Victory

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Victory.  Success.  Gratitude.  Humility.

I’m not sure if Victory comes first and then Success, but either way I think you get my drift.  Often times with victory and success, the “big-head” syndrome starts and one’s chest puffs out and one struts one’s stuff, being all proud up in everyone’s face. That is not attractive to me.  I plan on having a victory soon, followed by success. Then…gratitude. Gratitude for the gifts I’ve been given to share with the world.

Gratitude rests in the heart waiting to be seen, heard, felt, offered…and gratitude is followed by humility.  Humility.  Say it with me.  Humility.  When I Googled “humility”, the definition was “a low view of one’s importance.”  Huh?  That’s certainly not what I feel humility to be.

So I found this quote:  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”  Yes. With humility comes wisdom. Truth.

May your victories be successes and may you offer gratitude back to the Universe and in return bask in humility.

A Garden of Being

Campana's Gardens Metal Structure

My husband and I have had a garden party every summer for 15 years.  We invite our friends, neighbors, our staff and our business customers — most of who fit into the friend or neighbor category, too.

The picture is of a metal structure that was gifted to my husband by four really good friends for his upcoming birthday.  We intend to move it to “the perfect spot” when we find it.  We have 2 1/2 acres of paths, gardens, a pond, a vineyard and truthfully it’s just an awesome sanctuary, if I say so myself.

I came in from this sanctuary just moments ago and felt I had to state my gratitude for life’s design. I had been sitting at one of our newer seating areas — a new deck built by another good friend — and as I looked out on the property and looked at the pond and then watched my cat, Gloria, walk over to me and flop down beside me, I was moved to tears. Life has been good to me AND I’ve been good to life.  If it wasn’t for me following life’s designs throughout the years, I wouldn’t be sitting at the dining room table typing this into my blog.

Even our modest house is harkening me to tears:  the downstairs rooms painted several years ago by another good friend.  The colors:  Paprika and Sage Green in the kitchen, Cashew and Sage Green in the living room and Paprika in the hallway. The colors are still rich and stunning even after these several years.

Gratitude for this garden of being — inside and outside.  Gratitude for my garden of being — my body, my mind, my heart guided and served by Spirit.

Among the many aspects within my stewardship , I give tarot readings and the cards say this is a year of manifesting my dreams.  The cards never lie.

 

 

Tarot Tuesday

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I had this brainiac idea two years ago to combine my love for Nia and my love for Tarot.  Alas, it was not to be until 2016.

My own Tarot guru (www.thetarotlady.com) did an Entrepreneurcast in 2015 for me. The words I took from her beautiful work for 2015:  Dream, Create, Study, Learn, Inquire and Prepare.

My previous blog post alluded to my tapping into tarot by using a tarot card for each Nia class…well, the Universe had a different plan based on my Entrepreneurcast and my decision to do something more in-depth with Tarot and Nia!  Voila’!!  Tarot Tuesday was born.

Here’s how it goes:  One of my students gives me a question.  I do a tarot reading and then sit with it a bit and the final step before taking it to class is to find music to go with the reading….I call it “dancing the cards.”  The actual reading takes about 15-20 minutes at the beginning of class.  We all gather around enlarged paper copies of the Celtic Cross tarot layout. I do the reading.  In the moment feedback is encouraged and welcomed.  Then I pick up the cards and we dance.

To date, Tarot Tuesday has been well-received and well-attended!!  SUCCESS!!  It was foreseen that this would be the result…a lot of hard work, studying learning, inquiring of the cards and preparing the classes has been absolutely AWESOME.

In case you’re wondering, I use the Chyrsalis tarot deck. It’s a non-traditional tarot deck. It drew me in and speaks quite clearly to me and through me.

Combining Nia and Tarot, my two passions for creative inspiration and expression is nothing less than perfect…I made a decision and the Universe conspired to make it happen.  Not in my time, but in spirit’s.

I am blessed to have a Nia community with open mind and open hearts.  They are all my heroes.

 

 

Rising Up

If Not Now, When

My husband and I have been having conversations about change, about rising up to the challenge of letting go of some pretty ingrained behaviors.  One thing that we’ve come to learn in this process is that letting go of subtle attachments is not easy.  It’s not easy because it’s not easy to identify subtle attachments until they’ve raised their ugly heads.

Testy responses, emotionally-charged reactions, tones of voice, eye-rolling,  listening but not hearing…

Those behaviors have to go.  My purpose on earth is to become fully and wholly ME — not the human form that is known as Jill; not the mind that thinks it knows a lot; not the emotional center that wants to always have its way — but ME (the I Am), fully present, in touch with my divine nature.  The body, mind and heart will always be incomplete and “in progress”. The I Am is perfect NOW, and to discover the I Am doesn’t involve going to the mountain top and focusing on my belly button, or sitting in Lotus position Om-ing til the cows come home.

I Am — a Human BEING.  No, I am not just human — that is merely my form.  What animates that form is BEING charged by spirit.

I love living life in the moment, with clarity and purpose, with conviction and compassion, expressing truth through an incomplete mind, love through an incomplete emotional realm and life through an incomplete body, offering forgiveness to myself and others and always, always, always knowing that gratitude needs to be for ALL things.  There is no picking and choosing.  Am I always 100% in this precious space?

Lots of laughs and eye rolling for sure.  It sure is rewarding being aware of subtle shifts creating HUGE changes.  High five to the husband and me for making it a dance.

 

Moving into 2015

Choose Love

“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.”  — Maya Angelou

The guideposts for me moving into 2015 are:  GRATITUDE AND FORGIVENESS

Within those two words my creative process will unfold as DREAM, CREATE, STUDY, LEARN, INQUIRE, PREPARE.  I found it interesting that the first new Nia (www.nianow.com) routine I selected to teach in 2015 is called “Dream.”  I love synchronicity.  So, I’m literally “moving” into 2015 with the first word in my creative process — Dream!!

In order for me to bring forth anything new, I have to let go of the old.  I’ve tried stuffing the old into the new, hoping that perhaps a few bulges here and there could be overlooked.  But not so.  The old has to be let go…completely.  My way, the only way I have found to do this, is to forgive and to be grateful.

And as Maya Angelou’s quote suggests, it takes courage.  Courage enough to stand up and say “this far and no further.”  It’s done.  I forgive and now I must move on in gratitude.  The two go hand in hand, gratitude and forgiveness.  They are the mother and father of liberation.

I am free to dream, create, study, learn, inquire and prepare.  My creativity has no boundaries. I am unleashed.

Pressure is a Privilege

Welcome pressure

I’m an avid football fan.  This morning I was watching the NFL channel as they interviewed Larry Fitzgerald from the Arizona Cardinals.  He said, “Pressure Is a Privilege.”  He was of course talking about the pressure his team is sensing with the loss of their quarterback and their push for their division’s title which would give them home field advantage if they were to do so.  I am not an Arizona Cardinal football fan, but I am a fan of pressure.

Back along my spiritual education path, one of my mentors said, “Welcome Pressure.”  At the time those words did not sound inviting.  At the youthful age of 64 (well, almost 64 — exactly 31 days from today, but who’s counting), I can say I understand those words, I acknowledge them as part of my daily living.

The world’s ways (which are not my ways) are to eliminate pressure, to find someone to blame for the pressure, to pursue violence in the name of pressure.  Accusation, blame and criticism are the results of allowing pressure to dominate, rather than allowing pressure to build and release as a creative process.

When pressure begins to build and I am not aware of its intensity, anger is the emotion that shows itself. There was a time when I did not know how to creatively release anger…and when anger raises it’s ugly head and I don’t release it creatively, it winds up locking itself up somewhere in my body — usually in my neck or shoulders. Anger is ancestral; not just in my family ancestry, but in human ancestry.

Two days ago I felt my father’s presence (he’s been deceased since 2005).  I remember saying, “Hi daddy.”  I waited to see if there was a message of some kind.  Nothing.  So I went about my day and that night I had a horrible nightmare.  I woke up the following morning with my shoulder and neck locked up in pain.  There was nothing I could do or did do that relieved it.  I sought out help from a healer who told me that my pain was ancestral on my father’s side.  She knew nothing of the visit from my dad.  My dad had a quick temper; other than anger, I really never saw him emote much at all.  The anger was never directed at me or anyone in my family to my knowledge.  I recognize that anger in me.  So last night I set the intention to resolve the pain in my shoulder.  The message during the night was “release the guilt, you are enough.” I’ve never been troubled by guilt — except for the fact that I never took the time to really know my dad until I was much older. I realize now that I’ve been holding that guilt in for quite some time.  As soon as I embodied the message of releasing the guilt and realizing that who I have become would make my father very happy, my shoulder pain released. Magic.

How about you?  Are you a flawless diamond in the making or is life making you a basket case? What do you do to allow the pressure to release creatively?  I dance, I meditate, I share Reiki, I dabble in Tarot reading.

I am grateful for pressure.  I sense myself to be very much in the process of becoming a flawless diamond. Thank you daddy.

Gratitude in ALL Things

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I recently offered a Mindful Meditation class. Part of the class was geared toward identifying and acknowledging the inner voice of criticism. My invitation to the students was to avoid the temptation to rid themselves of this voice and instead give thanks for it. I have found that giving thanks, offering gratitude in ALL things (no picking and choosing) actually alters that critical voice. It no longer has any power and there is no thin skin in which to sink its talons. Gratitude alters ANY situation.

I spent a recent weekend at a Shamanic Journeying workshop. It had been over 20 years since my days in New Jersey attending Shamanic Journey training. I loved it then and it was exhilarating to reconnect with this powerful experience again. There are a multitude of scenarios that can occur during a journey; some of them making no sense whatsoever and only clarifying at some later point. It was during one of these recent journeys that I found my inner critic saying, “This is nonsense, you have better things to be doing.” “You really think this mojo works? You don’t have the patience or the fortitude for this kind of work.” Thankfully (there’s that gratitude!!), I had connected with a Spirit Guide who simply invited me to “just be grateful and move on.” I pictured my inner critic in a physical form, face to face and said “Thank you. I am grateful for what you say, but it is not the truth.” Pffft…the physical form of my inner critic was gone in an instant. After that experience (which was early on in the weekend), my journeys and training were immensely powerful and healing.

Negative energy in any form cannot sustain itself in the face of gratitude. Remember that. Gratitude in ALL things.  

I teach Nia. In and of itself, Nia is transformative. Transformative movement. Shamanic Journeying is transformative. Combining the two for my own personal Nia practice is an exciting prospect.

My Nia classes will continue to be pure Nia, and as I mentioned before, Nia is transformative movement. The intention and motivation for one’s Nia practice is key. There are a plethora of benefits for doing Nia: fun, weight loss, muscle toning, releasing and relieving stress, focus, emotional balance, self-esteem, self-confidence, more strength, more stability, more flexibility, more agility, more mobility…and the list goes on. 

Come and dance with me. Experience your own personal transformative journey with Nia. Your inner critic will tag along I’m sure, but give it no energy except for gratitude. Your inner critic has no power in the face of gratitude and joy. 

DANCE, MOVE, CREATE CHANGE, EXPRESS SPIRIT!!!

 

 

 

 

It is What It Is, Baby!

It is what it is

I continue to be mystified by the addiction of the world at large of needing to categorize everything as “good or bad.” We spend more time than should ever be allowed on judging people, events, circumstances…even the weather…as good or bad. Living in the midwest has proven to be somewhat of an ordeal this winter (not that other places haven’t had their own ordeal with which to contend).  Complaining about the weather is commonplace this winter. Winter is “bad”.  Summer is “good”…unless of course it’s too hot and we forgot how “bad” the winter was and wish for it to be cold again.

One restaurant is bad, another is good. One political party is bad, another is good. One country is bad, another is good.

There is a way, a very simple way, to rid oneself of this addiction.  “Thankfulness in all things.”

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I teach Nia. I end each of my Nia classes with “Gratitude in ALL things, no picking or choosing, and Let Love Command.”  Every Nia class ends with these words.  My life and how I live it is based on the four words, “Thankfulness in all things”.

There’s just no sense in complaining about something over which we have no control.  What if it were ALWAYS winter?  Would life be one constant judgment of the weather being bad?  How absurd.

Be thankful for ALL things.  Being thankful automatically eliminates the addiction of labeling anything good or bad.  There’s a line from the movie, Army of Darkness — “Good, bad, who cares, I’m the guy with the gun.”

And my smoking’ gun is “thankfulness in all things.”  Good, bad, who cares?  It is what it is.

Life As Art

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I hosted and focused a “Life As Art” event on June 15th.  Everyone from my Nia community along with a few local Nia teachers who have come to my classes were invited.  Thirteen originally responded with a fourteenth student calling to say she was compelled to be at this event and would I still accept another participant — and of course I did!!

We began at my Sacred Space Studio where we danced to an incredibly sweaty Beatles routine with the focus of Life As Art — the dance of creating patterns. There were 19 dancers — the studio was full of energy!  The fourteen participants then met back at my house at 10:45, had some yogurt and fruit (readied by my wonderful husband), and gathered on our deck. I handed out the “welcome” packets that contained an journal, an envelope, 3 pieces of art paper, a gemstone, the 13 Nia White Belt principles with a specific “affirmation” respective of each, information about Zentangles, and a few select adages for the day (one on the dance of energy, one on Choices and one on leading a fascinating life. I directed everyone to look at the contents of their packet and then the contents of their envelope. The envelope contained one of three topics: Magic, Trust, or Surrender; 2 Zentangle squares, 2 body tattoos — everyone received “I AM” and then one other word (Passion, Breathe, Gratitude, etc. from Conscious Ink. Lastly (but not leastly) two letters of the alphabet.

I had everyone look at which topic they had and invited them to find their other group members — there would be 3 groups of 5. The way they found their groups was to strike up a conversation using their specific word. For instance, one of the participants had the word “magic” and struck up a conversation with a group of 4 or 5 folks by saying “isn’t this property just magical” — 4 of the 5 people said “YES it is magical”. And thus the first group was formed. The second group formed quickly from someone speaking about “trusting that the weather would hold out”; and the third “surrendered to the anticipation of how the day would unfold.”. There was one group who only had 4 members — I became the 5th member of the group who only had 4 members. 

The participants were invited to take some time to walk the property. The weather was perfect (unlike the forecast which was for rain and storms all day); we have lots of areas to sit and meditate or take photos or simply to admire the beauty of nature. I walked up to the “ridge” where I could have an overview of our property. Different ones were walking together and looking at the flowers, plants, garden sculptures; others were sitting alone journaling, some were stopping to take photos. It was an incredibly rich panorama of spirited blessings. Truly magical. 

We all had lunch together (provided by Frank…the food was incredibly delicious), and then broke up into our individual groups with the assignments of creating Zentangles — one person started a pattern and passed it on to the next person in the group until all 5 participants had a chance to create a pattern (there were 2 Zentangles for each person within a group) — along with Zentangling the group was invited to create on one of the sheets of art paper (or all 3 if they wished) their own “dance of energy”.

We came back together and shared our Zentangles and our artwork. Anita suggested that we share the vision for each of our “dances of energy”…which was an incredibly rich experience to listen to each person’s creative expression. Magical. We all sat together in our living room and shared why we thought we were in the particular group we were in — I suggested that it was not by accident and no coincidence that they were in their specific group. The trust and surrender from each person was indeed a magical experience. One person from each group read the related poem from that specific group (Magic, Trust or Surrender). 

Our closing ceremony was to take the 2 letters of the alphabet they had each received and make a statement, “Now I Am __________ ___________. There were 3 participants who only had 1 letter — those 3 participants got to choose any letter of the alphabet to go along with the one they received. A very creative experience indeed (especially around the Q, X and Z!!!!). 

After the event had completed, we sat around and sampled Frank’s wine and had gluten free chocolate chip cookies!! Not everyone was available to stay (or leave and come back) for dinner, so we all hugged and said our so-long, farewells. Several came back with a guest and we had a lovely dinner — again provided by Franko. The weather was PERFECT. The last person to leave was Catherine and as she drove off, the rain started to come down softly, only to turn into torrential rains and 60 mile and hour winds. It rained and stormed all night. 

Incredible experience. I am blessed, truly and magically blessed through trust and surrendering to living in the moment and allowing spirit to open the doors of creative expression. I am so thankful for everyone’s participation and we will do it again!!!

The Gift of Awareness

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This is about my encounter with fear and my gratitude for the gift of awareness.

I have for many years touted the magic and wonders of alternative healing techniques, herbs, and nutrition.  I have not gone to a regular medical doctor in over 7 years.  I know my body.  I trust that my body will let me know when something is not right.  I live with the aches and pains of osteoarthritis in my hands and knees (and probably other areas of my body, although it seems to center in those two areas).

I teach Nia.  For those of you who are familiar with Nia, you already know the abundance of education — somatic and academic — available through Nia.  I’ve been teaching for almost 12 years…I’m forever grateful for the amazing benefits of being in my body — the awareness of sensations, the clever imagery, the deep and cleansing feelings and emotions, the plethora of creative opportunities to express my unique spirit — all contained within one hour of a Nia class — and also in everyday living.

So, with all of this, and more, to support my experience of being fully in my body, why is it that at the first sign of something unfamiliar in my body I sense, feel and imagine FEAR?  Fear is not something I am opposed to or am devoid of…certainly not.  But when it comes to my body, I’m pretty darned aware of what’s going on.  I know when I eat wheat…my belly will bloat and I’ll be uncomfortable.  I know when I eat sugar I can expect a rush followed by a distinctive low.  I know if I attempt to maintain a Level 3 energy level for an entire Nia class, my body will let me know I’ve done too much.  

This past week, I came home Tuesday night after a great Nia class. There was nothing experienced out of the ordinary all day, nor anything out of the ordinary in my Nia class.  Yet when I got home I noticed a severe pain in the index finger of my left hand.  By morning my hand had swollen, in particular the first two fingers (my index or desire finger and my middle or balance/power finger — just an interesting sidenote).  Not only swollen on the knuckles on the back of my hand, but on the pads of the palm of my hand around those two fingers.  Not just swollen, but in SEVERE pain.  On a scale of 1-10, the pain was a 10.  I thought I had broken my finger(s) somehow. The pain radiated down my entire arm into my elbow.  I was fine at work on Tuesday, fine during Nia, fine driving home.  It was really a mystery.  What to do?

By Wednesday late morning it was apparent that I needed to see a professional.  I was going to have to cut my wedding rings off if my hand continued to swell.  My husband drove me to an Urgent Care facility.  The doctor asked me the usual questions.  I couldn’t remember hitting my hand, I couldn’t remember an insect sting or bite.  He was concerned about “gout” (Gout??  Really?  My grandfather had gout so bad that his leg was amputated and 2 weeks later he died).  The doctor wasn’t sure it was gout since I didn’t have all the symptoms.  The next suggestion was that perhaps it was an “infection”.  (Oh great.  I’m in a hospital with an infection.  A friend of mine had gone in to the hospital with a routine infection and died from sepsis.)

Let the mind games begin.  Fear loves mind games.

I have not taken antibiotics for a multitude of years.  They destroy the good flora in the intestines.  I grew up on antibiotics, being a pretty sick kid most of the time.  I was done with that scene.  Yet, when the doctor suggested antibiotics, I jumped at the opportunity.  Fear said YES, you must. 

I took 2 doses of the antibiotics and my body said “NO, stay true to what you know”.  That was the message.  By Friday morning I was still in pain, the swelling had not diminished.  I called my acupuncturist, not expecting to be able to be able to get in.  She was leaving town later in the afternoon but she had an available appointment.  

No fear.  I know acupuncture and how it works with my body.  I trusted.  An hour after the acupuncture, the swelling AND pain had diminished 50%.  Shortly after the acupuncture appointment, the pain was SIGNIFICANTLY reduced.  The swelling was down 75% but the end of Friday.  I could freely move the joints in my last three fingers.  The middle finger was moving quite a bit, still a little stiff in the index finger, but it no longer looked crooked, I could straighten it almost all the way out.  Hallelujah.

I want to also mention my husband’s relentless love and caring; the wonderful compassion and enfoldment of many of my Facebook and personal friends who offered many suggestions and Reiki/energy distance healing.  Gratefulness to the Universe for reminding me to listen to the voice of my body.

Today is Sunday and although there is a bit of a “pins and needles” feeling in my index finger occasionally, I can fully extend it and there is just a teeny bit of swelling on the “pad” on the palm of my hand beneath my index finger.

The gift of Awareness.  Listening.  Being.  Responding. Choosing Love, not fear.

So what was it — the swelling and the pain?  Who knows?  Maybe it was a spider bite.  Maybe it was gout.  It’s a mystery.  My mind wants to know EXACTLY what it was.  Spirit says let it go.  This morning, I’m drinking my Mayan Mojo (a coffee alternative), some Nettles tea, alot of water, taking my Celery Seed, my anti-inflammatory enzymes and my probiotic.  

My body thanks me.  The Universe thanks me.  And I am grateful.