Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

Tracie Nichols and I have traveled in the same circles for many years, dancing into each other’s lives. When we hung out for  a bit last weekend, and I learned more about this Renaissance Woman whose motto Soul Care From a Woman Who’s Been There,  who encourages her clients to ‘Live, Play, Love Fierce’, I knew I wanted to introduce her to the Bliss Blog community as well.

 

How do you live your Bliss? 

 

By staying curious and by being unabashedly myself – everywhere, all the time. The sensual experience of being a woman is just so juicy!

 

I also don’t let people’s opinions or expectations drive my choices or hinder my self confidence.

 

I have fun getting my crowd of paradoxical personality parts to all play nicely – or at least not be scuffling on the playground.

 

For example, I’m a shy introvert who LOVES inspirational speaking and facilitating circles and classes, groups and gatherings. I’m an earth intuitive and a science & technology geek. I’m a gentle, kind, earth-mama and a take-no-stuff cynic. I’m a survivor of abuse and a thriving woman who loves exploring her sensuality. It can sometimes get a little – erm – chaotic in here, but staying curious and in wonder is what makes it all a blissful experience!

 

You call yourself a thriver. What did you need to first survive to get to that point where you recognized your strength and resilience?

 

Years of being silent, dismissed and overlooked. Of feeling achingly, terribly alone. Of feeling irrevocably different and like I’d never, ever belong anywhere. Feeling broken, used up, and worthless. Feedback from coworkers and friends that completely contradicted my perception of myself was one of the catalysts for me finally being willing to recognize that I might have strength and resilience.

 

How can we be fiercely and passionately in love with life in the midst of challenges and trauma?

 

Short answer? Stay curious. Be willing to be awed. Allow childlike wonder. Remember we are part of the ebbing, flowing, thriving, messy, glorious ecosystem called Earth. If we can do those things we can be in love with life even when it feels raw and challenging. Think about this…We’re kin to millions of plants, animals, streams, stones, and clouds. So we’re never alone. We belong. We’re home. Right here. Right now. With this breath, and the next. Just because we’re alive. How can we not be in love with that?

If you’d like more… About 6 months ago I ended up crouched in my backyard in the dark sobbing brokenheartedly. Tears were streaming onto the frozen ground. I remember my hands were so, so cold, buried the grass as I shuddered. I felt raw, fragile, and helpless. Then, out of nowhere, a bird trilled. It was such a sweet sound! Waves of it rippled through my whole body. A few minutes later magenta light spilled all over the horizon and into my eyes.

I knelt there – a chilly, blotchy, hiccuping mess tumbling in love with the day unfurling itself around me. Nothing had changed. I was still facing the same challenge. But, the dawn washed herself all over me. How could I not be awed? How could I not feel wonder? How could I not be curious about where this challenge might lead?

 

Please describe Bone Deep Love.

 

Ahhh….. bone-deep love is that feeling you get when your whole body – your whole self – sighs with relief and contentment. When you feel in-your-bones-loved. It’s the kind of love that feels as steady, solid and warm as a huge boulder drowsing in the sun and as deep and mysterious as the Mariana Trench.  It’s the love I feel from the earth every day, and the love I’ve learned to give myself and all LIFE.

 

How about Soul Truthing?

Soul-Truthing is about confidently living and leaping because our soul is solid ground we know and trust. (How cool is that!) It’s walking the terrain of our soul so we come to know the truth of ourselves intimately. It popped into being as a process I use because too often life experience has taught us to distrust ourselves. Or we view the deepest, most sacred parts of ourselves as distant & unreachable, or worse yet, as if we don’t have the right to access them. Soul-Truthing helps us confidently tap into our juicy fierceness again.

 

What do our souls want to say to us?

 

In general, luscious things like: “You are a woman of deep and resonant worth.” “You are loved. So very, very loved.” “It’s OK. You’ve got this.” “You’re brilliant and amazing exactly as you are.” Yes! You belong.” “You know how strong you are, right?”  “Of course your dream is valid!”   In my experience, soul-truths are loving, supportive, and blazingly honest. Our souls don’t prevaricate. They tell us the absolute truth about ourselves and about our gifts and capacities.

 

What keeps us from listening?

 

Most often fear and the critical voice choir. We’re afraid of hearing something good. How will we live up to it? Who do we think we are? What gives me the right to be that exceptional? It seems easier to keep blundering along and not see the greatness our soul will show us. Because, make no mistake, our soul, and our nature kin, will show us the fullness of our own radiance.

 

What is an Earth intuitive?

 

A planet psychic, tree talker, water whisperer… Truthfully, we’re all earth intuitives because we’re all nature.

I call myself an Earth intuitive (I’ve also used the phrase nature communicator) because I’ve worked at remembering the language of the natural world and can translate it for people who want to connect – in words – with the Earth or any of the beings living on or in her. Just like some people speak the language of numbers, or music, or image, I speak the language of LIFE.

 

How can we each tap into our connection with Gaia?

 

Quick answer? Climb into our bodies, switch on our senses (all of them!), get curious, and listen with our whole being. I have a list of 11 ways to create an intuitive connection with Gaia. Two of my favorites are:

Be willing to believe. Or, at least to stop disbelieving. If you cannot believe that a tree, stream or owl can connect with you, then even if they do, you won’t perceive them.

 

Be willing to be in a relationship. Intuitively connecting with the earth isn’t a one-way channel. And, it’s not about finding another tool for yourself. It’s about opening a reciprocal relationship with LIFE.

 

What is the TaLK Project?

 

Ooohhh…I’m so glad you asked!! Our official launch date is Sept. 22.

The TaLK Project is a collaborative of three soul-strong women, each of us with our own personal experiences of abuse and/or addiction, who are ready to end the silence about what we’ve survived and how we’ve come to build thriving, fiercely awesome lives. Our name, the TaLK Project, is comprised of the first letter of each of our names-Tracie, Liz and Kathy-T, L, and K.

The TaLK Project celebrates survivors of abuse and addiction and the power we have to help each other heal through story and community.

As survivors we (the TaLK Project founders, Tracie Nichols, Liz Chesla and Kathy Tooley) will share our stories, our strength, and our strategies for thriving and living a full, joyful life. We are also inviting TaLKers (brave, compassionate souls willing to share their thriving survivor stories to help save the world) to connect with us and share their stories.

 

How do you blend the mainstream with the metaphysical in your life and walk in both worlds?

 

By believing that it is all one world…and I’m just being myself.  I’m innately connected with Gaia, with my soul, with LIFE (Spirit, Oneness…) So are you. What I’m doing in the moment doesn’t change or disrupt that. Well, unless I’m napping. No interruptions when I’m napping, human or more-than-human!  I think the real myth is that there is a mainstream world and a metaphysical world and they are somehow separate. It’s all Oneness. And Oneness is Oneness.

 

www.tracienichols.com

 

Heard this beautiful song tonight by India.Arie and it sweetly serenaded me with the chant:

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light….like a mantra that flowed through my veins, nourishing me body, mind and spirit; washing me clean of fears, old beliefs, self limiting thoughts and obnoxious inner criticism that echoed ‘not enough, not enough, not enough’.

She goes on to speak all of the things she is NOT, like her body size and age, the color of her eyes, the mistakes she has made or the scattered pieces of her dreams she has needed to pick up. I can relate to that since so much more often, I am claiming my enoughness and not what I thought I wasn’t ever going to be in the face of my transparently vulnerable humanity. Imagine not having to do enough to be enough. For me, that had been unthinkable. Of course, I reasoned, that I needed to earn approval and reinforcement, rather than a sense of belonging to something far greater than that simply by virtue of my birth.

Can I get an amen sistah!?  What if we truly knew that light was what we are for all eternity? How much more fulfilling would our lives and relationships be? What couldn’t we ask for?  What dreams would we allow to take flight rather than lying dormant out of fear of failure?

I know that if I trusted 110% in this truth, I would face each day, heart forward. I would be willing to live out loud, march to the beat of my own drummer, not caring a whole lot if anyone else chose to join in the parade. I would rock it out, iridescent, without hesitation, since in the past I wouldn’t have wanted to blind anyone and so dimmed my light. I would be a beacon, thus attracting other bright souls to shine for all eternity.

 

http://youtu.be/ism8dBjxKvc  I Am Light- by India.Arie

Compassion Games

 

As the world prepares to honor another ‘day that will live in infamy’ tomorrow and some will focus on the horrendous violence that led to loss of life and emotional safety, there are others who will be turning their attention on reconciliation and peacemaking.  I prefer to align my energies toward ‘peace, love and understanding’. I just found out that beginning tomorrow 9/11 and for the next 1o days, compassion rules!  The Compassion Games challenge individuals and communities to practice random acts of kindness and become a Secret Agent of Compassion.  The purpose is to create a sense of planetary family, regardless of ideology, faith, culture or life practice.

All around the world, groups are gathering to offer service to others and then report in on the Compassion Games website. Who can be the kindest?  My kind of competition!

Self compassion is my growing edge since  for far too long I felt like my worst enemy, putting impediments in my way instead of embracing my inner Kwan Yin and exuding love and compassion. Often I find myself embroiled in all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s that come out of frustration over that which could be a simpler way of doing certain things. I have put others on a pedestal, rather than feeling like a peer who has gifts to share too. I have harangued myself into a frenzy, squelching possible outcomes.

Compassion for others seems to come more easily. Initially it is hard moving on to self care. The Goddess Kwan Yin remains an example of embodied compassion . She is the feminine incarnation of the Buddha who chose to remain on Earth until all can go to Nirvana.

Take time to tell those closest to you that you love them. Smile coyly as you think of them. As feelings wash over you, your heart and soul are being completely healed.  Then extend it to your community and embrace them with that exquisite feeling and from there; the world.

Let the games begin!

www.compassiongames.com

http://youtu.be/ZukLiEsIv0E Try Some Kindness

 

In Judaism, the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the ‘Days of Awe’ and they invite introspection on a grand scale. In my childhood, it meant going to synagogue for services that felt like they were going to last for 10 days each. As an adult, I created my own rituals which involved fasting, prayer, meditation, letting go of old patterns and ways that didn’t serve, sitting by water, immersing in nature. Far more fulfilling than praying by rote even though some of the familiarity of the prayers was comforting.

This past Sunday, I attended a service at an interfaith community of which I have been a part since 1984. Pebble Hill, located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania welcomes people from various traditions and on specific holidays, offers a flavor of that faith and invites full participation. My friends Deva Troy and Gary Schoenberg led the celebration that focused on the idea of T’shuvah (turning, as in turning over a new leaf).

One of the aspects of the service is doing a personal inventory. This could not have been more perfect timing since I have been working on my 4th step and conducting a “searching and fearless moral inventory”. We were asked to write what it is we wanted to repeat and what we wanted to change.

On my keeper list, was:

Saying I love you everyday

Being reliable

Taking care of myself in body, mind and spirit

Being real and transparent

Speaking my truth

Focus on the positive

Continue to come clean with myself and the people in my life

Continue the forgiveness process

Writing daily

Putting my work out there everyday

Being Love

 

Ch ch ch changes….

Releasing fear

Letting go of co-dependent behaviors

Releasing blame

Slowing down

Willingness to receive love and support when before I deflected it

Self compassion

Trusting in the Highest Good outcome

Walking with myself and others through whatever comes up, without rushing through it

Transforming my inner critic into an ally

 

What are yours?

 

As a group, we ate apples and honey, to symbolize the idea of bringing sweetness into the New Year. It brought together folks who had grown up in the Jewish tradition and there were but a handful of us, as well as those who had never experienced the ritual in a communal setting.

We also recited a Reconstructionist version of the traditional prayer.

Avinu Malkaynu — Our Parent, Our Sovereign

By Burt Jacobson | Prayer

 

“Our Father, our King, teach us how to make this year a new beginning. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to grow from the harshness of life. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to accept what we must accept. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us to change what must be changed.

Our Father, our King, teach us how to face disease and death. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to enjoy the gifts of life. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to make peace with our enemies. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how we can best help our people, Israel.

Our Father, our King, teach us how we can best help all humanity. Our Mother, our Queen, let us find pardon for our wrongdoings. Our Source and our Destiny, let us return to You, wholly and completely. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to help those who are ill.

Our Father, our King, let us write our names in the Book of Life. Our Mother, our Queen, help us to find meaningful work. Our Source and our Destiny, help us to find inner freedom. Our Guide and our Truth, help us to learn how to love.

Our Father, our King, receive our prayers. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to be good lovers. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to be good parents. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to be good children.

Our Father, our King, teach us how to be good friends. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to be good Jews. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to be good people. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to be one with Your universe.

Avinu malkeinu (3) chaneinu va’aneinu ki ein banu ma’asim Asai imanu tzedakah va’chesed (2) Ve’hoshi’einu Avinu malkeinu (3), grant us justice and bring us salvation, Grant us justice and loving kindness (2) and bring us salvation.”

From the Yamim Noraim supplement of Congregation Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia.

Used with permission of the author

http://youtu.be/eUw4TY9H4-g Avinu Malkeinu by Phish ( a rather unusual version)