Art of Surrender: Day 2… How to begin.

love letter

Todays blog is a love letter to the powers of intention, intuition, and staying close to your essence in practical ways with practical real world results.

I am going to show you how they are all platforms, that will enable you to create movement in your life, in all areas.

It is my prayer that after reading today’s post your mind will have opened another small crack that allows the  potential of surrender to seep in a little more.

 

Are you longing for your life to be a little bit easier?

Would you like to stop pushing and micromanaging, and just be able to relax?

What if you could enjoy what you already have, instead of lusting for more?

How would your life be different if you could slip into the ZONE more often and operate from your peak potential?

And here is the biggest question…

What if you could learn to stop worrying about money so often?

 

Lets go for a walk together to a magical place where the river flows. Down a path where you can literally feel the ground vibrating with pure potential. A place where you can experience the ecstasy of surrender.

magical pathways

 

 

 

 

You wouldn’t set out on a 15 mile hike through rugged mountain trails filled with potential dangers…

without first making some plans, and preparing for possible disaster would you?

Learning the art of surrender is no different.

On a hike, you will see amazing views and wonderous creatures and plant life,

But…

You will also run into obstacles that must be crossed before you will reach your destination.

 

The same is true of learning the art of surrender.

 

You must first devise an action plan.

You will need to stay positive.

And learn to use the grit of your determination without trying so hard that you burn out or sabotage yourself.

You need to be totally committed to allowing the fears you are holding in your mind to be released.

These fears are a virus of the mind that can and will spread to many areas and literally restrict your success.

 

Second, you will need to open your mind to the mysterious, tender forces of goodness that are far greater than anything we can even imagine or comprehend.

You need to realize that God is infinite.

Literally beyond our comprehension.

He is capable of knowing you and your thoughts at a level of intimacy that is beyond your ability to comprehend.

By acknowledging this, you will begin to feel safe, loved and supported in ways that you may have never felt before in your life.

Kneel down and ask him to reveal himself to you.

It is his greatest desire to do that for each and every one of us.

 

The third thing that needs to be accomplished in order to begin the process of surrender is to check in with your attitude.

What are your beliefs about success?

Do you hold onto the notion that success comes from integrity verses winning at all costs?

If not, what can you do to begin to shift your attitude toward one of integrity?

Do you trust your gut more than you trust the public opinion?

Do you communicate with compassion, or do you speak with a vengeful attitude that is full of arrogance, and resentment?

Understanding where you are at in your attitude in these areas will determine how well you can get along with others and yourself.

If you are at odds with the people in your life, especially yourself…

Surrender will be impossible.

That is why it is crucial that you begin this process here.

attitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like many of us, I have a very busy life.

I want to accomplish a lot.

That is why surrender is so important to me.

I am tenacious in pursuing my goals, but I don’t want that to be the factor that clogs the flow of success in my life either.

I have to remind myself constantly, some days, to stop micromanaging and  attempting to assert my own will into the areas of my life where Grace belongs.

I feel successful when I can see progress on the goals I am working on, but I have also learned that success is much more than that.

I’ve come to appreciate that surrender is NEVER about being perfect.

It’s about doing my best and remaining authentic in all my dealings with people and life.

Being perfect is impossible.

It is nothing more than a futile attempt to control what cannot be controlled.

Admittedly, I still have a lot I want to achieve in my life, but the greatest accomplishment that I desire for my life now is to learn to live in the ecstasy of surrender in all things.

I take pride in my accomplishments, large and small, no matter how mundane.

This allows me to have small celebrations that enrich the quality of each and every day the Lord chooses to give me.

Surrendering is realizing that success does not have to involve complicated goals –

what matters is the clarity and heart that we bring to everything in our life.

I also really want to emphasise that success can NEVER be about just what you “do”.

Truly successful people know the value of laughter.

The importance of love.

They have learned how to really surrender to feeling happy about the tiniest things.

Surrender is all about reveling in a spring thunderstorm.

It is sitting around a warm fire and watching the flames dance around the wood.

The smell of night-blooming jasmine.

Laying in the arms of your loved one, and watching the stars shooting across the sky together.

night sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you master the art of surrender, you will be able to live with a peaceful mindset that allows you the freedom to partake of some blessed downtime, where you can go inward and hear the guidance of your intuition.

 

This has been especially helpful for me during those times of stress where I used to literally tie myself up in knots of frustration which would only make things worse.

 

I don’t always succeed at remembering to surrender and trust when life throws a curve ball at me, but I am learning.

I am a stickler about using time well.

Life is precious.

It goes by fast!

Your time is the most valuable gift you can give to your goals or to a person.

Thus, I intend to worship every moment and seek happiness wherever I go.

And just as the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, I want to seek out those things that are righteous and good, and not waste my life on vanity.

My advice to all of you today is this:

Call off your search for happiness.

As Willa Cather wrote:

“What if life itself were the sweetheart?”

Happiness is right here
, right now.

It is found through surrender to God alone.

All other forms of happiness are just vanity.

Study the book of Ecclesiastes, and then meditate on the message it contains.

You have the power to make happiness whatever you want it to be.

Surrendering to what is instead of trying to bear down or freaking out, is a fundamental secret to being happy that I want desperately to share with all of you.

 

 

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The art of Surrender Day #1: Prepare to Surrender so you can trust and flourish

“You lose your grip,

And then you slip

Into the Masterpiece.”

Leonard Cohen

 

the-magic-art-of-letting-go

Throughout this entire summer I am going to be encouraging you to explore the sublime state of surrender.

I want to share with you the ways that I have learned to increase my ability to achieve this state of mind in my day-to-day life.

I will share with you the ways that it has improved the quality of my life.

Has taught me how to use my thoughts to reduce stress.

And how surrender was the Super Hero that once and for all has come to my rescue and defeated the dreaded curse of … Being overly serious!

 

When I first became intrigued with the idea of surrender, I was at the lowest point in my downward spiral.

I was angry, scared, depressed, overweight, and miserable.

I cried out to God in anger one day at work.

He responded to my request by giving me the help I needed in the form of 40 teenagers from a Christian Youth Group.

Yes, I did say 40.

And the irony of that number wasn’t lost on me.

I heard the message loud and clear.

In that very moment, I realized that I was loved and supported by a God that knew me…

Melanie…

Personally!

That was the small crack in my spirit that he used to begin to transform my personality, and to teach me to surrender and trust.

letting-go

Lets begin today by getting clear on what exactly I mean by surrender.

The idea of surrender, to me, does not represent the attitude of defeat or loss, as it is frequently thought of…

But rather, a positive, intuitive way of living.

A power that grows as you develop trust in the moment.

It is also strengthened when you can begin to recognize the beauty in the constant changes and unknown factors of life.

Contrary to the common stereotypes, that equate surrender with weakness, I’m going to present it to you in a way that will demonstrate its ability to allow you to gain control and mastery over your life,

which in no way will make you a weakling!

 

Surrender also does not mean saying “YES”, to everything – this can be dangerous and unwise to say the least.

But what it DOES mean is that once you make a decision, you follow through with it, even if that means you have to say good-bye to people or situations.

Surrender does not mean you are a pushover either.

It is quite the opposite.

By knowing when to assert yourself, and when to let go, your actually taking back control over your life.

PLUS:

You will find that you are getting more of your needs met, because you are a much better communicator.

The idea of surrender may seem at first to be counterintuitive to making goals happen.

But stick with me as we explore this subject and I promise you that magic will happen.

Surrender is that unseen force that naturally facilitates your goals, you will see how they will be accomplished faster and more often than ever before.

Surrender almost magically releases the gridlock in your relationships, work, and every other area of your life, especially when it seems as if things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

Life becomes easier when you are able to let go.

Burdens will lift or lessen.

Without wanting to, we may become overly defensive or controlling and hold our hearts back way to much out of fear.

Surrender will free you from that stronghold so that it will somehow feel safer to give and receive love.

It can also offer you release when you are feeling tired, stressed, overwhelmed, or just want to close your eyes and not think about anything for a while.

I am fascinated by how hard it is for most of us to LET GO.

But if you can learn how to do just that, you will start to experience things such as a deep belly laugh,

or easily drifting off to sleep and staying asleep all night,

you will enjoy the bliss of your lovers touch,

the stars at night…

life will become full of feeling!

 

Surrender also teaches your mind how to handle the subtler energies of life as well.

 

Lets start today to view SURRENDER much as we would a brand new relationship.

During the following weeks, lets gradually learn how to trust it and start to feel safe.

Lets start to see how surrender feels.

Take notes of the advantages and changes you experience just by being aware of its influence in your life, much like you do with a new lover in the early stages of a relationship.

 

As I have gotten more and more accustomed to living with an attitude of surrender, I have begun to experience ecstasy in even the small things in life.

 

A really quick way to experience what I mean is to take a sip of water and notice each drop as it slides down your throat.

Or, my favorite way to exercise this muscle is to take a piece of chocolate. 

I let it just sit on my tongue and as it begins to melt in my mouth, I start to pay attention to the taste.

The feel.

The sensations it is creating.

I close my eyes and refuse to chew it.

 

I just allow it to slowly, and sensualy melt on my tongue.

I turn that little moment into a meditation that literally kills any stress I may be feeling.

As you start to gain trust in the act of surrendering, challenge yourself with other levels.

For instance:

How can surrender benefit you when you are arguing with your spouse?

Or in my case, when your child is leaving for college?

What about those periods when finances are difficult and tight?

Are you overly clingy and possessive in relationships?

If so, how could you use it to help you in that area?

Another area where this has been huge for me was in the area of weight loss.

In each situation you’ll see where surrender fits in and the many ways it can bring about breakthroughs.

Try stretching past your resistance and toward your degrees of trust.

You will begin to experience serenity, that up to this point, you have probably never allowed into your life.

This practice will empower you during those inevitable difficult times that we all must experience.

It will also allow you to revel in the joyful moments that life is also full of.

Ironically, and also sadly, surrendering to those moments of joy – really relishing them– may be the most unfamiliar form of  surrender that you will have to master.

The thing about surrender that I adore is that it has helped me learn to be in tune with the natural rhythm of life.

I have learned to honor proper timing and self-care, to stop worrying, and to enjoy what is good today.

Getting to this state can be easier at times, harder at others, but it is where I WANT to be, and what I continually strive for each and every day.

 surrender to god

Fully Alive

This poem is the perfect compliment to my post today, so I had to share this blog from one of my all time favorite bloggers!

Source of Inspiration

surgeon

The surgeon pauses
before making the
incision, once again
flooded by the realization
of how precious life is,
how fragile, so sacred.

Do I treat my life as
if it was sacred, each
moment to be cherished
for it passes so soon?
Do I notice the soft pink
tip of grass by the roadside,
savor the first moments
when I lie down at night,
smell the richness of the
floresta after a summer rain?
Alas, too often, I do not as
I stay lost in mundane thoughts
wasting yet one more opportunity
to feel fully alive.

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The Art of Surrender

Today I want to invite all of you to explore the sublime mental state of SURRENDER: 

art of surrender butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to surrender will improve the quality of your life, reduce stress, and increase joy.

You will start having lots more fun in your day-to-day life because you will learn the trick to lifting the dreaded curse of being overly serious and mature…

 

What would you say if I told you that the secret to mastering your life in a world that is filled with text messages, emails and instant messaging at every turn is something as simple as learning to SURRENDER?

The word surrender to me means simply this:

The grace of letting go at the right moment – the ability to accept what is, to exhale, and to flow downstream with the cycles of life instead of constantly believing you must battle them. The letting go of your need to obsessively attach yourself to certain people and outcomes, and anxiously brooding over the details of life.

I am fascinated by this concept of surrender because…

If I were forced to give a one word explanation of how I have healed all the abuse, the trauma, the suicide of my son, and raising four kids completely alone,

That one word explanation would be:

SURRENDER.

 

art of surrender 1

 

 

 

 

I was taught to be very proper, well-mannered, a woman of feminine grace at all times.

To obey the rules.

To be cooperative and pleasing no matter what.

That is the side of me that almost everyone sees and knows me by.

BUT…

That is NOT who I really am at all.

My life has never been conventional.

I ‘ve never really found that niche that I can fit into comfortably.

I’ve gotten used to pretending to feel, and react to things in ways that are not real to what is actually happening in my mind.

But about three years ago, I had finally had it with people trying to fit me inside of some box that had nothing what so ever to do with who I am.

I have gotten over trying to pass as “acceptable” in my small town, Mormon community.

I would rather be my creative, quirky self.

Perhaps you can relate to my feelings because each of us is unique, beautiful, lovable, surprising, and spontaneously unfolding from moment to moment.

In order to survive and stop allowing my spirit to die a slow and lonely death, I decided to fight back.

I decided to SURRENDER!

One of the ways I have accomplished this is through my writing.

Writing is one of my passions, it is an alive, ever-changing meditation.

I can happily spend hours writing poetry, meditations, or simply recording my day in a journal.

My attraction to writing was the beginning of learning to surrender. 

By writing down my thoughts and feelings I was able to become fluid, to bend like a willow in the wind during life’s climaxes and its lows.

Writing has taught me how to stop clenching so tightly to life,

to stop obsessing,

over thinking,

over controlling,

and to stop allowing my stubborn streak to obstruct my spiritual expansion.

My soul longs to uncover the secrets of the universe – not just with my mind but with my heart, soul and intuition as well. 

I want to fly.

I want to soar.

Who says we don’t have wings?

I don’t care anymore whether anyone says its impossible.

I believe everything, anything, life itself is nothing but POSSIBILITIES!

 

I want you to stop and ask yourself these questions…

Why surrender?

What is the advantage of going beyond your comfort zone?

The advantage is that you will undergo a rebirth in areas of life where you feel stuck.

This flux of letting go, not knowing but choosing to move forward anyway is a vibrant process of refining your life.

This was my experience.

I moved forward, not without fear…but I forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway.

I moved onward with hope, faith and determination to live an authentic life filled with passion and purpose.

I have learned to proceed even when the forces of fear and joy are pulling at me simultaneously.

I have begun to naturally melt into the dazzling beauty that has been impelling my life all along.

My intuition is what has brought me here.

I trust it more than anything.

Over the past three years I have learned that there’s a strange and wonderful ecstasy that comes from surrendering.

It creeps up on you.

Then one day you look at yourself and you are shining.

I don’t know exactly how I arrived here. I just know that I have and I am different, and it is a blessing.

By surrendering, I have become healthier, braver, more intuitive, more flowing and fun, younger, more untamed, and more spiritually pliant.

I have literally shed layers of fears and limitations that had previously kept me locked in a life that was no longer large enough for me.

I am telling you all of this,

the revelatory

and the challenging parts,

to encourage you to join me on the greatest adventure you may ever go on.

 

If you are like me –

someone who longs to become all they were created to become and more,

If at the end of your lifetime you want to hand over the talents that your Master entrusted you with, and show Him how you doubled the amount.

If you want to hear Him proclaim, “Well done my good and faithful servant”

Then surrendering to life is the key to opening that doorway.

surrender quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting today, I am going to be writing about that specific topic.

I am offering myself as your guide.

I want to share with you what I have learned about surrender.

I am going to trust you with my secrets.

I cannot possibly predict what will happen in your life, or what things you will be asked to let go of.

But what I do know for certain is this:

The results of following me on this journey to surrender will yield results that are pure and good and right.

I pray that your life will begin to exceed your highest expectations.

If your willing to join me…

I will stay right here with you,

My arms are wide open and filled with love.

I am encouraging us to begin having open discussions in the comment section.

In these discussion we are free to build and uplift each other, encourage, and support everyone on their journey to a higher quality life.

 

So grab on…

Lets ride the Wild Stallion of Surrender to freedom.

surrender horse cloud

Honoring Those Who Have Fallen

5 branches of militaryToday we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States.

When we hear “Memorial Day”, most Americans think of it as the beginning of the summer, a day filled with picnics, parties, warm weather and fun times.

Yet when we look back to the origins on this holiday, the way we celebrate it is quite different from the original intent.

According to History.com, Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military.

First observed in 1868 as Decoration Day, it was designated for the purpose of strewing flowers and decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.

It became an official US federal holiday in 1971.

Recognizing that our  family is a global community that far exceeds the borders of the United States, let’s use this day to honor all those who have given their lives to protect all of our families and our homes.

In today’s day and age, with the inner-connectivity we enjoy through fast modes of travel and instant communication through the internet, we are now one global community.

 Our economies and cultures blend in ways that in the past, could only have been dreamed of.

Today, as we recognize and honor those who lost their lives serving our countries, let us also take this one step further.

Let’s join together to raise our children in a way that they will understand the precious gift that freedom really is.

That when they are called upon to defend our freedoms, they will take up the sword and proudly defend our constitution.

Our fallen soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives for their country.

We are truly grateful for their service and honor their memory with respect and appreciation.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

Let us learn from the past and grow in knowledge so that our children and grandchildren can celebrate this day, with the truth and knowledge of what this day represents to them, and to all of humanity.

Today, Lets ask ourselves some really hard questions,

“Can a believer in Jesus Christ  serve his country as a soldier, kill the enemy, and at the same time be a good Christian?

Can a believer justify being a conscientious objector?

Did God Contradict Himself in the commandments, “You shall not murder” and “You shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them?”

The Bible answers these critical questions.

God established a principle by which a nation may guard its sovereignty, maintain its freedom, and protect its citizenry from the horrors of conquest by a foreign power.

An alert and stalwart military force averts armed conflict and deters wanton aggression.

Yet when an enemy aggressor will not be deterred, then the military must defend and protect those who cannot defend themselves.

 Men who place a higher value on their wives, families, friends, and nation than on their own lives ensure the survival of our cherished liberty.

Just as the Lord Jesus Christ made the greatest sacrifice of all history on the cross—dying so that mankind might have eternal life—so the soldier sacrifices his time, his fortune, and sometimes his life that others might live in freedom.

Those of us who are the beneficiaries of these two glorious sacrifices must revere our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and honor the intrepid men who provide freedom through military victory.

 No matter where we are in the world today or the country of our origin, we are all part of humanity, sharing one home on planet Earth.

In that way, we are all the same.

We are all children of God.

Let us look for and celebrate all the ways that we are alike rather than quarrel over our differences.

So let us take today and be thankful for life.

As WWII General George S. Patton said,

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

The fact that we are here in this very moment, that we are alive, is cause for celebration.

For what is the purpose to mourn those who died to give us the right to live, if we then fail to live our lives?

The best way to honor those who died so that we may live, is for us to live our lives fully and with celebration!

army blog

 

 

 

 

Today, take a moment to be grateful for those who have come before you.

Honor what once was.

Then go enjoy and celebrate life.

Celebrate the reason you are here.

Connect to and celebrate something bigger than yourself.

Give your life to something bigger than yourself, in honor of those who came before, those who will come after, and in honor of this amazing gift of life itself.

Today, dedicate yourself to making your life count. To “being the change you want to see in the world”

In that way, you will be successfully making all the sacrifices and lives that have been lost to the cause of freedom count for something powerful!

Road Trips

I’m all about a really great road trip!

 

The kind where I have a tank full of gas and a heart filled with wonder.

road trip

Want to come along for the ride? 

 

 

 

This past March, my best friend and I packed up three of my kids, (the 4th was a senior and didn’t want to miss 10 days of school) and headed out to sunny California.

We spent 10 glorious days in a condo right on the beach in Oceanside California. We were within walking distance of the pier, and the legendary Ruby’s Cafe.

We woke up each morning to ocean sunrises and dolphins playing in the waves.

We met lots of interesting people.

Saw interesting things.

And basically had our minds blown wide open!

That what is so great about road trips.

They are, by their very nature, unpredictable and exciting.

exciting adventure

 

 

 

 

Life is like that for me.

 

It is really just a big, uncertain adventure.

Each day is new and fresh.

 

BUT…

Sometimes, on a  road trip, your car will break down, or you may run into construction…

flat tire

 

 

 

 

 

Life is just like that too!

 

The really good news though is that those set backs don’t have to ruin your trip.

You have the choice to see them as just minor setbacks…

Nothing more than a small inconvenience.

But all too often, when life throws a “flat tire” at us, we panic.

We start down that road of Self Pity, and successfully turn a small inconvenience into a major life crisis.

WHY?

Is there a way to avoid this “Pot Hole” in the road, and take a detour around the road called “Self Pity”?

For me, my detour is my creativity.

Without creativity, my life would be flat, boring, empty.

The creative process allows me to bypass the perfectionist,

give visuals to my journey,

and create new stories out of old. 

It is the pattern I use to “Unfold my Own Yarn”.

It is my invitation to discard the old, tattered yarns that I believe about myself.

It is a way to recreate what others have said about me and to begin to unfold my story

my yarn –

with my voice –

in my way. 

snowman trio mel and bren 1

 

 

 

 

I can clearly see how essential it is to give ourselves the experience of mothering through an ongoing creative practice.

Creative means lots of things to lots of people. That is why I am not going to specifically “label” my creativity today.

As a woman, I just know and understand the power of having some type of creative outlet for ourselves.

We are really good at taking care of everyone first, and leaving the leftover scraps for ourselves. We find ourselves starving and depleted…

And then wonder why!

But if all we ever fed our physical bodies was the leftover scraps…

scraps

 

 

 

 

Our health would suffer huge consequences.

Our spirits are no different.

They need to be nourished and rested too.

Creativity is a great way to engage in deeply honest inquiries about the whats, whys, where’s and hows of our own wounds, healing and desires.

It’s an amazing way to join with others and to be in real conversations with others who might be on the same path.

With these magical ingredients of creativity, determination, and excitement, I believe it is possible for us to begin to heal the wounds and internal messages that we have been carrying for most of our lives. 

Lets go back to the road trip metaphor again for a minute…

Because… Summer is about road trips!

The beach,

discovery,

and traveling light.

On this Whimsical Road Trip to creativity…

Lets all
invoke our inner Rock Star who will invite that Inner Soul Child for a little walk on the wild side.

We will introduce her to boundaries, self-love, kindness, her own essential wisdom, and unique quirkiness.

Lets all vow to learn how to take our creativity along with us,  and use it to do some really deep inquiry on the road without weighing ourselves down.

Without getting sidetracked by “construction”, or “flat tires”.

Lets vow instead to see life as one big creative adventure.

I am going to end this post today with a quote from Ray Bradbury. I just feel that it fits really well with today’s conversation.

“If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you’ll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you’ve already been in.  Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words –not just any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues.  You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice.  Truth seems to want expression.  Unacknowledged truth saps your energy and keeps you wired and delusional. But when you open the closet door and let what was inside out, you can get a rush of liberation and even joy. And the truth of your experience can only come through in your own voice.”

~ Ray Bradbury

 

Where does Happiness come from?

 

Last night Jeff and I were having a conversation about attitudes.

We were pondering the question of why it is seemingly so easy for some people to be happy all the time.

Why do some people have the ability to bounce back quickly from a tragedy, while for others the tragedy becomes the thing that destroys their life?

What is it that creates either happiness or depression in people?

If we are honest, we are ALL a combination of both.

We are all simultaneously happy and depressed most of the time, but some “FEED” the happiness and others “FEED” the depression.

So today, let’s attempt to find out where happiness comes from.

I am one of those happy people.

So, I will share my experience with you in the hopes that it may in some way help you to hear how I have found happiness in my life.

Last night, I spent some time in meditation attempting to sort this whole issue out.

 

Heres what I discovered in the silence last night…

 

All anyone really wants is happiness.

Deep down, we all long to reach a state of mind that’s completely unburdened by conflict and suffering.

The desire to find this inner harmony is universal.

There is not one person alive who is not is search of this “Holy Grail” we call happiness.

It is the motivation behind everyone’s actions.

This common drive and ultimate goal is what makes you equal to everybody else.

It is also what makes you absolutely innocent.

 

Last night I had a huge epiphany.

I realized  that our happiness results from the perception of harmony.

This harmony we all seek comes in two flavors:

Harmony with ourselves.

And harmony with the world.

Harmony with yourself is the belief that you are good, worthy, and lovable.

Harmony with the world is your need to feel safe and connected.

It is also your soul’s natural yearning to exist in a meaningful and fair world.

Most of us had a pristine taste of this sense of existential harmony as small children.

Before we became burdened with a sad, acquired worldview, we had no issues with ourselves or with others.

We didn’t judge or label ourselves, so we embraced ourselves and others unconditionally.

Unaware of our mortality and of the perilous circumstances of life in a body, we enjoyed a profound sense of safety.

Amazed by the wonders of our new world, every day was filled with discovery and meaning.

Unfortunately, sooner or later, for everyone, the paradise of early childhood is eaten away by the parasite of the erroneous and negative concepts and beliefs that we are exposed to that begin to fill our minds.

We try to recapture a sense of harmony in the midst of this temporary and chaotic dream.

Every day, we go out there trying to prove ourselves worthy of our own self-embrace.

We seek countless signs of approval from others and from society, just so we can earn back our own love.

We also struggle and ultimately fail to find safety, fairness, connection, and meaning within the society we exist in.

Our general failure to find true, lasting happiness comes from looking for it in all the wrong places.

Happiness based on what’s temporary and arbitrary is forever elusive.

While happiness based on eternal truth is forever.

The harmony we struggle every day to recreate actually has never left us.

What we naturally perceived as small children is still there;

it always has been,

and always will be.happiness

 

 

 

 

The fact that I can still see this truth, and that my life experiences, have not been successful at closing my eyes to this truth, is I believe, the reason I am so resilient.

Let me introduce you to the reality that exists in my mind most of the time.

These are the truths that I believe deeply in my heart, and that I embrace.

I believe that our deeper reality is that we are eternal, innocent, and flawless spiritual beings.

We are forever lovable, forever connected, forever safe.

We exist in a universe filled with fairness and meaning deeper than we can currently conceive, and that universe is controlled by a God of Love.

We are equal to each other in what’s real and permanent, while we differ from each other only in temporary and ultimately meaningless ways.

The path to happiness is not an external path of validation, but an internal journey of realization.

I believe that happiness is found when we finally awaken to the magnificent truths of our existence.

Then and only then will the harmony and happiness you so deeply long for will forever be yours.

I’m autistic and normal…REALLY???

I had to reblog this from The Culture Monk’s blog. I was so touched by this post about Asbergers.
We all need to read this post, and listen to what he is trying to say about people with differences in our society.

Culture Monk

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By Kenneth Justice

~ What is normal?

At coffee recently I met with a young mother of a 12 year old boy. Her son is autistic and she’s been instructed by her son’s teacher to enroll her child in special classes to help him deal with his autism, “I guess I just don’t really understand why it’s necessary because I think my son is awesome! I feel like the problem isn’t my son; the problem is people who expect every child to act the same” she said

Let’s be honest, in Western Culture the people who tend to rise to the top of the pack are the extroverted and outgoing; those with charisma and charm. Do you want to be President of the United States; then be charming like John F. Kennedy and you’ll beat your opponent.

For those people who weren’t born with a natural proclivity towards…

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The THIN line we all want to cross…

Belly fat is a major concern for women.

Not because we all want to have six-pack abs, but because we want to feel good in our clothes, and in our bodies.

We don’t want to look pregnant if we aren’t and we don’t want to wear “mom jeans” to cover up the bulge.

But belly fat is persistent for many reasons.

Even when we amp up the exercise routine, add more crunches, and limit our calories, it stays with us through it all.

This has been a major problem for me for years.

Last year in February, I was told by my doctor that if I didn’t lose my belly bulge, I was facing some SERIOUS health risks.

So, I finally had the motivation that I had been lacking to get really serious about my health.

Below are my before and after pictures.

Before After LTJ2

They tell my story better than any words ever could.

Getting from the first picture to the last picture was NOT easy. It took time, dedication, and re-educating myself about food and nutrition.

But in the end, it has been worth every drop of sweat!

Today, I am going to summarize a few of the things that I did to create lasting, permanent weight loss for myself.

First, lets take a look at the physiology that makes your body prone to maintaining extra padding around the middle.

Because once you understand the biology of stubborn belly fat, you can make simple targeted changes in your life and watch it melt away.

Since belly fat has been linked to health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, the health benefits of losing it go way beyond having a trim waistline.

What’s causing your belly fat?

Let’s start by looking at the three most common physiologic causes of stubborn belly fat.

All three of these imbalances result in extra padding around the belly — for good reason — and once you remove the physiologic block, the body releases the extra weight.

Insulin resistance. After a few years of eating a high-carb diet (including sugar and alcohol), your cells can reach a state where they no longer respond to insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugar and quick conversion of sugar to fat. What is the best place to store quickly converted fat? The belly.

This was exactly what had happened to me. I was told that I needed to be on insulin immediately. I begged the doctor to give me 3 months to try to correct this problem on my own. He agreed, and I got busy. In the end, I was successful, and am as of today still insulin free!

The second reason for belly fat is Adrenal imbalance. During times of stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline to mobilize quick energy for a “fight or flight” situation. Yet modern stress rarely requires actual fighting or fleeing so these extra calories end up being stored as belly fat.

After all the stress I had endured over the past 15 yrs, my body was dangerously close to adrenal fatigue. This was another area that the doctor recommended I medicate. Again I said lets give it 3 months. 

The third area that causes us problems is Sex hormone imbalance. As early as the age of 35 our estrogen and progesterone levels can begin to fluctuate. And in an effort to preserve fertility for as long as possible, the body hangs on to extra fat in the belly because this fat can make estrogen.

At the age of 34, I started into peri-menopause, so of course, that was another factor in my belly bulge.

When I first began my journey, I honestly felt like my body was working against me. I felt that I was standing at the bottom of an impossible mountain to climb. But, I had too much to lose if I didn’t try, so I laced up my boots and started to climb.

I found a company that sold nutritional products that naturally addressed the issues I was dealing with.

AVAR Lifestyle Design was a big part of my success, but I also needed to get active, and change my eating habits. 

Here are a few of the things I changed in my life that have resulted in a healthy diagnosis from my doctor, and a body that is 10 sizes smaller than it used to be.

1. Know your carbohydrate limit. My doctor recommended  that I start eating 16 grams of carbohydrates at every meal and 7 grams per snack. This meant taking a good look at the foods (and drinks!) I was consuming each day. This reduced carb load will address your insulin resistance almost immediately.

In addition to revamping the carbohydrates I was eating, I also began an exercise program.

I began to exercise in a way that built muscle. I chose to practice weight training, yoga, and interval training. All of these types of exercise are excellent ways to build muscle, which is a great way to help insulin do its job.

2. Lighten your stress load. I know you’ve heard this advice so many times it’s becoming a cliché, but reducing stress truly lowers cortisol levels and makes a big difference in how fat is deposited in your body.

Since it is not possible for us to all quit our jobs and eliminate the pressures of parenting, I recommend nutrition to help in this area.

Here are just a few herbs that you can research and possibly use to help support your body in this area: Astragalus root, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola are great at minimizing the stress burden on your body.

The other way that I reduced stress was to sleep more and spend more time in nature.

Sleep is one of the best ways to lower stress and studies show it also helps keep your hunger levels and weight in check.

Spending time in nature was a great way for me to reset my mind and prepare it for the week ahead.

3. Balance your hormones. Hormonal fluctuation is an inevitable part of life, but you can ease the burden on your body by supplementing with hormone-supportive herbs. Try black cohosh, red clover, and kudzu for estrogen imbalances and passionflower, chasteberry, and wild yam for progesterone imbalances.

Here was another place where my diet was lacking and causing me problems. I began to eat more foods like,  salmon, walnuts, olive oil and avocado so my body had the building blocks it needed to make hormones.

4. Build healthy gut flora. Recent studies are showing that the bacteria in our guts can play a large role in our weight. Populate your gut with healthy bacteria that can help you digest and metabolize your food by taking a high quality probiotic. I also eat a serving of probiotic yogurt every single day.

In addition to the yogurt I learned that I needed to be eating more fiber.  Good bacteria thrive on fiber, while the not-so-good bacteria thrive on refined carbs like sugar.

5. Add metabolic boosters. Metabolic boosters can support a healthy metabolism and increase your calorie and fat burning potential. Here is where the AVAR products were priceless for me. They jump started my system naturally, with no side effects.

You can go to their website for more information on their products at http://www.avarlifestyle.com

Exercise is a great way to boost metabolism, especially if you’re doing it at least four times per week.

Exercise reduced my stress, levels, increased my confidence levels, and improved my overall attitude and energy.

You now have the knowledge and the tools to begin losing your belly fat!

Go ahead and dare to cross that THIN line we all dream of crossing.

Let go of the extra baggage you’ve been carrying — you’re ready!