Whisper from the Universe

brene brown universe quote

“I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

Brené Brown

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A New Adventure

a new adventure

I remember when I was in New York City dismantling my life (this process took me exactly 7 years). Donating and selling all of my things, giving away the photos I collected over the years, erasing phone books of acquaintances and work contacts. I was shedding my skin, a persona and deep rooted life I built on the east coast. As I was doing this, I found tattered journals, from my early years in New York and my youth back in California. I was amazed by how much I wrote the same thing over and over again — over decades. I wrote mainly about wanting to take better care of myself, as well as my yearning for inner peace. It was painful to read the struggle represented on the pages. It was like someone was trapped, wanting desperately to escape, eager to find a way out and create some sort of opening. They wanted to be set free, both mentally & physically.

So many of the dreams & goals written on the pages were realized over time. But I was aware of how many years it took to get to that place. It took me writing & wanting, experimenting & failing, trying repeatedly, being relentless about staying on course.

I also noticed that it was ever-evolving. The ladder always had more rungs, always had a higher view.

I remember when I told myself that if I could only stand on my head I would be so happy. Then it was if I could only take a yoga teacher’s training. After that it was advanced teacher training. Achieving that later turned into a desire to study yogic philosophy more deeply, meditate and go on silent retreats. But the retreats were never silent enough or long enough. I wanted to go in the forest and meditate for 6 months, to participate in a silent buddhist forest refuge program. There was always the next level, the next evolution, the next adventure.

For a while all of this stopped. Completely. The ladder and dreamy views faded away. The desires dwindled. Not much remained. Only reflection and observation. It’s clear to me that almost all of what I was wanting and working towards, was not just a lightness of body & mind, but an openness of heart and a surrender to Grace. I wanted to feel more symbiotic. More spiritual. More integral. I wanted to feel and be present to the Force that is life. I wanted to have energy, feel energy, be energy, but in a tangible & useful way. In a way that felt embodied, yet divine, and served something higher than a public persona or false sense of self. But first I want to meet that energy.

All of that was to say, I know I wrote a lot about making some big changes in my life on this blog over the years, especially over the winter when my dog was ill and in trouble. Somehow that experience woke me from my indifferent slumber. I’m back at the ladder again. I’m interested in energy again. I’m wanting to feel the presence of Grace & hyper-synchronicity. I know it’s always there, always an underpinning. But there is a zone, that can only be reached through adventures. That powerful sense of mystery & magic & aliveness doesn’t come to those that remain comfortable. You have to fearlessly meet Grace halfway. You have to go to the edge of the ledge. You have to challenge your sense of familiar. You have to surrender what you know. You have to give up something to get something. You have to bravely trust. This isn’t easy. It takes dedication & work. It’s an ongoing practice.

So here I am again. Writing in journals. Stating over and over again, what I want and what I’m working towards. What I want to feel, where I want to be. On the inside. To reflect to the outside. And be of use, of service. Via Grace’s guidance & prodding.

I’m starting a new program/daily routine this week. I want to push myself in the following areas (written below), and I’m going to have a different accountability partner for each area. I’m also going to create a timeline for what I would like to experience & manifest over the next 5 months.

Friendships & Community

Health & Fitness

Finances & Resources

Creativity & Work

The goal is to push limits, get uncomfortable, explore boundaries, breathe new life. I may be writing about this for the next 10 years. I won’t be one bit surprised. I’m all in, willing to surrender to possibility and the most amazing life possible. For me it’s not a matter of attaining beautiful things or knowing impressive people. It’s me. I’m interested in what I could see, develop and know within myself. And then connect & magnetically join forces with like minds.

The journey continues. Adventure awaits.

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Marianne Williamson: Depression, Happiness, Peace & Politics

Marianne Williamson

A woman with a strong presence is such a force to be reckoned with. When I think of that type of woman, Marianne Williamson is such a great example. Her energy and wisdom can not be denied. Often when I hear her speak, it’s like I want to hold her words a little longer. It’s like I’m being nourished with words that I want to fully digest and be a part of. So much of what she says and who she is resonates with me.

This week I watched an episode of the School of Greatness with Marianne Williamson. I’ll post it below for you. But I also want to share an old RuPaul video (longtime readers of Sunday Is For Lovers know how much I love RuPaul). He shares some misgivings he has about Marianne’s path in politics. I totally agree (100%) with what he has to say, but I also think Marianne makes a good point too. In hindsight we get to see how it all played out, because the conversation he had with Marianne was from 2013, and the School of Greatness video is current (from June 2016). Both videos discuss her desire & path in politics.

Politics aside, I’m interested in what Marianne has to say about a personal sense of peace. From my own words and experience; politics will come & go (so will much of everything else), but what remains is our relationship with ourselves. Truthfully, what is happening in that relationship? What’s happening in the mind? What’s happening within us? What is that relationship with ourselves really like? Is it freeing or enslaving? Is it peaceful or at war? Is it violent or lovingly compassionate? The state of affairs in the world is a direct reflection of the chaos, struggle and battle within our own minds. It’s manifesting as a collective force. To change the collective (the collective mindstate), we have to be responsible for the state of the individual. How could we ever expect peace to come from outside of ourselves? It’s not going to come from another person, or from a change in government, or even from more of what we want. Peace is an inside job. It happens from the inside out. It’s the result of a greater sense of awareness and understanding.

That’s my 2 cents on the matter, but I was thrilled to listen to what Marianne had to say about the topic.

Marianne Williamson on the School of Greatness:

RuPaul’s thoughts on Marianne & politics:

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Extreme Sport Decluttering

extreme sport declutter

Dara dubinet

dara dubinet home

Meet Dara Dubinet, queen of all things clean, clear and bright. Like me (and so many others), she functions better when the energy in her life has room to flow. Over the years she has shared her transformational story and knowledge of decluttering, feng shui, fresh foods, hot tonics and radiant health. Check out her website and Youtube channel for a fabulous selection of great videos on those topics. But for today, I only wanted to share decluttering. Summer has just begun, and it’s a great time to revamp your life and allow the light in. Shine bright this season! Don’t be afraid of change. Let go of the old and bring in the new. (Not just in your things, but in yourself.)

Photography credit: The super-fab pics of Dara are from The Rose Journals

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Rich Roll: Poop, Purpose & Peace

Rich Roll 2016

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Questions for Answers

IMG_1296

You ask me questions, and I’ll give you answers. Today’s blog post is a melange of questions asked by readers this week. You can ask some too! The people that connect with me through Sunday Is For Lovers are my e-friends, my e-family, my e-community. I’m always honored & happy to engage with you. Simply email me your questions (link here) or leave them as comments. I’ll either reply to you directly, or include the answer in a blog post. (I will never share your personal information, only my general answers.) So feel free to reach out.

You’re always so cheerful. How do you do it?

There are certain things that make me agitated & miserable, I try to keep them out of my day/life. Sometimes I have to do them, or sometimes they creep in, but if I keep them in-check or at bay, I can stay pretty peppy & inspired. Below are a few examples:

Fitting in with social norms and engaging in small talk.
Doing work that feels out of alignment with my values.
Being stuck in traffic or in noisy/congested/polluted areas.
Eating or drinking acid forming foods in excess.
Not having the space or time to contemplate/simply be.
Sitting in chairs too long, not feeling free to move.
Having too much stuff or feeling burdened by luxuries.

What does A.P.S. mean?

A.P.S. [Rainbow] is a shortened version of my name, plus my dog’s name.

The A is for Aimee, and the P. S. Rainbow is for Penelope Super Rainbow. My dog was already named Penelope when I adopted her, and my sister added the Super Rainbow.

What have you learned (or are learning) about yourself?

I learned to question myself/life; to see if I am doing something out of social influence or a natural gravitational pull. I learned that my life is more magical when I surrender and give up ‘control’/overthinking. I’m learning to listen more, see more, and to be kinder to myself. I learned that much of what I hated about myself as a child is now becoming my strongest and my most loyal/unique trait. Awareness becomes more & more important to me as I get older. To observe, watch, see, listen, feel, be… it’s paramount for me.

Is [meditation] as simple as quieting the mind?

You don’t quiet the mind. You simply get simple and the mind gets quiet.

There is no activity, nothing that needs to be done, no A to Z journey, no goal — not even quieting the mind. Only being, or being simple.

Think of it this way: think of those blissful moments when you are on the toilet pooping, and a great idea/insight pops in your mind! It could be in the shower, or while waiting for a bus, or going for a run, or looking out the window of a moving train. These moments are simply spaces. Moments in time when you’ve totally relaxed and had space between your thoughts, and that space gave your mind the opening to have an insight, clear view, ah-ha, or great idea. That’s what meditating or being feels like. It’s very relaxing & effortless, it happens on its own. You could be still & planted, or be somewhere doing something, but you aren’t identifying with it. You are simply being, in a state of flow, or being moved, being breathed, being thought, being relaxed. It’s not you, it’s just life happening through you. And when you let go, you can feel the spaciousness/vastness of it, you can be the space.

Is chanting necessary [for meditation]? If so, why?

Absolutely not. Chanting is not necessary.

Chanting can be helpful for people with busy minds, that need routine or are beginning a practice, but it’s not necessary. In general, it’s scientifically proven that you can not think of two things at one time. You can multitask, but your mind switches back and forth between the activities, it doesn’t/can’t hold both in thought at the exact same time. It has to fluctuate its focus, focusing on one thing at a time. So… if you meditate, and you repeat something, you can’t entertain other thoughts. Which is good. You can’t say Om and think of laundry in the exact same moment. And if you think Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om… (you get the picture)… laundry is no where in your mind, because there is no room! It’s focused and filled with Om. And of course some chanting/mantras hold special vibrations or meanings, etc. But they aren’t needed. Nothing is needed to be. Being is meditating. Being is natural from birth. (And before birth, as you were ‘just being’ in your mother’s womb.)

I love having a dog, I learn so much from her. She’s the best mediation teacher I’ve ever had. She can sit and look at me for hours. She can sit and stare at her doggie blanket for hours too! She’s happy to walk, sleep, eat, drink, or do absolutely nothing. She just holds the space for it. When sitting, she sits there. When eating, she’s fully engaged in eating. When sleeping, she gets right to it! She’s present, fully present for all of it. Being is presence. It’s awareness. It’s being with what is. A meditation cushion could help, so could a certain schedule — or it could not! It’s whatever works.

I totally think the best meditation practice is the one someone will actually do. If mantras work well and bring someone grace, peace and mental space. That’s a winner! If walking meditation is great for someone, or sitting on a zafu staring at a wall, or floating in a salt water swimming pool — whatever it takes! The point is to let go. Find a way to let go and gain greater awareness, greater peace, greater acceptance — spaciousness, openness, expansion, compassion. Whatever is grease on your relaxed being wheels is a good thing. But no, mantras are never needed. They can help though. For some people.

Is it okay to meditate lying down?

The difference between sleep & mediation is the fact that you are aware. If you can lie down and stay awake, stay present, stay in the moment — then I think it’s totally acceptable. Some might say you are giving your energy to the floor/bed, or that the energy in the spine can not rise to the head, etc.. I think it’s more important for you to develop a practice and do what feels like restful being. Siting upright in a pretzel-like pose is not restful being in many cases. For some people, it would drive the mind wild. I would simply avoid that. Sit on grass, lie on the floor, take a hot bath — do whatever will bring your mind into a state of grace, gratitude and simplicity. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to do it in any position, comfortable or not. But I would not begin with uncomfortable. Start with where you are. Start there. Get comfortable. Stay awake. Breathe and be.

As a side note: If you are using meditation as a way to fall asleep, then I would say you need more sleep. Do not use meditation as a way to fall asleep. Be kind to yourself, understand that you need more rest. If you fall asleep while meditating, it’s a good sign! You now know what you need to do. Get more rest and reset your daily priorities. Do that first. Get that caught up and in order. Once you are ready, begin a practice of meditation with full wakefulness, full presence. And if that means at night lying on your back — that’s totally okay. Just remain present. Stay with the feeling of being at ease and awake. This is why meditation is typically done in the morning and afternoon. It sets the tone for how to live each day. Going though our busy lives, with a mind that is clear, at ease and fully aware. Fully present.

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George Carlin, Muhammad Ali & Vietnam

Muhammad Ali

George Carlin discusses Muhammad Ali & Vietnam in 1971 on the Ed Sullivan Show:

muhammad ali vietnam

Muhammad Ali: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.… If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

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