Tag Archives: spirituality

When Things Fall Apart: Learning to Lighten Up

Share Button

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

 

Check out the Divine Giveaway!

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

The awesome Rev. Anne Presuel & Sherry Bowers have just opened up their annual giveaway TODAY! It’s specifically geared for spiritual folks, especially entrepreneurs, coaches, intuitives, holistic therapists, energy therapists, healers, etc…
Simply sign up and you can download any or all of the FR*EE gifts!

– ebooks, audio trainings, audio meditations, video trainings, checklists, assessments, programs, healing sessions, intuitive sessions, and much more…

Anne & Sherry have gathered together 100’s of spiritual entrepreneurs to give you a whole BUNCH of fr*ee products and services.

Go get your goodies now – There’s tons of support, love and inspiration!

P.S. BTW when you do go, there are two pages of very low-cost offerings by Anne and Sherry, the hosts of this giveaway. If you aren’t interested, no worries. Just click “no thank you” and you’ll be taken to ALL of the gifts.

ENJOY! ❤

 

Share Button

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

Share Button

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.

~~~~~~~~~

Before you go~

MORE FR*EE STUFF!

Rev. Anne Presuel & Sherry Bowers have invited 100’s of spiritual entrepreneurs to participate in their annual

Your Divine Biz Gifts

 to give you a whole BUNCH of fr*ee products and services.

Things like:

  -ebooks
-scripts
  -audio trainings
  -audio meditations
  -video trainings
-checklists
-assessments
-programs
-free memberships
  -and much more

Register here and then go pick out what you like,

leave the rest behind :)

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

And lotsa love, always,

Julie

Share Button

Weeping Trees: The Healing Power of Nature

Share Button

The amazing Green Diva Meg at GreenDivas.com, has created a quick sketch video (one minute!) of me making one of my watercolor/calligraphy cards, so exciting for me! It gave me a whole new and fun perspective on my work :) I hope you’ll watch it!

Also check out a be-you-tiful online course for Mothers and Daughters at the bottom of this post. There’s a generous discount code for all Nothing Short of Joy subscribers :)

Now for our regularly scheduled program… ;) my blog post: 

%22The Tree Couple.%22One of our trees, a Weeping Grandma Cherry, is losing limbs, losing life. I’m embarrassed by the flood of emotion… and I find myself hiding the tears. As I catch my breath, though, there is so much more to the story. There always is.

My hubby, Bill, has been warning me about her demise for years now, but I refused to believe him. He’d first declared it without much compassion, as if her death was a bother. It would cost money. It might fall on the garage. It might hit one of the kids.

Grandma Cherry Tree

See her sweet face?

Year after year, I’ve sat and recharged in her quiet shade, gathering my heart, breathing out the overwhelm, breathing in the peace. I’ve smiled into her gnarly face wondering how to practice her stillness. Under her calming pink parasol, I’ve written out my hopes and dreams. I’ve wept out my fears, anger, and despair.

Today, I wept for her. For the mysteries. For the violence. For the journey. For my Dad.

So many sad goodbyes in life – to those who move where I cannot go. These deep rules of heaven and earth, hidden in the rough bark of life. They leave their love, clues, and gifts in our own backyard.

“Everything I let go of has claw marks on it.Anne Lamott

One morning last year, as I was letting our dog, Merlin, outside, I was crushed by the sight – our restless neighbor had chopped down the colossal lilac between our yards. I reeled back in disbelief. In sobs. Every spring I’d reveled in this lilac’s scented curls. I’d gleefully waited like a kid, for her bountiful blossoms. I’d placed gushing vases in the kitchen and the bedroom just so I could bury my grin into her glorious purple perfume. The blissful smell of God-ness.

I couldn’t look at my neighbor for days.

amber sapAnd now our treasured Cherry is getting ready to fly away. Poison Ivy is creeping up her trunk, as if she has already been reclaimed by a greater night. Her amber blood oozes out from craggily warrior skin. As I run my hand across her Braille bark, some part of my soul understands the big Book of hers. Her silence craves a home in me.

For seventeen years we’ve been held safe in this home, this yard. My boys used to touch the cherry’s soft sap, in wide-eyed amazement. And after it hardened in the sun, they’d run their fingers over it’s glossy smile. They’d tug on her leggy branches to make it snow petals on their heads.

“Vulnerability is a portal to a deeper power.” Chameli ArdaghOne Spring, back when my sixteen-year-old was four, the wind was kicking up a perfect petal blizzard. My boy took one look and scampered toward the back door. As he burst outside, the sun simultaneously came out from behind the clouds. I called to him, “the sun came out just as you did!” He yelled back, “yeah, that’s because it didn’t see me before!” Then he ran through Grandma’s pink waterfall, with arms and heart open wide.

He believed, quite naturally, that the Sun cared. For him. That the Sun saw. Who he was. That God placed the sun and the stars and old cherry trees, for us. And these things, pulsing with life, somehow love us, because Life loves us. My boy didn’t question the synchronicity that day. Why do I question my grief when I’m feeling adrift? When the world isn’t what I want it to be?

I realize I’m trying to hold on to what was never mine to keep.

%22Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. .....~Rumi

When I hold on tight, it hurts more. That includes feelings. When I ignore ‘em, they’ll spew forth at the most inappropriate people and places. They’ll create dis-ease. They’ll separate me from me, and me from you.

Rejected emotions, like abandoned
inner kids, need to be accepted,
heard and honored. No matter how
old or annoying. Tears calm the
inner tantrum and clear the mind.
They set the pain free so we can let go. So we can trust the circle of life, again.

Until the next season.

“You have to feel it to heal it.”Our culture teaches us, and especially burdens our menfolk, with the notion that vulnerability makes us weak. I realize that this is hogwash… but… I still find myself ashamed of my deepest feelings, even though I feel stronger after I’ve acknowledged them. Even though they make me the most real. They deepen my compassion. Our common humanity. They open us up and pull us together, where we belong. As one.

 Cherry Tree Spence

My oldest sitting in our Cherry tree

I’m such a sapling.

Fortunately, I’ve had a loving Mom who knew the truth about feelings. But even with her gentle encouragement over the years to “have a good cry,” I still resist. And then a few days ago, Grandma Cherry dropped a limb right near my youngest son and his friend. And the dam broke.

“It’s time,” Grandma seemed to say, “to let go. Of the sadness you’ve been stuffing. Let it be.”

%22Everything happens for you, not to you.Byron Katie

 

I walk toward our three towering Mama Maples, who solemnly bear witness with me, bowing to Grandma. We watch her from afar, as if we might catch a glimpse of some holy spirit leaving us. As if the quiet would give up her secrets.

I remember the mourning dove pair that perches together on her high curves, and the crow clan that loves to gab and laugh up there. I return to these natural joys, often, when the world seems off it’s nut.

I wipe away the last of my tears. I hope my neighbors aren’t watching :)

Then I picture, said neighbors, joining me, without judgment or shame, to circle around Grandma, around the confounding mysteries, around the people and the things we love so fiercely. Around the life that can no longer be. Around the Greater Love that will always be.

I imagine the earth’s light coming up through our feet. Lifting us. The world. Higher – above the pain and the losses, to the joy beyond them all.

I thank the lilacs that once loved us, trees that breathe us alive, kids that teach us, a world that needs us, and Dad’s and weeping Cherry’s that leave us… better than we were before.

 I have watched the trees when they pray

click on the pic to read the poem :)

WHEN I AM AMONG TREES

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A wonderful colleague, Meg Tobin, is offering a beautiful online course for Mothers and Daughters! Plus Meg is giving a discount to Nothing Short of Joy subscribers – use code JOY16 for $125 off! Unlike the early bird discount she is offering, this one does not expire.

Click here for all the delight-filled details :)

Maiden Sisterhood: Join your daughter on a journey to discover a new story. Your story. Together.

MAIDEN

Meg Tobin“This fully online course brings together mommas and daughters ages 8 to 12 to explore the changing landscape of girls’ bodies and emotions as they enter puberty and the implications of those changes on the mother/daughter relationship. Come together with your girl for information, healing and joyous connection! The course begins on Monday September 19th. Mommas will meet online for 6 Mondays from 8-9 pm EST, with a focus on using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping) to heal past wounds that impact our ability to gracefully usher our girls to their place in the circle of womanhood. Mommas and girls will meet online for 6 Saturdays from 8-9 am EST with a focus on facts, self-care, boundaries and intimacy building.”

Meg Tobin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified EFT Practitioner based in Upstate NY. Read more about her  here.

Check out the course here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wishing you
green, green meadows,
cooling shade,
summer fun,
and wide open sky…
~Julie
Share Button

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

Share Button

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 

 

Share Button

Can You Drink in Your Dreams? Are You Creating Fungus or Fabulous?

Share Button

What the heck can rice prove when it comes to the unimagined power of our thoughts, feelings and words?

I wanted to see it with my own eye balls. So my boys and I started an experiment in positivity, inspired by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Although our attitudes obviously affect our personal decisions and lives, here’s a wild illustration of how they ‘mold’ the world around us, as well. It blew me out the back door.

We took three small containers and put 1/2 cup of cooked white rice in each. I labeled one, Love Joy Peace. I labeled another, Fear Hate Stress, and the third was the control rice so it had no label.

The three containers sat on the same shelf separated by six inches or so. Each day we quietly sent the “Love rice” good vibes, thoughts and prayers. We sent the “Hate rice” anger, stress and fear (rather awkward to do.) The control rice was ignored.

I was surprised to find that suddenly I had doubts.

What if all the containers mold at the same rate? My boys will just stare at me sideways and think, that’s just Mom and her spiritual stuff. But after about six days (check out the youtube video progression) a small hunk of blue fungus appeared on the Hate rice. wOOt-wOOt! Holy mold. I’ve never been so psyched about decay. A few days later, a bit of blue-green graced the control rice too.

The Love rice was still rawkin’ white. Cool.

Another week past and the Hate rice was even moldier. The control rice had some mold but less than the Hate, and the Love rice was still holding strong with nada. Go love!

The Hate rice was soon host to an ominous tsunami – condensation on all sides and a doomsday grey fur on top. Whoa. It was a primeval forest of fungus and fear. It was amazeballs.

The control rice mushroomed some more pink mold and some blue, but nowhere near the ferocious growth on the Hate rice. It wasn’t until the 4th week that the Love rice surrendered to some pink ick on top and a brownish breakdown on the bottom.

What an incredible experiment!

My 13-year-old said to me, “mom, even though I’m a believer, I wasn’t sure this would work.” Aw, a believer. I told him I’d had my concerns, too. Doubt seems to be built-in to the forgetful human suit.

Yesterday I grabbed three sugar soaked donut holes and, one by one, mindlessly popped them into my mouth. Then I spotted the small sign I’d posted where the experiment used to be, “Remember the Rice.” Oops. So I took a deep breath and blessed my belly and it’s bounty. It made me smile.

Gratitude boosts our immune system, metabolism and well-being. It’s never too late to prevent an inner tsunami by chowing down on thank you, thank you, thank you. What’s the hurry, bless it all!

We need consistent inspiration and reminders of what we already know; the power is within us. When we’re numb, negative or uncaring we’re feeding ourselves rot, but when we’re mindful, hopeful and loving, we’re wielding the power of light.

For most of us, it isn’t whether we believe in the power of positivity or prayer (we do.) It’s whether we’ll remember to stop, take a deep breathe and implement. Slow it way down. Snap out of the race. Go against the ‘grain.’ Bless our grub. Pause and send love bombs. Smack some affirmations on our frig, mirror, wall or forehead.

I like to make co-creative-coasters ~ I take a sticky note & write a word like, “LOVE” or “JOY” or a phrase, “RADIANT HEALTH” or “FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE.” I take fat clear tape and cover the whole note to ‘water proof’ it (sort of.) It sits under my water glass daily. It sinks into my heart. Dr. Emoto has researched how “water listens.” Our words and intentions imprint on our world. So bottoms up. Drink in the dreams. Expect miracles . . .

According to the rice, what we’re being, believing and blessing is spreading the mold or the marvelous. What beliefs and feelings are you feeding your friends and fam? Your neighbors? What silent thoughts are you dining on daily?

Don’t succumb to fungus. You can choose fabulous!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Seeing a forest of grace and greatness within you,

& always LOVE!

Julie

 

Share Button

Express Yourself! How Creativity Can Get Your Super Soul Unstuck

Share Button

Card #3 copy 3

“Unused creativity is not benign, it metastasizes. It turns into grief, judgement, sorrow, and shame. We are divine beings and we are by nature creative.” -Brene Brown

Even though I’ve often denied it, hid it and spit on it, creativity has kinda saved my soul. On two occasions, in particular. Serendipitously, I started my freelance art biz at age twenty-three. It was fraught with self-doubt, crisis and renewal – all the awesome ear marks of a solid creative breakthrough. Ten years later, I had to give up the biz due to degenerative arthritis in my right shoulder (a condition that came with my SED dwarfism.) The sorry sitch shook me to my quivering core. 

After a year of depression, decline and a seriously stinkin’ pity-party, Dad suggested I learn computer graphics using my left hand. Hmm. Before I could even look at the graphics software, I got hooked on something far superior. Yup, email unleashed my languishing creative soul. 

I never knew I could express myself as a writer. But frankly, our creative voice will take any ol’ outlet provided. My memoir, Nothing Short of Joy, came barreling to the surface. It was the most cathartic therapy EVER.  

The creative process dragged me out of my dwarfed little self. When the shift hit the fan, it brought relief, joy . . . and a lot of kicking and screaming.

Turns out, it can be quite an epic battle to recover our true self. It isn’t always pretty. But the alternative is WAY less appealing.

From an early age we’re taught to conform and stuff our individuality away. Gaining acceptance from the outer world becomes our mission impossible. But the never-ending hamster wheel can’t bring the treasures inside of us OUT. And the goodies have gotta come out! 

Of course, our societal training will scream for us to STOP. Resistance will storm in like gangstahs. 

But hang in there. 

You can learn to talk that chorus of inner critics off the cliff. They’re just trying to protect you. They’re terrified you’ll get hurt again. Just remember, though, the deepest darkest pain comes from allowing those secret fears (the beliefs, people or circumstances that say you’ll never be enough) to smoother your light. 

Stephen King says, “If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.” 

Heh. The quote applies, not just to writers, but to everyone wanting to live more authentically. I’ve been way too concerned with what others thought of me or might think of me. It’s a gargantuan creativity crusher and suffocates our soul’s call. It leaves us feeling hollow. Like a fraud. A replica. Stuck living someone else’s vision of life.  

I once thought I had to *arrive* somewhere (to be an “expert”) before I could fully express myself and commit to the creative, spiritual path. I’ve since realized that sharing the journey AS IT UNFOLDS is the greatest work. We support & inspire each other as we heal ourselves.

Our creative core, our soul, is an ongoing celebration of every curvy road we continue to wrangle. The things we’ve lost. And the soul-self we’ve won. They make up the whole picture – a beauty that emerges from brokenness. 

My free eBook, “Release the Blocks So Creativity Rocks! A Spiritual Pep Rally for Breaking Up with Your BS (Belief System,) Ditching Polly-Perfectionist & Energizing Ginormous Joy,” is available for download here at my web site.  It’s got 60 packed pages of inspiration, calligraphy, watercolors and oodles of reminders of the Love we were born to forget. I hope it’ll ignite your creative courage. Set-backs and sorrow can be transformed into spiritual springboards to greater self-expression.

Our heartaches & handicaps are creative curriculum. In sharing them we get to 1.) dump personal pain & brutal baggage 2.) realize it’s safe to be wholeheartedly ourselves and 3.) own our unique story and discover it’s actually a universal story. We’re no longer alone. Holy headtrip.

Your life’s work, your genius, is to reveal that singular, amazingly glorious YOU. Then go inspire others to set their own soul free. 

Expressing your truth is the highest & most important art form because you’re the only one who has dibs on it. In the history of the universe, there will only be one spectacular, complex, phenomenal you.

Giving our whole self to our life and our dreams is scary. I regularly try to dodge the job. There’a a lot of gunk to sort through as we get back to being who we really are. 

Being a true-blue you is the most personal & profound offering, prayer and gift you have to give. Don’t cheat yourself and the world by holding back your glory. Maybe you wish you’d started years ago. Today is as good a time as any. (Well that’s what I keep telling myself, and it helps…) 

The masterpiece of your life is to rally the real YOU, remember what’s right with what’s “wrong” and express your exuberant soul. It doesn’t matter the medium – a kickin’ canvas, bodacious blog, dirty dance floor or ingenious engineering – just that you unblock your beaming.

Give your imagination, dreams & creative soul some more airtime. The crusade will be worth it. While you’re taking steps toward positive changes in your life, I’m with ya. I’ll be doing my best to follow my heart, (while fingernail-biting) and face my greatest fears, too. You deserve the real-deal me on deck and we deserve the full-out you. C’mon.

Give us all you got. 

Share Button

How to Usher in Your Dreams: The Universe is Listening

Share Button

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! 

 
Share Button

Mama Maples – Finding Peace Amidst the Fast Pace

Share Button

Three gentle giants wait for me in the backyard. Eighty feet tall or so, my magical maples watch over our home, guard our dreams. They stand in a curved row, committed back-up singers, ready to harmonize with those who’ll listen.

Daily, I feel them calling me away from the computer, out of the rush, past my worries. Humming, encouraging, being. They know when I’ve forgotten to breathe again. Meditation has fallen away this week, as I push for more book promotion, more people to contact, more life to live. I’ve been captured by the pulse of perfectionism.

I search for what’s missing in my post-its, my emails, on my to-do list. I’ve forgotten that joy and gratitude are productive companions. The kids call, the laundry moans, and the phone screams my name. I plug my ears. I can’t hear myself over all the questions. So I answer the maples.

I step out the backdoor and we sigh in unison. They are the quietest of teachers and it is their peace I seek. “There you are,” they whisper sweetly. “Come sit down with the dandelions.” The lawn chair scoops me up and I rest in it’s arms. I stare at the maples, waiting.

In the front yard, someone is crying. Drat. I get up, unlatch the gate and walk away from my sanctuary, knowing I may never return today. Down our drive, I spot the two five-year-old friends facing each other. I check my son Kyler’s face, but the hurt isn’t his. I switch to our neighbor, Jeremiah. His mouth is wide and wailing. Both boys are sitting on the sidewalk, scooters flung to the side.

Just as I’m about to call to them, I see Kyler raise his finger and gently, lovingly, touch Jeremiah’s nose. I catch my breath. A tiny giggle spurts out of Jeremiah, defying his tears. Ky blesses his friend’s nose again, light as tinker bell. They both giggle more. I back away quickly, not wanting to disturb the vision, the sweet sharing, the love being passed on. I walk back to my place in the sun with a heart open wider.

As I sit back among the maples, I remember an email I must return. My busy train chugs out of the station when I hear a firm and penetrating, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. My body freezes. My mind dumps it’s contents. Did anyone hear that? But no one is there. The maples are definitely addressing me. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Whoa, there it is again. They are swaying inside their own message. They are perfect in their tone and their lullaby. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they coo, as their leaves wave and laugh. The sky is rocked clean in their easy, soft spell. My smile sails across the yard.

I hear the clank of the gate unlatching and I turn to tell the intruder that I need time alone. But before I can, Ky asks brightly, “Mommy, wanna a piece a gum?” My smile surprises me. “Sure,” I answer. “Jeremiah had to go home,” he reports, as he hands me a soft piece of Bubble Yum. We unwrap the pink puff and eat our gum together, in silence. Kyler rests so naturally, cross legged in his chair. His breathing is free, his spirit, whole. The maples say shhhhhhhhhhh one more time and I remember what I’ve forgotten. I close my eyes. The magic sits before me, within me, like a wide-eyed child. My son, and the mama maples, have settled the breezes inside me, again.

Share Button

Lessons in Letting Go: a Lost Brother and a Missing Caravaggio

Share Button

It’s been eighteen years since I last saw my big brother. Although we’d been growing apart for awhile, it was when I wrote him the news, that the door really shut. 

I had been thrilled to be moving in with my boyfriend, a divorced Catholic, but I knew that my brother Dan, a devout Catholic, would be scandalized. Dan had replied that if Bill and I ever married, he would not acknowledge it and not attend. His children would never be allowed to see us. Holy guacamole. It was an electrifying shock. 

Bill and I got married in 1997 and Dan kept his word. Over the years I’ve tried to forgive and forge ahead. But recently I woke up thinking about a Christmas at Mom and Dad’s, back in the days when Dan and I were so close. Eight years my senior, he was my sun and moon. 

That holiday, Dan had found one of my old paintings in the basement and pulled Her from the pack with wide appreciative eyes. 

“Jule, this one is amazing!” Dan crowed. “Man! When did you do it?”

“Oh wow. That was…um…my senior year at Hamilton,” I said, surprised to see Her, my old canvas-friend from college. “We were supposed to copy a portion of an oil painting from one of the Masters.” I babbled on about the details, including the offbeat art teacher who’d believed in me. 

I’d rarely had much confidence in my art; it was never good enough and always needed more effort, more talent, more blah blah blah. A sad self assessment. My dwarfism had left me drowning in perfectionism, the killer of creativity.

But now I was feeling something quite unexpected. It was…(gasp)…admiration.  

“Are you doing anything with it?” Dan said, breaking my reverie. “Do you think I could have it? I mean, look at all these paintings stored away doing nothing.” 

I looked back at Her, biting my lip. I actually….liked this one. Oh dear. I didn’t want to let Her go, even for the love of my brother. 

Dan could feel my hesitation. “How about this? Since you’re not using it, would you mind if I hang it at my house and when you want it back, I’ll whisk it right to you. I promise.” My eyes lowered at the feet of my hero.

“Sure, okay, you can have it.” 

“Thanks Jule!” he exclaimed, with a hug and a love that left me breathless. 

Little did I know, that religion was about to trump our time. There would be no meeting at the crossroads. No hand-off of the canvas. Dan would never dance at my wedding. Our children would be strangers. 

Time passed. Life deepened and flourished. A year after I’d written my memoir, Nothing Short of Joy, the busy-ness and bustle became too much. I decided I had to decompress. De-clutter. Delete.

Out of no where, I feel that painting calling. I swear. I’ve no idea why, but I need to see Her. I remember there was an angel and an old dude. Who was the artist again? 

Two weeks pass as the painting raps at my heals. Was it Rembrandt? Vermeer? My memory is mush. I google French, Italian and Angelic Masters. No sign of Her. Gone. Stolen. Damn it. I feel the resentment burn. Why did Dan have to leave me? 

Meanwhile, emails are busting out my inbox, and I hastily decide to unsubscribe from every newsletter. I scroll down my first victim, whizzing to the bitter end of one I never read and… BAM! My breath shudders. There. She. Is! Oh my glory! NO WAY. The man. The angel. The deep darkness. The feathery light. I am in awe! 

With my brain buzzing, fingers aflutter, I click on the photo and land at Amazon. She is a CD cover? I search for more clues. But there’s no name. No info. The treasure hunt intensifies. I lunge back at google. I shall find you! 

Zippo turns up.  

I run to tell Bill about the super synchronicity. As I reheat some leftovers for the boys, my beloved hubby disappears for awhile, then returns with a cheshire grin. He hands me a slip of paper that reads, “St. Matthew and the Angel, by Italian Master, Caravaggio.” What!? You FOUND HER! Oh thank you Hon! Feeling girlish and giddy, I run to the computer to read Her full history. I’m in a strange rapture. My husband and boys. My sweet lifetime. My healing angels. Something breaks open and I sob for the beautiful mystery of it all. 

What are the odds of me finding that photo? It was the first time I actually glanced at that newsletter, the one I’ve ALWAYS deleted. Even on overload, in confusion, our hands are somehow guided. Our spirits, safe. 

I smile at St. Matthew, perched at his desk, pen poised. He’s a writer. Holy crap. I painted this twenty years before I had an inkling that writing would heal my heart. No wonder I had chosen an author and an angel. But it was Dan who had needed Her too; they spoke the same foreign tongue, of saints and sermons that would separate us one day. I study the painting, the face of my past. I miss my brother. But even as the tears roll out once more, I feel the Love and connection that will never leave.

I take a deep breath as the bigger picture settles my soul. As for my brother and I, I don’t know the story’s end. But for now, my painting is at peace in me, and She is at home with him. 

 caravaggio31

 

Share Button