Tonight after a sweaty ‘playout’ at the gym, I was washing my face and a woman about a decade older than me limps into the bathroom, smiling and grimacing simultaneously. Knowing nods passed between us and she commented the her legs felt like noodles and I added something about the proverbial line of feeling ouchies in muscles I didn’t know I had. I have been going to the Judgement Free Zone (a.k.a. Planet Fitness) for the past 3 years somewhere between 3-6 days a week, depending on my schedule and motivation level. Each time I go, I feel a sense of pride that I am able to stretch and strengthen this 54 year old body that I plan to have working well into the 6th, 7th, 8th and who knows….even 9th decade. I told this woman, who introduced herself as Wally (and then on the way out, met her partner Bob), that my parents were fitness oriented and as a result, they were relatively healthy octogenarians until Parkinsons swept my father away at 84 and CHF took my mother at 86. Meandering slowly through the parking lot, I engaged in a ritual reinforcing my endeavors, saying “Good job, woman!” As I said the words, I realized that I didn’t believe it and that if it was a ‘good job’, I would be even more flexible, slimmer, trimmer, stronger, more energetic than I am now. Then on the heels was the perpetual question, “When will enough be enough for you?” and “Where the heck did that come from, since no one in your childhood was hard on you?” I had no answer for it, except to consider something that a friend mentioned a month or so ago. She felt as if she had been holding herself and those in her life hostage with her expectations of who she and who they ‘should be’ and that she was releasing the hostages. I have held myself hostage for so long, that just like prisoners and concentration camp survivors who walked into freedom, I’m not sure I would know how to BE in the world without those excessive demands.
Waking up after 6 hours of sleep last night, I went to services at Circle of Miracles. The speaker today was Jason Taylor Morgan who shared on the topic: Energetically Breaking Through Human-Centric Thinking and the Conditioned Human Brain. A mouthful and mind-full set of concepts. Jason does energy healing work and has assisted people in moving past limiting beliefs and conditioning. He had experiences in childhood; some painful and some positively empowering that fuel his current work. Part of the service involves Q & A and I asked him how he maintains the health and sanity of the human container even as he taps into all of this psychic energy. His response included getting ample rest and trusting the Universe. Since a portion of my work involves some of the same dynamics as that of Jason, I was curious about how to balance all of those energetic shifts I have been experiencing as well. His answer resonated so strongly since I don’t often take time out to rest and rejuvenate and my faith in the Universe shifts as well. There is an underlying knowing that all is well, but occasionally there are cracks in the foundation that need tending, lest I come tumbling down.
So, just for now, I am declaring the ‘enough is enough’ and I will ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ tonight.
What if you were offered a map/guide/compass to this land called Love in which you could immerse yourself in its healing waters, scale its beautiful peaks, traverse its rainforests, drinking in the luscious aromas, sweet sounds and tantalizing sensations? Would you use it or instead, wander aimlessly in the shadowy caves comprised of familiar/treacherous fears and limiting thoughts about life and relationships? A guide for many in his personal and professional lives, Rob Jacoby has written a book entitled The Map To Love: How To Navigate The Art Of The Heart. For the past 20 years, Jacoby has worked with clients who struggle with daily challenges and this book would provide solace for those who wonder about their own value to the world.
The cover invokes a sense of offering and receptivity, as the figure in the center radiates joy, while being showered with feathers, like so many wafting snowflakes. Of course, this reviewer who loves feathers, has a clown persona named Feather and gives them out regularly, enjoyed that touch. From the get-go, he invokes the idea that LOVE. IS. THE. ANSWER….simple as that. The ooooohhhh ahhhhh oozing of bliss that permeates this easily readible in a short time frame book, reminds me of the style of Rob Brezsny who penned Pronoia Is The Antidote To Paranoia. Playful, funny, irreverent, poignant and two the point, it asks the age old questions about our true identity, the nature of life and what makes us happy. And it answers it succinctly….LOVE. Love and fun are equated and the now is where love resides. When we are mindful of that truth, then the ‘what if’ anxiety and ‘if only’ depression can’t fully kick in.
“The real question,” Jacoby poses is “Are you living in love?” and beckons the reader to become a love magnet. Since we attract what we are, it wold behoove us to splash around in love. He proposes the idea that love and pain go hand in hand and that feeling as if love is lost increases the pain exponentially when we have also loved deeply. He does differentiate between pain and suffering, noting that the first is part of this human experience is essential and the second is optional.
The map referenced in the title is literally part of the book as it contains landmarks, including love, loss, grief and pain for the reader to make their way.
Glorious artwork offered by the clearly talented, Brian MacGregor is influenced, it seems, by his dream studies and practice.
I enthusiastically, joy leapingly encourage you to read this book and you too may find your heart chakra opens wide and you may feel like E.T. with the illumination radiating out from the center of your chest.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=u37z8W5w8Do Love is the Answer-Todd Rundgren
Reading has always been one of my favorite activities; since my childhood obsession with books. Little Golden Books, Dr. Seuss and Highlights Magazine lined book shelves in our house. Trips to the library and book stores were welcome treats. When I got my first library card, I felt like such a big kid. Being read to by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, librarians and teachers was a true delight. Hours spent in doctors’ waiting rooms as the result of asthma were far more pleasant when immersed in that activity. My parents would start out reading the words and then point to one and ask what it was and I would take over from there. The phrase “sound it out,” became my mother’s mantra when I would struggle with one. She would send me to the dictionary if I didn’t know how to spell something. My wise guy answer was sometimes ” If I don’t know how to spell it, how can I do that?” and then I would sigh and look it up. I actually took three years of Latin in Jr. and Sr. High School so I could become more adept with the English language, little knowing at the time that I would become an author/journalist.
These days, I am more often the one doing the reading to. One listener is my son’s girlfriend’s two year old son, Collin who seems to have an affinity for books too. The other day, he piled a whole bunch of them in an empty basket and attempted to haul them around the living room and then took some out and paged through them. He had read some sounds to me in one of his little books and smiled with glee afterward, so proud of himself. A few days ago, my friend Jewelee’s kindergartner daughter Vanessa was curled up next to me on the couch as we read The Lorax. She started on the first page, sounding out a few lines and then asked me to take over, as we entered the world of the Oncler, the truffula trees, the brown barbaloots and the title character who “speaks for the trees.” I did my best to come up with voices for the various characters and she smiled at my efforts.
Today, I saw a Facebook pic of my friend Marly reading to her grandson Jeremiah. Such a beautiful multi-generational image it portrayed. Children are like little sponges who soak up everything around them. Since that is the case, how about if we make sure they are immersed in nourishing waters that sustain them, rather than the video game chatter that sometimes numbs the mind and stifles creativity? Yesterday, while sprawled on the carpet of their great grandmother’s Northeast Philly rowhome, Vanessa, her older sister (second grader) Sabrina and I were coloring pictures of butterflies, a unicorn and a hula dancing bear; talking about visiting Hawaii. We were all so engrossed with the activity that the time just flew. These are girls who are also gymnasts and dancers. Their infectious giggles filled the room. The unicorn (personally autographed by the artiste’ Sabrina) is now decorating my fridge. Singing together is also a fun way of connecting to a child’s world. Silly songs are my favorite. When I was growing up my parents would sing the nonsense songs with the lyrics “Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy diveyA kiddley divey too, wooden shoe?”
THREE LITTLE FISIHES (Fwee Widdo Fiddies) (Saxie Dowell © 1939)
Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool Swam three little fishies and the mama fishy, too.? “Swim!” said the mama fishie, “Swim if you can!” ? And they swam and they swam right over the dam.
chorus: Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ?Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? And they swam and they swam all over the dam.
“Stop!” said the mama fishy, “You’ll get lost!” But the three little fishies didn’t want to be bossed, ? So the three little fishies went out on a spree ? And they swam and they swam right out to the sea.
“Whee!” said the little fishies, “This is fun! ? Let’s swim in the sea ’til the day is done!” ? So they swam and they swam, and it was a lark. ? Then, all of a sudden, they saw a shark.
“Help!”cried the little fishies, “Look at all the whales!”? And the three little fishies, they turned on their tails, And back to the pool in the meadow they swam ? And they swam and swam back over the dam.
Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ?Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? And they swam and they swam back over the dam.
http://youtu.be/Z6Go0O57SRM Three Little Fishies
How could you be a mentor for a child, encouraging him or her to learn all the good stuff there is in the world? How can you re-establish that sense of child-like wonder in case you feel you have lost it? It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
http://youtu.be/WaddbqEQ1NE Fill Your Bucket by The Learning Station
Now that the dust has settled from the holidays and we are back to some semblance of normalcy after the sometimes frenetic hustle and bustle, those of us who made resolutions, set intentions, created a vision for the next 12 months are faced with the actual steps needed to see them through to fruition. What were yours? Lose weight, finish projects, clean closets, quit smoking, apply to college, eat a healthier diet, save money, get a new job….these are pretty common. What makes the majority of them fall by the wayside before the paint is dry on the shiny new year? Two words come to mind….MOMENTUM and MOTIVATION. Consider this: you are riding a bicycle, whether for leisure or transportation from point A to point B. You pedal, pedal, pedal……coast (especially down hill) and then pedal some more. At some point, you stop and rest or arrive at your destination and get off the bike. The thing is, if you do more coasting than peddling, it will take a whole lot longer to get there. Once begun, it’s a whole lot easier to keep going. When you see that you have made progress, it provides incentive to stay on the bike. The other component is reminding yourself why you are on it. The same is true for those resolutions. If you resolve to lose weight and eat more healthfully, ask yourself what is behind your desire. You can tell yourself, “I am losing weight and making better food choices and feeling healthier and more fit.” or “I am improving all of my relationships by being a better listener.” or ” I am keeping my house neat and orderly so I can find what I need when I look for it.” When we can see the benefit, we are more likely to stay on track. When we are aware of the feeling we are going for, we experience greater motivation to go for it.
When I began my exercise regimen in earnest three years ago this past November, I noticed that my motivation exceeded my strength and stamina. As I gradually added more time in the gym, more resistance with the free weights and the machines and more inspiring thoughts by listening to music or watching shows that fed my imagination, it was easier to keep coming back. Reframing my treks to Planet Fitness (The Judgement Free Zone) as ‘playouts’ and ‘sweating my prayers’, it made it that much more enticing to get out of bed or make it the last stop of my otherwise full days. When I experienced the overall wellbeing benefits of weight loss, energy and stress reduction, I wanted to go there all the more. The idea is to find fun ways to do what I know is good for me that I might otherwise resist. That is as true for cleaning closets as it is cleaning out worn out beliefs about how things should be in my life.
How can you inspire yourself to keep your New Years’ resolutions/revolutions? How high and far are you willing to reach?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLQ64BTCH2E Reach- Gloria Estefan