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Friday, August 16, 2013

I Am What I Am Not

Quick, finish this sentence:

I am ________________.

     What'd you put? It's important. What was the first thing that came to your mind? This is an exercise I do with my students. The first day of school, I give them a questionnaire, and I have them fill in that sentence. It tells me a lot about them. Middle schoolers are all about identity. They crave belonging, so they like to label themselves and everyone around them. The first thing that came to your mind is how you identify yourself. It's either the most important thing to you (for example, how many of you said, "I am a mother?"), or it's something that you are super proud of ("I am a really good cook."), or maybe its something that you despise about yourself, (I am a couch potato.) Whatever words we follow the phrase, I am with indicates how we see ourselves from the inside out. 
    While this is all very interesting from the perspective of self knowledge, it can also be extremely limiting. You are whatever you say you are. If you look in the mirror and say, I am strong, then you are strong. If you say, I am beautiful, then indeed you are beautiful. However, if you look in the mirror and say, "I am so fat," or "I am so weak," then you are, or will become those things. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. I wrote about this in my posting, Goodbye Fat Girl. Think about the words you choose when you speak about yourself. Negative words and thoughts manifest a negative reality.
     Now I have a pretty good self esteem. I stare into my own eyes during yoga and say, "I am strong, I am powerful, I am blessed, I am healthy....etc." I might finish the I am with, I am a mother, or I am a teacher, or I am a writer, or I am a medium, as all of these are adequate descriptions of who I am. And that's all well and good, but even the most confident of us use the I am to limit ourselves without even realizing it. My girlfriend, Carey might complete that sentence, "I am a runner." And she is. She runs every single day. She does 5Ks in her sleep. I on the other hand would always say, "I am NOT a runner. I just can't run," and guess what? I never ran anything. Until last week.
     On the 4th of July, my best neighbor, Michiko, said when I walked into the room, "Melissa will do it with me." Huh? "Yes, of course I will," I said (I am always up for a good dare), "what am I doing?" "The Long Island Adventure Race," she said, and she showed me a website with pictures of people covered in mud climbing walls and walking on logs in the woods. "Hell yeah!" I said, "that looks awesome, but its a 5K and I am not a runner.""You can walk it," she said, "and if the obstacles are too hard, you can go around." Okay, but what's the point of doing a race if I can't actually do the race? Mr. Jones looked at me and said, "I don't think you can do it." As convincing as he was, I knew he didn't mean it. He figured out long ago that the easiest way to get me to commit to doing something is to tell me you don't think I can. And I get all, "Who the hell are you to tell me what I can't do?!" and then I go and show you that I can. Okay, so Mr. Jones thought I could do it, and Michiko, who is easily the most motivating encouraging friend I have, thought I could do it, so why didn't I think I could do it? Why was I not a runner? My I am was limiting me. 
 

 So the race was 5 weeks away. I had 5 weeks to learn to run a 5K. So I did some research. Talked to runners for advice, read some runner blogs, and I hit the track. I am not going to lie. Running is boring. It's not my choice workout. At first, I would break up the laps with yoga (because I AM a yogi.) Then, as the race got closer, I worked towards running straight through (still working on that, btw, but I get better every time). When the day came, I was ready... for anything. I had no idea what the obstacles would be, but I was ready to go out with my friend and have fun. She wasn't worried about time and she understood that I might have to walk a bit to catch my breath, and so we went.



We ran. We jogged. We walked a bit. We climbed. We crawled through the mud. We slid into the mud on on bellies like penguins.We even waded through chest deep ice water!


And there were bubbles! Did I mention the bubbles?
We had a ball. I loved every second of it. So much so, that I have another "all level" mud run in 22 days. I can't say I am not a runner anymore.  As soon as I stopped saying I am NOT, I became what I never thought I could be. I am an adventure racer (in training). 
     So my question to you is not what do you finish the I am with. It's what do you finish I am NOT with that you secretly wish you could say you are? Why are you limiting yourself?! What excuses are you making? If you want to do something, get started. It may be a long road. You will have to step out of your comfort zone. You will have to educate yourself. You will have to be patient as you learn a new skill. But there is no reason why can't do it. The only thing holding you back is what my girlfriend Ally calls, "The itty bitty sh*tty committee" in your head (your ego). Put them in a box and let your true self out of it. 

You are strong.

You are powerful.

You are unlimited. 

                                    Now get to work!

>3!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Abbodanza!

     A few years ago (okay, 21 years ago...ugh) my sister got 2 tickets to see her idol, Liza Minnelli in concert. My mom was going with her, so my dad and I decided to take a ride into the city for a "Daddy date," and we got tickets to the only Broadway musical at the time that he was willing to tolerate, "The Most Happy Fella." All I remember about it was that it took place in Italy, (which is the ONLY reason he wanted to see it) and it opened with a song called, "Abbodanza," which means abundance in Italian. The cast was singing about being grateful for abundance. Ever since then, I use that word in my inner monlogue whenever I am feeling blessed about the abundance in my life. Thanksgiving dinner, for example. Recently, in my meditations and prayers for guidance, I frequently receive the same recurring messages:

Focus your intentions, Melissa. Think about what you want, not what you lack. See what you want, let go of worries. Surrender and release your concerns to God and know that everything is taken care of. Focus on abundance. Watch your thoughts. You are manifesting what you think about. Only think about what you want, not what you lack.

"Yes, I understand. I hear you. I am grateful for all that I have," I say. I did the whole, make a list of everything you want to manifest thing. I told other people to do it. I understood. Thoughts carry energy. "You bring about what you think about." Stay positive and you will manifest positive things. I even wrote about this 2 1/2 years ago (All You Need Is Love). I did understand, but I didn't comprehend. I thought I did, but I really didn't. I was frequently worrying about money, and things were getting frighteningly worse by the week. I was asking for help. I was asking for guidance, and naturally, it came when I wasn't expecting it.
     I was at work grading state assessments.  My friend, *Genie, was sitting across from me. Genie has been a sort of mentor for me. I passed a remark about my money troubles and she offered some advice. I said, "I know, but I am not that worried because like I always say, we always get by." She looked at me and said. "If that's what you say, then all you'll ever get is 'by.' You don't want to just 'get by.' You want to thrive." OMG!  LIGHTBULB! (I was actually finding lightbulbs for a couple of days. I know... only me.)

This one was on my kitchen
counter when I got home.
 She was right. I was manifesting living week to week. So I wrote down an affirmation. "Thank you, God, for helping me with my financial problems." She looked at it and shook her head, "You mentioned problems. Too negative." Okay, let me try, again "Thank you God for giving me more than I need." She shook her head again. "You mentioned need." She took the pencil. "I am grateful for abundance." (In my head I heard, abbodanza!)  "It's simple and positive,"  she said, "and abundance can come in many forms." Perfect. I took the pencil and wrote it down myself.

I found this 2 weeks later when I was paying my bills. It snuck it into a pile of  bills to be paid. A little reminder from my guardian angels. (Which I needed.) I added the top part that day, "I am grateful that we always have more than enough to share."

I went home and chanted it. I was focused on saying it over and over again. I wrote down 9 times and burned it. I WILL MANIFEST ABUNDANCE. (That's the witch in me. When I want something, I focus my intention and I manifest it.) Now, short of winning the lottery (which I never play), I understood that the manifestation of cash would take time and work.  Manifestation comes in the form of ideas and opportunities for financial growth. The angels, however, know that I need constant validation (a flaw in my faith, I know, but I am working on it) and they also know that I have a sense of humor, love irony and that I especially love it when they surprise me. Over that weekend, I noticed that I kept finding pens everywhere. In my car. On the floor. In my bedroom. Pens were popping up everywhere. It became comical. I had a flashback of myself at my desk like a week before yelling about the fact that I could never find a pen, "WHY DON'T I EVER HAVE A PEN?! GRRRRR!" OH, I never had a pen because I kept saying THAT. Now I am finding pens everywhere. On Monday, I opened my desk drawer.  There were BOXES of pens and pencils in there. Wait a second, last week Dawn was cleaning up from the grading and said she was going to leave all the pens in my desk because she didn't know what else to do with them... that was the same day I was writing "I am grateful for abundance" with Genie. 
Did you think I was exaggerating?
ABBODANZA! 

     I had an abundance of pens. I now have pens and pencils everywhere: 2 or 3 in my car, like 5 in my pocketbook, maybe 100 in my kitchen...  Now I keep saying, "I always have pens," and I do.






     Suddenly I got it. It clicked. It didn't stop there. Remember my rosebushes from last month's, Lessons From My Rosebush)? I have never seen so many roses in my life. I have an abundance of roses.
   






Abbodanza!

      Yesterday, I was reorganizing my Angel-baby's closet. I counted 36 t-shirts. Who needs 36 t-shirts? Abbodanza. She has an abundance of clothing. (Thanks to Grandma!) That's when the second part of the lesson kicked in. It's more than just saying that you are grateful for something you want to manifest. It's more than just writing and saying the words. The second part is seeing the abundance you already have and truly being grateful for it. When you are grateful, you are focusing on your blessings, you manifest more blessings. It's like a positive feedback loop in your endocrine system. The hormone produced stimulates the gland to make more of that hormone. The more hormone you have, the more you make. The more blessings you count, the more blessings you receive. (Were you wondering when I would add the science? You were, weren't you? Anyway...) Now I say I am grateful for everything I want more of.

I am grateful for my good health.
I am grateful for fearless open hearted love.
I am grateful that I always hear my divine guidance.
I am grateful that I always know how to help others.
And my favorite, I am grateful that I always have more than enough to share.

Because the fact is, I AM very blessed. I am surrounded by love. My basic needs are always met, and I get the joy and privilege of doing God's work in some small way every day which fills me with a joyful overflow of love that is beyond description. I know that He will always provide, and I recently learned a lesson in receiving that I will share in a future posting that has opened my mind and heart to a bright new future where everything will be very different for me and my family. I am so blessed! And so are you. Open your eyes to the abundance around YOU. What are you grateful for? Say it out loud right now. Find something, anything and thank God for it. If you are truly grateful, you will manifest more of those things. I promise.

As always, I wish you all love and blessed joy. May you all experience ABBODANZA. I am so grateful that so many of you "like" and "share" my page on facebook and twitter, and help me get my messages out to the world! And as always, my love for you is "greater than 3."

>3!   

*Genie is not her real name. In fact, she's more of an angel than a genie. 0:-)




Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm Jumping Off The Bridge!

     I am a dreamer. I dream every night. Vivid, complex meaningful dreams. Sometimes I am in the dreams. Sometimes I am not. If I don't like a dream, I can stop it and wake myself up. My dreams are significant and highly symbolic. I see the world symbolically, so my guides often speak to me through my dreams because they know that I will understand.
This is the Throgs Neck bridge that spans NYC's East River.
It frequently appears in my fear dreams
Image from: http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/throgs-neck/
    I have always had these dreams about bridges. They vary in theme. Sometimes I am in a car, sometimes I am walking. The bridge is always over a raging river (usually the East or the Bronx which are both very deep with strong currents), and I am always worried in the dream about either getting lost once I get to other side of the bridge or I am paralyzed with fear as I cling to the structure. These are my nightmares: getting lost in the Bronx, driving off the bridge with my children in the car sinking into the river, or just falling into the river alone. Do you get the symbolism here? 
     I am a bridge crosser.  I always have an idea where I want to be in life.  I make a decision that I am going to cross the bridge to get there. I decide, then I go, but I never make it over the bridge. When I know I want something, I decide to make it happen. I start across the bridge. However, as I have learned many times, I do not have that much control. I can try to cross the bridge, but I always end up in the river forced to go with the flow. I always get what I want, but often it comes in ways I don't expect. You see, I THINK what I want is across the bridge, but it's really down river. When I am on the bridge, I have the illusion of control. Then I end up in the river where I have no control, and then I get there anyway.
    Last night I dreamt that I was on a boat with my dad. I wasn't piloting it, I was a passenger. We were speeding along this super fast current and I couldn't help but notice all the bridges. Were were zipping along with the river going under all different types of bridges. I couldn't believe how fast we were getting to the city and I said to him, "I never knew this was here. What a great way to commute."  When I woke up this morning, I knew that there was something significant about the fact that I was suddenly racing to my destination by going under the bridges. I recently made a decision to stop chasing my destiny. I have an idea what's down the river for me. It's something wonderful. Something really big. And I have been working very hard to get what I want. Too hard. I have been trying to cross  bridges. I finally understand that I am supposed to be in the river. The river, that I have been so afraid of drowning in is faith. Now I am on course racing to my destiny. I have faith that my prayers have been heard and that as long as I follow the voice in my gut, live with an open mind and an open heart, the river will take me to where I need to be quickly and effortlessly.
     There are 3 types of people in this world. Bridge crossers (who are in constant struggle), floaters (who everything always just seems to fall into place for), and runners. I know a couple of runners. Runners dip their toes in the river. They float along for a bit, but every time the river brings them close to their desired outcome, they get out of the river and run. They run as fast as the can from the love of their lives, the new job opportunity, the weight loss program..... whatever it is that is their deepest desire. Runners fear change. Runners fear everything. Eventually they get tired of running and get back in the river. They float along towards their destiny, but as soon as they start to feel something good, they get out and run again. Some people spend their lives running. This is tragic. God will keep giving them what they need to break the cycle. Some runners will eventually figure it out and take the leap of faith. 
     You don't have to be a runner for the rest of your life. You don't have to be a bridge crosser either.  Normally, I would say that if your friends told you to jump off a bridge you shouldn't, but today I am saying, "JUMP!" Please jump. Your life will become so much easier if you just jump and let the river take you. God will always give you what you need to thrive. God will always surround you with people who love you. You just have to accept the gift. Will you? Or will you run and hide in the cave with Plato watching shadows on the wall in fear while life's magick happens without you? You make a  choice to be unhappy. You make a choice to live in fear. 
     There is a reason why John baptized Jesus in the river. Even if you are not Christian, you can see the beauty of that symbolism. (I thought about making a joke here about being in "de-Nile" of your inner wisdom, but decided it was too corny.) Just let go. Listen to your heart and know that you will always be okay. Fear is just the illusion that somehow God might make a mistake. If you believe in an all powerful perfect God, there is never any reason for fear.... just faith.

As always, I wish you love and happiness. I pray that you will get your feet wet and let the current take you to where you have always been meant to be.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Unloved

(I found this beautiful image at 101doves.com/?p=113)
     Yesterday, I was sitting with two of my best girlfriends killing time while our girls were in gymnastics class. (I say killing time, but really its precious time because with our busy lives it's often the only time during the week that we get to sit down together.) My friend's father-in-law passed away this week, and the typical family drama ensued. We were talking about this one particular person who creates drama and brings toxic energy that has caused division within the family. My friend Ally said this, "Those who are hurting hurt others." No truer words have ever been spoken.
     People hurt other people all the time. Sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. More often the hurting is not intentional, but a result of the hurter being lost, confused or acting out of fear. As I wrote in a previous post The F-Word, (Forgiveness) we all have lessons to learn. If you look at a situation objectively (from God's perspective), each person in the situation has a lesson to learn. The end result may be down right tragic. And if either party doesn't learn his lesson, they will each be doomed to repeat the lessons again and again until they find their way. Now you're thinking, If someone else has a lesson to learn, and is causing harm to other people as a result, why do I have to allow him to hurt me so that he may learn his lesson?" Well, you don't. I didn't say you have to accept another person's hurtful behavior. You should not allow anyone to harm you. If someone you love, even if it's your own child, is hurting you, physically or mentally, you need to find your strength and remove yourself from the situation and avoid contact with that person. That may be your lesson. Forgiveness is not about giving someone permission to do anything, it's about accepting that we are all flawed and a works in progress. Forgiveness is really about moving on and letting go of the pain. That said, today, I am focused on the hurters of this world.
     We pray for victims all the time. When we hear tragic stories on the news or in our lives, we grieve, we weep, and we pray for victims of abuse. How often do you pray for the abuser? What? Why would I pray for that monster? I know, it seems outrageous to even think about. But think about this: Why is that person a monster? What happened to her that brought her so far from God, that she cannot see or sometimes even understand that she is causing pain? She is lost. She is confused. She is in a very dark place and has lost her connection to the light. That is precisely the reason she needs your prayers.
     If we are to reclaim this world in the name of love and light, we need to give our attention to the evildoers. Yes, they need justice. They need to receive consequences for their actions. That's a given. But they also need your prayers. Look at the person as a fire burning out of control. He is in pain and burning everything in his path. When you think about him, it is with hatred and anger. You wish something bad would happen to him. Your thoughts are not harmless. You are throwing more negative energy his way. This just increases the darkness. It's like throwing gasoline on the fire. Now he becomes darker and moves further and further away from God.
     What if you could throw water on the fire instead of gasoline? What if instead of saying, "I hope he burns in hell," you say, "I hope he finds his way back to God." What if you pray, "Help him to find healing?" What if you ask God to shower him in light and love hoping to penetrate the darkness? The only way to fight darkness is with light. Pure divine light of God's love. Again, this doesn't mean you are saying what he did is right or okay in anyway. It is saying, "God, this person has lost his way and is hurting other people. Please heal him and bring him back into the light so that the hurting of others can stop." 
     When we let ourselves become so angry and hurt that we wish evil on evildoers, we are serving evil. When we pray that all humanity be healed in God's love, no matter how evil a person is, we are serving God. We are doing His work. Think about that. Think of three people right now who have hurt you so much that you avoid them. Now imagine a giant bucket filled with God's light and love filled to the brim and overflowing. Now dump it on their heads. Do this every time you think of them. You don't have to go see them. You shouldn't. They are still going to be toxic. But maybe, if we pray for them enough, they will start to find their ways back to God. And, at the very least, we can know for sure that we are serving God in our thoughts and actions and no one else. It's a small way that we can fight the good fight against evil.

Sending you all love and light from the bottom of my heart. May you be healed and find peace in your hearts and souls today and always.
 >3!     

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lessons From My Rosebush

     I have a thing for roses. Many of you know that I love daisies, and I do, but there's something about roses. Roses have a divinity about them. They are dicots which means they have flower parts in multiples of 5s. 5, 10 or 15 petals, 5, 10 or 15 stamen, 5, 10 or 15 pistols and so on. 5 is a sacred number. The pentacle, or 5 pointed star, represents the communion and balance of the forces of nature (earth, wind, water and fire) with the 5th element, the divine energy of the universe (God). The perfect pentacle has a perfect pentagram at its center. It exhibits divine geometry in the ratio of its parts. 5 is the number of change, journey and lessons learned in life. It can be associated with loss, conflict, growth, and perseverance. There is a reason why Catholics pray the Rosary to venerate Mary. 5 sets of 10 Hail Marys. It's called the ROSary and Mary often communicates her support through the changes in life with the appearance of roses. The reason I grow roses is to honor Mary, Queen of Heaven, who has supported me through all of the 5's in my life.
     This past Sunday was Mother's Day here in the US. I celebrated with brunch, went to church, spent time with my family (the uz), but there was some time in between to do whatever I wanted in the warm sunlight of a perfect day. I decided that I needed to prune my rosebushes. Nobody bothered me, it was bliss. (What most people don't realize is that is that the best gift on Mother's Day is not having to feel like a mother.) It was just me and the rosebush. I am not usually a pruner. I tend to let things just grow the way they grow, and let nature do its thing. But there were some dead branches and I figured, I should clean them up a bit so that they looked a little better. I put on some gloves, grabbed the pruning shears and got to work.       
     I started off haphazardly, just chopping away at anything that looked brown. The more I cut, the more I realized that this one particular bush was a mess. There were a lot of dead branches underneath. They were obstructing the growth of living branches causing them to get twisted and tangled. As I got deeper into the plant, my arms began to get scratched up. I could hear Brett Michaels crooning in my head, "Evvvvery rose has its thorn..." And I began to reflect on the rosebush and I started to notice the WAY it grows, and I felt like it was communicating a lesson to me.
     Rosebushes are perennials. Each year, they grow bigger, flower and fruit. Then they lose their leaves and go dormant for the winter and in the spring they begin to grow again. They grow bigger and spread their branches further out and roots deeper down every year. What I noticed was that wherever there was dead branch from last year's flowers, there was a place (at the node) nearby where new life was growing in a different direction. I realized that I needed to just trim off the dead part right up to where the new growth was branching off. Last year's dried up flower stems were useless to this year's new buds, and in some ways were taking up necessary space and resources preventing the new growth from meeting its full potential. The rosebush's past growth was inhibiting its future growth.  How true is this in our human lives.
     When we grow, we experience pain as well as beauty. Life gives us lessons each day to shape us and teach us. When we learn those lessons, we blossom. Then, we branch off in new directions and leave the old behind. The problem is, we don't always prune. We hold on to our dead branches. They no longer serve us, but we keep them there. Those dead branches bear no fruit, but they are still covered in thorns. They obstruct our growth, and unless we cut them out and release the thorns of our past, we will never grow to our fullest potential. What are you holding onto? Scars from mistakes in your past?  Anger? Sadness? Shame? Guilt? Did you learn your lesson, but still hold on to the thorns? Are those thorns causing you to repeat the same mistakes obstructing your growth? Did you so love something in your past, that you hold onto the dead branches so tightly that you cannot branch off into new directions? Are you stuck? Are you tangled up?
     This is what I learned from the rosebush:
You cannot grow to your highest potential if you hold on to the pain, loss, regret, guilt and unforgiveness left over from the lessons, the 5's, of your past. You need to release the old so that new life can manifest. It doesn't mean your new lessons will be easy. I guarantee you, they will not. New growth is full of thorns as well, but you cannot be productive unless you let go of the things that were and begin focusing on the things that are, and the beautiful blossoms that can be. 
     Take some time to be alone with yourself. Quiet your mind. Thank God for all of the lessons in your life, past present and future. Thank Him for helping you to prune the rosebush of your life.
Thank You, God for allowing me to release the pain, fear, guilt and unforgiveness of my past so that I can branch out and grow to the full potential that You have intended for me. 

As always, I wish you love and happiness. Know that you are loved infinitely for all of your imperfections and weaknesses as well as for your triumphs and talents.  May you grow and blossom this spring without the thorns of your past holding you back.

>3!



Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Voices In My Head: Goodbye, Fat Girl!

      The other day, I saw a post on Facebook that said, "The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice." You know this is true. It doesn't have to stay that way, but that's how it starts out, and for many people that is how it stays and they spend their lives struggling with issues of self esteem, insecurity and disempowerment.  Understand, I am not saying you should blame your parents for your insecurities. Surely the intent of that post was not to cast blame, but to bring awareness to parents that their words are powerful. And it's not just our parents who affect the voices in our heads, it's our siblings, our friends, other family members, teachers, even our friend's parents. We hear their voices echo in us. I am very careful of the language I use around children, not just my own. It is important to me to teach by example. Me staring in the mirror in front of my own children saying negative things about how I look will become the voice in their heads if I am not careful. We learn what we live.
     You know I have the best parents in the world, right? I am very blessed. My parents made a conscious effort to always praise my sister and me for everything about us. Hence the reason I struggle with narcism (notice all the pictures I post of myself), but the fact that I have a gorgeous sister and jaw droppingly beautiful friends always manages to keep that in check.  It sucks being the chubby best friend of the hot girl... did I mention I have body image issues?( Notice that all of said pictures are from the waist up.) Everyone always told me I was smart, so I saw myself as the smart girl.  When I was in junior high, I was teased about my weight. When I look at pictures of myself from then, I now realize that I was NOT overweight at all. I was developing earlier than my friends, so I was curvy. My family assured me I was beautiful, but the voices of the others were louder and I believed them. My prom dress was a size 4, but I was still the fat girl. I was the fat girl all through high school and throughout college.
Almost a profile. Notice the bump. 
Eventually I WAS overweight. And by the time I had met Mr. Jones who was madly in love with me for some strange reason, I had just accepted that I was always going to be the fat girl with a pretty face (but a big nose...notice no profile shots either) who was really smart, and really caring.

     I remember during my first couple of years as a teacher, I watched one of my colleagues transform by losing 70lbs on Weight Watchers. I spoke with her and thought to myself, "If I follow that program, there is no reason why I can't do that too." So I did. In 2001, I lost 55lbs over the course of 10 months, and kept it off. My wedding dress was a size 6, but I was still the fat girl. All of my honeymoon pictures have me with a jacket tied around my waist (just in case it was cold in Florida in July). The jacket covered my not flat enough stomach, and my "big fat butt."  It wasn't until I was about 30 that I realized my "fat ass" is not a bad thing (cue Queen's "Fatbottom Girls"), and I finally stopped referring to  myself as the fat girl or BFC, as I would sometimes say when I didn't want my kids to know what I was saying (Big Fat Cow).
     I remember the shift. I remember being in the car with my sister and saying, "I don't see myself as fat anymore." I think she was surprised that I still did. I am not a skinny girl by any stretch of the imagination. I am average sized and curvy. And beautiful. Yes, now I see myself as beautiful. Not because anyone told me so. Because I looked into myself one day. I looked at who I am. I looked at my relationships. I looked at all the love that was constantly pouring out of me, and I realized that I am beautiful. Not because I can squeeze "my fatass" into size 8 jeans, or because of facial symmetry or anything like that. I am beautiful because when I reached 33, I said "F-you" to the voices in my head that were not coming from a divine place and that were not my own. I told the ex-boyfriend who said I shouldn't gain anymore weight because I have such a pretty face to screw-off. I told the girl in high school who would prank me to tell me I was fat to shut the hell up. I told the kids who called me "Moolissa" (it hurts to even write it) to hit the road. I was done. And when they finally all fell silent, there was one voice. My higher self. The piece of me that is divine and knows all the secrets of the universe. The core of my being. The one person who really understood who I was inside and out. Myself.
Hello, Melissa!
Hello, confidence!
Hello, I am capable of so much more than anyone has ever given me credit for!
Hello, magick!
Hello, power!
 Hello, no one can tell me what to do or who to be or how to act! 


 Goodbye fat girl!

     The thing is, we all fall prey to those false voices. The echoes of darkness and negative people. The song of jealousy and belittlement. I felt for a long time that there was a fire in me that had been smoldering below the surface. I didn't know how to let it out. I was afraid of what it would become. I was afraid that I would go from insecure fat girl to shallow egomaniac. I didn't know how to be anything else. That was just fear and darkness. Once I took a leap of faith into myself, once I decided to be me and only me and to stop caring what everyone else thought I was or should be, that fire flared up and I became a force to be reckoned with. I don't need anyone to tell me I look pretty (even though its nice to hear sometimes.) I don't need to be told how smart I am (my ego is big enough). I don't need to be told I am good or special. I am who I am. I will not apologize for it. I am far from perfect. I have to keep that ego in check. I make tons of mistakes. My belly will never be flat. My nose will always be crooked. I am still too loud, over dramatic and yes, I think too much. But that's me. And I like me. I love me. I don't need you to love me. You need to love you!
      Do you? Love yourself, that is? What are the voices in your head telling you? Whose voices are they? Can you hear your inner voice. Or are you afraid? Socrates said, "Know thyself." I don't think many people know themselves at all. They determine their self worth by what other people tell them. When I look at you, I know who you really are when I look in your eyes. I see your beauty. I see your light even when you can't. Take a good look at yourself. Look into your own beautiful eyes. Who do you see? Introduce yourself to yourself and fall in love.

I used to work with this older lady, Annie (may she rest in peace). She used to say, "You are your own best friend." I finally understand what she meant, and now I really am.

>3! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anxiiiietttttyyyyy

     Funny story. I was planning to write about anxiety. Somehow I have had a problem getting started. The "geek chic" special ed. teacher sitting next to me on my break says, "Are you anxious about writing about anxiety?!" Yes. I guess I am. What if I don't find the right words? Where is the divine spark of inspiration that usually sets me off? Where are my angels whispering in my ear? Maybe that's not what I am supposed to write about. What if I don't have enough to say?..... sounds like anxiety to me.
     That's the point. Odd how inspiration hits. I needed it to me pointed out to me. The thing about anxiety, is that you don't usually even realize it is affecting you until it has totally taken over and you are consumed with irrational fear and doubt. Obsessively asking questions from the universe about how or why or when or what if. For some people, it can be completely debilitating. Stopping you in your tracks and causing you to retreat to a safe place where nothing ever changes. Some people are so paralyzed that they cannot even leave their homes. This is tragic.

     What Anxiety is: (Assuming you have faith in an all powerful, benevolent God) Anxiety is the illusion that somehow God will make a mistake. (Or, if not God) That somehow the universe is broken today and the perfection that usually organizes situations and people in our lives has become defective and somehow you are not where you are supposed to be. Anxiety is believing in the impossible. It is a lack of faith. It is nothing more than fear of the unknown. Faith is stepping into the unknown knowing that no matter what, you will be okay. Everything will work out for the best. Fear is the opposite of that. Anxiety is the physical manifestation of this fear: nervous stomach, shaking, throwing up, racing heart, sudden need to use the bathroom, and in extreme cases, full on panic attacks. Anxiety is the bondage of fear. It is the ego futilely believing it has to control outside forces, and when it realizes that it cannot, the fight or flight instinct kicks in, and you find yourself in a place of darkness. You can only control your own behavior. Remember that.
Anxiety


     Anxiety's nemesis? Clarity. The first step to conquering it is seeing it for what it is, recognize, "I am experiencing anxiety." Then look at it. You have already begun to destroy it. Once you acknowledge that it is just fear, you are no longer believing the illusion. You are seeing that it is plaguing you. The next step is to get it to stop. Begin by taking a step back. Identify what you are really worrying about. What is the source of this illusion? What is the worse case scenario? If that happens, will you be supported by family or friends? Could you ever be abandoned by God? Even is the end result brings challenges, do you really believe you can't handle them? People survived the Holocaust. You can handle this!
Clarity
     Breathe. Slowly and deeply. Breathe in light and out dark. Fear is darkness. Sit on the floor. Feel the support of the earth. Let the negative energy sink into the ground. Feel healing green light come up from the floor and surround you. Pray. Whatever prayer you know or like. I usually pray for "the clouds of illusion to be pushed aside so I can find clarity." It doesn't matter who you pray to. I pray to God, but I often call on Archangel Uriel who is the "light of God." He illuminates the darkness. But you can also say a mantra (Shanti, Shanti, Shanti....) Ask Jesus. Ask Mary (I often pray the Rosary when I need Her strength). Ask your favorite Saint or ascended master. Or just feel a oneness with the earth. The act of breathing and sitting (grounding) brings you into the present moment. Anxiety is rooted in the ambiguous future. Clarity is rooted in the present moment. Focus on where you are now. You are safe now. Everything is as it should be. God will take care of the rest. Let the clarity wash over you as you realize you will always be supported. There will always be a solution. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. You KNOW that. In your core, you know it. Stay present. Focus on the step in front of you. Don't look up the staircase, it will seem impossible. It's not. One breath at a time. When every breath fills you with love and light, there is no room for darkness.

The stairs may seem daunting, but there is light at the top, not dark.



As always, I wish you well. Remember, faith is always the answer.

>3!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Life Is Hard, Suck It Up, Stand Tall And Go Forward

    No one's life is easy. Everyone has his own cross to bear. I know you may not believe that. It's human nature to look at other people's lives and assume they have it easier than you. You base these assumptions on the face they present to you and the rest of the world. Not everyone walks around with their drama hanging out for everyone to see. That girl who always posts funny things about her life on Facebook never says how hard it is to get up every morning knowing she's still not pregnant. She doesn't want you to know. That guy who always posts pictures of himself partying with beautiful women never says how he wakes up alone every morning dreaming about the "one that got away." That woman who always has a bright smile on her face, the perfect clothes, the perfect body, will never show you how powerless she feels. And that woman who always seems to know the perfect thing to say or write to make you feel better without even trying doesn't drone on about how terrified she is about what she fears lies ahead in her own future. We all have something. And yes, there are people who are not suffering right now at this moment, but it doesn't mean they haven't had their share, or that they won't have a greater cross to bear in the future. Like I said, Life Is Hard! Not for everyone at the same time in the same way, but it's still hard.
      There's a school of thought that suggests that we all came into this life with a plan. We chose the people who would be our family, our careers, our challenges, our lessons and even the possible times we can die before we were even conceived. Our free will gives us opportunity to make choices about how we get to these preplanned places in our lives, but there are some things that are inescapable...destiny. When you look at life this way, it changes your perspective on hardship. You begin to see it as a combination of a sum total of all the choices you have made during this life and the divine plan that you and God decided was your purpose. Hardships, when viewed as lessons, become a means to an end. Growing pains. Sometimes we are slow to learn our lessons. Some people can never see the higher plan and never get out of the ego-based, poor-me syndrome. Some people repeat the same lessons over and over again never learning and live a life full of pain.
     I am going to share something very personal with you. I am scared. I see the road ahead of me,and  it is full of challenges. I have much to learn. My future is an uphill climb.  This is not pessimism. It is a reality. My guides have been preparing me and I am at the beginning of a huge transition in more than one area of my life. Yesterday, I fell apart. I slipped into a desperate fear based darkness and I prayed, tears in my eyes for help. I closed my eyes and breathed into a meditation clearing my mind. This is what I saw:
Altarpiece Of St. Michael, Gerard David
      I stood at a crossroads. There were three roads in front of me. At the head of the road to the left there was a demon. I looked at him. He was the embodiment of my fear. On the middle path I saw nothing at first. Then I saw Archangel Michael swoop down in all his glory. He stood between me and fear. I then realized that my three guardian angels were beside me, Peter, Charlotte and Charlene. To my right I felt the Glorious Presence of The Blessed Mother. I heard her say, "Let it go, My child." She was speaking of my fear and control issues. Then in front of me, I saw Him. Jesus. Calmly, patiently reaching out his hand. I ran into His arms. He held me. I said, "I am so scared." Then I saw the path. There was Mr. Jones, standing at the edge of the road, reaching out his hand.  Up ahead on the road there stood a knight on a black horse watching and waiting. He was not a "knight in shining armor" coming to save me. He was dark. His armor was black, dull and well beaten. He had seen many battles. He was not going to save me from anything. He was a Templar. One of God's knights assigned to protect the faithful on their journeys through the Holy Land. Like I said, he was not there to protect me from my battles, but he was prepared to walk beside me on this long journey ahead. I would begin this journey into the unknown. I had a choice. I could take the path of fear and walk alone, or I could take up my sword of faith. With Jesus beside me, the angels and guides to lead the way, I knew that even though the journey ahead of me will be difficult, I will always be supported as long as I walk the path of the faithful. God will always provide for everything I need. I know that. I know that with every ounce of my being. But I will still have to battle the fear. The demon remained the whole time. They did not destroy him. I tried to plunge my sword into him, but it was to no avail. He remains. I can still see him lingering in my periphery. Grotesque, and sinister.
     The point is, that when I speak about surrendering to God, giving Him the reins and letting go of fear and ego, I speak from my own experience. I am not any better of than you. Yes, I celebrate my blessings openly and publicly, but I suffer just like everyone else. I refuse to surrender to the darkness. I refuse to walk down that path. I hold my faith. I step forward cautiously. I constantly pray for guidance and protection. Life is hard, but you never have to walk alone. I know my visions are Judeo-Christian based. They showed me what I would understand. Maybe you have a different faith construct. Maybe you walk with Buddah, or Ganesh, or Lakshmi or Abraham. That's not the important part. The point is, that when you walk in faith, the darkness cannot get you. We all have challenges ahead of us. If we didn't, we would be on the cusp of death. We would be finished. I am not finished. And today I am gathering my strength, and stepping foreword in faith knowing that I will not have to fight anything alone. I will not let the demons get me. And neither should you. Go forward. You will never be left alone if you choose the path of faith. You don't have to be able to see the bumps in the road ahead. God will light the way one step at a time. The trick is, you have to ask, and you have to know it's true.
      

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The G Word (Guilt.... Blaaahh)

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  As most of you know, I am a working mother. I am also of Italian and Greek descent raised by a traditional Catholic family. Add to that an addiction to food, an innate desire to please everyone and keep everyone happy and what do you get? Guilt.

Mommy-Why-Do-You-Have-To-Go-To-Work Guilt + I-Forgot-To-Ask-How-Daddy's-Procedure-Went Guilt + When-Was-The-Last-Time-I-Called-My-Nanny Guilt + I-Don't-Believe-In-Confession Guilt + Too-Much-Peanut-Butter Guilt + I-Forgot-To-Call-My-Best-Friend-Back Guilt + I-Should-Really-Stop-Eating-Meat Guilt + My-House-Is-Not-Clean-Enough-Guilt + I-Really-Shouldn't-Have-Spent-So-Much-On-That-Gift Guilt +I-Am-Way-Too-Hard-On-Myself Guilt....
and that just scrapes the tip of the guilt laden hot fudge covered iceberg.

                                                               I hate guilt.
             I am done with guilt.
                                 You SUCK, Guilt!
                                                   F---- You Guilt!
      It took me a long time. Too long of a time to understand and to stop being held hostage by guilt. That's right. Held hostage. Guilt is an ego based emotion. It has its seeds in darkness and it grows up around you and holds you back from experiencing real happiness. It strangles you. And if you let it, it will consume you and hold you in a dark prison shackled to a moment or an action replaying it over and over in your mind, wishing you could change something you believe should never have happened in the first place.
     Don't get me wrong. There are things we just should not do. Any behavior that you know will hurt another person is a reason to feel guilty.... for a minute. I say for a minute, because if you realize you did something wrong, if you realize you made a mistake, you own up to it, ask for forgiveness, make it right, and then you let it go. You cannot go back and redo it. You cannot change the consequences. You can just accept responsibility, do your "penance," so to speak, and move on.
MOVE ON. IT IS OVER.
     Or is it? This is where guilt becomes evil. It should be over. You learned a lesson. You made it right. It's over for the person who forgave you, but you can't let it go. You are plagued. The roots of guilt are beginning to anchor themselves into your heart. And now you are stuck. Replaying. Reliving. Asking why.
     Remember "The F Word (Forgiveness, That Is), last week's post? Guilt is the opposite of that. Guilt is the antithesis of self-forgiveness. When we really love someone unconditionally, it is not that hard to forgive them. Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? Because guilt is an ego based emotion. Confounded guilt has nothing to do with the other person or the act. It has to do with you. Think about it. Guilt is about self importance.

"I am so important to him or her that he or she will NEVER be able to recover from what I did." 
"My children love me so much that it isn't fair to them that I should have a life of my own."
"I need to be perfect all the time so everyone will love me." 
"I am the center of the universe and my friends and family need me all the time."

Those are the lies that guilt tells you. The truth is:

"Your actions were hurtful, so learn from them."
"There was a lesson for everyone involved. Your actions were a necessary part of another person's life path. They have learned them and moved on."
"If someone cannot move on, they have lessons to learn about forgiveness. There is nothing you can do about that. You are a part of their lesson."
"Your children do love you, and they need you, but they have their own lives and do not think about you every second of the day."
"Your friends and family love you, but they are not thinking about you every minute either."
"Organized religion is just a set of rules. If following those rules makes you feel closer to God, great. But God knows all of your sins. He knows exactly who you are. And if you have sincerely asked him for forgiveness, he has already forgiven you."
"You have accepted the universe's consequences. Don't repeat your mistakes, and move on."

     It's over. Get over it. Show yourself the same unconditional love you would show your child if she made a mistake. "I know you are sorry. You made a mistake. You are only human. We are all just doing the best we can." Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Let it go!

Dear God, I thank you for forgiving me my transgressions. I truly feel sorry for what I have done. Help me to learn my lessons. Help me to cut the chords of guilt that are holding me back from moving forward. Thank you for helping me to forgive myself.

I wish you all well. I wish you all happiness. Remember we are all just human. You are a beautiful child of God and you are doing the best you can to be the best person you can be. God loves you. Remember, every one of us is an extension of God's energy. To love yourself is to love God. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself. It's okay. May you be flooded with healing green light. May any attachments you have from guilt be cut and all scars healed in love. So mote it be. God bless.

__________________________________________________
Greater than 3!

Thank you Archangels Gabriel and Raphael for helping me to bring this healing message. Thank You, God for your constant love and support and for the abundance of love in my life.




Saturday, February 16, 2013

The "F" Word, (Forgiveness)



Dove Of Peace, Pablo Picasso
      My favorite Metallica song is *Nothing Else Matters. Probably because it's a song about fearless undying love in the face of adversity.... you know I'm a sucker for that kind of poetry. Mr. Jones', on the other hand is *Unforgiven. Which, is argumentatively one of their best songs as well. Eloquently written, beautifully sung, painting a picture of the painful life a man endures due to his abusive childhood. "Never free, never me, so I dub thee unforgiven." So tragic. So accurate. "Never free," he says. But why is he never free? Not because he cannot erase the scars of the past. He could overcome them. Not easily, but it IS possible for anyone to transcend the cards they were dealt. No, the reason he is 'never free' is because he dubs someone else unforgiven.
     Whenever I find myself deeply engaged in conversation with someone. When we get down to the nitty gritty of what is really holding a person back from experiencing authentic happiness, I find we get to one of two blockages. The two things that are holding most people back are lack of faith or lack of forgiveness. So many good people tie themselves up in a prison of pain without even realizing it because they refuse to, or believe they cannot forgive another person or themselves for some painful moment (or a series of moments) from their past. And this is what I mean by never free. Forgiveness is the key to real emotional freedom. No one ever likes to hear this, but it is the truth.
Mother Teresa
     "I cannot allow myself to forgive him for what he did. I can not give him that. He doesn't deserve to be forgiven." Never free, then.
     "I will never forgive myself for what I did to her. I was so selfish. How could I do that to someone I love?" Never free, then.
     "Some things are just unforgivable." Never free.
     I get it. I get how forgiveness could seem so illusive. Some crimes are just so horrific, so evil, so disgustingly inhuman that to forgive them just seems impossible. If you believe this, then you don't really understand forgiveness. When you find real forgiveness for someone, you are not giving the evildoer anything. You are not giving her a gift of Grace. You are not saying what he did is acceptable. Nor are you saying that you will tolerate that behavior again. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It's about releasing your pain, and allowing yourself to leave the prison of continually reliving that pain.        
     Forgiveness begins by taking yourself out of a situation. Looking at it from a higher perspective. Like you are reading a novel. See yourself as a character. Look at your life path. Look at the other person's life path. Ask yourself, how did that person's mistake affect his life path? It doesn't matter if he learned a lesson from it or not. It doesn't matter if he wants forgiveness or not. He is on a journey. He has lessons to learn in this life and his path is different from yours. He will face judgment. He will face karma. Those are his lessons not yours. 

     Now look at your own life path. How has this transgression affected your life? What lessons did you learn? How did you overcome the hardship? Or, what can you learn from this situation? What are you supposed to learn from it? Refuse to let someone else's mistake, someone else's darkness, someone else's ignorance hold you back anymore. When you hold onto anger towards someone, when you get angry every time you think about him or her, you are continually reliving the pain. You are allowing yourself to be abused over and over again. You deserve better than that. You deserve peace. You need to let it go. When you find forgiveness, understanding of the situation from a divine perspective, you find yourself saying things like:
"He was wrong, but didn't know any better." 
"She was lost in darkness, overcome by evil or ego and he couldn't find the light. She is without God." 
"He was afraid. He acted out of fear. He had lost his faith."
"She is only human. Everyone makes mistakes."
"He is evil, I pray that God will find him."
And then you begin to let go, you begin to realize that his path is his, and your path is yours. They just crossed. There was a reason. You were supposed to learn something. Did you? Maybe your greatest lesson in this life is to learn how to forgive. Maybe you had to experience something horrific so that you can find your way out and help others who still suffer.  Only you can find the answer to the why? Look into your heart. Ask God. You will understand if you seek to understand.You have to make a choice to move on from it. You have to refuse to relive your pain anymore. Refuse to be a victim. 
     I know. This is easier said than done. And maybe you think I couldn't possibly understand the depth of your pain. You are right on both accounts. It IS easier said than done. It requires work on your part, and no one can understand another person's pain. Not fully. **Viktor Frankl described suffering as a gas. It fills you up regardless of how it compares to another person's pain. Each person can only understand the suffering he has experienced, but it doesn't make yours any less or more painful than mine. Suffering is suffering.  I can tell you this, though. I have forgiven everyone who has ever hurt me. 
    "How is that possible, Meliss? You mean you hold no anger for anyone?" Don't misunderstand. Anger comes up. Pain comes up. Sadness comes up. When it does, I pray. (Yes, that is my answer for everything. It works every time.) I ask God to help me release the anger and find forgiveness. I ask an angel (Archangel Raphael) every time I feel angry to help me find understanding and bring healing to a situation. And I do. Everytime. And I am at peace with everyone who is in (and out) of my life. Instead of harboring anger for a person, I pray for humor her. I ask that he will be surrounded in God's light and love so that he will find his way back home. It takes time. Healing always takes time. But it can be done. With faith, with hope, with love, ANYTHING is possible. 
Remember, forgiveness is not a gift you give another person. It's a gift you give yourself. Here is a prayer to help you get started:

Help me to understand forgiveness. Help me find peace in my heart. Thank You, God for helping me to forgive anyone who has ever hurt me. Please forgive me for any and all wrongs I have done against anyone else. Thank You, God for helping me to forgive myself. Thank you for cutting all attachments I have to painful situations in my past. And bringing healing to everyone involved. Thank you for helping me learn my lessons and move forward to a life of peace. Amen
Just think about it. Like I said, healing takes time. But as Pink sings in that song that seems to be playing every time I turn on the radio, ***"You gotta get up and try!" No one deserves to be "never free." Instead, "open mind for a different view," because "nothing else matters."

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>3
I hold the intention that everyone who lays eyes upon this page be surrounded by healing green light. That you be blessed with divine guidance and wisdom to help you on your path towards happiness. For the good of all things and harm to none.

"Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven" was written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett
**Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl. Beacon Press, 2006
***"Try" was written by Busbee and Ben West
Thank you Archangels Gabriel and Raphael for the gift of inspiration, understanding and healing. Thank You, Jesus for helping me find forgiveness in all areas of my life. I am so blessed and grateful.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Moment I Wake Up...

(You know where this is going, right?)... before I put on my make-up.... (that's right, I'm channelling Dionne**).... I say a little prayer for you! 

     It's been in my head all day. It's true, though. After I drag my sorry butt out of bed, already having pushed snooze twice, watched the clock with the right time change over to 5:55, and untangled my legs from whichever child crawled into bed and intertwined with me, trying not to disturb the 75 lb dog who has wiggled his way between Mr. Jones and me, I stumble into the bathroom and that's when the prayers start. While the shower heats up, Our Father Who Art In Heaven... Wetting my hair... Hail Mary, full of grace... Shampoo... Oh my Jesus, forgive me my sins.... My Queen, my Mother, I give you all of myself....Conditioner...My Jesus, help me to be a beacon of Your light..., and somewhere between the Dove soap and facial scrub, I speak to 5 of the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Chamuel and Raphael) asking them to shield me, protect me and guide me through the day. I ask to clear blockages, lift negativity, ground energy, push aside my ego, keep me "sign posted", and to fill me with Divine Love that overflows onto everyone I meet. And that IS before I put on my make-up. Those are just the prayers I say for myself.
      The rest of the day is pretty much a series of nonstop prayers for other people. Driving to work: please surround D-, in healing light. Lift any anxiety off of J-. Shield Mr. Jones and "all my children" in white light and protect them from all negativity. Walking down the hall: that kid has been really sad lately, lift his sadness and fill him with love. There's C-, surround her in Divine love so that she can heal the scars of her broken heart and move forward. There's J, help her find the answers she needs to help her son who is being bullied. C is trying to get pregnant, help her to surrender to the process. It goes on and on like that in between explanations of cell function, parent meetings, making photocopies, and discussing science fair projects. But you get it... I pray A LOT! Even sometimes while I'm teaching, someone I care about will pop into my head at random and "I say a little prayer" for them. 
Michelangelo, The Creation Of Adam
     I know this is not typical. I realize that I have a faith that is unlike most people's, and I am not saying that everyone should spend their day in prayer that way, but there is a reason why I pray so much. I know it works. My life has been transformed through prayer. I have seen other people's lives change dramatically, as well.
     A few months ago, I was at a birthday party. I didn't know the hostess that well (Mrs. S), but I felt immediately comfortable with her. I had the extreme joy of connecting to her late parents that night. And if I remember correctly, an aunt as well. I don't remember that much of the reading, but I do remember that they were quite upset with her as she had lost her faith. They were saying over and over again that she needed to pray. That she needed to count her blessings. Her parents' names were *Anne and Anthony. Her father showed me a bunch of religious statues. I recognized Saint Anthony, and asked Mrs. S if she prayed through him. She said, "all the time." When I finally left, Mrs. S was in tears, and when I kissed her goodbye, I felt very blessed because knew I had delivered the message that God wanted her to hear. Driving home, They showed me (in my head) a St. Anthony medal that was in the junk drawer of my nightstand. I understood immediately that I had to find it and give it to Mrs. S. Sure enough, I opened the drawer and shoved in the back were 2 prayer cards with medals attached to them. One was Saint Anthony, the other was Saint Anne. (I didn't even know they were there, nor did I know where they came from.) So I sent them to her. A few days later, I received a beautiful thank you card saying that she was wearing the medals everyday and that she had begun to pray and count her blessings. She had shifted her thinking from, "God, why did You make my life so hard?" to "Thank You God, for the many blessings I have." A few months later, I saw her again at a birthday party. She showed me her medals, and said, "I have been praying everyday, and I feel so much better." Something prompted me to ask her about her job. She was working for a daycare and was extremely underpaid. She told me that recently, that she had considered leaving, but a voice in her head told her to stick it out. After a series of unforeseen circumstances, she was given a substantial raise, and her work conditions improved tremendously. By shifting her thoughts to prayers of gratitude, she was rewarded with more blessings. When she finally gave her heart to God, suddenly her life began to change. This is why I pray.
     Yes, I say a lot of prayers. And some are the ones taught by the religion I choose to affiliate myself with, but most of them are just little conversations with God and His angels. That's all a prayer has to be. A simple thought with the intention for God to hear it. He knows it's meant for Him. He hears everything your heart cries out for. The thing is, since He gave you free will, He cannot help you unless you give Him permission. You have to ask. And once you do, you open the door for miracles. If you don't ask, the door stays closed. The choice is yours. Just say a little prayer. That's all there is to it.

(Today, I thank God for the opportunity to connect everyday with so many beautiful souls. >3!)

*Amazingly, I just found out that the day I posted this was the anniversary of the Anne's death. I didn't know it at the time. I don't usually post on a school night, but for some reason I felt it HAD to be posted that day, Feb 7. It wasn't until I shared it with "Mrs. S," that I learned the significance of the date. I remind you, there are NO coincidences. What a beautiful way to honor her.  I feel blessed to have been chosen to do so.

**"I Say A Little Prayer" was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Dionne Warwick in 1967

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cogito

     It means, "I think," in Latin. No, I am not trying to remind you how smart I think I am. I just have a thing for Descartes. It's not what I think, after all. It's that I think... and therefore, I am. "Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therfore I am.) Okay, so maybe it is a bit pretentious of me (I slipped on my ego for a minute there), but as you will see, that's sort of my point. I was going to entitle this post, "Check Your 'Big-Ego' and Roll to the Church in Your New Tuxedo." And while I'm sure Young MC would have been delighted that someone, anyone, remembered enough of "Bust a Move" to cleverly butcher his lyrics, I much prefer to honor Monsieur Descartes for the influence his philosophy has had on my own sense of ego. That's what I want to talk about. Ego. The essence of "Cogito" is this idea that each of us has a self, and the only thing we can really be sure of in this world is of our own thoughts, our own existence, our own sense of self. I know...  but before you tune me out like Charlie Brown's teacher, let me start with this:
                                                                   It's hard to be human.
     What does that even mean? Being human. I often say that we are divine beings having an Earthly experience. We are capable of so much and limited by our human bodies. We have this massive beautiful mind that we only use 10% of. I often feel trapped in my body. Like if I could just escape it and let my soul free I could soar throughout the universe and explore and learn so much. But here I am. And there you are. Separate from me. Separated by our bodies. I am me. You are you. We are each an extension of God's divine energy, and yet we are separated by flesh.
The Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Salvador Dali
    The ego is a manifestation of this separateness. My body separates my soul from yours, therefore, I must be different from you. My body also creates this illusion that I am separate from God. This idea of who I am is the ego. The ego is not divine. It is the exact opposite of it, actually. It is the part of us that is the farthest away from God. It is the animal in us. The human animal. It is our most basic instincts. It tells us that we have to control every situation. It tells us that we only have two options, fight or flight. It tells us that we have to be the alpha male or female. It tells us that if everyone loves us, we will be in the best position of power and therefore we will be happy. It tells us that happiness is having lots of stuff. It tells us that being (or at least looking) young is imperative to our survival (old is weak, young is strong). To live a life of pure ego makes us no different from any other pack animal. And yet, we are so much more than that. 
     We are God's children, are we not? We have a divine spark. A soul. The soul is not the ego. The soul tells us that happiness comes from giving and receiving love. The soul tells us that peace is an option. The soul tells us that age brings wisdom and that physical appearances are not important. The soul doesn't care about the accumulation of stuff. The soul knows that there is no need to compete with others because there is always enough love to go around.
    The soul is the ego's biggest threat. The ego is based in fear. The soul is based in love. The soul gives you confidence to let your inner light shine in the face of darkness regardless of anyone else's opinion. The ego gives you arrogance and a constant need to receive praise. The ego needs a spotlight. The soul makes YOU the light source. Being human is hard. We are constantly plagued by ego. It tells us we are not good enough unless someone else thinks so. It deludes us into thinking we have to wait for someone to show up with a spotlight, and that that spotlight is the most important thing. But what happens when you stand in a spotlight? You can't see anyone else. The light is on you, but all you see is darkness.
     If you can squash that ego, just a little bit. If you can tell it to shut up for a minute. If you can ignore the lies it constantly tells you. If you can embrace your own inner light. If you can start measuring your success by amount of love given instead of by adoration received. If you can live a life where things matter little and people matter a lot. Then your light will shine. It will shine so bright that you will realize that you are not alone on the stage. You will be able to see. And you will see that you are surrounded by many beautiful lights, many beautiful souls, creating a beacon that destroys the darkness. And in this light, there is no place where I begin and you end, and love and happiness can fill us all.
     I know. It seems really hard, doesn't it? Do you mean I have to stop wearing make-up? I can't stop wearing make-up! (You don't have to stop wearing make-up, Mommy. It's Okay) No one is completely without ego. (Especially, me. Remember "cogito?" It's a constant battle.) We all suffer from our egos. If you could stifle it all together, you would be divine, a saint, a buddha, a prophet. Most of us are just humans struggling to live normal lives. Just start paying attention to it. Try to recognize its voice. And when it starts to creep up on you and tell you that you can't, know that you can push it aside. Focus on the love in your life and remember what's really important. Remember that all the bad things in life, anger, fear, jealousy, pride, arrogance, self centeredness, lust, avarice, guilt, violence... they are all manifestations of the human ego. They do not come from God. Not in you. Not in other people. And if you can remember that everyone of us is struggling with ego. If you can remember that being human is hard for all of us, then you can understand forgiveness. There is a reason why they say, "To err is human. To forgive is divine." You can undertand that we all fall prey to our egos sometimes. You can forgive those who have hurt you because they were caught in the throws of ego and you can find the hardest form of  forgiveness of all... forgivenss of self.
I pray that you find your divine light and embrace it without fear.

Love, love, love, love...... >3

Friday, January 25, 2013

How far is Heaven?

     I woke up this morning with that song in my head. ("How Far is Heaven," by Los Lonely boys) It actually started playing in the middle of the night when my little one came in at 2:31 to tell me she couldn't find Baby. If you knew my little angel, you would know that not knowing where her "Baby and Purple Blankie" are is a full scale emergency and warrants me stumbling downstairs in my underwear to seek out her Princess backpack to rescue Baby from her dark prison. That's when I realized the soundtrack in my head had changed. (I went to bed trying to drown out Taylor Swift whining about her "Trouble"by praying to release the anxiety caused by the money trouble I was uselessly worrying about. When I finally gave that to Mary to handle for me, I was able to clear my head and sleep.... that's when "They" planted today's message) At 5:40, when my alarm wore off, it was still playing, throughout my morning prayers, shower, hair drying/make-up ritual, and finally when I was feeding the dog, I asked, "Ok, so how far IS Heaven?" The answer came immediately in the form of another song (of course), (Warrant, this time) "Heaven isn't to far awaaaay.... Closer to it everydaaaay....No matter what your friends might saaaay...."  So there's your answer. Simple right? Or not.
     Not. 

     As a kid, I always had this image of Heaven. It's this place way up in the sky where God and all the saints and profits sit on the clouds eating chocolate cake with the angels. Everyone is happy. Then that image shifted to an island paradise and this idea that whatever you like on Earth you get lots of in heaven... yay, more chocolate cake, right?! Wrong. Heaven is not Disney World, but it is the happiest place on Earth. That's right on Earth. Heaven is right here. It is all around you. You just can't see it.... or maybe you are open enough that you can. We can get glimpses of it. I've had blissful moments where I have felt so connected to the divine, that the illusions of this world fade away and I just exist in a state of pure joy, pure love, and nothing about this lifetime even matters. It's kind of like being high, but it's not a chemical induced delusion. It's a real experience, a real connection to Heaven and the infinite flow of God's love.
The Kiss,  Gustav Klimt
     You have had these experiences too, these moments of detachment where you feel that beautiful connection to something much bigger than you. Maybe you felt it when you held your child for the first time and looked into her eyes and saw your soul and her soul forever intertwined and you understood that this person is someone you have always known and whom you have been connected with forever. Maybe with a sibling or a best friend where you laughed so hard for so long that time seemed to stop and nothing else mattered. Maybe you have been so in love with someone that when your lips met you lost track of where you end and he or she begins and all sense of anyone and anything else in the world disappeared. Maybe you have had an experience where you felt the presence of a passed loved one so strongly in a song, or a smell or a sign from nature that you felt completely loved and just knew that everything is as it should be. These are moments when we connect with heaven. Heaven ISN'T too far away. It is right here in all of the love relationships in our lives when you let down the barriers of ego and exist in a state of complete vulnerability with another soul. God is the essence of your soul. When two souls connect, regardless of the relationship, you experience God's pure love... and then you are experiencing heaven.
Chocolate cake is divine, and tropical islands are paradise, but despite the opinion of Marie Antoinette, eating cake won't make you happy. And you can be miserable in a place called paradise if your heart is longing for love. The answer to all your emotional needs is found in loving other people. All people. Open your heart. Bare your soul. And when others bare theirs to you, let them see yours, and you can be in heaven every day of your life.

(Thank you God and Archangel Gabriel for today's divine inspiration.... and for the feather that just floated onto my keyboard!)
(Greater than 3)