and let go in order to best serve.

For me, I do my best to balance the gifts of feeling deeply with the grace of letting go. I live with vulnerability and also have very clear boundaries.

I wouldn’t change being an empath for the world. I have come to accept that to feel is to be alive.

It’s the raw emotions that allow real meaning and connection to flow into creation and inspiration.

The challenge is to understand when to let it in and when to let go. And the challenge is also when to let in just enough to allow for deep connections, compassionate experiences and extraordinary creativity.

I’ve danced with this process of letting in and letting go for as long as I can remember. It has been a driving force for some intense journal writings, channeling messages, and connections with many mentors and spiritual teachers.

A few years ago when I started Toning the OM™, for an entirely different reason, I found something else that’s helps me process life as an empath — meditation and mindfulness.

It doesn’t mean I still don’t cry easily or close my eyes when something profound is happening. It means I can allow my emotions to flow rather than consume me. What it also does is allow me to understand when I’m being drawn in and then make a more conscious effort about whether I’m going to open to empathy or detach with love. And it reminds me to breathe and not get stuck in the shallowness within my own body.

Honestly, it is not easy and it takes work. There are days I am lousy at it. And I’m still learning just how important it is to stop and take slow, deep breaths. Having awareness of my breath and being mindful has made me more awake and alive in the world.

Being of service is an honor and privilege. Recognizing what emotions bring compassion and what emotions bring exhaustion have been part of my life-long journey. Identifying the waves of emotion as they rise, acknowledging them, and pausing to breathe has empowered me to lead and serve more humbly.

I’d love to know what your experiences have been with this.

What has your journey of the heart revealed about you?

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What Is Beneath the Surface?

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Sometimes we just need to look right beneath the surface …

(Photo permission given by TK)

 

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Vulnerable Unthought Known

Monday, March 11th, 2013

What I have realized is that vulnerability, however scary, is less terrifying than invisibility.
(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan) 

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Willing to Be Vulnerable

Monday, March 4th, 2013

You are not alone. I am not alone. I may need reminding of this. We are in this together. That’s how we journey – hand in hand.

Last week I posted a blog about my recent health struggles and how I relied on so many people for support, comfort, and connection. After the post, I experienced a lot of vulnerability – that felt both a relief and also very scary. For me, vulnerability is about being seen, being whole, and being real with complete acceptance. I was willing to weigh the risk of sharing a private matter because I knew how much it has influenced my life and business. I knew by opening up about a deeper part of my life, I was giving permission for other people to do the same. I decided that exposing my heart was more important than what others might think about me.

What I had not expected after publishing the post was the outpouring of love and support from friends and complete strangers who not only thanked me for sharing about my personal experiences, but took time to send me their vulnerable stories as well. People from various countries revealed their personal struggles going on in their life. This connection gave me the opportunity to have a real dialog about what scares us, frees us, and what gives us hope. Even the word “struggle” began to turn into something a bit more kinder and gentler.

As I continue to embrace uncertainty (with open arms), I have learned that many of my friends and readers of my blog are embracing uncertainty as well. I have discovered that many folks are dealing with their own personal journeys and have been inspired to reach out and ask for help.

As we reach out, we invite others to do the same. When we extend a hand, we show that support is always available.

I invite anyone who is holding in a difficult issue to reach out. Ask. Receive. Allow yourself to be embraced by unconditional support and love. I know how difficult vulnerability is. What I have realized is that vulnerability, however scary, is less terrifying than invisibility.

Thank you to all who have extended their hand to me. I continue to be touched by all the tremendous generosity of support and kindness.

We really are on this road together – hand in hand.

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Hand in Hand We Go

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

In a letter to my wife while on a retreat, I wrote, “Hand in hand we go.” This expression came because I had been diagnosed with Mild Multiple Sclerosis. I was overcome with grief and overwhelmed with many medical tests. After more than five months of doctor appointments, blood-work, tests, and MRI’s, I was relieved to find out that I do not have Multiple Sclerosis. Although I do not have a clear diagnosis yet, I have learned that more medical follow-up is required. My next step is to see a doctor that will review possible autoimmune coagulopathy (blood clots). The whole process has been exhausting, and at times, very frustrating. I have had the full support of my wife every step of the way.

I am not sharing about my health condition because I want advice or pity. I am sharing because there are many people who live with illnesses in their own life and/or in their families and it helps to know we are not alone. I also wanted to share my experiences of vulnerability and how it has provided me with a deeper spiritual connection.  My health struggles have only strengthened my spiritual work, both personally and professionally.  When I write meditations, inspiring thoughts, and positive stories they are for my own well-being as well as to be of service to others. My writing and practices come from direct experiences and I am still on a journey of learning and listening.

You are not alone. I am not alone. I may need reminding of this. We are in this together. That’s how we journey – hand in hand.

Hand in hand we go.

This is dedicated to my wife whose love and support has made my life much more peaceful. I love you.

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The Power of Vulnerability

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Brené Brown has taught me a lot about vulnerability – my ability to show up and know I am good enough just the way I am. Through her book, Daring Greatly, I have come to undertand vulnerability on a whole new level. I have come to accept that vulnerability and uncertainty are pathways to possibilities. And for that I am grateful.

If you haven’t yet seen or heard of Brené Brown, do yourself a favor and watch her TED Talk on Vulnerability.

 

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Breaking Through…

Friday, February 15th, 2013

We need reminders that to dare ourselves into the deep unknown is to create a force so compelling it breaks through control of fear.

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On Vulnerability

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

What makes us vulnerable keeps us connected.

Recent experiences concerning my health and other big changes in my life has opened me up to conversations about vulnerability. My heart-centered work is changing and evolving – and that means letting go of things I have done for years so I may be of more service in new and unknown ways. It is scary and exciting at the same time. I have changed my mantra to clients from “Do it afraid.” to “Do it brave and afraid.”

As I sat and contemplated vulnerability, I was blown away listening to an interview by Krista Tippett with Brené Brown at On Being.

Here are a few snippets from their conversation:
“I just say think of the last time you did something that you thought was really brave or the last time you saw someone do something really brave. I think, without question and I can tell you as a researcher, 11,000 pieces of data, I cannot find a single example of courage, moral courage, spiritual courage, leadership courage, relational courage, I cannot find a single example of courage in my research that was not born completely of vulnerability. And so I think we buy into some mythology about vulnerability being weakness and being gullibility and being frailty because it gives us permission not to do it.” 

“So I think vulnerability is kind of in my DNA. It’s kind of who I am and I am very hardheaded about some things and I think being vulnerable has made me a lot stronger and a lot tougher because, when I reflect back on times where I’ve shown up — one of the reasons that I use the Theodore Roosevelt quote for book titles and I use it as kind of the arc to talk about vulnerability, this idea of daring greatly, is because I think there’s something incredibly brave and daring about showing up and putting your ideas — I don’t care if you’re raising your hand at a PTO meeting, or if you’re putting your pottery on Etsy.

Whatever your daring is, however you’re trying to show up in your life, I think there’s something incredibly contagious and powerful about it. I think it makes the people around us a little bit braver and I think it helps us get very clear on the ideals and values that guide our lives.”

“It starts by an openness to seeing ourselves and seeing kind of how we’re protecting ourselves from vulnerability. I think that’s where it started. I think for me at that red kitchen table, even for me today, I am the most successful doing this work and trying to be real and transparent and me and feel good in my own skin when I stay very aware of what kind of armor I’m throwing up or when I feel afraid.

Maybe the definitive piece of knowing that has helped me with this is that I was raised in a very kind of binary culture. If things were good or bad you were brave or you were afraid. You were courageous or you were fearful. And I think for me, one of the definitive moments in my life was realizing that most of us are brave and afraid in the exact same moment all day long.” 

When are you vulnerable? What are you doing brave and afraid?

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Fear as an Ally

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Fear doesn’t have to rule your life. You can do it, even if you have to do it afraid. ~Joyce Meyer

One of my favorite Joyce Meyer’s quotes is “Do it afraid.”  That is exactly what came to mind as I was reading the new book by Jaimal Yogis, The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing…and Love. The book explores both his personal experience as well as interviewing leading neuroscientists and other experts about the most primal emotion – fear.

Is fear something we overcome or simply an ally that pushes us forward in the world? Can you deep dive into fear so as to befriend it and allow fear to push personal limits?

Through amazing stories such as swimming in the wild currents of the San Francisco Bay to surfing 40+ foot waves in the winter, Yogis touches upon our innate fears – the fear of not trusting, the fear of losing someone we love, and our own internal fears of not being enough.

The book will give you insight as to why fear can dominate your life and ways to use fear as an ally.  His personal stories have universal themes and you will find yourself laughing out loud. As Yogis says, “Much as we like to make it into the villain, fear isn’t bad. In fact, as we’ll learn, it’s often our fear of fear – our aversion to accepting and understanding this very natural emotion – that can cause fear to spin into unhelpful panic and anxiety disorders.”

The Fear Project will give you a better understanding of “good and bad fear”  and how to push through what gets in our way to fulfilling our potential – doing it afraid.

Yogis connects his personal stories to scientific research in real and fun ways. It combines what I love best – storytelling and neuroscience. I was a huge fan of his previous book, Saltwater Buddha. This book took me to the depths of my fears – the current one of uncertainty – and gave me insight to relate to it in new and emerging ways.

When you are ready to explore fear as an ally, go read this book. Do it afraid.

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