Tag Archives: belief systems

When Things Fall Apart: Learning to Lighten Up

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It was 9pm and my oldest son and I were raring for our rockin’ road-trip to MA, in the morning. Then I got the call from one of my dearest friends, Lisa, whose house we’d be staying at for 4 days. She says there’s been a miscommunication – she isn’t expecting us until the following weekend.

WHAT THE!?!?!

I’m STUNNED. My brain is DUMBSTRUCK. I’m trying to fathom this news. Recalibrate. I GOT IT WRONG!? HOW DID I MESS UP SO BADLY?!

My hubby has taken off work. My older son has been so excited to see his friend! We’re ALL PACKED!!! ACK! This is cataclysmic to me! Perfectionist me. Inflexible me. Unforgiving me. I manage my calendar like a hawk. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???

I feel heartbroken and I’m starting to cry. But… Lisa doesn’t sound as demolished as I feel. That’s when my protective inner Mob Boss picks up her armor, knowing just what to do with my mortifying emotions. Shut. Them. Down. Lock & Load.

Rut row.

I’d better hang up with Lisa before the heavy-duty blamer BS (Belief System) starts misfiring. It speaks fluent Aim & Blame in dramatic CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!! Have you noticed?!?!

Crap. I thought I was past this. I’m all about taking responsibility for myself, my reactions, feelings and beliefs. But here I am acting like a full-fledged card-carrying defensive victim. Ugh. *Hangs head in shame.*

Growing up, I became slightly militant about the ways I should/could/would be RIGHT. About details, plans, times, people. I feared that my body and I were just wrong all over the place. Making mistakes made me even more WRONG and unlovable. My Mobster BS insisted I’d better be perfect, if I wanted to be kept safe from a heartbreaking world.

BS #2 (they run in packs) was also hibernating in the dark recesses of my mind. “I should be able to perfectly heal and release these beliefs, once and for all.” Hahaha. Apparently, there is no such thing as “done” while living in a sticky earth-bound-suit.

#3 on the BS hit parade is C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Or my illusions of having it. Nuf said.

Blame, criticism, intolerance etc are powerhouse viruses. They’re going around. When fear runs amuck inside us, but we don’t want to feel or own those feelings, it’s very tempting to deny, dodge and judge. Hot potato. Toss the blame at someone else!

But since we perceive what is OUTSIDE us in response to what we experience INSIDE us, we’re still glued to the gloom. No matter how we serve up that French-fried blame, we’ll be wrecked by the wrongness we feel around us, because it is also simmering within us.

I think we revisit these painful old wounds, circumstances and BS because there is always another silver lining to light upon. 

There is always more humanness to forgive.

If we can notice the fears, and just embrace the little darlings, question the BS, and love our silly selves anyway (imagine!) we won’t be as reactive when other people (children, spouses, presidents) do what they do or be who they are. We’ll feel more inspired to settle the war inside ourselves and radiate the peaceful warrior self, instead of the bossy blamer babe.

The following morning, still very mad at myself, my hubster Bill calls out, “Hon! Come see this butterfly on the stairs – INside!”

Aw!  The little girl in me is thrilled when I spot it. I carefully lower my finger down in front of the butterfly and she climbs on.

Be.

Still.

My.

Heart.

I bring her to my bedroom, where the dog and cat are less likely to interfere. It’s freezing outside, so releasing her isn’t an option. As I get close to the window, she takes flight and lands on the sunny lace curtain. The light pours through her gauzy body and I’m infused with joy.

But. What about food?

The flowers from Bill! Come to think of it, maybe that is how she hitched a ride inside? A Valentine Visitor?

I put the vase of cut flowers, every flowering plant we have, sliced oranges, bananas and a tray of sugar water, in the window. “We are now The Butterfly Cafe,” Bill says with a smile.

The internet reports she’s a female “Cloudless Sulfur” butterfly – an inch high, fragile as pale yellow tissue paper, with tiny black dots on her wings. In Native American medicine, butterflies are a symbol of personal transformation. “The ability to go through changes with grace and lightness.”

Their transformation from caterpillar, to liquid DNA goo, to winged confetti, is miraculous! Vulnerable and strong, weightless and free. They seem directionless, and yet they have quite the internal GPS.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness and still become something beautiful.”

My attention to the butterfly, brings me into the present moment, and breathes me back into grace. (Bug bus to the rescue!) How can my heaviness stand up against her lightness of being?

The following day, I take some honey water on my finger and slowly put it in front of her. She hops aboard. And then I watch in awe – her teensy curled tongue (proboscis) which is a hair-thin straw, unfurls and begins probing the sweetness. And then . . . DRINKING. WHOA. I’m feeding a butterfly!

See the sugar water on my finger?

HEART.

BLOWN.

OPEN.

Did you know they can taste through the bottoms of their wee feet?

After a spellbinding minute, my feathery friend re-curls her tongue and stands like a quiet statue. Both of us are satiated.

The week flies by, and it’s time for my son and I to take the trip we’d planned! Bill is on butterfly duty while I’m away.

Soon after we arrive in MA, my son and his friend have a major miscommunication about a pick-up time and place. We land at his friend’s mom’s house (an hour from Lisa’s) while his friend is at the dad’s house (another hour drive.) WHAT?!?! My inner GPS is still MIA.

Rinse and repeat.

Guess who grabbed the wheel first? I wanted to blame his friend, then the dad, then my son, who wasn’t sure if his friend HAD given him the right address. I said I wanted to smack him.

Ouch.

After some wild texting with the dad, we were back on the road and I was breathing easy again. Quick turnaround! Phew.

But my son.

I noticed he was quiet and asked if he was ok. He said that NOW he understood why I cried over the previous mix-up with Lisa. He added, “I think of myself as a smart person, but this mistake makes me wonder.”

Oh boy can I relate!

Even our positive qualities can become limiting if we’re overly attached to that identity and too hard on ourselves when we ‘fall short’. I apologized to my son about my “smack you” attitude. Several times. We had a great talk, connecting over our shared BS. It felt freeing to be imperfect together. We don’t have to go it alone.

Humanness unites hearts. 

There is always more to love.

If Lisa and I hadn’t miscommunicated the week before, I might have missed the heart to heart with my son. I might have missed the laughter and openness with her.

I might have missed the butterfly.

I might have missed the walk in the woods when faeries seemed to send up <– rainbow flares from my camera.

I might have missed the opportunity to see more of who I am. Pimples and all. And to blossom anyway.

I might have missed the chance to draw closer to the divine. To flutter more like the butterfly, in and out of these changes and challenges. Isn’t this the everyday nectar of life on earth? Learning to grow with the flow – with butterflies, blamers, and mob bosses. They prepare us for the bigger dance – when life doesn’t do what we want it to do. When things fall apart. If we’re ready to release the heavy baggage – to step out of our comfortable cocoon, to let go and to trust our untested wings – then the soul offers abundant opportunities to lighten up and fly.

A female “orange Julia” landed on my forehead! At the Butterfly Conservatory, ONT Canada 2015

with love, lightness & more fun,

 Keep Calm and Shine on,

Julie

 

“When was the last time you sat and talked with a butterfly?” Pat Rodegast

My oldest with two butterflies (one is a “blue morpho”) at the Butterfly Conservatory 2016

 

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My youngest with a “banded peacock” at the Butterfly Conservatory 2011

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What Incarnation Were We Thinking? Remembering What We Were Born to Forget

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there-is-really-no-way-to-say-no-to-the-morning-dan-foglebergI recently shared my story about the Spirit Pub at the epic Life Without Instructions conference, an amazing community of free-thinking, unschooling, family-loving, nature-hugging, soul-seeking friends. A few folks asked if I’d written the story down ~ so here it is :)

Long ago, I stumbled across the idea that perhaps our soul, before birth, gets to choose it’s greatest challenges in it’s lifetime. Given my dwarfism and it’s accompanying complications, you’d have thought my reaction would’ve been something like…

HA! What insane #@!% HOGWASH!

Instead, I was intrigued.

A friend and I decided that we’d name this pre-birthday place, the Spirit Pub. If we had chosen our current life-on-the-rocks, we clearly had had one too many.

Or maybe, when we were made of pure star-dust and all blissed-out, the wild Earth roller coaster looked so dang appealing! Birth, puberty, love, marriage, divorce, forgiveness, compassion, plot-twists, faith, disease, drama, darkness. What a thrill! A reality show to top all reality shows!

%22remember-who-you-think-you-are-now-is-only-one-moment-one-grain-of-sand-in-the-vastness-of-your-spirit

So by the time I bellied up to the Spirit Pub bar, I was ready to take on the cosmos. One glance at the ginormous menu, and I knew. The special of the day stood out in lights: “spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, dwarfism, with a heaping side order of degenerative arthritis.”

The tougher the troubles, the greater the glory.

I turned to my guardian angel, already by my side, and said, “I could really sink my teeth into that one.”

Excellent choice,” she said, sounding a bit like Glinda the good witch. “Let me give you some details: at your birth, the gods of medicine will automatically label your creative earth costume as defective, deformed, disadvantaged and disabled. You will believe and live their truth for years. There will also be many operations, including two brain surgeries.”

I quickly asked to recheck the menu.

But my angel continued on with strangely contagious enthusiasm. “This profound human pain . . . will ignite in you such a deep hunger to heal yourself. The darkness will serve as a spiritual springboard to the light. It will catapult you into alternative medicine, nutrition and empowering ways to care for your costume. These remedies will be a bridge back to your remembrance that healing comes from within. Inside you will be the best medicine of all – the choice of where to put your focus, on fear or faith.”

%22you-are-encoded-with-a-magic-filled-with-a-potential-jennifer-mclean“Furthermore,” she said, almost giggling, “The doctors won’t be the only ones who will take issue with your nonconformities; you will also be a billboard for bullies, strangers, children & adults who will stare, taunt and mock you. You’ll be a trigger for their own deep fears of separation and rejection.”

Before I could interject that I might be biting off more than I could chew, she was way ahead of me.

“My dear, your belief that you are isolated from the world will stir in you such a longing for love & connection. And because you will not be able draw that acceptance from the outside, you will at last turn your focus inside. That is where the memory will dawn – darkness is not a punishment or an accident. It is your soul’s creative catapult back into Oneness, the place inside of you where you can, and you will, remember that you are Light. And so is everyone else.”

“So you’re telling me,” I asked, “that I can’t lose in the end?”

“What the human believes is a loss, the soul experiences as a gain. Your family,” she continued, a mesmerizing pink glow around her, “will be the loving bedrock of your identity. They will not be distracted by your differences and will see and love you for who you really are.”

%22you-are-a-part-of-everythingYay! Good news!

“Out of respect and love for you, however, they will err on the side of silence about your dwarfism and it’s challenges. You will misinterpret that silence as shame.”

Hmmm. A strange pattern seemed to be emerging…

“Your heartbreak, however, will awaken in you such a desire to express yourself. When you turn your focus toward that, it will launch you into true heart to heart communication, through art, writing, speaking and being.”

“Isn’t it ideal?” she twinkled. “Silence leads to communication. Isolation leads to reunion. Physical pain leads to spiritual healing. Are you beginning to see the sacred love story of opposites?

I was. From a distance, it did seem rather remarkable.

“There is one last thing, my dear,” my golden Glinda added, “and it is very important. You know everything we’ve been discussing? . . . You are going to forget all of it.”

I sighed. “That part, I kinda know. Because if I remembered that I was eternal love, that no harm could ever come to my soul, then the earth journey would be like ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ without the blindfold, or ‘Hide and Seek’ without a place to hide. We choose the body-blindfold to make it a really gutsy game. It’s a global treasure hunt where the gems are hidden within.”

My angel shimmered. “The wounds of your forgetting will be temporary, but the joy and wisdom will be yours forever. And remember, my dear, I will be with you at the doorway of birth, I will stay by your side every step of the way, and I will be there when you are ready to lay your body down and come Home. I will never leave you until you have fulfilled your reasons for being.”

I nodded to my fearless angel and I said, “Bring it on.”

%22a-mind-that-is-stretched-by-new-experience-can-never-go-back-to-its-old-dimensions-oliver-wendell-holmesMaybe we all agreed to the crazy ride.

But whether or not our soul chooses our circumstances, the belief that our challenges are for us, not against us, is hugely empowering. It’s not to blame ourselves, or others, ever. It’s the opportunity to take any ugliness and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful. To find out what’s right with what might feel all wrong. A nightmare is not the final verdict; it may end up being the vehicle to our soul’s desire.

There’s divinity in the darkness – let it inspire our brightest light.

~~~~~~~~~

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Wishing you an open mind, gentle heart, courageous soul, 

And lotsa love, always,

Julie

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How Will I spend My Heart Today? On BS or Mindfulness?

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Hiya Radiant Renegade,

How do you feel about really truly deeply being seen? Including your insecurities, shadows & secret darkness? I had an enlightening run-in with some of my old BS just last week.

As I’m basking in the quiet of my favorite park, writing by this very peeeaceful pond (in the photo), a noisy group sauntered into my sanctuary and plopped down in the shade behind me.

Ugh.

I continue writing, trying to ignore the prickly feeling of eyes and action behind me. One dude is particularly loud. Generally, I love listening to other languages – I have this excited feeling that I understand what’s being said, even when I don’t. But today, his foreign tongue is like a jackhammer and he seems to be the only one carrying the conversation.

I ask my angels if they’d help !@#$ quiet him. Oh wait. Trying to change him is a disempowering focus. Instead, I need to shift my own intention and response. It feels better to say, Thank you angels, in advance, for helping me tune out the distraction.

Soon enough I notice a tremendous turtle sunbathing on a rock. Some swallows are swooping and playing in the air. A goldfinch flies past. Colorful dragonflies are whisking all around. Ducks and geese are feeding nearby in their funny bottoms-up way. Earlier, a small snake had swam seamlessly through the sunlit water.

While marveling at this wide-eyed world, I forget my cares and remember what matters.

And I’ve been able to ignore, somewhat, the incessant talker, who is still rattling away. My goodness.

It’s getting too warm sitting in the sun and I want to gather up my books, beach chair and snacks and waddle over into the shade, about twenty feet away. But I hesitate. I fear the roving eyes behind me. Oooph.

My residual BS has bubbled up – the old Belief System that fears my dwarfism & I will be judged, rejected, humiliated. I shake my head. Why do I care what they think? What will they do, throw stones? Tomatoes? Call me ugly? Laugh? WHO CARES!

Apparently, I still do.

I take some deep breaths, relax and prepare myself to stand up and BE SEEN. Go ahead Jule, they can’t hurt you. You are free to be yourself in this world. This is a great opportunity to bust through the BS. Reclaim the joy.

I awkwardly stand and . . . you know what?

The chatterbox shuts right up.

Hee hee.

By facing my fear, I get my wish ~ his mouth is firmly muzzled. (My inner BS was speechless, too.)

In the past, I’ve dreaded that hushed reaction to me. The shocked looks. Today, the quiet is my reward.

I grab my gear and shuffle into the shade, chuckling to myself. I am an anti-gab Goddess. A shift in perspective is everyone’s super soul power, available anywhere, anytime.

I sit back down and put my notebook on my lap. Suddenly a white-tailed dragonfly (I Googled it) lands on my writing. I watch in surprise as her tiny velvety body breathes. It isn’t a quick flutter – her whole body expands slowly and then contracts. Wow!

Then I realize her fabulous domino looking wings are perfectly covering just one sentence. I’d written it in the upper corner of my page this morning~

“How will I spend my heart today?”

Will I give away my joy because of other people’s reaction? Or will I stand up and be who I am, in peace (or flat out enthusiasm.)

Will I focus on an argument with an old friend/partner/sibling/kids? Or will I send them love bombs and release thoughts of right or wrong.

Will I try to control the outcome of some ‘uncomfortable’ circumstances? Or will I breathe deeply, expand my heart, my love and my willingness to grow.

Will I judge what’s ugly in me/them/the world? Or will I search for what’s beautiful around me and within me.

Will I spend my heart on self-doubt? Worry? Criticism? Shrink away from my challenges?

Or will I trust life to unfold in spectacular ways.

The dragonfly’s work has dominoed and is done. She lifts off the page, hovers for a moment and then zips toward the open water, taking some of my black and white BS with her.

How will you spend your heart today?

Let me know in the comments, I loooove hearing from you : )

You'll never rise any higher than the way you see yourself

I see you, 

with lotsa love~

Julie 

 

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How to Usher in Your Dreams: The Universe is Listening

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FB fire rainbow a

Driving down the Garden State Parkway, I’m on my way to my first solo vacay in New Jersey (no snickering.) I’ve got five days at my friend’s glorious house while she’s in Italy. Since my oldest son’s birth twelve years ago, I’ve not been all alone for more than a day. I’m way over due.

That’s when I spot it. A rainbow. Wait . . . blue sky, no rain. WHAT?! Obviously the other drivers haven’t noticed the humdinger because they are NOT swerving and squealing like a nut-ball. I scramble for my camera like an electrified orangutan.

I pull over and whip out my camera so fast I nearly throw it across the dash. As I start shooting, the colors are faint but grow brighter before my wide-eyes. They trail along the clouds in glory. Mama Mia.

My car and I are drunk in delight, windswept & jostled by the other high-speeders zooming past me and the miracle. I’m still giggling and chatting out loud thanking the angels for the prism show. My breath is caught inside the glee. I’m not alone. Roy G. Biv has got every color on deck. For me.

After twenty minutes, I continue on my drive, dazzled. I spend five delirious days writing. Painting. Breathing in the green of the yard. The stillness of flowers. The pool’s turquoise purr. Outside the rush of my daily life, I really like my own company. Maybe, after all these years, I actually love me. Whoa. The rainbow knew.

When I return home from my retreat, I feel alive. Free. I tell my family about the “fire rainbow” (I’d googled it.) My son says he wishes he saw it, too. The Universe is listening.

At his birthday party the following week, guess who arrives. Yup. I’d never seen a fire rainbow until a week earlier. Hovering above us, is another. NO. WAY. I start yelling to my son and pointing up like a crazed Chicken Little. Rainbows are falling around us.

a fire6 copy

A month later, we’re at the Jersey shore. Yet another appears. Google informs me this one is a “sun dog.” Whatever. It’s still color streaking across my freakin blue skies. My dad tells me that when I was too young to write, I signed a guest book at a relative’s house . . . with a rainbow. They’ve been on my radar awhile.

FB fire rainbow 9:19:12

As a kid, I’d thought that rainbows would be even more awesome if there was a blue sky behind them instead of grey clouds. I’m not making this up. Then I saw it on Facebook – a photo of a colorful ribbon shimmering across a wicked azure sky.

I figured I would have to be in Hawaii or Bali to see such grandeur.

Mais no.

They now follow me in Joisey. Several months ago, I step outside Barnes and Noble (a gospel belt) and glaring right at me is a huge glowing sun dog. I’m agog again. My eyes dart around the parking lot for someone to celebrate the sky with me. Three folks slip into their cars, engines roar away. I call out to one last woman, but she can’t hear the happiness. Her head is bowed as she leaves, untouched by the hot diggity-dog before us.

Are you expecting your job to be stressful? No free time? Your partner to disappoint you? Your health to decline? Murphy’s Law to win? Well when you look at it THAT way, your wishes are the universe’s command.

There’s an area of our brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) whose job is to filter through the endless data that bombards us daily. The RAS only allows into our conscious mind what we are focused on, interested in, or what we believe. It edits out anything that doesn’t confirm our belief system (BS,) which we may have been carrying around since childhood. Our mind is a neutral search engine, looking to prove us right about our expectations.

Ever bought a car you’d rarely seen, in a color you were sure was unique. Then you get out on the road and that exact car is everywhere. Turns out, that car had always been around you, but your RAS never picked up on it until it was a priority.

This isn’t woo-woo. This is science.

Einstein said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” If we stay focused on what’s wrong, the RAS is blind to anything right. What do you expect from the world and what do you offer? Give your dreams more airtime today. Your thoughts and feelings are so powerful that your life is created by their rally cry. Redemption is within your reach.

Just last month, I was rather stuck in the ‘not enoughness.’ Not enough wishes coming true. Not enough Money. Talent. Time. Courage. My life is FULL of great things but I was busy focusing on what I feared was missing. So I rewrote my affirmations. I recommitted to reading them every day. Focus. Breathe. Believe. Receive. 

Yesterday, driving to the shore, my family and I see a massive sun halo (a rainbow circle clear around the sun.) There’s a small pastel fire rainbow at it’s feet. Sweet Jesus. What promise lies about us. What mystery. I want to reaffirm my life with greater faith than ever. Do I face life’s challenges like they are obstacles or opportunities? Sometimes I forget it’s my choice. The skies remember. I got it all on camera.

There are fire rainbows afoot. Keep looking up! 

 
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