How to know if you are a Lightworker.

According to Google, a lightworker is “a special person with almost psychic ability to intuit what other people are thinking, feeling, or need in order to heal.”

Wrong!

We do not need psychic abilities to be a lightworker. I have seen lightworkers busy doing their thing, everywhere, every day.

My son is a lightworker when he snuggles up to me and utters, “I love you, mommy.”

My dog is a lightworker when she wags her tail and licks a stranger’s hand.

The man who pumps my gas who asks me a question instead of staring at his phone is a lightworker. The stranger who passes me on the street, meeting my eyes, followed by his warm smile, is a lightworker.

Children are lightworkers, bringing their vulnerability and openness to everyone they meet.

A lightworker is someone who wants to yell back at her Facebook friend for the post about a political candidate of the opposing political party, but instead writes, “Thanks for sharing,” and takes a walk instead.

A lightworker takes a moment before lashing out at Verizon for charging so much for service. A lightworker is the one who lashes out before apologizing for taking out their money frustrations on a stranger.

A lightworker connects us to the feelings of regret or sadness through the words of a song, and is the one who listens in the quiet of their bedroom, weeping alone.

The man who stands in the freezing temperatures directing traffic away from the road construction is a lightworker, as well as the one who puts her hands upon a man’s leg, healing his tumor.

Deer grazing and birds flying in unison are lightworkers, as is the homeless man who tugs at our heartstrings, reminding us to have gratitude for all we have been given in life.

The grief-stricken man who forgives the police officer who shot his unarmed brother and the woman who bakes homemade chocolate chip cookies, spreading sweetness in the world, are lightworkers.

The young woman who stands up in court, speaking her anger and grief to her perpetrator, is a lightworker.

We do not have to have a profession as a spiritual teacher or become Instagram famous to be a lightworker. Handing another a blanket when they are cold, letting a car pass in front even when we are in a rush, texting a friend whose radio silence could be a sign of her struggles, and saying “I am sorry” are all signs of lightworkers doing our job.

Getting out of bed when we feel like hiding and standing in front of an audience speaking about “shame and vulnerability” are the actions of a lightworker. Sharing our story so others feel less alone and listening to a friend with all our attention are signs of lightworkers doing our thing.

Lightworkers fall down and break apart. We also get back up. We remember it is our mission to walk away when our soul is waking up, and then to help another do the same.

We stop in the road to help a deer who has wandered out into traffic, and put a hot meal on the table for our family. We take our children out for ice cream, and laugh when we see their face covered in chocolate. We get our hands dirty, and clean up our messes when we make a mistake. We work long hours so our family can go on vacation at the beach. We collect clothing for those who are in need and send cards to our elderly grandmother who feels alone in the world.

All lightworkers are angels, their wings hidden beneath their human facade.

We all came here to be lightworkers. We just need to get on to how we are to use our gifts in the world. We may become a comedian creating laughter, or we may be willing to pick up everyone’s trash each Monday. We may organize rides for those without cars, or give temporary jobs to the unemployed.

We connect one another by running support groups, networking lunches, and book clubs. We share what is on our mind and in our hearts.

Lightworkers are agents of change, bringing light into the darkness.

The whistleblower. The mother who allows her son, the addict, to become lost and hit rock bottom so that he can find his way back. These are lightworkers.

A lightworker is even the person who takes the time to put on a new roll of toilet paper for the next person.

Lightworkers reach out, cry, laugh, lend a hand, say no, speak the truth, face their fears, fetch the newspaper, create beautiful bows, cook, clean, love, share, respond, walk away, and connect. They are healing our world.

The next time you pass someone on the street, look them in the eye, smile, and say silently or aloud, “Thank you.” And then give yourself the same gratitude.

For more inspirational and heartwarming messages, please visit my website at www.thesacredletters.com

 

What is Healing?

We hear the word healing so often in life. In the doctor’s office, on the therapist’s couch, in the spiritual community. Healing can be seen by a surgeon cutting us open or felt by a child whose mother kisses his skinned knee. We know our bodies, minds and souls can heal from many things in life. But what is healing really?

Healing is messy, as well as beautiful. It is heart wrenching and uncomfortable. Healing takes courage and strength. Healing is moving from feeling like a victim to knowing we are a survivor. Healing is finding our voice, even after it was stuffed down for so many years.

Healing is taking a risk to change jobs, move our home or stand up to the person who has been bullying us, no matter how afraid we feel. Healing is reliving our worst nightmare and taking a stab at our grandest daydream. Healing is facing our demons and feeling what it brings up for us. Healing is walking away from a relationship that hurts us, no matter how much we still love them.

Healing is going to the store for a gallon of milk and having a meltdown because the size we want is not available. Healing is also realizing that a half gallon would have been fine, under normal circumstances. Healing is looking inward at our self and asking what makes us happy? What we can do better? How are we really feeling?

Healing as doing what we came here to do in this life, no matter how distracting life becomes. Healing is following our gut, and pushing through our doubt and fear. Healing is changing the way we have always thought because it simply is not working anymore. Healing is taking care of our self, giving our self what we need for the first time. Healing is saying yes to what we want and no to what we don’t. Healing is taking a chance and asking someone to be there for us, risking rejection.

Healing is asking for that raise, knowing we are worth more. Healing is knowing we will find strength in overcoming adversity. Healing is doing as we say. Healing is putting down that drink, or other addiction that is wreaking havoc on our life and asking for help in doing so.

Healing is walking through vulnerability and showing our true self to the world. Healing is knowing the shame that comes from this raw exposure is temporary and we can do it all again. Healing is putting away our technology and looking in the eye of the person sitting across from us. Healing is simply being alive.

Healing is not reacting to another who triggers us on social media, nor blindly following a politician who is leading us astray. Healing is no longer separating the message from the messenger knowing this never works. Healing is addressing someone’s character even if it affects your bottom line.

Healing is putting away those negative thoughts, the ones that come time and again, because they are not who we really are. Healing is doing something different, than we did the day before. Healing is cursing, screaming, running, journaling, walking, painting, gardening, noticing, exploring, meditating, listening, adoring and inviting.

Healing is learning something new, even if we are afraid to fail. Healing is making a mistake, losing our job, or experiencing divorce, death, illness or injury. Healing is seeing our anxiety as trying to reveal something to us that we have stuffed down, and understanding our depression is the space we are given to breathe, feel, change our thinking, our behavior and our life. Healing is addressing our past and choosing our future.

Healing is moving one inch to the left and seeing the bigger picture of a traumatic event. Healing is forgiving our self and another, when we are ready. Healing is showing up at court and doing our community service. Healing is taking a class at sixty years old and taking time off before college at eighteen.

Healing is breathing, sleeping, smiling, laughing and loving. Healing is a bear hug, when we feel like frightened fawn. Healing is speaking the truth, finding our voice, and calling out injustice for what it is. Healing is knowing we are not our zip code, the numbers in our bank account, our our children’s achievements.

Healing is saying no to a tyrant, a racist, a perpetrator, a bully, a dictator for another, who does not have the courage or strength to speak out for him self. Healing is manning up when we are caught, finding the courage to admit to unconscious behavior even when it affects your popularity, pocketbook or freedom. Healing is recognizing an agent of change, no matter what he looks, acts or seems to be.

Healing is protecting our children at all costs from unclean conditions, dirty water, abuse, neglect, and harm. Healing is hearing the screams within the sounds of silence. Healing is taking risks to believe the first victim that comes forward, not waiting for more to collaborate the story.

Healing is nonviolent protests and open conversations across cities, states, countries and continents. Healing is entertaining another viewpoint, for the sake of respect. Healing is no longer putting entertainers, politicians, musicians, the wealthy, the white, the educated, above the law, and on pedestals.

Healing is knowing that nothing is wrong or right in our life, but everything is here to help us.

Nothing is a coincidence and we are never alone. To take in the beauty of a flower, and the movement of a poem is to know healing. There is a bigger picture, and healing is stopping for a moment each day to look just below the surface, knowing that we are all part of something bigger than our self.

Healing is happening in every moment when we choose to live from our soul, and to become guided by our heart. Life will always lead us where we need to be. We never have to look too far for healing.

For more inspirational messages on healing, please visit our website at www.thesacredletters.com

What Humpty Dumpty Really Taught Me About Feeling Broken.

One of the most difficult things about living in our chaotic world is figuring out how to live beyond the fear, doubt and separation. How to remain loving and compassionate with our hearts open even when it seems as if loneliness, illness, divorce, job loss, addictions, and even death have been a part of all of our lives. Yet feeling broken, depressed, anxious, lost, bored, rejected, not good enough, or even like we have failed in some way, are all incredible opportunities.

If you are alive, you have been broken in some way. Some of us have been shattered, and the process of putting our self back together feels like walking up a mountain covered with ice. We finally figure out a way to move forward only to slide back down, losing our momentum. Others have been split in two or more pieces. Some of us, slightly cracked. 

Whether we need glue, cement or additional tools to help us mend is not important. Becoming whole requires the same process, whether you have been shattered or slightly cracked. 

Like Humpty Dumpty, we know we have fallen off the wall but do not know how to put our self back together.

Fixing our self in the broken places is the most difficult task we may take on in life. It means we begin to peel back the layers, dispelling the lies we so often tell our self. “I cannot change.” or “I’m fine, really.” And we must resist the urge to convince everyone that we are doing well, perhaps fooling nobody. It means we stop running, distracting, using substances – drugs, food, alcohol and the Internet. We understand we need not be a slave to our negative thoughts, or even self-imposed optimism. 

These are all simply defenses, coping mechanisms that have created a false self in order to get up after our fall; or even just to survive in our world today. But there is a far simpler way. And that is to feel – to get out of our heads and move into our hearts.

Living from our hearts is no easy task; but the most important ingredient to living a life of peace, joy and love no matter what happens to us. If splintering off, cracking or losing pieces of our self has left us broken, feeling through our hearts puts us on the path back to wholeness. Yet it is feeling the darkest of feelings, those we avoid on a regular basis, that is the key to putting our self back together again. 

Becoming whole is a process; one that takes courage, commitment and effort. Yet the rewards are enormous. The pathway involves becoming aware, releasing judgment, admitting the truth, finding support, and lastly feeling those hidden feelings of anger, loneliness, fear, doubt and grief. 

Becoming Aware

There is a voice, a watcher, an observer in each one of us. This is our higher self, consciousness, intuition and we all need to be able to tap into our higher self. In order to do so, we need to begin watching our thoughts and actions. We need to become curious. Why would I react in that way? What does this situation or person remind me of? We need to become aware of our critical thoughts, and where they come from. We need to learn how we think, and how we avoid feeling the hard stuff. 

Release Judgment

We are all beautiful human beings prone to making mistakes. That is how we learn. Judging these mistakes keeps us broken. We need to find compassion for our self so that we can heal or mend. Having judgment for what has happened to us by another person or something we have done to another, keeps us stuck. If we release judgment, we can free our self to speak the truth of how and where we have become broken. Releasing judgment requires moving beyond our mind, releasing those critical thoughts. 

Admitting the Truth

Opening up to what has been our experience or even what we are feeling in any given moment helps us heal. We need to admit the truth to our self that we have fallen off the wall. If we have been pushed, we need to accept the pain another has inflicted upon us. If we have jumped, we need to understand why. Pretending, denial, lying and covering up what has happened and how this has made us feel keeps us broken, lying next to the wall, unable to get up.

Support

Sharing with another how we have become broken helps to release not only our shame about falling but what we have done to hide the fact that we feel broken. For shame survives – in darkness and silence. Someone who has been shattered may need someone at the top of a mountain with a rope helping us climb the ice ridden jagged edges. Others, who do not need to climb a mountain, can find relief in journaling, walking, and healing in solace.

Once we walk through some of our defenses, we are ready to feel.

Opening our heart to powerful feelings is the ultimate piece in becoming whole. Feeling what we have stuffed down, ran from, what has broken us is not easy. There is a reason that we have not fully felt these feelings. We think they are painful. But the secret remains in knowing that what is painful is the resistance to these feelings. Feeling our shame, deep grief and rage feels beautiful. Running, stuffing, distracting, avoiding is what is painful. 

These steps are not linear but circular, and we must go back to them time and again. With each step backwards, or new insight, we must remember to continue observing, releasing judgment, admitting the truth and finding support. 

What would Humpty Dumpty look like had he took on the task of becoming whole?

He would have spent less time on social media in order to be able to pay more attention to his thoughts, feelings and actions. He would have shared his experience of falling off the wall in a journal, with a trusted friend or support group. He would have consistently resisted the urge to pour himself a drink to distract himself. He would have released judgment and blame about all of the king’s horses and men who could not help him, for he would have learned that he had to help himself. It was never their job to put him back together. And he would have continued asking himself as much as possible, what am I feeling

Why would Humpty Dumpty or any of us undertake such an arduous task of putting our self back together, becoming whole? 

We do it because it is why we are here – to evolve, heal and change. Healing and soul growth is the purpose of life no matter what our outside looks like. Our marriages, jobs, parenting or how we spend our leisure time is simply an opportunity to evolve and become whole. We do it because it leads us down the path of connection, unconditional love, joy and a life of unlimited possibilities. 

“There is nothing to fix and everything to feel.”Peter, Living Beyond Fear: Sacred Letters from the Afterlife.

We all deserve to find our way back to wholeness. The secret is our souls are always whole, no matter our experiences here in life. They are just hidden underneath layers and falling off the wall has given us the opportunity to uncover our hearts through pain, adversity and remembering how to feel. 

If Humpty Dumpty knew that everyone falls off the wall and he was not beyond repair, he would have been able to take the steps to put himself back together again. And then he would have uncovered the secret that he was never actually broken because he fell off the wall. In truth, falling off the wall was the best thing that ever happened to him. 

Please visit our website for information about our new book

www.thesacredletters.com

How to Stop Feeling the Monday Morning Blues.

Do you have Monday morning blues? The feelings creep up on you Sunday, around midday, or the day before coming back home from vacation. And then, pow, we get punched in the face with them immediately after opening our eyes, Monday morning. It feels like there is no stopping them, that we just have to wait it out.

These are different than feelings of grief which are caused by losing a loved one or a relationship and this deep sadness needs time and attention for healing. I am also not talking about addiction because that is a much longer period, and a deeper escape. Monday morning blues are empty feelings, let down feelings and are what happens when we temporarily escape our real life, for the day, weekend, or week. Monday morning blues are an indication that somewhere, at some point, you checked out. And now, you have to face reality, your life, or whatever it is you checked out from.

Working life sets up us for this with our weekends away. We party hard on Friday, go out and about on Saturday, and lounge around watching football on Sunday – or something that looks close to that. It is not that we should not have breaks, but it is our thinking and avoiding of something, that causes us to feel blue when this temporary hiatus ends. 

What if there was a way to rid ourself from Monday morning blues altogether? 

The first way to end this vicious cycle is to come out of denial. It is not the rain, nor the cold that causes Monday morning blues. While The Carpenters sang about rainy days and Mondays, this was never the true cause of the blues. 

The second step is to figure out what you need to change in your life. What are you needing to escape from. Is it your relationship? Your job? What are you unhappiest about? Stop procrastinating and do it today. Nobody woke up on a Monday from a job they loved and felt blue.  

I love watching motivational speakers, and my favorite today is Gary Vaynerchuck or Garyvee, as he calls himself. He has a following of on Instagram 4.6 million (@garyvee) because he loves what he is doing, and it shows. He also calls people on their shit. He is real. For those of us who fake it, the life we dream about will never happen, and those blues will creep in sooner or later.

Find your passion, somehow and do that. It does not matter what it is, but that you do what makes you happy. Start on the side, and then go to full time. I know you didn’t come here in this life, to be miserable. I know you didn’t come here to wake up each and every Monday morning feeling dreading the day and week. If you want to get off the rollercoaster, stop riding the waves of what you are supposed to do, and grab some cotton candy for once. It is ok, you are entitled as a grown up to eat some pretty pink colored blown up sugar, and feel happy as it melts onto your tongue, along with the Monday morning blues.

It is not about Monday morning blues or Hump Day or TGIF. Each and every day is the same, and you can either be happy or miserable. These so called special days are an illusion to pull you into fake happiness – to encourage you to escape from your life, which will never work.

The only things that will work will be to change your life, so you don’t need to escape it. Do that thing you have been dreaming about. Leave that relationship. Share your gift. Take care of your business today, not tomorrow or next week.

Stop hiding behind a mountain of what if’s and if only’s. Start today, and you will find the life you have dreamed about, without the ups and downs. Life will be smooth sailing once and for all.

I woke up this morning feeling blue, and I do what I normally do when I don’t feel happy. I ask myself why. I look to see if there is a valid reason, or if I am avoiding something. I can be a queen procrastinator, and I realized this morning, if there are things in my life I am avoiding, I will feel blue sooner of later. With guidance this morning, I asked for how to release myself from this cycle of Monday morning blues. And whether it was God, or life or my higher self, I heard plain and simple, “Deal with your shit.”

Therefore, I am sharing this guidance with you. Time is an illusion, and facing the reality of what you are avoiding or running from releases you from the endless cycle of Monday morning blues. Face your self. It does not matter if you are avoiding a bad life or a bad day; if you hate your job or your partner. Deal with it, and you will find each and every day feels the same. It may not feel like the anticipation we experience as we hop aboard a plane for the Caribbean but it won’t feel like waiting for your baggage on the carousel before heading back home.

It’s not whether your glass is half full or half empty. It is whether you put that glass into the dishwasher or let it sit on the counter for weeks, staring at it each time you go into your kitchen. Thinking to yourself, I should put that it in the dishwasher and then walking back out.

So today, I encourage you to deal with your shit, and I will deal with mine. And I will meet you next Monday, and the Monday after feeling much lighter, freer than we feel today. The sun will be shining no matter what day it is, or what the whether is outside. I know it’s hard, but you are not alone. I am facing it, too. Take my hand and we will do it together. 

“The Birds are Mad at Me.” Tales of an Empath’s Life.

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This morning, while enjoying my first coffee, I looked outside and noticed the bird feeders were empty.

Crap.

I totally got caught up in my daughter leaving for college, the latest Netflix series, and you know, eating and other life stuff.

If it sounds like an excuse, it is.

I’m thinking what you’re thinking, is it my job to take care of the birds? Unless it actually is my job, and I am getting paid to feed the birds, the answer is no. Still, they’re helpless creatures and in a roundabout way, I signed up for the job because I put up the bird feeder.

Grabbing the bird seed bag, I hastily filled each feeder, and sent the birds a silent apology. After a few minutes, I peeled myself away from the trees and walked into the bathroom where my husband was shaving. “The birds are mad at me. I haven’t fed them in weeks. I filled the feeder this morning but they’re not coming by to eat.” I looked up at my husband who was now brushing his teeth.

“Birds don’t think like that, honey.” He smiled at me, but also peered in closer to see if I was serious.

I was serious. And yet, I wasn’t.

I knew the birds weren’t mad at me, but when you’re an empath, you feel everything. And sometimes, without realizing, you project.

In other words, someone, somewhere was mad at someone and I picked up on it.

I don’t remember when I first felt that someone was angry. It could have been yesterday, or last week. It could have been a second ago. And I didn’t realize it.

What we take in, needs to come out.

And when we’re not aware, it comes out in a whole bunch of strange ways, like me and the birds.

There’s a benefit to staying awake as an empath. Like a tick: if you find it within 24 hours, you’ll probably be okay. In other words, if you catch it, name what you’re feeling, or move through it—it ends fairly quickly and innocently. If you don’t, and it builds, it can wreak havoc both emotionally and physically.

A spiritual teacher once told me, “As an empath, you need to take out the trash.”

This is why a mindfulness practice for empaths becomes just as important as a healthy diet.

It is not just empathic adults who need to know what it means to be an empath. Many children are empaths and have no idea.

My son, often distracted in school, is exhausted when he returns home. He has been feeling for everyone else—all day, every day. He has no idea why. He just feels and releases. It’s why he goes into the woods as soon as he comes home. He unwinds with the salamanders and frogs. It calms him. He also likes dim lights, soft music, and time alone.

I’m the same, although I can do without the amphibians.

It’s also why we live on six acres and I work from home. As an empath, being around people can be exhausting. We can feel like rubber balls being bounced around by other’s emotions. We don’t know that it’s happening until one day, you look up and think the birds are mad at you. And you realize that something else must be going on. You’re too smart to think the birds are really mad. You know if you wait a little longer, they will begin feeding.

So you laugh at yourself, often.

And you spend time alone.

And you avoid the news.

And you make it daily habit to name what you’re feeling, and you ask often if it’s yours or someone else’s. And you begin to get used to not knowing why you’re feeling whatever it is you are feeling. And it starts to not matter.

And you even laugh, if you can, at some of the labels you and many other empaths have unknowingly taken on: depressed, anxious, ADHD, ADD, paranoid, phobic, introvert, and agoraphobic.

And you think, if they only had one label for all empaths it would be ESEP, Energy Sensitive Empathic People or ESEC, Energy Sensitive Empathic Children.

And you hope one day that all empaths will realize what is going on, and know that being empathic is a gift, not a curse. That being sensitive can have its perks.

You hope that others can see how empaths are helping others—by feeling the feelings for them.

And that spending time alone can lend itself to an active imagination, creative endeavors, and the time for self-reflection, a necessary and often eye-opening part of a life journey.

So the next time you think someone is mad at you, stop and think about the birds.

And then let it go.

After all, it was never yours to keep.

This article was also published on Elephant Journal. You can find it here.

 

 

The Sounds of Silence

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Simon and Garfunkel got it right when they wrote the timeless song, Sounds of Silence, over fifty years ago. Many remakes hit the charts, and then in 2015, the song was given an upgrade by heavy metal band, Disturbed. Not that the original needed any tweaking, but the incredible feeling and power behind David Draiman’s voice brings the song to a whole new level. The first version creeps quietly into my heart while the second, reverberates throughout my body. I listen to both, often.

Like our music that often permeates our homes and our cars, the sounds of silence are anything but silent. As I sit this morning, bringing forth this blog post, I feel the power within and beyond the silence. For many of us, it is rare that we sit in silence. It has been awhile for me as well, yet today, the sounds within and around me, feel like music. Like an old friend, I am welcomed back with open arms.

My home, usually quiet on a Saturday at seven am, feels no different today.  It has been years since babies and toddlers woke us much to early, with their wide eyes and intense hunger. Like a reward for all those sleepless nights, older children sleep late, especially on a Saturday. Two years ago, we emptied one of our bedrooms upstairs as my oldest went to college. In the space she left, we could feel the silence. The first to fly the nest left our house feeling different, a bit awkward and lonely. Yesterday, my second daughter left for college, and along with far too many clothes, she took her laughter, loud music and friends dropping by at all hours of the night. Our newfound silence, again unnerving, but now, more familiar.

Yet, it was not just the empty bedrooms. I had no choice this morning but to sit within the silence. When things call to me, as I follow that inner voice which feels anything but silent, I listen. Sit and do nothing, it said. While I do miss my daughters, the silence they left behind in this moment feels welcoming. A chance to reunite with myself.

I have heard all the arguments why people do not like the silence:  I have no time. It makes me uncomfortable. My mind always wanders. I just can’t sit there and do nothing. I know them well because I have used all of them.

Maybe it is because we don’t ever visit with silence that we fear the worst, and then we think we are proven right when we finally sit quietly. Our thoughts go on tangents, seeking rabbit holes without our permission, and our feelings, having been stifled, seem to bring forth the most inconvenient emotions. Perhaps this happens because we never allow them to come out, we never give them a chance to run free. Like a dog kept in a cage or cows prevented from grazing, it is only natural for it to be awkward when finally given a voice, a chance at freedom. Perhaps that anxiety and depression that seems to coming knocking is actually our soul’s need for silence. It is our inner voice of our soul that is banging on the bars of the cage, begging for freedom.

I have only two rules when it comes to silence.

  1. What happens in silence, stays in silence. It need not be discussed, unless that is your desire. Forging your own relationship with the voice of your soul for the first time can look messy.  We may think strange things, or feel that anger that has been buried for years. We may have intrusive thoughts about what we said in jest to a friend or feel the grief from our grandmother passing decades earlier that we never fully felt. It gets better. If we ride out the wave of what happens when we allow ourselves to sit quietly, things will settle. We will begin to hear the music playing so beautifully from the silence of our surroundings.
  2. Be comfortable. No need to suffer in silence. Grab a blanket, a mug of hot tea, a glass of water with ice. Sit in a field of grass or lay in bed. Even driving can be a wonderful place for silence when we turn off the radio. I like to hear the silence with my morning coffee. It seems that if I do not sit first thing, I do not sit. Emails, errands, writing, cleaning, my son – all take precedent. When we don’t label it, or think that it has to be done in a certain way, silence feels like a warm bubble bath, both soothing and invigorating.

As much as I love the mindfulness movement, the encouragement to meditate, it has created an imaginary box, a way of doing something that puts many people off. Sitting in silence is not about setting a timer and closing our eyes, chanting or listening to our breath, unless it works for you. There is no time limit or method. It is just about sitting, in the way that feels most comfortable for you, and just being. You can write things down, or not. Focus on your breath or not. Close your eyes or leave them open. Go for a run. Garden. Bake.

What do you hear? Smell? Feel? Sense? 

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With my coffee this morning, as I sit, I can both, hear sounds I usually overlook and feel what lies beyond the silence. I hear my husband snoring from the other room, my dog breathing lightly, and the birds making  plans around the yard. I can feel the emptiness of my daughters’ rooms, and the anticipation of my son’s excitement waking on a Saturday morning, having no school. I sense the flowers on the deck making their final offering to the bees, before giving in to the cold and snow.

As I sit longer, the sounds continue. An alarm from a watch goes off for ten seconds. It calls to me from a distant room of the house, likely lost behind a dresser. The white noise from the environment increases in intensity, its energy pulling me into the remembering that so much is going on behind the scenes in our lives, that there is another world going on within our world. Ideas, plans, to do lists begin to elbow their way to the forefront. I greet their existence, and having been welcomed, they simply take a number and wait their turn for my attention. Body sensations become known – last night’s dinner having a rager, while cool water settle its rumblings.

The sounds of silence are never silent. It is filled with hope, sadness, passion, expectations and anticipation of what is to come. As it was sung, “Here my words and I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you. But my words, like silent raindrops fell. And echoed in the wells of silence.”

In the end, it is not my words that will teach, or another’s. But the walls within your own desire to sit within the silence and all you need to know will reveal itself to you. Your questions, desires, hopes and dreams. Don’t be afraid of the silence. It has everything you want and need. You just need to open the cage and walk out.When we welcome silence, it receives our invitation. As often as I forget, silence is always waiting, patiently. It will always invite me back no matter how many times I shun it, or put it off.

The world is your oyster. It is waiting for you. You just need to be quiet enough to hear it.

Please excuse all grammatical errors and typos. My editor is on a permanent vacation in the Bahamas.

Suicide: Why I Never Did It.

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I wanted to die.  Not out of anger or fear.  I just wanted the pain to go away. It was the only way I could imagine it would stop. End it! I didn’t just feel pain. I was pain itself – and it had to end.

I had some deep dark days dealing with childhood sexual abuse, a teenage rape and feelings of utter worthlessness.

I never actually physically attempted suicide.  But for many years the thought was never far from my mind.

What kept me from doing it?

In the beginning it may have been the Catholic faith I was raised in.  A part of me was hopeful, despite my deep depression. I was an optimist at heart.  I kept telling myself that maybe, it would get better.

Maybe, if I offed myself I would miss something really good that would make me feel happy and good about myself.  What if that good thing happened tomorrow and I would miss it by just one day?

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Maybe it was Rita Moreno.  I saw her on a talk show many years ago where she talked about her suicide attempt.  “If you ever feel like killing yourself just wait one day,” she said.

I always waited.

I found strong support through therapy, but the thoughts persisted. Suicide became a trusted escape hatch.  When the depression and anxiety felt too much to handle I could tell myself, I had a way out.  I was not trapped in this mess.  I could leave anytime I wanted.  I didn’t have to actually go down that chute, but if it was handy I would feel safe.

I was tired of the dark sameness of my life, but the idea of change was terrifying.

I was afraid to show who I was.  Exposure felt unsafe. Stay hidden or you will be abused, beaten, raped. But something in me wanted to emerge. I dared myself to break out. Step into the light. It felt like I would die if I stepped out even one inch. I was trapped there in that place between deep yearning and fear. It felt like I would die, if I did this, if I stepped out into the light. I realized this was a suicide. I would die this way. Not a physical death – but a jumping off the cliff into a new way of being.  A new expression of who I am.

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Since that first leap, I have had many suicides.  I confronted my abuser.  That was jumping off a scary cliff.  Years later, I forgave him.  That was an even bigger cliff.  I took on leadership positions at work. That was frightening – it was exposure. I might be a target for abuse – but I was not. Those leadership positions helped me discover a whole part of myself that was always there, but had kept hidden even from myself.

I jumped into relationships – some were successful, some, not so successful.  Jumping into them was a suicide – jumping out of them was a suicide.

I survived all of them.  The old Elaine was dead and the new one was there to live a new joyful life.

My favorite suicide has always been the last one — When I am still still basking in the afterglow after having taken a chance to expand into my sense of who I am.

My most favorite suicide is the next one.  I don’t yet know what that is. I eagerly await its revelation.  I will jump off that cliff with joy into a new me.

ELAINE OCASIO

 

I Met God at the Juice Bar.

 

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I never expected to find God when I went to the juice bar.

As I approached the counter, the man behind the abundance of fruit and vegetables looked up at me. “Hi,” he smiled, maintaining a daringly long eye contact. Smiling, I looked away shyly. Eye contact is so rare these days, it almost felt like it burned. “What is your name?” After I told him my name, he apologized. “I know you were in here the other day, and I am so sorry that I didn’t remember your name.” He remembered I was here? He continued looking me in the eye, addressing me by my name before wishing me an amazing day. Somewhere along the way, I slipped my phone into my pocket. His attention, kindness made me want to give back that connection, that respect. I waited for my juice – observing my surroundings, chatting with another woman.

I walked out feeling different. Connected.

What just happened? 

God.

There was a time I did not believe in God. I felt alone, separate. We often sit alone in our pain, thinking we are the only ones. But if we look around, that pain is everywhere. It is all one click away on social media or the news. It seems people are either talking about their pain, or giving the impression that everything is perfect. Then we hear about another suicide and we know the truth. If they could have said the words, “I am so much pain.” Would things have turned out differently?

All those people in pain, unable to give a voice, or better yet, to feel it, in all its raw gut wrenching agony. Instead, hurt people continue to hurt people, or themself. When pain, hatred, intolerance, rears it ugly head, we can wonder where is God in all of this? When bad things happen to good people, we often think God has forgotten about us.

It is too simple an explanation that when darkness and evil rest upon this earth, or knocks on our door, that God has abandoned us. When bad things happen, it does not mean, God is absent. I see God not in the tragedy of someone’s blind rage, the separation of an act of violence, but in others compassion that follows. Just as we hold each other in our darkest hour, or rise up against the oppressed, we can find God, not in the heinous act, but in the aftermath. I see God, not in the dirty dishes that pile up in the sink, but in the grace of the clean running water that helps clean up the mess.

I believe no matter what, God has our back. God is there, directing, guiding, often gently,  sometimes abruptly, prying open our hearts. I see it that we all have a personal plan, a guideline, a route mapped out before we come into our life. As if we are in New Jersey and are meant to go to California before we die. Which road we take, what method of transportation, how long it takes to get there, is in our hands. Do we camp out beneath the stars, or sleep beneath satin sheets within the comfort of a hotel. We make those choices. There are many paths we can take, and they are all out there, as possibilities. We will get there. Some of us will get there quickly, others will take a lifetime. On our trip, we will experience loss, joy, laughter and love.

In writing about God, I received the image of a person who sits in front of a huge network of switches, knobs and dials. It reminds me of the technology used for producing songs in a studio. God is there, turning up the volume on something, switching off something else – based on our choices, relationships, our intentions, interactions, insights and our divine plan. We can co-create our journey, we can make decisions. But God is also at work, directing through coincidences, synchronicities and seemingly meaningless interactions.

We just need to show up. Be present and look for the signs, even if we do not intuitively know what we are to do, or where we are meant to go. Everything is here to move us to a higher awareness, opening. Every challenge is a gift. It’s all in the way we receive it and incorporate it into our life.

We all have a purpose, and there is God in all of us. One person may serve juice, another directing planes for safe landing. One may reside homeless, searching for their next meal, another living within a newly erected castle with Italian inspired designer marble columns.

It is does not matter how we get there, how we find God. It can happen in an instant or across lifetimes. We can be reminded we are not alone at a juice bar or at a football game, In church, or gliding along a lake with the sun shimmering upon its glass like image.

If you have never seen or felt God, look closer. Peer into those hidden nooks and crannies, choose door number three or just become quiet and ask God to send you a sign, and to make it obvious.

God is here. God was here all along. Whether, life turns our world upside down, or we had to order a juice, to be reminded. God is everywhere, and we are never alone.

 

 

 

 

 

When You Start Blaming, You Start Healing.

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At some point in my life, I made a promise that I would devote my life to helping others feel worthy, and this blog has evolved out of that promise. I made that promise because I spent so much of my life feeling the opposite – unworthy, ashamed, bad, and confused about why I felt this way. Perfectionism, achievements were my way out of this unworthiness, or so I thought. Wrong! We can become intellectually worthy, but that is not the same as truly feeling worthy.

Feeling worthy begins with getting honest, real, speaking the truth. Sometimes being inspirational is about lifting others up with a hand, and other times it is about keeping it real.

Today, I am going to get real. If it is too real for you, feel free to look away. But if you have ever felt less than, unworthy, deep down like you are not enough, then stay with me. Whether you have experienced exactly what I have or can just be helped in some way from my experience, read on.

I used to think being a good person was about being nice. Janet Straightarrow, a very wise woman once told me, that nice is just an acronym for:  Neurotic Insecure Codependent Emotional. Does not sound as appealing does it? Truth is being nice is not the same as being loving, having compassion or feeling through our heart. People pleasing often puts the pleasing away from us, and we are left feeling empty, hollow and wondering why we always come last.

Want to take back your life? Start blaming.

I know blame is taboo. I have heard it many times. “No,” they shout from the rooftops. “Don’t blame! Forgive.” Here is the thing.

If you feel unworthy, like you are not good enough, chances are you are already blaming; you are just blaming yourself.

Why are we so afraid to blame others? Blame is calling people on their shit. It is putting the onus where it deserves. It is giving the shame back to the abuser, the rape back to the rapist, the battering back to the batterer. Blame is empowering. It is about getting angry, and saying, you did this. You don’t have to take ownership, but I am no longer blaming myself. Someone is never responsible for our feelings, our reactions, but he is responsible for his actions. She is responsible for her abuse.

Why has blame become so taboo? The actual definition of blame is to assign responsibility for a fault or wrong. Why is putting the responsibility where it is deserves – wrong?

Blame is a necessary step in healing. Do you want to feel relief like you have never felt? Do you want to honor all you have experienced and then be able to let go of whatever you are holding on to? Want to watch anxiety and depression melt away like an ice cream cone on a hundred degree day? Get angry, put the blame back where it deserves. Write return to sender on the package that you mistakenly opened and thought was yours, and give it back. images-3

We jump to forgiveness because we are being nice – the good daughter, the cooperative friend, the submissive spouse – and it is hurting us on all levels. We have no idea what self-care, nurturing, or true feelings, look, feel, taste and smell like.

I was the ultimate champion for running away – I literally began running for miles and miles to escape the past, those unwanted feelings that seemed to creep in when I was least expecting. Here’s the thing, the run always ends. It all catches up with us – every last repressed feeling. I had always known there was something very wrong with how I felt growing up. I just didn’t know the extent to the trauma and abuse I endured. I am learning that now with the help of an amazing therapist, among other things.

I know I am not alone. I know there are those of you out there, who also have endured trauma and abuse – whether it was a one time occurrence or over the span of years. The #metoo movement is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is one hell of a start. Whether it was a single event, or repetitive, it is time to let yourself off the hook. Educate yourself. And if you are or know of someone who is struggling with the effects of abuse or a traumatic event, please seek professional help. Please email me. I have resources, and information to share.

As a waitress in college, there was an old saying, I am in the weeds. It describes how we would feel when the hostess used to sit three tables in our section at once. I am currently in the weeds because I am doing the work. I feel at the moment like the hostess has sat ten tables all in my section and they all want a five-course meal with drinks. Before we can have a beautiful rose garden, we must begin pulling our weeds.I just keep pulling the weeds out, one by one. I also ask for help. There are food servers, gardeners and managers – all waiting to help us. We don’t have to go it alone.

One of the greatest strengths of those of us who endured abuse is our ability to handle  anything. Whatever life has thrown at me, I have handled it. But we can handle a lot more when we stop blaming ourselves. When we rush to forgive the abuse, injustice, assault, the lashing out – whether it is an internet troll lurking behind the tree, ready to toss off an angry post or someone who is close to us, who we least expect, hurting us. It can be a grandiose boss who berates us on a conference call, a borderline friend, who puts us on a pedestal only to cut us down the next week. A possessive boyfriend, exploitive controlling parent, or a narcissistic coach.

We have been taught forgiveness is the key to moving on, letting go. Yes, this is true. But not before we do the work, not before we blame.We rush into forgiveness because blaming, getting angry is about getting dirty. And it can cause us to roll around in the mud for years. We want clean, tidy, perfectly wrapped presents, complete with a beautiful bow. We put that neatly wrapped present upon the shelf for years, hoping that is where it stays. Until someone comes into our life – someone who is kind, compassionate, unconditionally loving, and she looks at the present on the shelf and he points and says, what is that? And we say, Oh, that? It is nothing. 

It is time to open the box. Picking up the phone or sending that letter to whoever hurt us, may be a part of your healing, but that is not what I am talking about. It means giving ourself the green light to send it all back, to finally honor what we really feel. It is not about getting someone to admit what she did, but getting ourself to admit it. If you feel called to reach out to the person who caused you to wrap up your pretty box in the first place, do so, not for a response or an apology, do it for yourself.

Rushed forgiveness does not break the cycle. Rushed forgiveness is not healing. Healing begins with blame.

I could not possibly cover everything about the effects of a traumatic event or long-term abuse in this blog post, but I hope this will be a springboard, a start. You can heal. It takes strength, love and support, but you can do it. Please reach out for help. I will continue to inspire you to believe you are worthy, beautiful, smart and enough because it is the truth. But you must find the strength to do the work or my words will bounce off of you like rain pelting down upon an umbrella. It is time to dance in the rain.

Do the work, get into that discomfort zone, and you will find yourself gifted to everything you ever desired – peace, joy, love and the greatest inspirational feelings you can imagine. Life is a gift. If someone opened yours, and cast it aside, it is time to take your life back. After all, it was never his to take.

 

The Gift of Anxiety

 

Anxiety is tough, isn’t it? I get it. I’ve been there – many times. I don’t have it always, but when it comes on, I want to get rid of it, and fast. Like everything else, that affects our mental health, there are different levels of anxiety. There is acute panic symptoms which can be accompanied by sweating, increased heart rate, rapid breathing. Then there’s the long-term generalized anxiety – that uneasy feeling that seems to hang around more often than not, like termites gnawing at your insides. Anxiety can manifest as specific fears, which can be about anything. The two strangest I have heard of is:

  • Nomophobia: Fear of Being without Cellphones. 
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Fear of Long Words.

We are programmed from an early age to be fearful. “Don’t step on a crack, or you will break your mother’s back.” As we grow, we continue to hear messages of fear. We cannot turn on the news without some fearful message plastered across our computer or television.

But let’s go deeper. Let’s get personal. It has been my experience that all anxiety is a cover up, a warning, a message that something is lurking beneath the surface. Something is trying to get our attention. The more we resist, the more anxious we become.

Well before the feelings of anxiety erupt, the seeds of denial, avoidance or repression are planted. Seeds grow, and over time, and it is natural for the seed to want to break through the surface and find the sun. Whatever you are repressing from your awareness, trying not to think about or feel, is attempting to break through the surface.

When the seedling wants to find the light, it is like a pot of water, boiling, with a lid rattling against the top. If you remove the lid, the steam and bubbles are free to just be. But if you keep the lid on – it will rattle you to the core.

Whether you feel anxiety or fear, here is what has helped me. It is a process that involves 5 steps – changing your state, becoming curious, allowing what arises to be felt or known, surrendering, honoring your truth.

  1. Changing your state with gratitude – if you are busy focusing on what you are thankful for, you are giving your mind something to focus on other than fearful thoughts. I like to play the Gratitude Alphabet Game. I start with A, and think about all the things I am thankful for that begin with A. Then, I move to B, and so on. Somewhere along the way, I begin to feel calmer.
  2. I surrender control – anxiety and fears worsen, when we try to control, manage or stuff it down. It is like holding down the pot lid, when it wants to come off.
  3. Curiosity – anxiety and fear cannot coexist with curiosity. I ask my self what is it really about? Where in my body am I feeling the most anxious? What is behind this anxiety?
  4. Allowing – whether is it an awareness, memory of feeling, I let it come to me without judgment.

Here is the final step. I separate it because it has become the most important step for me to grasp.

5. I honor and love all of me – every quirk, feeling, thought, behavior; every weird bit of me.

Let me explain.

It was a few years ago, when my intuitive gifts began to emerge. I was talking with a woman who was telling me her dog was limping – that she thought she must have hurt her leg while chasing horses on their farm. I heard the words “She has Lyme Disease.” I said nothing because I thought it was strange and I had not idea why I thought that. I left without telling her what I heard. Over the course of the day, the anxiety began to build. It got so bad, it was not until I went back and told her what came into my mind that the anxiety dissipated and I felt calm and peaceful again. Turned out, her dog had Lyme.

This happened again and again. Images, thoughts, gut feelings, song lyrics, messages – kept coming into my awareness without my asking. Because I am stubborn, I kept resisting. I didn’t like them. I thought it was weird, and I didn’t want to be weird.

Eventually, I gave in. What I realized is, whether I like it or not, I am an empath. I can hear messages from beyond my body. I see images in my mind’s eye. I can feel someone who has already passed away and what they need me to hear. I have no idea where they are, but they sure have a lot to say. I can also feel what someone is feeling who is sitting beside me on the bus, or across the world. Like anxiety, I used to think my empathic abilities were a curse, now I know they are a blessing. It came down to a choice. Honor who I am, or feel anxious.

My advice is to let your feelings, thoughts, memories out! Say it, write it down, honor the truth. If you were not ready to hear it, feel it, know it, you would not be feeling anxious. Anxiety is always a gift. It encourages us to go inward, express ourself, feel and acknowledge our feelings and our true self.

Perhaps you can look at anxiety, as a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nudge. Change is about becoming uncomfortable, but change also leads us to a life we have only dreamt about – a life of abundance, peace, joy and love. Coming out with who we are, speaking the truth about our past and our self, feeling everything, promotes peace and well-being.

I used to pray to figure out my life’s purpose, why I was here. I didn’t expect to be an empath, a messenger. I was thinking it would be more like – opening up a coffee/book store, a business professional or serving drinks under a cabana on the beach.

Finding my purpose is where I have found peace. And anxiety got me there. Now, I am grateful to find, not the road less travelled, but the road I am meant to travel. And if we cross paths, do not forget to give me a high-five. I will be the one that keeps on walking, feeling, figuring out who I am, and why I am here. And just maybe I will also be the one serving drinks on the beach.