Soul Massage

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Hundred Promises to Myself

They say that most people have already abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions, or will soon in the coming weeks.  That says more about the choice of resolution than the people who make them.  When we decide to do well for ourselves we are immediately invested in the process.  With all the information and support on goal setting available, the most important element is, “What’s in it for me?”  If we are not to be the winners in the end, the whole program is destined to fail.  Yes, we may get organized, loss the weight, earn or save more money; but for whom?
Resolutions are really promises to you.  They are the statements of how you choose to show up in the world, how you will shape your life and life experiences.  The beginning of the year is merely an opportunity to review and establish another pattern of movement.  As I recognize my connection to my family, friends, neighborhood, community, and world at large, I acknowledge that that which I do for my own growth and healing extends to the healing of others.
This year I took on a commitment toward zero debt.  As we move toward more electronic management of information, those of us who push paper for a living are effectively being made redundant.  Before that notice arrives and while I am (thankfully) employed, it seems to make the most sense that I make my escape from the obligation of debt.  With this particular focus, I am conscious not only of my spending but also of the resources available to me from friends, families and neighbors.  How easy it is to run to the store to make a purchase rather than to ask if an item is available for loan (or gift).  In the past, my neighbor and I made regular exchanges of food, clothing, tools and services.  There are also plenty of websites set up for this very purpose.  We can sell or trade our excess; buy another’s. 
The most challenging aspect of this commitment is my enjoyment of shopping, both online and in stores (garage sales, booths, etc).  I love a deal, a bargain, stuff.  I have more than enough of everything – food, books, purses, clothes, shoes, linen, soap, and toys.  Because I have enough, I have decided to begin to use what I have.  I make my own body balms with oils and butters (avocado, shea, cocoa).  I have collected wonderful handmade soaps over the years along with some favorite body washes.  As much as I would like to replace those that are running low, I will merely move on to a new fragrance. This month I explored the pantry and cooked lentil and bulgur soup; served it buckwheat pancakes.  It was most excellent.  Next we had tomato sauerkraut soup.  I actually have a large collection of lentils (dal) and enjoy fashioning my own versions of Indian dishes.  I have already made the investment.  It is time to collect.
Staying connected with my financial commitment means walking away from items that attract me.  Today that means garden bulbs on sale.  I plan to grow food to support my family and friends.  We planted fruit bushes last year that we hope will produce this year.  I already have plenty of flower bulbs for the beautification of my yard and have seeds harvested to be planted in the spring.  What money I have available will go to purchase crop seeds.  In the spring I plan to plant radishes, spinach, lettuce, kale, onions, garlic, herbs, potatoes and tomatoes.  Sometimes my draw to flowers is not only their beauty, but my success in growing them.  This year, I will push beyond my comfort zone and plan according to my vision.
From the review of this single resolution – to be debt free – I am addressing shopping, spending, cooking, family and community involvement, gardening, organizing (using current supplies and resources), and a daily appreciation for my job.  I am thankful for the life I have chosen, with its simplicity and myriad opportunities.  None of us know what the future offers, but we can each find ease in the journey.  What’s in it for me?  I am all about the ease and the effort; the opportunity of growth – shifting and changing. 
In love and light…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Life. My Way. Now.

No matter how hard we work (or play) what does it serve if we are not living our lives; if we are continually kowtowing to the desires of others? At what point do we wake up into who we are and what we actually desire?
When I was just over thirty years old, I was asked, “What would it look like if you lived your life, your way?”  This was my first introduction to the idea that I had a choice in how I lived my life.  Prior to this time, I had been living my life in compliance or opposition to the whims, demands, or expectations of my parents.  I probably didn’t consider my peers as much as what my parents would think if they found out what I was doing.  I had this view that they were omniscient and that I was always on the verge of being in big trouble.
What is most important to note is that I made lots of choices outside of that my parents would have found acceptable.  I inhabited an underground compartmentalized segmented world where I was either “good” or “wild.”  I lived in excess in either space, moving from one extreme to the other depending on the company I kept.  And, never, did my worlds collide. Survival depended on neither meeting nor knowing of the other.  This was a stressful juggling act, to say the least and I suffered greatly from the emotional pressure.
The day I received that option – my life, my way – I collapsed.  I was heart-broken.  Who knew?  As I stood before the forum of supportive eyes, a huge black hole opened up and I felt swallowed.  My fear strangled me, threatened to tell, tattle, report, and reveal that I was reaching beyond the parameters.  I stood wondering what I could possibly think or do.  At that moment, I knew I had never lived my life, had never made an independent decision, and had no clue what my personal desires might be.  We all carry the filters installed by those who reared us.  As they become apparent we have the choice of removing them and seeing the world anew.  Of course, that choice also includes maintaining a comfortable concept.
My entire life was comprised of hope for love and acceptance through meeting expectations of others.  Every decision I had made, even as an adult, was based on whether I would receive welcome.  That question was the beginning of a self-discovery that continues to this day.  Rather than living my life in accordance with another’s plans, I ask – “What will bring my deepest joy?  What are my heart’s desires? How will this promote my highest good?”
To live clearly and freely within one’s own hopes and dreams takes great courage.  There are always those who will lay their expectations onto you.  They are attached with the glue of guilt and the staples of shame.  We must learn to stand firmly and accept responsibility for the lives we choose to lead.
Why wait?  What will it take for YOU to live YOUR LIFE, YOUR WAY, NOW?
“There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.” -Christopher Morley

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Priority or Option

"Don't make anyone a priority that only makes you an option."
I found this quote during research on relationship and commitment.  First, I thought this was sound advice, but as I have continued thinking, I have changed my ideas. 
One of the chief romantic notions seems to be that each partner makes the other the priority so that the wants and needs of the other take precedence over the desires of the self, leaving each in a state of sacrifice and denial.  We like to think that in the end it will all come together and that we will get our needs and desires met as well.  What happens, however, when we have consistently given up our hopes and dreams waiting for our turn? 
This is not an argument for “Me, first,” but a review of setting a healthy universe or multiverse, if you like.  As we define a center for our lives, we can healthily branch out.  In my life, I hold Mother/Father/God/Goddess as Center.  A strong spiritual foundation serves as support during the ebb and flow of life with all its events and circumstances. 
My idea of relationships expands from the self into the community.  As I honor the Higher Power in my life, I honor myself.  Remembering there is something greater than we are humbles us daily, allowing us to continually be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us.  Even as we describe this Power differently between us, we recognize that none of us, of our own selves has the power to bring forth life. And, life is a gift to be cherished.
Caring for my family comes from the energy I have invested in myself.  The adage, “If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.” demonstrates both the understanding and the recognition that a well nourished and nurtured mother is better prepared to support her family.  The same is true for all of us, regardless of gender or family obligation.  When we make a dedicated effort to care for ourselves we have the resources to care for others.  If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, have the precedent to love ourselves.
The greeting and blessing, Namaste, honors the light reflected in another as in one’s self.  We bow to one another knowing we are each the embodiment of the Divine.  I bless my friends with the next realm.  These are the people who have remained in my life, present through trials and struggles, celebrating the journey with me. 
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer
Friends, caring for each other, remain through thick and thin.  For this reason, I believe they are the inner circle, before romantic relationships.  It is possible that one might be both friend and lover, but in the instance that the romance ends, it is the friendship that remains.  Notice those who comfort when the bloom has fallen from the rose.  It is our friends who arrive for support and solace. 
It is here that the greatest challenge will occur.  We are socialized to dedicate all our time and attention to the object of our affection, to the neglect and dishonoring of our friendships.  We “fall in love,” wandering off into a dizzying haze of convoluted confusion vision clouded by hormonal delusion and grasping for it all to last forever.  In this state, the romantic entanglement becomes priority as we have imbued it with our every hope and dream (and fear).  Push aside friends, family, self and God.  Inject lover. 
This is the very notion I reject.  I choose to hold to my paradigm even in the face of my “romantic delusions.”  I understand that others might choose to set their life up differently, but am clear from the beginning that I have other priorities and while I happy dance the dance of drunken lust, I know where my heart lies.  This is the stability of my life rather than my fear of commitment.  I recognize that being first in another’s life means they do not share the spiritual commitment I have.  They will struggle to get their way, thinking they must give up to me.  I will resent their lack of independence and long for even more of my own. 
I hold that in a healthy life there are plenty of options.  When I am surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances there are plenty of people to keep me company.  Choosing one special one is an option.  I might also choose to have several people I enjoy keeping time with.  We have become so couple oriented that we miss the aspect of being social and learning to be interesting and amusing.  Instead, we hope to convince another to hook up with us and to remain so, forever. 
As life is an adventure, how we develop and secure relationships is fluid, free of formula – predetermined or invented.  What if we allowed our lives to expand, to grow by virtue of each new encounter, so that rather than compartmentalizing our friends, family and lover, we opened the gates that all might join to compliment the love we share?  Our experience of love would be so much grander; our lives so much more interesting.
My options are my priority.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moving, Shifting and Changing

The nice thing about a hundred resolutions is that as you work through the formulation and refining process, so many more areas and ideas arise.  This week I am having a wonderful visit with Z and as we share our life stories, we are rediscovering dreams past and renewing interests.  We once planned to travel to India and we studied Mandarin Chinese.  With renewed excitement, we have decided to apply for passports, and pick up lessons again. 
I just heard John Tesh (only listening by accident) say that break-ups can be contagious.  Seems when one couple separates others begin to re-evaluate their relationships and the social stigma for breaking up is lessened.   Well, 2010 was the year for completing relationships.  I worked at ending mine before the New Year, only to have it done for me after the first.  This change has freed up lots of attention so I can process the plentiful distress in my life, feel my feelings and work on my hundred resolutions (none of which included this relationship, directly). 
I have a zillion issues to deal with in my very old house.  Beyond repairs, I have basic chores I neglect on a very regular basis, so that even as I sit quietly I see there is dust gathering around me.  I have serious dust.  Not the kind you can swiffer away, but that needs soap and water and an hour’s dedication.  I have limited hours for dusting, what with dishes, laundry and general kicking a path to get through.  Every now and then, I stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and wash down my sit-abouts and wipe off a frame so I can refocus on the task before me.
So, this year I have reconnected with my Chi machine, actually a Healthy Swinger.  I really love the energy charge after just five minutes and have committed to getting up to twenty minutes a day, more days than not.  I use the machine for relaxation, balance, lymph cleansing, and spinal realignment.  Here’s a link so you can watch The Doctors discuss and enjoy the product. (  You can search and find lots of products on the market; even one in your budget range. 
I am on track with my workouts, wine drinking, blogging, reading, journaling, and otherwise relaxing.  Every day I commit to getting enough sleep.  As I have a difficult time staying asleep it is a continual process.  This week I have taken off two days to spend with my daughter, so I will have extra time to focus on sleeping.  Next week I took off a day for my son’s birthday.  More sleep for me.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but it helps.  For both the Fridays, we will have dinner; go to the Comedy Club, and then a bit of dancing.  I tend to feel the night and will be delighted to end early and crawl into my warm bed on these freezing nights. 
This year, with its myriad changes, has been a delight.  Those events which seemed to be breaking my heart in December have resolved into the time and space I needed to live more presently and show up more fully.  When I remember that last week I wonder if maybe I was in some wild hormonal swing that culminated with horrific outbursts and distraught feelings.  The earth cracked and the towers fell.  Out of chaos comes new beginnings and opportunities. 
I am divinely guided in all ways.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

100 Ways to Love Your Body

Along the path of a healthier, happier, more interesting me, I am focusing this piece on loving my body and supporting others in loving theirs.  Here's a short list to help you get started. 

·         Listen to your body
We tend to get so busy moving through the day, we neglect our bodies.  We drink stimulants to wake or perk up, then depressants to wind down.  When we have body aches we take a pill to keep going, ignoring the need for rest and recuperation. As we listen and attend the voice of our bodies, our natural instincts will awaken and we will have the choice to honor ourselves more lovingly.
·         Appreciate your body
Take a moment to honor all that your body does – the power to transport “you” from here to there and back again.  Look in the mirror and touch all those lovely parts and places.  Even if you feel the need to change some aspect of your physical self, that change comes after acceptance of all that is, and the vision of what can be.  Massage love into the all of how you show up today. 
·         Positive Body Talk
Smile and greet your reflection with an affirmative and loving voice.  Offer your body words of joy and wonder rather than the popular tones of doubt and self-denigration.  Look longingly at the gift you have received and co-created and know that it is good. 
·         Feed your body healthy foods
The practice of temperance allows for the infusion of the bounty that nature offers.  Be thoughtful about what and how much you ingest.  Let choices, rather than denial, govern your decisions.  Know that what you put in feeds the all of you – mind, body and spirit. 
·         Move your body
We know that things left to sit become less flexible.  Energize the all of you with thoughtful movement – dance, play, walking, stretching, reaching, lifting, opening and expanding. Find what delights your body and do that.  Notice the sensations that awaken and honor those.  Free your mind from the fear of discomfort and cross your boundaries. 
·         Feed your body from the inside out
Our skin functions as protection, sensation, absorption, and storage and synthesis, among other duties.  As such, it deserves the very best we can offer.  Coating the skin with nutrient poor substances that clog and block the pores and cells defeats health at a basic level.  Imagine only applying to the outside what you would offer to the inside.  Using oils, lotions, balms and butters made from cold-pressed oils and eatable ingredients will support a healthy glow as well as internal nourishment.
·         Give your body sensuous touch
Get a massage.  Soak in a bath.  Linger in the shower.  Use your hands to apply soap, lotions and oils, lingering over sensitive areas and allowing gentle response time.  Learn how and what touch you appreciate.  When the time comes, you can share that information as an expert.
·         Cover your body in luxurious clothing
Dress your skin in luxury, whatever you deem that to be.  Be creative.  Find cottons, silks, linens, wools, or sky.  Drink in the joy of what touches your skin.
·         Breathe deeply
            Learn to exhale.  The inhale will take care of itself.
      Exhale with the intention of letting go.  Inhale drawing both breath and blessing into your body.  Exhale the expended, useless, toxins ready to be released.  Inhale the joy of life, for life is in the breath.  Fill the lungs.  Hold for a beat or two, and then let it all go.  Let the exhale be twice the length of your inhale.  Drop the shoulder and feel the difference.
·         Relax more
Find the moments that delight you and bring more of them into your life.  As you stand, sit or lie down, feel the support of the foundation beneath you and know you are fully supported – by the earth, the chair, or the bed/floor.  Allow your body to rest upon the platform that holds you and fully be there.  Be present.
·         Sleep longer, deeper, more peacefully

How can you live more lovingly in the only body you have?  What will have to shift for you to honor the vehicle that transports you through the day, and your life?  How does your perception shift as you reach for love and commit to giving that love to yourself?  Here's another opportunity to expand self-discovery and find a whole new world.

Let the Love Light in!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happier, Healthier and Far More Interesting

My New Year’s Resolution can be summed up as; I plan to show up in 2011 happier, healthier and far more interesting.  I have been working on my 100 Resolutions in the various areas of my life and quite successful in reaching them daily.  Of course, it’s only the fourth day, but life is a one day at a time process.  Thank goodness.
Every year I make new body products – bath salts and body balms.  I have some fantastic ideas for sharing my products this year.  I work in a hospital and these will be nice luxuries to offer my co-workers.  I like to give them in the spring, but what a lift in the dark of winter. 
My most dramatic shift has been due to a tooth abscess.  I have been on antibiotics for the last week and taking a proactive stance I began eating yogurt.  I haven’t taken many antibiotics in my life, but am clear that there can be an itching annoying side effect.  I have plenty of healthy methods of treatment, but what if this time we start out on the highest note; hence, yogurt.  Let me preference the search by adding that I also don’t care for fruit.  Since last week, I have had strawberry, strawberry cheese cake, chocolate mousse, orange and strawberry sherbet, strawberry sundae, and my favorite today, raspberry chocolate.  Imagine that, I have a favorite yogurt. 
The only problem I am running into is the yummy factor.  I planned to eat one container a day, but am up to three easily.  This has become an additional expense in the grocery category.  My plan is to trade yogurt for another discretionary expense.  I haven’t found one yet, but will be looking this week. 
Life is just full of silver linings.  We must be willing to look for them.  My toothache turned me on to a yummy healthy choice that I have been actively rejecting for years.