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Life, Death, and Happily Ever what?

La Datcha Beach

La Datcha Beach

Guadeloupe

Last week I took a much needed rest and relaxation trip to Gaudeloupe in the French Caribbean. I was 2.5 months post op, and when I booked the trip back in December, while I was still on bed rest, I knew that I would definitely need the trip. I initially booked the trip with one friend, and the number morphed into 6 of us heading down to a small island to rest and reset. We had all had some trials and tribulations toward the end of 2018 and we were looking forward to this trip to breathe some new life into us. We didn’t know what to expect, most of us were strangers, yet all of us had one common goal. Rebirth! I can’t speak for everyone on the trip, but I certainly got the lesson that I needed in Guadeloupe, and I will share with you my take away from the trip.

pranayama guadeloupe.jpg

The Irony of Life

and Breath

On our first beach day I wanted to shoot some content to share with my students and I chose to record me teaching Katie a three part breathing exercise. Breath is life, and pranayama is breath control, so therefore breath control, is life control, right? You can click here to watch and practice three part breathing with me and Katie. You may be wondering what is so ironic about day 1 and breath control. Well, day 2 on the beach will explain it.

Death and Loss of Breath

On our second beach day, we decided to head to a different beach. On the way there we were commenting about the sporadic rain that hits the island and the fact that we had not seen one rainbow. We demanded a rainbow and laughed while we rode through the mountains to find Canella Beach. It turned out that Canella Beach was a resort, so we resorted to head on over to La Datcha, which we had previously googled as well. La Datcha was a welcomed sight to us all as you can see from the above picture. It was glorious, and beautiful, and filled with families, and people enjoying a day at the beach. After a mini beach photo shoot, a walk down the beach to explore, we settled in to take in the spectacular views. Little did we know what was in store for our eyes to see. At one point, I hear Katie scream something, and suddenly my eyes dart to the elderly man, whose limp body was being pulled out from the water. People we yelling, and rushing over, and I remember telling Katie she had to go see because I remembered she said she was a lifeguard in her past. in retrospect, I feel terrible for forcing her to head directly into a situation that she was not expecting. I had no life saving skills, so I commanded the person that I knew had them to go and that was not right. It was a sight to see so many people taking turns and giving this man CPR. The community came together, and all many of us could do was watch. Katie came back to the group, and people were still taking turns trying to breathe life back into a stranger. Emergency services finally arrived after what seemed like a lifetime and now they too started taking turns. All the while, we watched. I then remembered reading Karma and Reincarnation by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama and his section on traumatic/tragic death and how when people die traumatically, the people around them holding on keep their souls from transitioning peacefully, and usually create karma that will later have to be resolved. I said this aloud, and then heard my purpose. I sat on that beach, and for the next 30 minutes or more, while people pounded on the man’s chest, and cried, and screamed, I sent metta. Loving kindness to the man’s soul, to the family, that was in shock, and to all of us there watching. I concentrated on repeating that this man have a smooth transition to the afterlife, despite the chaos that was transpiring. I shed tears, and smiled, and thought happy thoughts. After about 45 minutes from the man being pulled out fo the water, he was pronounced dead, wrapped in a sheet, and the focus turned toward the family, while a body was wrapped in a white sheet, and the family waited. As if things could not get worse, It started to rain…. at one point it was pouring, and yet the wife sat on the sand, not able to let go. And then we got our rainbow in the form of an umbrella. Since the wife would not leave the body, an EMS worker sat on the sand next to her and held a rainbow umbrella over her head. Katie and I noticed and she commented there’s our rainbow. Not the one we were expecting to see, but the one that told us that this life was transitioning across the rainbow to something else. I don’t know why, but that umbrella, and that rainbow, put life into perspective for me on that beach. We all took this trip, to escape, or put an end to the craziness that was 2018. This incident on the beach showed me, that even when we think things are bad, things could be worse. Every day that we get to open our eyes and take a breath is a blessing. Will you take that blessing and create a happily ever after? Or will you waste your blessing of life focusing on petty things that don’t matter? I choose to take this blessing to be happy and to send loving kindness and happiness to everyone, even the people that I probably don’t want to include. May the rainbow represent the beginning always.

This is a picture of the umbrella we saw on the beach last week.

This is a picture of the umbrella we saw on the beach last week.




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Stating Over (again....)

I opened up my blog to finally write some words, and ironically the last blog I wrote was five weeks post my first surgery. Back then I thought I was “starting over.” Ha Ha, joke on me, as I am starting over again now, 9 weeks after my SECOND surgery!

2018 was a year where I just went through the motions. I got a lot accomplished, I ran three teacher trainings, two of them being international trainings ( a goal that I had), I led several retreats, and I still felt like I was going through the motions. The idea that I would be more active, or more interactive once my ankle was healed kept me in a state of limbo. I used the excuse of when my ankle is better, I can practice more, or create more content, or devote more time to the tedious managerial work of running my own business. I used my injury as an excuse. My ankle never felt the same, and actually never healed, so I kept pushing those things back, to a time when I would be better. The time never came.

In the first week of October of 2018 I was hit with the hard news that a second surgery would have to happen. It was like a slap in the face. I never fully started living again after the first surgery, and now I had to wrap my head around going through the process all over again. I found out on a Wednesday and I was getting on a plane to Barcelona on that Sunday for two weeks. I had 4 days to prep for two months of post surgery rehab, get my classes covered, and figure out what I would do with little to no income in the foreseeable future. Mind fu** to say the least. But nevertheless, I got it all together and had my surgery on November 14th. I told myself I’d take the time for self study, working on my blog, planning our trips, and sharing my experiences… Well. 9 weeks later, I haven’t done much of that.

So today, I picked up my laptop and here I am. I have projects in the works, and I’ve finally cut the excuse that I’ll do it when my ankle is better. I’ll do it today, regardless of how my ankle is. So, here I am, starting again. Not feeling ashamed that the word AGAIN has to be added to the statement. It’s never too late to start over, or to pick up where you left off.

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Tapah: not the yummy plates of Spanish food

Week Five of Recovery:  I wanted to talk about the kleshas because I felt like I was experiencing attachment, but when I pulled out my yoga sutras book so I could properly write it out, I stumbled upon the first sutra in book two instead which turned out to be much more indicative of what I was going through:

Sutra 2.1: Tapah svadhyayesvarapranidhanani kriya yogah.

Accepting pain as help for purification, study of spiritual books and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute Yoga in practice.

As you know already, my thoughts of what a yoga practice is for me have been turned upside down with this injury.  I'm used to waking up early, teaching yoga, and then practicing yoga.  That is what I do, six days per week, taking Saturdays off.  Or better, said, that is what I did.  Now as I lie in bed, not being ale to practice yoga in the way I have been used to I needed to redefine what yoga is for me.  Sutra 2.1 laid it out for me, accepting pain as help for purification.  When I experienced my injury I joked with my best friend that I must have some major karma here in Peru, and that hopefully after this my debt would be paid.  I do believe in karma, and I do believe part of that to be true, but its the next two parts of the sutra that made it ever so relevant for me on my recovery.  As my body was experiencing physical pain, and my mind was attached to the loss of my physical practice, I became aware of what I could do while I was being afforded this time of physical rest, I could take advantage of svedhyaha and observe self study.  I had time to read, time to create and develop the courses I was working on, and more importantly, I had time to give up my attachment to my physical practice.  I also had to learn to surrender the the Supreme Being.  After the injury there was nothing left for me to do than to trust.  Trust in my doctor, trust in my body, and trust that whatever happens is what is meant to happen. That's a tough lesson, but one I had to learn quickly.

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Pain and Growth they go hand in hand...

My FB memory showed me a quote I posted in 2009 by Khalil Gibran from The Prophet.  The quote rings truer than true today as I'm about to end week four enter week five of ankle fracture recovery, and as I mentally prep myself for tomorrow's medical procedure where I have a screw removed from my ankle.

The quote:  "Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your misunderstanding."  

In my injury, the pain was physical, but the physical pain often times reveals the emotional pain felt by many.  After my very physical injury, I had a lot of time to think.  Bed rest in Cusco, at 14k altitude means I wasn't taking strolls outside to get moving.  I sat around a lot, watched a lot of dubbed in Spanish television and movies, and had a lot of time to think about what is important,  and what isn't important, basically, "the misunderstanding" that Gibran refers to.  Often we need to break the shell that we build around our belief systems of what is important and what isn't, but often times we do not break that shell ourselves, something causes the break, the shift, and we can choose to use it as a learning experience, or continue to live the way we have been.  I call it a belief system, because when push comes to shove, you realize exactly what is and isn't important, and you understand that the reason something is or isn't important is because of what you believed or still believe to be true.  Things usually become clear when you suffer physical or emotional pain because you have no time to focus on unimportant things or beliefs.  It also illuminates who in your life is focusing on the unimportant bs that we tend to surround ourselves with.

As I recover, I haven't made my injury known, and many of you will only find out once I publish these blog posts.  I kept my injury quiet because I did not want my parents freaking out that I was in a third world country undergoing surgery, and recovering without my closest friends and family around me.  I realized that it was not necessary to have people know about my injury, unless they were directly affected by it.  I told my brother first, my best friend, my friend whom I would fly in to help me for the next several weeks, and my clients and employers, so that my classes were taken care of.  Ultimately, the number was small, and even in that small number I was able to see who was important and who was not.  Who cared about my well being and who only cared about how my well being affected them.  That's an interesting way to look at things.  My pain cleared up the misunderstanding that I am important to anyone other than myself.  At the end of the day, I should not be important, and being unimportant should not affect me.  Being affected would be my ego telling me that for some reason or another I should be important.  The quiet time and emotional pain I felt from being in my current situation came with the understanding that my ego was the least important thing that I needed to focus on.  I thank the universe and the circumstances that led me to this belief.  They say that in yoga we should practice non attachment. Thanks to my lesson I have learned to let go of my ego and because of it I have experienced much spiritual growth and self understanding.

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What NOT to do when you're on bedrest!

The past three and a half weeks have been trying on my psyche and on my physical body.  However, if anything positive has happened, it is that I have learned what not to do when you are on bed rest.

1.  Do not let yourself get depressed.  Sure that sounds easier said than done, and you may wonder who chooses to get the depressed?  Actually, a lot of people in similar bed rest situations choose to be depressed.  It is easy to get down on yourself when you cannot do what you would normally do.  On a typical day I normally practice ashtanga yoga.  The first week and a half after my surgery I just laid in bed.  Not because I had to be in bed 24 hours per day, but because I was feeling down on myself because I could not practice yoga in the way that I was used to.  Suddenly one day a memory back to me.  In May when I was practicing Ashtanga yoga at a big event in NYC, the lady that was behind me was an amputee.  She was practicing ashtanga with a missing limb and I was in awe.  After the class I had to approach her and tell her how amazing she was.  I knew I shouldn't have been staring, and paying attention, but it really did blow me away, because how many times have I skipped class because "I couldn't" and here she was with a missing limb jumping through!  I woke up a week and a half after surgery and decided to practice yoga.  Not ashtanga, but whatever movement I could muster.  It wasn't too bad. My body felt good to finally get out of bed  for something other than a doctor's appointment.  I had chosen to let my injury lead me down a road of depression for not being able to do what I thought I needed to be doing.  After moving, I knew that if I felt depressed over whatever my perceived limitations were, I needed to remind myself of what other things I could still do.  Depression got kicked to the curb.

2.  Do not hesitate to ask for help.  This one is hard for an independent type A personality such as myself.  However, when you realize that the simple task of using the bathroom has suddenly become hard work, you learn to ask for help.  After not showering for five days after my surgery, I broke down and asked pretty much a total stranger (my friend Abraham's friend Diana) to wash my hair and help me take a shower.  Oh boy what a task that was!  I will never take for granted the luxury of standing in my shower for an hour, if I wanted, while hot water washed down my body.  I had to strip down naked in front of a stranger and shower.  This stranger, who is now like family, slowly became super pivotal in my day to day activities.  Diana brings me dinner every night. She checks in on me throughout the day, she washes my hair and helps me shower when I ask her to, she goes with me to my doctor whenever I need to see him.  A total stranger, who became a friend, whom I could not live without for the past few weeks.  If I did not break down and ask for help, I would not be eating, would not be showering, would not know how to get to the doctor, etc.  By asking for help I let go of my Type A personality, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and have said bye-bye to my ego that makes me believe that in order for me to be a highly functioning individual, I have to do things by myself. Now don't get me wrong, asking for help doesn't mean that every time I ask for help I am going to get it, that would be a fairy tale world, and I don't believe in fairy tales just yet, but opening up to asking even if the answer may be no is one of the best lessons I have learned.  So above all do NOT hesitate to ask for help.

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STRENGTH: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Bob Marley said it best when he said, "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

I had to come face to face with this reality while on my last retreat in Peru.  On June 13th I took a fall while hiking and fractured my ankle breaking my fibula.  It was determined that I should have surgery, and the sooner the better... Now picture this scenario for having to summon up all the strength possible:  

  • I'm in a third world country.
  • I have a fracture in  my leg. 
  • The doctor is recommending surgery (within the next couple of hours, it's 7 p.m. and he says he'll order all of the tests I need, blood, ekg, etc. and can operate at 10:30 p.m.) 
  • It's cheaper if I pay cash (which I now need to secure, with atm only giving out small amounts)  
  • My passport is two hours away.
  • I'm faced with the decision of what to do, who to call, who to tell, etc.
  • They will not put me under for the surgery, I will get an epidural and be conscious for it (eek)
  • I'm in charge of a group of six yogis with another group of ten coming in two weeks.

What are my options? Be strong. All I could think of was being strong, being calm, taking care not to cause my body or mind any unnecessary trauma, and breathing.  I agreed to go through with the surgery, the sooner the better right?  I messaged my brother, (whom I do not message often and even less if I am out of the country working, so he knew something was not right) I told him and I think he was also in disbelief, I asked his opinion on telling my parents (we both agreed that it was better not to).  I sent someone to the atm with three different bank cards to withdraw money from three different accounts, since the atm limit is 400 soles which is only about $130 dollars, and then the real work began,  I had to get myself mentally prepared to have leg surgery in Peru, at a clinic, while I am conscious.

My strength came from my yoga practice.  I cannot tell you how important it was that I had this practice to turn to.  If you know me, you know that I am the typical type A personality, and when I was younger this meant being easily aggravated, and easily perturbed.  My yoga practice has taught me patience, it has taught me non-attachment, and it has taught me to believe in something bigger than myself.  So while the world was whirling around me, blood work being done, ekg testing (did I mention I was at 14k altitude?), nurses coming in and out of my room, I laid in bed and practiced pranayama.  I took prithvi mudra, which is an earth mudra, and worked on grounding myself.  I practiced calming breath, and I used meditation to keep myself grounded.  When the cardiologist came in to read my ekg my blood pressure was actually very low, and I thank pranayama and meditation for it.

I went in to surgery and although prior to going in the doctor thought my ligament was torn based on how far out my ankle was, it was not torn!  I honestly think breathing and not causing additional mental trauma to myself helped with the process.  I didn't cry, and prior to being wheeled into surgery ten hours after the accident, the only thing I had taken was ibuprofen immediately after the fall as a precaution.  I was not afraid, I believed in my doctor's ability to perform his job, and I was not attached to an outcome.  I was living vey much in the present moment and I had no choice but to be strong. Stronger than I have ever had to be.

Surgery went well, I am summoning up strength daily to deal with day to day tasks that many of us take for granted, such as the simple task of being able to hold something in your hands while you walk... but I have no choice but to be strong, so strong is what I will be.

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Stop letting others pay you to give up on your dreams!

"How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?" From the movie Up in the Air

Today FB memories showed me a video clip from the movie Up in the Air, that I posted last year where the main character (George Clooney) asks someone how much they got paid to give up on their dreams.  It was so profound to see, because I know many of you are in that same situation.  You have dreams, but you take jobs you dislike for a paycheck.  I know it’s hard to follow your dreams, but if you don’t believe in them, who else will?  Not believing in yourself is like trying to sell a product that you would never use on yourself, you will not be successful.

Many people ask me how I do what I do. The answer is, I say yes to a lot of things, without the slightest clue as to how I’m going to make those things actually happen.  I know that sounds scary to most people, but once I’m committed to something, I am there 100% no matter what, and I know that often times, that is the exact fire that I need to fuel my creative process.  It wasn’t easy to leave a steady and secure job, with health insurance, and a pension, for the pursuit of teaching more yoga.  What I did know was that I was good at teaching yoga, I was good at teaching people to teach yoga, and I was good at bringing people together for retreats all over the world.  If I kept my high school teaching job I would always have one foot in one career and the other in the other.  How could I know my potential and how far I could take my yoga teaching if I didn’t put 100% into it?  I would never know.  It because very clear to me that if I wanted to explore the possibilities of how far I could go, I needed to give up the things that were holding me back.  My high school teaching job was one of those things.  My self mantra became, “Why not me?” If others could thrive teaching yoga full time, why couldn’t I?  The answer was that I could do it also, and I would never know if I didn’t try.  So I tried.  I went all in.  I resigned from my job, signed up for training in Thailand, packed my bags and hopped on a plane. 

Was I worried? FUCK YEAH! Did I have doubts?  Yup. Did that stop me? NO.  If I failed, I knew this much about myself, I knew that I was a worker, and that if I needed to work in McDonald’s to pay my rent, I could.  I didn’t have pride that I could only do that one thing or sink.  I haven’t sunken yet.  Two years later, I’m sitting at Starbucks, typing this blog post.  I teach yoga full time in many capacities.  I have weekly classes, I run yoga teacher trainings, and I lead amazing bucket list destination retreats all over the world.  My advice to you is this, if you believe in yourself, you can make your dreams your every day life.  However, if you have self-doubt, it won’t happen.  Don’t let money be the number one deciding factor on your pursuit of happiness.  Sure, money is great, and an abundance of money is even greater, however, the first lesson I learned is that we never need as much as we think we do.  If you let go of the thought of what you think you need you will see so many opportunities presenting themselves to you.  Let go of fear and self-doubt, and start believing in yourself!  Stop letting others pay you to give up on your dreams.  Start paying yourself to live them!

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MY REALITY CHECK ON BEING PRESENT

How often are you letting moments pass you by, by not being present?  Have you ever stopped to wonder how you are stealing precious time from yourself? If you can pinpoint how you are not being present, you can take action to be more present and that is the first step in being right here, right now.  This past week I got a dose of what not being present looked like in my life.

So a little over a month ago this beautiful man asked me to travel with him, and I said yes (that's an entirely different story which you're not going to get here).  When the time came that we were together traveling I got a reality check of ways that I do not live in the present moment.  I found that my familiar feeling of wanting to jump out of bed the second my eyes fluttered in the morning was me not being present. On our first morning together I found myself wanting to fly out of bed, as if I had a million things to do, I did not.  I had all of the time in the world, plus a beautiful man next to me still sleeping, but I was ready to get up and do god knows what.  You know what I did? I got up and showered, chatted with my best friend online (from the bathroom! wtf?!), and then after maybe 40 minutes, crawled back into bed, not knowing what else to do with myself.  What the heck was wrong with me? Rather than live in the moment, I was letting the moment pass me by.  When would I ever be back in that place  and time (and boy was it a nice place) with that person?  NEVER.  I then took a step back and made a conscious decision to be more present.  I tried very hard not to be plugged in to my phone.  I posted less on social media, and I really took the time out to eat ALL of the food, enjoyed ALL of the drinks, and enjoyed ALL of the moments I had in the presence of my travel companion.  I didn't even take ONE picture with him in nine days! Sounds like an easy task right?  Nope, it was not.  Not because I didn't want it to be, but because I was so used to not being in the moment that being in the moment took work.  Can you believe that?! After a few days, it did become easier to sleep in, not care so much about the alarm, and toward the end of our trip, not even leave the hotel.  I even missed the one important alarm we did set because we had to be at the airport!  I shocked even myself on that one.  I used to be able to count on my hands the number of times I have overslept and missed an alarm. By the end of our time together I could not care less about the alarm, or having to go somewhere and see some thing, or do some thing.  It was extremely liberating.  I can no longer count on my hands the number of times I slept in since I added to it.  Thank you beautiful man, for giving me the gift of me being present for myself, in turn me being more present for the world, even if you did not know your contribution.  

I invite any of you that read this, to take a moment and see where you might not be being present in your life, then make a conscious effort to change it.  It will be work, but I promise, it will be worth it.

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Counting my blessings.

November 20, 2016 1:15 a.m. 

today was a whirlwind of a day to say the least.  After traveling for 30+ hours through three countries, sharing with friends and their family, and being back to a full jammed pack day of work, it was hard to find the time to sit and quiet my mind. Today was a constant chatter, welcomed, but constant.  I finally, after midnight found time to sit in my space, do my rituals, and let go.  It's amazing how much chatter we carry around within us, and if we don't find the time to sit and just be mindful the chatter builds.  As I sat in my corner of the house dedicated to my practice, I couldn't help but to be thankful. I count my blessings every day, but on days like today when I interact with so many souls, I really need to take the time to say it, and say it aloud.  So as I sit here and update my website with me latest musings while I travelled, I have to say thank you. Thank you to the universe, to god, to my job, to my friends, and to all of my students that show up day after day to make this life possible for me.   Everything and everyone is a lesson to help me in my path. In the end it may all just be an illusion, but right now, it's an illusion that I'm totally completely in love with. 

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The Nice Factor....

November 19, 2016 6:35 p.m.  Somewhere over the Pacific

The Nice Factor... A plus or a minus in dating.

So I will start this post by saying that I, by no means am an expert on dating. What I am pretty proficient at is not dating, and listening to countless friends of mine, male, female, straight and gay complain about the selection of possible mates. Unfortunately for all of us here in the tri-state area, it has been studied and studies show that we are in one of the worst possible locations for dating.  With that said, I wanted to weigh in on the nice factor. Recently within a few friends and myself this curve ball keeps getting thrown in to the mix. Everyone says they want a nice person in their lives, yet time and time again when people get nice, they realize nice is not what they want. What is it about "nice" that seems appealing but isn't? The nice conversation came up several times within the past few weeks with a variety of people and I found it amusing enough to share. It went something like this:

How are things with ________(insert name, gender here) Things are ok. _____________ is very nice. (Followed by that nod of the head that says everything you need to know that nice isn't cutting it) And right away as soon as the person says __________ is nice, it's like there is an understanding between the two parties having the conversation where nothing else needs to be discussed. Pretty much end of conversation right there or, there's an explanation why nice is all that that person is and why nice is just not enough.

I remember having a conversation with a friend about two friends that went out. Each one of our respective a friends went on to tell us how nice the other person was. What was a shame was that we had to ask ourselves about our friends, is that a good thing that they said that? We actually came to the conclusion that it probably wasn't a good thing, and sure enough, it wasn't.

When did nice go from being a plus to a minus? Everyone still says they want nice when describing what they want in a mate, but nice is somehow not cutting it in the dating world. Are we all that fucked up that we get nice and can't handle nice, don't know what the heck to do with nice? I myself have no answers for you, I fit perfectly into that I want nice but then I get nice and I freak the f@@@ out crew.  You'll get no answers from me, but if you have some to share with me, I'm happy to hear them!

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Seeing and believing

November 17, 2016 4:09 p.m. Manila, Philippines

 "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou

 

This quote is one of the hardest things for me to do and I've been "working" on it for quite some time. I recently had one of my FB memories pop up and it was a picture of the word FORGIVE which I posted after one of my morning meditations last year.  The meditation I  was doing was an active meditation where I was invoking forgiving others for not being whom i wanted them to be.  The quote and the meditation go hand in hand.  In my personal life, I like to "assume" (another big no, no that I'll talk about another time) I like to assume that because I act a certain way others who share similar values will also act in a similar way.  I trip myself up often, probably most of the time, when I do this.  I had to sit down and ask myself why. I then realized that I expected people to meet me where I meet myself and that I placed Anayra expectations of herself, on others.  Other people cannot be who I want them to be, they are who they are and I need to forgive myself for expecting others to be something that they are not.  The more I can recognize when I am wanting people to be someone they are not, the easier it then becomes for me not to do that.  How does this relate to the Angelou quote? It all goes back to the simple premise that most people show you exactly who they are at most times.  Our fallacy is that some of us want to see others as what we consider to be the best potential of someone. We can't look at others and see the person we would like for them to be in the future. We need to accept people for who they are now.  Just as we need to learn to accept ourselves for who we are now, not yesterday, or who we may hope to be tomorrow.

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An open invitation to LOVE

This my friends, is my invitation to you to love, love big, love all, and when you find it hard to love, understand just how much more important it is for you to do so. 

I was faced with a very difficult text from a life long friend last Wednesday.  So as not to ruin the reader's perspective I'll let you read the text and form your own opinion.  Disclaimer: it may make you angry, sad, shocked, defeated, or you may not care at all... I suppose Imshould also add that my friend is a white American, and he husband is a black Trinidadian man, and they have a beautiful mixed teenage daughter.

When she sent me the message I responded, and then remembered a journal I had written a year or two prior, that had a lot of my same sentiments. I dug through my journals, took a picture and sent her that as well.  The responsibility we have to uplift others and show and give love was never clearer to me than last Wednesday, just a few hours after our country chose a new president, my dear friend, in New Jersey, felt the very real aspect of what not showing and giving love leads to.

I leave you with my thoughts, her message, and my response to her, and hope that the message you all get from me is the very same that Marianne Williamson wrote.

Marianne Williamson said "The way of the miracle worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things, either love, or a call for love."  I heard this quote and it immediately resonated with me.  The way I connected to the quote was with how I viewed my response to people.  It is hard for us not to flip out when someone behaves in a way that we "think" is unbecoming, for whatever reason it may be.  We get mad, obsess, talk about it, or even try to hide it, yet deep down we let things eat up our mind space.  Instead of allowing other people to occupy the real estate of our mind we should focus on Williamson's message.  If we don't perceive a person's actions as love, then let's look at them as a call for love.   We need to remember that we don't know what anyone is going through, but if what bothers us can be looked at from a different perspective, we can let things go a lot easier. May we all be able to practice the art of seeing actions as love or calls for love to soften our set perceptions. image

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