Love Letter ~ Love All Of You, Yes…All

Dear beautiful souls,

We all have parts of ourselves which feel more difficult to love than others. Today, I’m going to share with you one of the parts of myself which used to be my touchiest subject. Since I was a young child, I’ve been able to see and communicate with the dead. Not only that, but I’ve always known things that I’ve had no way of knowing. In my house, this was not cool. In my community, this was not cool. In my parent’s religion this was definitely not cool. It didn’t take long for me to learn to fear and loathe this part of myself. There was no support. I’m not telling you this in order to elicit pity. Those early trials have made coming to acceptance and love of this part of myself all the sweeter.

Over the years, the negative feelings which I had around that part of myself led to many different types of manifestations…psychological, emotional, and physical. By the time I finally realized that I could examine this aspect of me for myself, instead of going by everyone else’s word for it, a lot of damage had been done. My self-esteem was very low, I lived in a lot of fear because try as I might, I couldn’t just turn it off completely, and my immune system and weight were not in a good place due to all the stress. As a matter of fact, I’m still working on the repair aspect after almost four decades of imbalance.

So, what led me to seeing things for myself? After many years, I was able to turn around and look at all of the people who had told me how “bad” this part of me was. Let me tell you, they were no role models. I’m not saying that they were all horrible people. It’s just that all of them had their own stuff and some of it was way more damning than my stuff. Nope, this isn’t about judgement of them either. That phase is also in the past. Admittedly, I carried some anger around for a while. At the same time I was able to look objectively at that particular aspect of myself and see it for what it really is, a gift.

The best advice that I can give to any of you who are on the road to loving all of yourselves is this…begin to think for yourself. Ask yourself how YOU really feel about that part of you. At first it might be easier to ask how you would see someone else who shared that particular trait or aspect with you. It is my best guess that most of you will say that you’d accept whatever it is in someone else with no questions, or at least without harsh judgement. See what happened there? You’re no different. Begin to see yourself through the lenses of your own eyes. Let others worry about their own views.

Of course, if you find after very careful examination that there is a part of you which doesn’t fit with who you really are and who you aspire to be, you can begin to do something about it. Something which doesn’t involve hate or blame. Love that part of yourself and thank it for its lessons, then begin to shift more in the direction of who you truly are and what values you wish to embrace. There’s no need for judgement. It only keeps you low for longer than you need to be.

Love yourselves with all you’ve got. You are the only you that will ever be…and you are amazing!

Much love,

Tracy

Love Letter ~ Right Where You Are

Dear beautiful souls,

In this fast-paced world that we live in, many of us have gotten so accustomed to looking at life through the lens of time, instead of in the moment. From a young age we are taught to prepare for “someday”, “the future”, and to “look back at our mistakes”. While a little bit of planning and reflection are not bad things, always living or looking to the past and future make self acceptance and overall success and satisfaction difficult.

After all, if we are constantly looking at our perhaps less than ideal current conditions, blaming ourselves due to the past, it truly isn’t productive. At the same time, if we are always looking to the future for ways to improve our lives or our selves, that isn’t productive either.

There’s a lot to be said for this very moment, right here, right now. When we retrain ourselves or deepen our awareness and appreciation for what is in front of us at any given moment, a brilliant thing happens. All of that stress we’ve been carrying around like a monkey on our back because we’ve been looking back at all of our mistakes? Gone. The anxiety we feel about not only how we’re going to get from point a to point b, but if we’re even capable of achieving it? Gone.

Being present in the now is one of the biggest gifts which we can give to ourselves. You see, when you take away the shame and blame of the past and the fear about the future, what you’re left with is an increased appreciation for yourself, your life, and what is around you. It opens the doors to ever increasing self love, clarity, and relaxation. It’s so much easier to find solutions to things when we are focused on the present moment, as opposed to trying to figure out every possible outcome or fork in the road or comparing to the past.

Please, give yourself permission to release yourself from the chains of time. Be here, now. Taking off the filters of someday and yesterday is like turning on the windshield wipers when it’s pouring rain…everything clears right up. What we did or didn’t do in the past is just that…past. What might happen next year if x,y, or z does or doesn’t happen is just a maybe.

The one piece in time which we always have some control over is now. Learning to live in the now takes practice, just like any new skill. No matter what your path in life, there’s a lot to be learned about being in the now from Zen Buddhism. So, if you find yourself looking for tips and advice on living in the moment try looking at a few Zen websites or checking out a book or two (just so you know, I’m not a Buddhist, I just have a deep appreciation for the philosophy). Making our way into the present is making our way to a beautiful, calmer, more joyful life, which is my wish for each and every one of us.

With love and wishes for ever growing peace and happiness,

Tracy ❤

 

 

Sometimes There Is No Point

The typical Monday here usually consists of a post in which I write about a particular issue with the aim of making a point or to attempt to induce a positive way of thought about whatever the topic is. Well, sometimes there simply is no point to make. Most of the time, when I force a point into existence it feels…well…forced.

So for today, I’m going to let the notion of making a point go and just talk about my life a little. Lately, much to my pleasure, I can honestly say that things have been really good. For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with some lifestyle changes in order to get my health on a better track. While I’m still working some kinks out, I feel as though I’m getting closer to finding the right balance with nutrition and exercise.

The greatest pleasure I’ve had in recent weeks has been the amazing people that I’m fortunate enough to consider friends and family. Many of my close friends live too far away to visit in person, but I get so much joy out of my chats with them on the phone or on Skype. Some of us do not get many opportunities to talk real often because we’re all busy, but when the relationship is deep and true, I’ve found that two people can go for extended periods of time without speaking and just pick right up with no awkwardness at all.

Not long ago, I went through another round of releasing what (and who) no longer fits and it has felt amazing. To be able to just let go, with no resentment, and especially for me, no guilt, is such a great experience. I’ve noticed that since I’ve set myself free from feelings of obligation to others who do not resonate with me that the way has been cleared for much richer relationship experiences. It has been liberating to surround myself with the people who I can just be myself with…people who I can talk about all kinds of stuff with, no matter how off the wall or geeky.

I’ve been allowing my inner nerd to come out and play a lot more in recent weeks and as weird as it might sound, I had no idea how big a part of myself I had been suppressing until I had the opportunity to indulge in the kind of geekiness which I hadn’t fully indulged in for more years than I care to admit. It has been akin to releasing the kraken. It’s like stepping back in time to an era which makes me feel very much at ease, and honestly enthusiastic. I’ll invite you to step into my personal wayback machine to get an idea of the brand of dorky which I’m fondly recapturing.

I’m talking about stuff I used to do with friends back in the day, like discussing advances in science or about the natural world, seeing who could come up with the coolest program in BASIC to make the most elaborate moving images (told you it was way back), watching sci-fi, staying up late into the night theorizing ways of solving practical issues, or bouncing back and forth with plot lines for stories or stanzas of poetry. Yeah…that kind of nerdy. Honestly, I’m in heaven.

This part of me, which many hadn’t really known about before (with the exception of a few people who’ve known me for a long time) is one which I had pushed into the recesses of myself in order to fit in better with the people I’d been surrounded with for many years, with those few exceptions who were my saving grace. Silly I know, but something which most of us have done at some point or another. Now that the beast has been unleashed, she won’t be going back into her cage anytime in the near future.

For someone with nothing to say, I seem to have done a good job at rambling on. In closing, I just want to send out a big thank you to the people who make my world a better place. You definitely know who you are, because I’ve either talked to you on the phone, emailed you, Skype chatted with you, or hung out with you in person in the past week. I’m a lucky girl indeed to have such amazing people in my life.

 

 

Simplicity

The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity. The passage of time has provided deeper insight into how the simplicity which I longed for in the past wasn’t something for me to wait for-it’s something for me to reach out and take hold of-both within and outside of myself. Just to be clear, when I use the word simplicity, it isn’t meant to imply a lack of excitement or an abundance of dullness. Nope. Not for this girl. Laughter, play, and enjoyment are as necessary to me as a tall glass of water on a hot summer day.

I use the word simplicity to indicate a sense of ease, a lack of unnecessary complications, or a smooth flow. There are so many ways in which we can either complicate our lives for ourselves or allow others to do so. There are a lot of things which can seem complicated while in the midst of them which truly aren’t. No matter what we’re talking about, whether relationships (of any sort), career choices, health factors which are in our control, or just life in general-simplifying all things is fairly the same. It all starts with asking ourselves some easy questions which can be difficult to answer due to several factors. These factors usually boil down to a few simple sentiments-what we think we want, fear of change, seeing sometimes necessary work as too difficult, or a combination of any or all of the above.

There are all sorts of questions which we could ask ourselves when it comes to making our lives more simple. We can figure out most situations with the one question below.

Does (insert situation or relationship here) primarily enrich my life or create stress and unhappiness?

No matter which way we slice it, we are only in control of making changes in ourselves. So, if whatever it is which we are asking this question about creates more stress and unhappiness than the good that it brings to the table-the choices are to make up our mind to accept it as it is and adjust our lives and mindset accordingly, or to make the changes that we need in order to move from stress to ease.

Of course, this is usually a process and it isn’t my intention to imply that we can just snap our fingers and jump right in or out of anything. There is though, a line which can be drawn where lack of action becomes the choice which a person makes. After a while, the sorting and decision process ends and we’ve either improved our situation or we find ourselves in a loop. Not only are these loops unhealthy for us, there comes a time in which it becomes inconsiderate to continue to expect our loved ones to stay in the loop with us. If we find ourselves circling, the best course of action is to seek out professional/impartial assistance in gathering what we need in order to get out of it. Sometimes, we may even need to withdraw a little from our social circles in order to remove the temptation or habit of remaining stuck. Some things can only be handled by ourselves.

When there is someone in our life who is living the same pattern over and over, we have to understand that after a certain early point of support and advice-there is nothing that we can do which will break this loop for them. Not only do we do them a disservice by going around and around the same issues, we are not doing ourselves any favors either. We’ve all been there at one point or another to some extent.

It’s a normal part of life to go through this learning process. What simplicity looks like is different for each of us. For me, it is a life in which things flow naturally without bullying, disrespect, or undue pressure to conform. It may be something completely different for someone else and neither definition is wrong. The only thing which is our business is when the ways of another are so different from ours that it creates stress or incompatibility. Then, it isn’t our place to change their mind. Nor is it our place to “love them enough” to keep taking their shit, or keep having the same argument, or have to keep defending ourselves. At that point, we may need to decide to love them and ourselves enough to draw boundaries, and sometimes that might mean that we have to step away in order to maintain our peace and health. There’s nothing to be gained in judging ourselves for how we’ve fared with any of our success with simplifying our lives in the past. The space in which we can work is the one where are at this very moment.

As some of you who have been coming here for a while know, I do love Buddhist quotes and the one below feels like the perfect ending.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha.html

 

 

 

 

 

So Much Goodness

For a long while, I had been posting Angel cards on Wednesdays. I’ve decided to change things up and just come here and pour out a little of my heart and soul instead. I’m not sure if I’ll be bringing the cards back, but I will say that at this point it isn’t my intention. I’ve missed showing up and just chatting about the things that matter. So, for the time being that’s what Wednesdays will be for. It’s hard to tell what will bubble to the surface, so I hope that you’ll stick around and join in.

Today just feels like a good day to think about the good things in life. In this time of shifting, social unrest, and what can only be described as upheaval, it can sometimes feel as though there is little hope and kindness in the world. There are times in which I briefly feel that way, and then something happens to remind me of how much love there is around me. My family isn’t a large one, but the few that I have make up for size with true love and acceptance. My friends may be few, but those that I have are not just acquaintances, they are part of my family.

In addition to the wonderful people in my life, there are a lot of good things happening on a personal level. Things which excite me. Things which bring me joy. My editor Melissa Scott and I have finally put my novel to bed. She was a joy to work with, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result. It feels so good to see this project completed. The next step is to put together a kick ass query package to send off to an agent this week. I have one who is interested in the concept, which is a great first step. The momentum is in high gear.

In addition to all of the above, I’ve recently taken huge measures to take control of my health and the inflammation in my body. I kept getting nudges to go vegan…at least for a while. I had been vegan for a few weeks last year before my father’s passing. It seemed to be agreeing with me, but honestly after the events of that time, I kinda just didn’t care for a while about much of anything. Anyway, fast forward to a little over a year later…the nudges kept getting stronger and stronger. There was even a dream in which a male voice said loud and clear, “If you want to heal and survive you will go vegan.”

Well, there was no more ignoring all of the nudges after that. So, as of today I’ve been vegan for almost 4 weeks. So far, it is agreeing with me. My levels of inflammation and overall pain are slowly decreasing, my skin has cleared up to the point that I no longer need to use my topical cream for rosacea, my mind feels clearer, and I’m losing some weight. It’s hard to tell how things will go in the long term with all of this, but as of this moment in time, I feel grateful that I am doing what I’m doing because it is making me feel better. This is not a moral or political statement. It is about me, taking measures to help my body to heal.

The whole point of this post is that even in the midst of chaos, there are good things and people to be found and remembered. These are the things which keep us going each day. In every life, there are regular occurrences of difficulty and stress to some extent. Impermanence is one of the things which I am in total agreement with Buddhism about. Here are two of my favorite quotes on the subject:

Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass, crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze. – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality. – Pema Chodron

While we walk the face of this earth, there will be challenges. In the midst of them however, there is still good. Remembering how transient the events in our lives are is so good for the heart and soul. It is in the certainty of the temporary nature of things that we can find so much comfort, especially in times of difficulty.

Coming Together

There’s nothing in this world like coming together with loved ones- to share thoughts, ideas, laughter, and memories. Since Friday my daily life has been filled with long talks about spirituality, love, miracles, and mysteries. The walls have echoed with laughter. There have been grown-up tea parties during which we explored ideas about healing our bodies with nutrition and the help of our guides and the Angels.

This has been the kind of weekend that I’d like to have more often. Spent sharing everything from triumphs to tears with people who you know that you can trust and who are there for no reason other than that there is shared love. While the weekend is still going for me, I had to share a little about what’s going on here. Things will be winding down tomorrow, and I’ll share more about this magical time later this week.

My biggest hope is that I’ll remember all of the beautiful moments and the thoughts of late night brainstorming sessions. You can’t imagine how much ground we’ve covered in just a few days and how powerful this time has been. I find myself wishing that I’d been taking notes or something in order to get it all down. For now, I’m going to close and enjoy the rest of this experience.

Wishing you peace, love, and beautiful heart warming memories that you can store away to savor always.

 

Living A Heartful Life

When thinking of a word which would best describe what I’d like to convey this week, the word heartful came to mind. The definition of the word is: full of heartfelt emotion or to have a connection to the heart. Over the last while, thoughts of what materials go into building our best lives have been flitting around in my mind a great deal. While I could go on about all of the things that I’ve tried, read, experimented with, meditated on and worked through in my questioning-there’s really no need, as the answer is simple.

When it comes to what goes into building the best lives that we can for ourselves, the answers lie within the heart. The old saying about productivity-if it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong-is true across the board. Finding the right balance can feel a bit tricky at times as we all have responsibilities, needs, dreams and goals. At times it seems as though living from the heart is counter-intuitive when it comes to meeting responsibilities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This isn’t to say that I recommend throwing all caution and responsibility to the wind to your detriment. I do recommend though, making sure that we are doing something each and every day to shift our lives toward as seamless a transition between our work and play lives as possible. As doing this isn’t something which most of us are taught or encouraged to do, you can expect a a few growing pains along the way as you move closer to living a life of joy and fulfillment. You may encounter feelings of uncertainty within yourself, disapproval or criticism from others or possibly some of both as you move forward.

The hows and whats of what a heartful life looks like is completely up to you. For all of us though, the simple question which leads us there is the same. Not only is the primary question the same for all of us, asking and answering it of ourselves often will never fail to keep us on the right track.

Are the things that you are spending the majority of your thoughts and time on things which have the capacity to connect all of the elements of your life with a thread of joy?