Category Archives: power & courage

You Were Meant to Soar

you were made to soar

Being honest and upfront takes practice — at least for me it does. I often have to work at allowing my feelings to be expressed and out in the open — but also, saying (or writing) it in a way that is clear and helpful for other people. This way, everyone benefits. With practice, we both get deeper, stronger, more authentic and more courageous in our lives. It often leads to a greater sense of peace, well-being and lightness. A feeling of being free.

This week I had a few blog readers contact me directly asking for more details on the last two blog posts I wrote. (Like I said, I need practice.) I actually love when readers email me and ask me to explain things further (or better). The request doesn’t bother me at all. I find it very helpful and encouraging. (The same goes for when people email me and notify me of typos I have in my blog posts. I always appreciate it when people do that. Please tell me when you see obvious typos! It’s difficult for me to catch them.)

Okay, two quick things to address. Actually, make that three.

1. What did I mean by “super-powers” in my Andy Kehoe: The Edge of the Unknown blog post?

Instead of super-powers, think along the lines of dormant potential — very dormant. It’s the sort of thing we see someone do and it either inspires us immensely, or turns our world upside down (we stand there scratching our heads in disbelief).

While traveling around the world I saw and experienced first hand things that made me question what is considered factual or normal in the USA. If you are a reader that was thinking black magic and broomsticks as you were reading my blog post in question, I didn’t mean that — unless that inspires you or turns your world upside down. I was thinking more along the lines of a woman that lifts a car to save her trapped baby, or something (less dramatic) that you would not expect from a ‘typical’ human being — simply because you usually don’t see it being done, not because it isn’t possible.

2. Did my If you had 3 more… blog post insinuate that I was unhappy in Oregon or unfulfilled in my work?

This is an excerpt of an email reply I sent to someone regarding a similar question:
“Oregon is great! I really love it! It was a fantastic decision for me. I’m really happy with all that I have here, and I am making friends little by little (since I moved here not knowing anyone). The people are great, the weather is great, the town is gorgeous — I have no complaints! Oregon (and life) is also showing me that I need to be more brave, and follow what scares me and lights me up. I feel some changes coming on (in work and possibly romance), but I’m not sure what they are yet. I know I would like to do something health & food related, but I would need to figure out how to balance it (and start it) between the two shops I have running now. I love my two Etsy shops! And my favorite part of the work is connecting with the customers. But, I feel that jewelry & beads can only reach so many people (and can only be so satisfying or challenging). I feel like I could/should be connecting more and learning more, and having an impact on more lives — this can/could happen if my work was a product or service that more people resonated with. (Most of the people I currently know could care less about beads!) So I’m trying to figure it out and slowly make a transition.”

3. Did I ever see the guy I mentioned in my Romantic Sparks vs. Life Goals blog post again?

No, I never saw him again. I saw his car parked on the street maybe once, or twice at most. I have not bumped into him downtown, nor in the neighborhood. I actually don’t think he is a local, and was probably visiting someone here or working here on a project. The town I live in is pretty small, most of the people I know I see them around. It’s easy to bump into each other and cross paths.

As a side note: I’m not looking for the guy I saw in that blog post! I’ve totally dropped and forgotten about it. (Until someone asks me about it.) I’ve moved on completely.

I want to address the second question again, it was a really good one. It stuck with me this week. It really got me thinking and brainstorming. Over the last few days, I gained a lot of clarity about what I would like to do next and why I’m not gung-ho passionate about what I’ve been doing daily. Both the question and the brainstorming reminded me of a blog post I wrote in 2011 titled, FOCUS on what you love: it’s important. In a nutshell, the blog post is about focusing on what you love, and doing virtually nothing else. It’s about setting your priorities straight and getting super-organized. It encourages you to be very bold and honest in how you choose to spend your time. In that post I wrote that my four priorities are; Blogging, Exercising, Meditating, Studying. Those priorities should be in complete alignment with what I love to do most, which is; Creating, Dancing, Being, Reading. When I wrote that blog post, my priorities and my ‘love to do’s were in complete alignment — totally in sync! But over the last few years my life changed dramatically. With all of the moving and changes I’ve been through since leaving New York City — meditating, dancing, reading and creating dropped off the radar. Not dancing/exercising vigorously is a huge missing for me. So is not taking the time to read or meditate daily, or challenge myself creatively.

This week I started dancing again and it felt amazing. It felt so right! Like someone unlocked a door to a cage. I was no longer holding my breath or breathing shallowly. I was able to open up and fly, spread my wings and let go. I also started to seriously brainstorm my next creative project, getting complete ideas on paper. My plan is to also get on track with a reading and meditation schedule.

As I was thinking of all of the things I love, the things that light me up and set me free — a Sia video came to mind. The song and video expresses the kind of energy I feel that I need to release and stay open to. This energy needs to be released and expressed as an ongoing practice and priority for me. The reason it’s so important, is because sometimes I find myself feeling like I’m in a box, and I wonder how I got there. Often it takes a weekly or daily practice to keep myself out of that box. I know I’m not alone in this. We all want to get out of the assimilation factory line that our society often prefers we stay in. (We’ve been trained since infancy to think we need and should be living within certain stifling concepts.) For me, a liberating practice and reminder of my potential, is dancing and blogging, meditating and creating. For you it might be completely different. Whatever it is, I think it’s best we be clear about what lights us up and sets us free — and we need to stay at it. We have to keep the ball rolling and boldly claim our right to be it and do it. It needs to be priority.

Don’t forget what makes you feel whole, don’t forget what makes you come alive. Life is meant to be lived. Bravely, boldly, in an adventurous spirit. You were meant to soar. I was too. Life is best when we can soar together.

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Laura Dekker is Definitely Badass

Laura Dekker is Badass

Last night I was watching Maidentrip on Netflix. It’s a movie about Laura Dekker‘s journey around the world. It doesn’t sound like a big deal does it? Plenty of people have traveled around the world, but how many 14 year old girls do you know that have sailed around the world completely alone? I for one, had never heard of such a thing. The whole idea sounds dangerous and daunting. Luckily, life shows us that we are far more capable than we imagine ourselves to be.

As I was watching the movie, I got really teary eyed. Okay, I’m lying, I actually cried. I cried for a bit while watching the movie, and I was only 15 minutes in! The reason I was crying is because I identified with Laura’s challenges and insights, I identified with them so deeply. She talked about the fact that people didn’t believe her dreams were possible and discouraged her (this includes a 10 month court battle with the government in Holland). They also didn’t think that she was capable of knowing herself or being able to hear/listen to her own innate wisdom. Towards the end of the film, Laura talked about the fact that the more she was at sea, the more she became comfortable in her own company and with her own thoughts. The more she surrendered to the moment (to beingness), the more in touch she was with nature and with herself. She became stronger and sharper as the days alone at sea passed. Her innate intelligence and power became more apparent with each passing day.

I have never done anything as badass or courageous as Laura, but I have gone against the grain of social norms, and still do. My ongoing struggle is that I crave the opportunity to simply be (to explore and study beingness itself), and to be accepted for it (not only from other people, but my own acceptance as well). In a world where everyone is chasing money, status, and the acquisition of stuff (or people/relationships) — I feel like I’m a foreigner in a place where I was born. I’ve felt this way since I was a child. My mind always presented one thing, and the world always showed me something quite different.

This is a quote from the movie by Laura Dekker: “In Europe and Holland, they’re thinking only abut money. Money is the most important thing; getting a car, getting a house, getting kids — and then die.”

I remember being Laura’s age, and telling people that I wanted to be an artist, and that I didn’t want to marry or give birth to children. I was told that I would change my mind as I got older, and that my desires were unrealistic and immature. (For the record, I was never told this by my parents, my parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart & dreams, much like Laura’s family. It was only people in society that I encountered negativity and opposition.)

I never listened to the naysayers, I did exactly what I said/wanted, and at 40 years of age, no one can say that I changed my mind, or that my ideas were fantasies of inexperience or lacking in wisdom. I’ve never been married, and the desire to get married still isn’t there. The same goes for the rest, the desire to have my own children has never existed for me. (This doesn’t mean that I am not open to adopting in the distant future, or taking on a partnership with someone that has kids, or even marrying in the future — It’s only to say that at 14 years of age, I knew myself. I knew myself deeply.)

People could easily say that they discouraged Laura Dekker out of concern for her well-being. They could present the argument: “It is for her safety! Her parents allowing her to sail would put her life at risk. Her parents are irresponsible and the girl is spoiled. She should not be allowed to pursue such a far-fetched self-indulgent dream.”

Often people that see/meet/hear someone that appears to be fearless and/or driven in a certain regard, they put their guard up and act as though someone’s survival is on the line — like it’s a life or death situation. People forget that it’s not life or death, it’s life and death. Death is part of life, and the ones that are afraid of dying are often the ones that live as if they are dead. It’s the ones that aren’t afraid of dying that live as though they are fully alive. (And by ‘death’ I mean it figuratively and literally. Moving outside of one’s comfort zone, or ending something familiar, or putting yourself on the edge of what you think is possible or comfortable, is a form of death. It’s the death of your former self, the death of what you formally knew to be true or necessary.)

I have to assume more people than just a select few want to go against the grain or pursue a ‘crazy’ dream. These desires have to be in the minds of billions. It’s unfathomable to me that it isn’t the case. That being said, it’s just not something I hear of or see often. And for the few that want to pursue ‘out of the box’ ideas, it makes the journey even harder — if they take on the journey at all.

If people aren’t pursuing their dreams, or highest ideals, or whatever makes their heart sing, I think some questioning is in order. Are you afraid of your own survival? Do you think others will not accept you? Do you think you will lose your life as you know it, and if so, what is wrong with having a life that is currently unknown to you?

In nature, there are always cycles of life & death that are in perfect balance in each moment. Change is embraced fully. Change is actually what makes nature so gorgeous and exciting! It makes it stronger and richer, powerful beyond our understanding. Change is what makes nature come alive. We are nature, nature is not separate from us. When we go against nature, we go against our own innate wisdom, beauty and power.

So do you see what I mean? People chase what is familiar, thinking that they can hold on to life that way. Problem is, it prevents them from living life and being fully alive. Life is change. Life is surrendering to the unknown. Life is blooming into your own being. Even if that means that it might be scary, challenging or sound a bit out of the norm.

I take my hat off to anyone that has endured the struggle of going against the grain and following their heart. It gives the people around them permission to do the same. I think that’s why I was crying while watching the movie. It’s like Laura Dekker’s journey made all the years I struggled and felt confused worth something. It showed me that is was worth the fight — but now, now that I am older, it’s worth the embrace. I still need to surrender more and trust my own heart wisdom. There is still a lot of internal nitpicking that shows a lack of unconditional love (for myself) and unshakable courage. It rears its head from time to time, and I can feel it. It’s humbling, I guess that’s the good part. But to find balance between the two is my ideal. To be humble, yet fully aware and empowered at the same time. I think that makes for a pretty badass combination, as well as a pretty badass life.

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Marianne Williamson & Caroline Myss: Tough Love

Marianne Williamson  Caroline Myss Tough Love

Today I watched a Marianne Williamson Google Talk I had never seen before. There is a confidence and a hardness that I see & feel from her. But the hardness is due to a deep deep bottomless love. An immeasurable ungraspable love. It’s powerful, and you can feel it as she talks. I think that ‘hardness’ I see & feel is mistaken. I think the English vocabulary is short on vocabulary. Sometimes deep love can feel tough or hard, but it’s just certain. It’s without a doubt. And just like a sure ‘yes’ or a sure ‘no’, it’s a done deal. It isn’t debatable, swayable, or open to being pushed around.

Shortly after I watched that Google Talk, I came across a Caroline Myss interview (with Lilou Mace) that I had seen before, but I watched it again. Caroline Myss also comes across confident and ‘hard’. It reminded me of the same energy I felt while watching Marianne Williamson talk. I thought to myself: they must have a similar knowing, it’s as simple as that.

Below are both videos. Both videos are excellent. They dive deep into many timely issues. Marion focuses her talk on creativity and leadership, while Caroline focuses on humility and grace. In the bigger picture, their words are painting the same image. The reason our society is in trouble, is because we haven’t seen the connection between creativity, leadership, humility and grace. I watch these videos because it’s important to make that connection. It’s equally important to share it. But what’s even more important is to live it. Awareness is the first step. Always.

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Definition of Freedom

aimee cavenecia text face

I’m not one to be chatty, or to call all the time. I really like personal space, solitude, & time to reflect. As a result of this, most of my communication ends up being online. Often I get emails from friends, family, or people that know me through my blog. All of these emails are appreciated & valued — but when an email is personal, when it’s deeper, digging into heartfelt feelings or fears, this is when an email really stands out. This is when I want to say, “thank you!” Because through your open sharing, I too have opened up. When I receive these types of emails, I really wish I could include everyone in on the conversation. But the conversation is private — between me & another person. So, what I do from time to time on this blog, is I only post my response. My reply to the email, without any background information on the conversation, or any details about who I am corresponding with. Below you’ll find an email reply I wrote this week. Hopefully by only reading my response, you will feel like you were part of the conversation. Because to me, you were. I feel like everyone is part of every conversation that I have. (Because everyone is in my heart.)

Hey XXXXX,

Explore this this year.–>“I didn’t trust myself to just go with the flow.”

It’s a big one. Flow is EVERYTHING. It’s the real deal. It’s the essence. Don’t leave this lifetime without getting to know flow, without trusting the unknown. It’s like living a lie your whole life, and never looking truth directly in the face. It’s the ultimate of being fearless.

I heard something good yesterday. An interviewer asked someone what their definition of Freedom was. The person replied, “the absence of fear.”

In this world we have all sorts of daredevils and ‘ballsy’ people bragging and showing all sorts of outward fearlessness. But VERY FEW can be with inward fearlessness.

For most, it’s way too scary. For those that have made it their life-work or their practice, to trust the unknown — they can finally be themselves — they can experience (or be) causeless contentment. Real freedom; bliss, internal peace. A place that money, will or talent can’t buy. It’s Grace — unknowable, unpredictable, unfathomable — and effortless.

One can’t push or muscle their way there. It doesn’t work like that. All one can do is humbly let go, and trust fully — totally surrender. Every moment is an opportunity for us to do so. Every minute is another chance. And the good news is; we don’t have to go anywhere, buy anything, or do anything. It’s always right here, right now.

Wishing you the best year ever! :) Explore the Unknown! Be fearless! Meet what’s inside, the real you that is unseen, and oftentimes, unheard. Be with it, listen to it, trust it. It’s not just in you, it’s everywhere. Finally seeing and meeting yourself, you finally meet the world. You feel the love and the peace that has always been there. All along.

I’m glad you are XXXXX. :) That is great news.

Love you!
A.

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Caine’s Arcade: A Metaphor For Life

Are we trusting that the Universe supports us when we take risks in a loving way?

Are we listening to our intuition & following through on its guidance?

Are we using our creativity or talents? And more importantly, are we using them to be of service to others?

Are we dedicated to the best life we could imagine for ourselves & for those around us?

Are we sharing the enthusiasm, passion & love we have? Are we sharing it openly with our neighbors & community?

Are we making an effort to connect with others through the numerous resources we have? Are we connecting in a meaningful or lasting way?

Are we believing in ourselves enough to give others reason to believe in us too?

Are we trying all that we imagine? Have we given what lights us up a fair shot, or a fair chance? If not, why not? Anything is possible.

Are we going all-out for something that we know is great, or that we hope someone else might think is great too?

Are we working towards something that directly contributes to the happiness of others?

Are we doing our work with joy in our hearts & love in our intentions? Are we doing it for the greater good?

Are we happy to do what we do?

For more information on Caine’s Arcade or Caine Monroy, visit www.CaineArcade.com or Caine’s Arcade on Facebook. For information on Nirvan Mullick (the filmmaker who directed the short film & Caine’s first customer!) visit www.Nirvan.com

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Dick Gregory, from the bottom of my heart — THANK YOU.

Oh, how do I begin?

Few people truly shine bright on many levels, & Dick Gregory is one of those people. He has shone inside & out, as well as across the board since the late 1950’s. And even now in 2012, you can see him at almost every major event that speaks on behalf of people’s rights.

His list of achievements is too long to list here. We are talking about almost 80 years of living fully. And when I say living fully, I don’t mean living a full life — I mean putting your life on the line! Living out loud & speaking your mind; doing all you can to find the truth; standing up for yourself & others; experimenting & testing & investigating; being an artist (first black comedian to break the color barrier); being an author (of 13 books, as either writer or co-writer); being an athlete (ran from California to New York City, averaging 50 miles per day for 71 days); being vegetarian since the 1960’s, and in more recent years raw vegan (he chose to not eat animals or animal products, because of his dedication to non-violence); fasting on water for 70 days straight (Dick Gregory is well known for his hunger strikes); running for president in 1968 (garnered 47,097 votes, including one from Hunter S. Thompson); feeding the hungry (shipped 10,000 pounds of beans to feed people in Marks, Mississippi); cancer survivor (cured himself of lymphoma with natural methods); I can go on & on.

Peter Barry Chowka summed it up perfectly when he said, “Gregory’s name, is synonymous with progressive social and political causes. He is that rare combination (like Gandhi) of activist and healer, one whose own life illustrates how real change first must come from within oneself.”

Thank you, Dick Gregory. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for having the courage to think for yourself. Thank you for putting yourself on the line. Thank you for looking deeper. Thank you for leading the way. Thank you for teaching others how beautiful & powerful they are. Thank you for reminding us to love & to be fearless. Thank you for showing us how much can be accomplished in one lifetime. Thank you for being you. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

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Coney Island Polar Bear Club (& cub!)

The first section of this blog post is an email I sent to my Mom. It’s about the adventure I had last Sunday with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club in New York. The second half of the post is a detailed description of the event.

The email…

From: AimeeLovesYou
To: Mom
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012
I DID IT!
Yesterday was 45 degrees (brrr!), cloudy & a bit rainy.
I really didn’t want to go. But I did. I went to Coney Island… to swim with the Polar Bears! :) I was happy that I did it, & it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
I’m telling you, Ma. These fears are just puffed-up illusions. If you poke a hole in them, they really do deflate!
Happy Monday.
:) I love you.
Love,
A. (aka, Polar Bear cub)

The details…

The hardest part was leaving the Coney Island Polar Bear changing room on the boardwalk & walking out to the beach in a bikini. The distance from the changing room to the ocean seemed so far …& very intimidating. I would have to make my way through the cold, & make my way past all of the people. Everyone on the boardwalk was bundled with coats, gloves, hats, & scarves. They were looking at my friend & I like we were crazy (my friend with his tall thin tattooed body in nothing but orange swim trucks, & me sporting my playful hairdo that looked like Mickey Mouse ears, plus my black bikini-like outfit on a wintery-cold day). People were totally staring.

I was SO COLD walking out to the beach. My friend kept saying “Jump! Do jumping-jacks! Run! Stay active to keep warm!” But I was afraid my boobs were going to flop around (or out!) & everyone was starting at us! I felt frozen on the boardwalk, figuratively & literally. Eventually I mustered up enough courage to cross my arms in front of my chest & run out to the beach. When I got to the ocean I started to jump in place. After that, the rest of the Polar Bear Club arrived, warmed up (with jumping jacks), & then we all got in the water.

Being in the cold ocean wasn’t as bad as I thought. But it was so strange — at one point I thought my bikini bottom fell off. I kept reaching down to feel if my bikini bottom was there. I would reach down to pull it up, only to discover that it hadn’t moved an inch! This feeling kept happening. The other thing that worried me, was my private part felt so cold, it felt like it was going to crack off! My legs, arms, stomach, hands & feet, all felt fine — I just had a numb butt & a completely frozen _____!

The waves were the other thing that made me feel uneasy. As they approached, I wasn’t sure if they would splash me (brrr!), or raise the water level (oh no!). When I would see a wave forming or approaching, I would get really nervous. At one point my friend asked me, “Are you OK? Do you want to leave?” I said, “No, I’m fine, I can stay!” But then he asked me again after the waves started to move with more vigor. He looked like he was making his way out, so I said, “We’re leaving? Ok, let’s go!”

Again I crossed my arms in from of my chest & started to run. My friend & I were making our way over the sand & back to the changing room. People cheered us on. One man even shouted that he was proud of me. He hollered cheerfully, “I have to hand it to you, girl. I couldn’t have done it. But you did it. Bravo!”

The run back to the changing room felt like a flash (an interesting contrast to the run out to the ocean that felt like forever). Once I got to the entrance of the changing room, my muscles were burning. My thighs felt like they were on fire! My whole body felt fiery hot. My friend & I stood at the entrance rinsing our shoes & feet, clearing the sand off. I wasn’t cold at all. I was totally wet, standing in 45 degree weather, having a blast!

After that, we dried off, & headed to the subway. Off we went, to the next adventure for the day.

It was a great experience. I learned so much. It reminded me of a post I wrote last year: your BIGGEST OBSTACLE doesn’t exist. Sometimes the way out of a challenge (or fear) is to go through it. You have to walk right through it to see that it isn’t real. Or to see that it is only temporary. Like stormy weather, or an uncomfortable moment, or even a death — allow yourself to fully experience it. Allow it to dance around you & then see that it was only temporary. Happiness, sadness, pain, pleasure, see it as a flicker of life passing through you. The contrast & joy that is life, moving & shape-shifting. Fully feel it. And fully feel alive.

[Top photo by Jay Dickman.]

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