21 August 2015

The Balance Between Sharing & Listening

If you've ever been to Cafe Gratitude, you know that they ask a question of the day when they take your order. It's meant to open up the table to positive discussion and offer some clean food for thought. Last week, when I stopped in for a tea and a warm environment for some evening reading, I was posed with the question of the day. But because I was alone and my server was quite busy, I was left to have a dialog with myself about it. 

"What are you learning?"

The question was short and simple, but also felt loaded. The ever-student, always-improving spirit in me reared at the question, so eager to pour out all of the learnings I had been collecting over the past few weeks. I think I have may have given myself a shock of sensory overload at the thought of untangling the answer!

I realize now, a week later, that the clearest learning was in the reaction to the question itself. I am always eager to share. It does not take much to warm me to the point of opening up with others (hence this blog and its name). But I realized that I can be overly open to others, and that I could benefit from being more selective with whom and when I share my energy. 

I am learning that I harness a lot of a love, light, and power. We ALL do - it's just a matter of discovering the tools to plug into them. I have a magnetic quality about me. And people can see and feel it. Others want to feel embraced by the enthusiasm and love they feel radiating from me. And I am happy to give, and I do so often. It's an integral part of what makes me feel happy and connected to my human experience. But a few gems of wisdom related to this willingness to give and open have made themselves known to me, and I think they will speak to you too:

1.  I may choose to share my energy and my story, but I must not give away my power. Given the alluring quality of an open spirit, one must actively decide whom to allow into one's sphere. It's not something I am required or obligated to share with everyone, despite how much my overly-giving spirit may feel this way. And given how easy it is for me to open up, I must continuously and clearly establish boundaries. Otherwise, I risk springing a leak in my tank or compromising my natural defense mechanisms, at which point I will quickly deplete and open myself to harm. What I mean is that when we are overly giving of our time, wisdom, and spirit - particularly to the wrong kinds of activities and people - we will wilt and be less able to 1) tap into our inner magic and 2) protect ourselves from negative energies. I have already experienced what this feels like, and I see how I suffer when I don't have enough energy to give myself and the people that do matter.

Can you get honest with yourself about where you are leaking? What arenas or people in your life are you surrendering your power, your time, and your life force to? Where are you happy to share, and what areas could you reel back in your spirit to nourish the more important parts of your life? And, to be clear, the areas that are most important are the people and things that bring you JOY. If you don't have enough time or energy to invest in the humans, hobbies, and experiences that bring you joy, you're due for some reallocating of life force resources. Because if not to feel joy, why are we here?
So - to recap - when I am more conscious in delegating my energy and sharing, I have more left to invest in myself and the things that bring me joy. But equally as important is the reality that in this grounded state, I am more privy to outside inputs. It's easy to see what is clean, divine energy, and what is negative, untrue energy when you are practicing conscious awareness of how you show up and open up in the world. I'm noticing that by tempering my need to share so wildly and freely, I am more available to TAKE IN new information, learn others' stories, and hear whispers from the Universe. I see that my willingness to share often prevents me from hearing others and noticing things outside of my own story and journey. When I choose to sit in the silence or in the presence of others sharing, it is then, and only then, that I can LISTEN. 

2.  I can actively choose to not share so immediately (or at all), and to instead sit comfortably on the receiving end. Just as there is power and beauty in giving, there is a reciprocal amount in receiving and enjoying that of others. How so? I think people over-share for two reasons: either 1) to validate themselves (asking for love) or 2) to try to make the recipient feel comfortable enough to open up in return (an attempt to give love). Unfortunately, the latter, more noble intention usually achieves the opposite of the desired result. When someone blasts you with THEIR experiences and THEIR opinions and THEIR stories, do you feel encouraged to share, or overwhelmed and inferior? I'm finding that genuinely holding space for people, listening without interruption, and giving them the time they need slowly unfurl is the best way to form that desired, deeper relationship. (If you are more prone the the first reason for over-sharing, you must get clear on the reality that NO ONE can validate you, and that you hold the power to love and accept yourself in every single minute.) The organic give and take of conversation and connection facilitates our feeling comfortable with each other and helps to prevent misunderstanding and projecting. Can you practice listening - really hearing someone - without interjection? Yes, you may have had a similar experience and what they are sharing may land with you in a significant way. But wait for the appropriate time to share in return. Let someone else have the floor, and see what wisdom you can glean from them. Whether to empathize with someone else, to gain a new insight, or simply to quiet our own need to share, listening is often where the most potent learnings reside.

This week, I encourage us to practice listening more. Even if you tend to not share verbally, but have an internal conversation with yourself as you observe people and the world -- see if you can actively listen instead of judge or react. Our opinions and ideas are not made invalid by waiting for the right time and the right outlet through which to share them. For myself, I want people in my life and the Universe to have a clear channel through which to share and illuminate learnings for myself. And I recognize that I won't be able to receive them if I'm always outputting. 

* * *

Since I've listened to this song probably 87 times in the past couple of days, I thought I should share the speaker love with all of you.

Bros by Wolf Alice

16 July 2015

Compassion (Born from Nicaragua)

Hi friends! I’ve just returned from a two-week getaway in Nicaragua, and boy do I have some shiny souvenirs for each one of you! What the beautiful, love-full pictures from my trip to Nica don’t convey are the discoveries I made and the mud I tread through to unveil them. Yes, the time away in a beachside town was wonderfully fun and relaxing; but it was also challenging and fraught with important learnings that came in the form of hurt and disappointment. On the plane ride home, I started to look at the trip as a whole. From my zoomed out perspective above the clouds, I found the treasure that I have brought back to my life in LA. – it’s better than any memento I could buy for myself or you.

What I learned was a true lesson in compassion. And in excavating that compassion, I had to survive a whole mountain of judgment (on the sending and receiving end), criticism, guilt, and unmet expectations.

It is my intention that in sharing these learnings with you, I will help you remember the humanness in all of us and, by extension, facilitate more joy in your own life experiences. This reflection is a combined collection of my own realizations, teachings from a Shaman I saw in Nica, and excerpts from the elegant Buddhist Pema Chödrön.

What is Compassion?

“Compassion isn’t pity or helping someone else out who is less fortunate. That’s disempowering to the recipient. Genuine compassion is when you stand in your own shoes, then you standing in the shoes or other people too. It is shared humanity. When things hurt, you think, ‘Other people feel this.’ And when things are delightful, you get in the habit of thinking, ‘May other people enjoy this feeling.’ Compassion heals us. It is a continual feeling of your world opening up.” - Pema Chödrön

Compassion is simply the act of honoring our shared humanity and acknowledging our collective experience. It means sitting in your own human skin and recognizing that others share that same skin. In another word, compassion is maitrī (pronounced "my-tree"). Maitrī is the Sanskrit word for "Unlimited, Unconditional, Loving and Kindness towards Oneself." It represents making friends with oneself, and discovering and becoming intimate with your humanness. In seeing your own humanness fully, you can see that of others.  

Learning Compassion

This learning is the biggest gift I’ve received from Nicaragua. And, with it, I have been awarded a profound understanding of how debilitating it is to pass judgment. The latter was the most difficult part of my getaway. I didn’t realize how many expectations I had stacked up around my trip until they were unmet, or how many judgments I made until they were proved wrong. Very wrong. Countless times, I passed blame or criticism. I blamed others when the day didn’t go as I’d hoped. I was upset when people didn’t treat me the way I wanted. I was annoyed with people. I gossiped. I thought unfriendly, mean thoughts. I laughed at the expense of others. I saw people as threats or enemies. I judged others’ emotions and struggles. And all of that, for what? Disappointment, a heavy heart, confusion, and shame.

I see now that my unkind thoughts and actions were driven by fear. Fear of my own inadequacy, or fear or losing something, like love, money, time, or power.  We can all relate to that fear if we dig deep enough into a situation where we were in a position of judging someone else.  Think back to a time when you were criticizing someone – picking on their situation, expecting a different outcome from their actions, or judging how they felt. “Why can’t he stay in his own lane?” “Why does she have to be such a b*tch?” “Why can’t he get it right?” “Why won’t she just leave me alone?”

All of these judgments, when really boiled down, are simply coming from our own fear that the other person may affect us. We fear that he is going to disappoint us. We fear that she is going to waste our time. We fear that he is going to steal the spotlight. What we really fear, in all of these situations, is being hurt.

But here’s the kicker. As I was reminded in my powerful session with a Shaman, the idea that anyone can harm us or make us feel anything IS A LIE, told by our own egos. In reality, no one can rob you of your power, inherent value, or the Truth that you are love. Your worth and innocence are things that you are born with, and they are completely immutable and untouchable. No one can make you feel less than, unloved, or powerless.  If you feel those emotions bubbling up, it is actually your own choice to suffer, or not.

Practicing Compassion

So, now, we are left with the understanding that all judgments against anyone else (born from our own fears of being harmed or inadequate) have nothing to do with the other person(s). They are essentially judgments against ourselves, or merely our own fears projected onto others. If we understand that no one can actually rob or hurt us, and that we will always Be Love, there is no place for meanness, accusations, or criticism of others. They can’t touch you – the REAL you. So why put the armor on or raise your weapon in defense?

I now realize just how ‘on the defense’ I was. It was a humbling experience to feel the weight of my own disappointment and shame, coming down from my rigid expectations and assumptions. These discoveries are ushering me towards a deeper understanding of why I have been so quick to pass judgments or see others as a threat or unacceptable or unlovable. It’s mean-spirited and closed-minded. It’s limiting and unfair. Everyone deserves to be loved and to be seen as innocent. What a waste of precious life energy to position myself as separate from or against others. There is so much to learn and share with each other. Each time we are unkind or in a place of judgment, we close a door of possibility to love or learn from one another. We miss out on the human experience, stifle miracles, and fail to see omens and clues.

“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” - Pema Chödrön

Let’s remember that emotions are just guideposts. We need not be afraid to read them.

All any of us really seeks is love, because each of our souls are comprised of pure love.  Person to person, there is no separation or difference in our inherent, true selves. Our spirits have shown up to this life in different shells, comprised of a variety of physicalities and personalities. But, as Love in the flesh, we are ALL being called to do the same two things in this life: to remember who we truly are, and to play!

Here’s a simple takeaway that I am going to use as a tool to help align me with these learnings about compassion:  If we can see all actions of others as either (1) A cry out for love, or (2) An extension of love, we can truly see the humanness and LOVE in each person. Separateness and judgment are erased, and compassion is ignited. 

05 July 2015


"Words do not express thoughts very well; everything immediately becomes a little different, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another." - Siddhartha

I read this quote in The Journey to the East by Herman Hesse earlier this week, and it's been on my mind ever since. I'm currently visiting Nicaragua, where I'm feeling the importance of words as I attempt to recall a past learned language. My Spanish is rusty, and I often have to talk around nouns and verbs that I can't recall. My expressions and requests absolutely become "distorted" and "foolish," as I rummage through my limited junk drawer of words and phrases. However, while I may feel the pressure and nerves around trying to communicate, I've noticed that being once removed from a language is nice in that it takes the emphasis off of selecting just the right word to convey something. Being limited by my textbook collection of vocabulary means that I can't fish around for a more beautiful adjective or verb that could infuse a slightly different, distinct meaning.

In the case of a being a novice at a learned language, words become more strictly about (basic, necessary) transactions, instead of conveying emotions or deep exchanges. You're using the language to check in at a hotel, order food, or find the nearest bathroom. It's more difficult to connect intimately with someone or quickly get personal when there is a language barrier. That's when body language, hand motions, and eye contact is imperative - but that's a whole other post...

What I'd really like to explore in this reflection is how we use words in our native language. I thought it would be ironic and fun to write about language in my blog, as this is a place where I attempt to tackle deep, dense, heart-musings in my posts, and word choice is important. When I write here, I am usually delving into a subject that I am newly fascinated, confused, or inspired by, and it is my goal in writing this blog to:
  • Help myself capture and process it, as well as... 
  • Share it with others, who may find it valuable and illuminating for themselves too.

The quote from Siddhartha above is particularly resonate, because it spotlights how limited we are in our ability to share those emotions and thoughts that swirl around our hearts and minds. Each of our personal experiences and memories are untouchable - inaccessible to others, and even to ourselves in retrospect. It is impossible to use words, like Legos, to recreate the exact image or sensation you experienced, such that another person can experience it too. (Apologies to all authors and filmmakers who are hating on this perspective.) We try, of course, to recreate life, as sharing and communicating with words is part of building human connection with others. Language is important - especially in an increasingly digital world, where we are able to connect with disparate groups of people and we lean on words so much more (email, texts) to conduct business and stay in touch with friends and family. So we use them often and in large amounts to carry out everyday relations and transactions. 

But, words - nouns, adjectives, verbs - are, in reality, expressions twice removed from the pure source from which they are born. They filter through the brain, the ego, and then emerge from our mouths or fingertips, bastardized in their end result. Like a copy of a copy, our words are a fuzzy resemblance of their origin. This is starting to sound like Plato's Aesthetics... but bear with me.  

Words contain so many implications and connotations, and those evocations and interpretations are naturally different for each person. The varied set of collected experiences, learnings, and environments of each person contributes to their digestion and production of language. So you can't even be sure that, for example, using "happy" vs "content" will get closer to the meaning you are intending. There's really no telling how your words will land with the recipient or if they will convey the image or feeling you are trying to recreate.

So as I write now, I can't help but wonder... "Am I really getting through to my reader? Do they understand what I'm saying? It is resonating with them?" The answer is that I will never really be able to lend anyone my skin to truly step into what I'm experiencing, feeling, and thinking when I write. It's impossible. 

But instead of being dismayed or discouraged by this, I find humor in it... How hard we struggle to "see eye to eye" and "level" with each other, when we are all operating with different emotional and mental machinery. We try to standardize meaning at an attempt to find common ground. Even the phrase "I love you" is a blatant attempt at creating a space for two people to connect. Most can agree that it differs from "I like you,"  "I adore you," and "I see you." It's meant to be heartfelt, vulnerable, and enveloping. Or is it? Are you using to with friends to instead say, "I'm here for you," or "You mean a lot to me." Do you toss it around, like a 'good' habit, or do you use is selectively? What about in the context it's used, and how many times you've said it to someone? It loses meaning when it's been uttered several times to the same person, verses the first time it's spoken to another. 

We are limited in our tools to communicate idiomatically. Dictionaries, thesauruses, context clues... they can only get us so far. But every day we use language - in excess or limited amounts - to feign connection and understanding with each other. 

Despite the limitation of words to provide true, parallel context between communicators, perhaps we can recognize that we are abundant in our tools to feel. And I would argue that feeling, without words, is the most powerful way to communicate. Energetically, we all emit a force field around us and possess a light within us that communicates, consciously or not, with others. I'm talking about when you can sense the persistent rain cloud that trails behind someone, and how it feels to be pulled into their slow, dreary orbit. Or when you know someone who makes you feel so nurtured and safe, just with their presence. This is the deeper level of connection and communication that speaks louder than any word or action. The frequency that you put out is how your spirit makes transactions with the people and world around you. Yet, many are stunted in their emotional receptors and expressions, and words or deeds become a crutch for expressing deeper meaning.

As I sit in my pool of thoughts and feel the learnings wash over me, I now see myself mentally grabbing at words and phrases to attempt to convey how this whole set of realizations has touched me. It has enlightened my human experience with compassion and a deeper curiosity for others and myself. But it seems silly now to let my ego tease me into churning out more words in hopes of my readers feeling the same 'aha!' sensation that I do now. Instead, I will retire to accepting and embracing, "to each his/her own."


01 June 2015


Proof. We are all looking for it, perhaps without even realizing. We are meaning-making and meaning-seeking machines. Looking not only for proof of the existence of things like God, love, and magic, but also seeking proof that things about ourselves are true. We want confirmation that we are lovable, valuable, smart, beautiful, desirable, responsible, trustworthy... hire-able, datable, wedd-able. 

Conversely, maybe we feel so inadequate that we seek proof of that - evidence that we aren't good enough or that we aren't lovable. Sometimes the programming can run so deep, that even when we have stacked up a pile of proof, one way or the other, we are still unsatisfied and unable to internalize the belief, positive or negative.

Our world is set up today such that everyone wants proof - it's expected, and easily at our fingertips. We can Google search just about any fact and come back with a heap of proof, scientific or opinion-based. Or, you can post a picture or question on social media, polling friends and family, and feign your own conclusion.

The problem with proof-gathering around things like our value and our worth, is that we are seeking answers outside of ourselves for things that are 100% contingent upon our own beliefs about ourselves. We can spend our whole lives spinning our wheels in hopes that just the right external factor (person, job, house, or car) will make us feel good enough to prove that our lives are worth treasuring, seizing, and living, or not. But your value is not about what you do or who you impress (external things). It's about who you are (internal). Who you are inherently cannot be earned, won, or given to you. It's something that we must come to know and embrace as Truth in ourselves.

For myself, especially being in a time of transition with my career and waiting on someone else's greenlight, I notice how easily I can give up my power and feel so desperate for validation and the approval of someone else. I've been in a state of SO wanting a job or project to come along and make me feel important and cherished. We all do it. We read into things and project our insecurities onto brand new situations or relationships, desperate to relieve ourselves from "not knowing" or feeling inadequate. We want answers, affirmation, and clear cut next steps. We want to know that we are on a path and going somewhere. We want to feel like our lives have meaning and that our talents are valued and being put to use.

But here's the thing! Instead of waiting for the potential employer or suitor to call us with an offer that will make us feel worthy, we can choose to possess the state already, such that no matter which way the situation goes, we don't lose anything. We may gain something (a job, salary, friend, house, date, etc.), and that's nice. But when you possess the state of what you want, nothing can give or take it away from you. If we can allow ourselves to live from a place of being good enough and loved and adored and valued before we even put ourselves out there, we can walk away from any situation, like a job interview or a date, still feeling just as good as when we walked in.

How do you possess the state of being wonderful and worthy? It comes from stripping away your fears and their respective 'proofs' that you have internalized. This release typically means going back to the source - the time and place where the limiting belief was born. It's amazing how an idea formed when you are, say, 7 years old can grow and fester, seeping into your adult life. When not tended to or quickly proven 'wrong' when we are young and vulnerable, the limiting belief becomes stuck on loop and automatically affects our life choices and subsequently formed beliefs. All your life, you collect proof that this belief (e.g. I am always at the mercy of someone else's decisions; or Men can't be trusted; or I'm an idiot) is true, unless you can shine a light on it and release its hold on you. In trance, or even in a self-administered meditative state, it's possible not only to uncover your fears and limiting beliefs, but also to discover their births and subsequently uproot their existence (and, therefore, power) in your life. (Feel free to ask me for contact info for my Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist - he's been such an incredible teacher and guide for me.)

I wrote out the below reminder to myself after a recent session and have vowed to make it my creed. Take time to hold yourself accountable and create your own manifesto. It doesn't have to be super organized or succinct. It only has to make sense to you. It can be a stream of consciousness, like mine, and something that you can revisit to update later as you evolve. Take your power back by setting 'the story' straight. Everyone's will be different based on their own triggers, fears, and desires. Get clear about yours and create a mantra that you can post up somewhere you'll pause to read often, like your bathroom mirror or your car dashboard. Read it aloud and feel its Truth. Commit it to memory and allow your mind (and body, which will soon catch up) to automate it. Here's mine as of late:

"I release the idea that I have something to prove... the idea that I'm only 'doing enough' and 'succeeding' if I'm proving it, or if people are pleased with me. Instead of running from the idea that I'm not doing enough and straining myself to prove that I am thoughtful, responsible, and valuable... I decide to embrace the Truth that I am kind, a hard worker, and that I am capable. I live from a place of knowing that I always do my best, and I know that I don't have to do everything I desire all at once. I approach things one at a time, with the clarity and power to address anything. I have compassion, love, and empathy for others, and never at the expense of loving and trusting myself and my own worth. I am capable! No one or thing can tell me otherwise or give me something that can prove it one way or the other. I already posses the state. Every moment I show up with this Truth, I am successful!"

The way to truly integrate these learnings is to automate them. Think about how you can fold laundry and talk on the phone at the same time; the laundry-folding is automated such that you don't even have to think about it. Or think about how you can drive to work every day without actively thinking about each turn. Automation is a powerful thing, especially if you use it to integrate things like your power and worth. You have to make up your mind that you are indeed capable and hard-working and loved and creative - whatever your mantra is. REALLY believe it, like it's part of your DNA. (Chances are, if you are wanting it, it's already part of you.) And suddenly you start living your life from that place of deep knowing, instead of from a place of trying to prove the opposite wrong.

Are you living your life from a place of needing to prove something/one right or wrong? Or are you instead in the powerful position of living out your CAPITAL-T Truths? You choose.

01 May 2015

The Seed

Currently, I'm going through more changes and shifts than I ever thought one person could handle at once. Every facet of my life is being tested, or rather, turned inside-out. I'm at my limit. I've felt sore, bruised, and downtrodden for several weeks. I've been tossed around and had to actively will myself to get back up. I've been lifted up with hope, and then fallen limp again. And like when someone pokes at a fresh bruise ("Where'd ya get this?"), it hurts (and generally sucks when other people notice your battle scars)! But that vulnerable prod only hurts for a moment - IF you can focus on the goal and let go of the processIf you can see and embody the vision, instead of fixate on the how to / when you'll get there, this whole "living" thing becomes a lot more enjoyable. 

I'll elaborate... My hypnotherapist frequently gives me this example, and in tough times, it instantly makes everything so abundantly clear. 

Think of a seed. Perhaps the seed of an apple tree. Within this seed, there is a "vision," a blueprint for what it will become. This seed isn't going to suddenly become an avocado tree or a hydrangea (although there are some pretty interesting crossbreeds these days). It's destined to grow into an apple tree and it rests assured with that knowledge. Does the seed agonize over the process of becoming the tree? Stress over sprouting roots? No - it allows the wind to blow it to welcoming soil, and patiently awaits for the rain, nourishment from the earth, and sunshine it needs to sprout and grow into a lush tree. Process is the furthest thing from its mind. All it holds is the vision of the tree. Everything the seed does, from the time of its release from the mother apple, is from the loving, confident, and excited place of knowing it is a tree. The seed doesn't fret went it's completely cracked open and flipped inside-out. The mature tree doesn't sweat it when its fruit starts to rot. But it trusts the process, and all of its little steps, by default of holding the vision.

This example has been my scripture over the last week. It's so 'in my nature' to over-analyze, attempt to predict the future, and try to control every little step that is going to get me to whatever the desired end result. Whether I'm plotting out my weekend plans, or thinking about 'where I see myself in 5 years,' I get so caught up in process. It literally makes me anxious, short of breath, and generally deflated. Over time, this mode of hyper-thinking and weighing the billions of possible options paralyzes me from action, and totally muddies what my actual vision and goal are. In stressing and guessing and anticipating the process, I lose the vision. Suddenly, having a fun weekend or being an inspired / inspiring content researcher has vanished from view. The process becomes my vision, and I'm always left disappointed or just plain exhausted. Because, the process is the most unsure, unpredictable part of this whole reality. The how and when your vision comes to fruition in the physical world typically depends on a series of outside factors, and we simply can't control them all. Nor should we waste our precious life energy doing so.

But what we can do, is hold the vision in our consciousness. Don't dangle it out in front just out of reach, like something outside of yourself. Integrate it into you, and accept it as YOUR blueprint. Whether that vision is being a homeowner, having a loving relationship with your parents, or booking an abundance of clients or sales... let that be your divine DNA, and accept it as such. Love it as truth. Feel overwhelming gratitude and elation for it. And, following suit, your reality will spring to life around you with what THAT in mind. (Your thoughts create your reality.) We will start to see opportunities to move towards this vision where we wouldn't have noticed before. Others will start to see that vision reflected in us and our actions in the world, and treat us as such. Treat us and see us as that smart, successful homeowner, or that adored, appreciated, top-of-the-charts saleswoman. Those "others" may be potential lovers, employers, employees, friends, neighbors, landlords, financiers, supporters... They will treat you as your vision, if you are embodying it. 

I challenge you to BE the seed.

Embody the vision and let go of all tension around it. Accept it as an inherent part of you, not reliant on anything outside of you to prove it into existence or possibility. Like the unconditional, intimate relationship between a mother and her growing baby, hold your vision as a precious part of you. The pregnant mother doesn't hate and anticipate and clench around every moment of pregnancy. Like the seed, she knows that it takes time, patience, and love to grow her vision, her baby.

One big question I had for my hypnotherapist about this "embodiment" exercise is how to keep the vision specific enough to really call in what you want, but not so specific that you don't give it enough space to breath and reveal itself to you? (Again, process-obsessed. I'm learning!)

Here's another way he explained how to hold the vision, instead of the process, in mind... Imagine that you want to travel to a tropical island. That's your vision. You feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze graze your skin. You see the lush landscape and the crystal water. You experience the soft sand under you and the ocean lap at your feet. You are at peace and you feel completely blissed out. Keep THAT in mind. Don't think about the ticket prices, the flight or ship that will get you there, or what you should pack. You don't even need to fixate on the exact location. It's not about the vessel (process), it's about the destination. Live from a place of "headed towards that destination," and the little cogs and wheels will start to turn and click into place to get you there.

"Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?" - Rumi

The Cinematic Orchestra


If you would like to learn more about how to reclaim your power and release your own self-constructed, limiting beliefs, I highly recommend the all-day seminar led by my hypnotherapist tomorrow.

"Hypnosis and the Law of Attraction"
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, 10:00am-5:00pm
AHA, 18607 Ventura Blvd, Suite 310
Tarzana, CA 91356

The cost for this workshop ($135) is less than the cost of 1 private session! So it is a very special, rare opportunity to learn how to "make life a conscious creation, rather than an unconscious reaction."

Call it law of attraction, "the secret," magic, or simply living in your power. This is the real deal. If you'd like to get your feet wet and start to harness these principles and tools, I highly recommend you go! Bring your check/cash to the event.

18 April 2015

"I'm not careless. I'm carefree."

I came to a profound realization this week after a hypno session that I'd like to share with you, as I think everyone can relate.

Here it is: Because of a decision I made when I was six years old, I have been living my life as if that decision is Truth. Before entering the 2nd grade, I came to a conclusion that would determine how I showed up to my life, from that day forward. One or two small events, at that malleable, delicate age, caused a shift in my whole world.

Whether you realize it or not, we all have early 'memories' or life events that caused us to make a decision - about ourselves and what we are capable of, what makes us valuable, what to expect of others, and so forth. And despite the fact that these conclusions are incredibly outdated and were formed by a young child, we act them out in our adult lives on a daily basis. It's deep programming that has hijacked our pure, authentic consciousness and convinced us of falsehoods.

In my case, I had decided that in order to be loved and accepted, I would have to be in service of everyone else. I had to please others at the expense of my own wants and dreams, because that's the only way that I would be loved and valued. That's what "good girls" who don't want to be "selfish" do.

The memory is so clear. I can remember exactly where I was and how it felt in my body when that learning took root. The 'Truth' that love would come with sacrifice. And that the sacrifice would have to be my desires and my intuition. I learned to please, in fear of disappointment. To overextend myself, for fear of being selfish. To deny myself, for fear of losing people. To be anything that others needed, but to put myself last. To white-knuckle my way through, for fear of perceived negligence and laziness.

That moment set the rules for my relationships (romantic, familial, and personal). It affected how I showed up at school (where, not surprisingly, perfectionist and rule-following behavior was greatly rewarded and earned A's). It blanketed all areas of my life. Left and right, I would give up things that were important to me to appease others and "win" their approval (love).

But, this week, I went back to visit that 6 year old girl, right before the event happens that informed this conclusion about self-sacrifice and self-denial. 
I explain who I am, what is about to happen, and assure her that I am never, ever going to leave her. I, her future self, tell her that I am always going to love and protect her, including in this approaching moment. I remind her that she's innocent, perfect, strong, and (most importantly) in control. In trance, I go through the scene with her, little Tiff, feeling the old emotions swell in my body as I experience what she felt when she was first told that she was selfish and learned how good it felt to be praised for her agreeable, obedient behavior. But, this time in the memory, little Tiff is in control. She can change the scene - how it plays out, how she reacts, and how she walks away from it. As I watch her from across the room, keeping her in my heart and sending her encouragement, she decides to let the words roll off. She understands that the words and judgments are coming from someone else's insecurities and have nothing to do with her. She is unaffected. She reminds herself that she's not "selfish" - she's just excited and enjoying herself. She has gratitude and she expresses it. And she will never be alone, because she is consciousness - she is infinite.

At the end of this exercise, six-year-old me and present me become integrated. There is no separation. And all of the energy and intention and expectation around that old belief disappears. Because it never was planted.

I walked out of my session feeling incredibly light and with the new conviction that I will no longer seek permission from others to live my life the way that I want to. No longer will I put myself last or take on too many commitments to prove that I care and that I am worthy of receiving. Because the notion that I am selfish/not caring or unloved/unloveable is gone.

And on my drive back to work, it came to me. "I'm not careless. I'm carefree." My new mantra.

I hope that you feel inspired and encouraged to dig up your old stories - the ones that you still live out as Truths even today. Clear them out. They don't serve you. Choose freedom. 

03 April 2015


A splinter is a fragment of a larger object, or a foreign body that penetrates or is purposely injected into a body. 

There are times in life when we get pricked by something painful that demands our attention. It lodges into our conscience and jabs at our sense of self.

Losing your job. A relationship ending. An injury. A financial loss. A car accident. A heartbreak. A missed opportunity.

These things are tough. They hurt. I get a pit in my stomach just imagining them. But here is the good news. Whatever the source of pain, this event or state is something that your innate essence will eventually recognize as foreign - not a part of you, but something you are merely experiencing. Something that is temporarily making itself known and crowding your head and heart space. But it's not attached to you or able to control you (without your permission, that is). And, like a splinter that your body identifies as something that does not belong, this state will eventually be pushed out. It will be expelled, because it's too small - too unfamiliar - too separate from the true you. Your essence knows that splinter is unwelcomed and, as such, it won't be able to stay for long.

I've also learned that relationships, jobs, and situations that once felt a part of us - a natural, integrated component of our lives - can transform into splinters. Suddenly, seemingly overnight, they don't belong. And our minds, bodies, and the Universe that we are remnants of, will start to make an effort to excrete them. Sometimes, we are the captains of that release and it's our own conscious choice. Other times, the Universe plucks out the splinter before we are ready to let go. And it hurts. It feels like something was done to us. We feel slighted, abused, unlucky, and victimized. Perhaps you go through the "should-have-saw-it-coming" blame game, or let the extraction prove a limiting belief you have or become a reason to give up and play small.

Let me offer a REFRAME a friend shared that really helped me.  What if instead of seeing the extraction as something being done to you, you instead saw it as something that was being done for you? Not as a burden or a slight, but as a favor. A deed granted on your behalf, bestowed by something greater than you - greater than what your mind and current situation could have informed you of.

Like a vestigial organ that once served us in a past life, but no longer has a purpose for our new, evolved selves, we must learn to let go. Are you resisting the shedding of an old layer? Are you holding onto something that once felt familiar and comfortable, but no longer serves you? Let the natural tendencies of your body and mind guide you towards lightening your load and realigning with what is resonant with your intrinsic nature.

As the definition goes, if we can see life's splinters as:

  1. part of something larger (bigger than our egos and our ideas of how things should go)
  2. a foreign body (separate from our purest selves and removable)

...we'll be better equipped to treat them with compassion and gratitude, and move about the world with an understanding that they are purposeful and temporary.

06 March 2015

3 Things I Learned from Hypnotherapy

I started hypnotherapy in January... and, ever since, 'unleashed' has a whole new meaning.

Let me blast through all assumptions and guesswork and tell you that hypnosis is simply a focus practice. Whether you self-administer or work with a hypnotherapist, this therapy mediates a heightened state of awareness. In this state of relaxed alertness, you are able to release your grip on the conscious, analytical mind, and tap into your subconscious awareness. If I ever doubted that there is real magic on this earth, hypnotherapy has blown that disbelief out of the water. We are all wizards. 

I'd like to share a few things that I have learned from this powerful state of consciousness, as I think everyone will benefit. Through my sessions, I have realized that I was living far below my full potential without this knowledge about how to hack my own 'system.'

1.)  Your brain and your mind are two separate entities. Think of your brain as a computer, and your mind as the monitor. Your brain runs various programs, and your mind displays the results, affecting how you see and exist in the world.

2.)  You are not your body. You are not your brain. Your body has sensations, and your brain has thoughts. But these are not you. They are just evidence that the computer is working and doing its job. YOU are the observer. The pure, innocent, authentic observer of all those feelings, emotions, sensations, and thoughts. Your essence is comprised of awareness. When you feel any tension, fear, or resistance, that's just the body's way of asking you (the observer), "are you sure you're ready to release that?" And you have to relax, unclench, and say "I'm letting it go." When you decide to release something you've been holding on to, whether a judgement, fear, or limiting belief, alarms will go off! The program is being overridden. Your brain will start to rapid fire messages, like, "Wait! That doesn't feel comfortable! That's not how we do things!" You might feel sensations bubble up in your body, like heat in your throat or knots in your stomach. But you are not these things - you are the observer of them. So you can simply acknowledge them: "Thank you for the message. Nothing I can do about that," or "Got it. Moving on," or "I don't need tension around that." You have the power to reroute the carved paths in your brain, simply by noticing them. When you have conscious awareness of your triggers and default states, your observance of them suddenly pulls the rug out from under the program and opens up a new realm of possibilities. Now that you've seen behind the curtain, you can choose a new state of being. It takes practice to maintain your position as the curious observer (instead of the reactive, calculating computer), but it's absolutely possible. 

3.)  We don't have free will. We have free won't. This builds on the previous learning. We have our computers (brains) with programming, comprised of past events and traumas, habits, and predispositions that guide most of our actions unconsciously. You have learned simple programs like how to tie your shoes, how to walk, and how to communicate. Those are helpful programs that run unconsciously throughout the day. Perhaps unbeknownst to you, you even have programs for things like how to attract attention and how to recognize and receive love. Guided by what you observed and experienced growing up and how you've achieved various things in the past, your brain is most always on auto-pilot, running these programs. When programs are running without our awareness, they are particularly detrimental. What if your "morning commute" program was so rigid, that you weren't able to avoid a stalled car or navigate around traffic? In your childhood, what if you learned that love entails abuse, or that you can get attention by picking fights? Those programs are not helpful; they are limiting and dangerous. There is much research supporting this notion that many of our actions are not initiated consciously (evidence that we don't have total free will, or free choice). However, the real choice we have is whether we will let our programming make choices for us. We can say no to our programming, and, as the aware observer, exercise (what I believe is best called) free won't. 

There will be many more post-hypno reflections and learnings to share as I continue my sessions. Feel free to ask me any questions about my experience or share your own programming hacks.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and want to learn how to harness your own magic, I'm happy to provide you with info to contact my hypnotherapist. He is the most intuitive person I've been blessed to know. Just email me or comment below. 

04 February 2015

3 Things I Learned From Being Phoneless

I'd like to share three things I have learned from being cellphone-less for a month. It was an accident, and the whole ordeal really pissed me off in the beginning. And there are still day when I curse the Sprint gods for imposing this on me. But, truly, I have learned some very valuable lessons over the past few weeks and experienced a real perspective shift around what it means and feels like to be an unadulterated observer on this planet.

1.) Sunsets and full moons are more beautiful through your eyes than a lens. Nature's sensory gifts are physically and emotionally moving when you are left to experience them 'live' and bask in their glory, instead of trying to capture them on a device. There were enough times over the past month when I felt a knee-jerk reaction to 'capture this!' that I became aware of how often I felt the need to remove myself from the present moment to digitally bottle it. Whether a visually pleasing plate of food, or sorbet sky on the way home from work, or my cats being especially hilarious... Instead of allowing all of my senses to process and enjoy the special moment on their own, my hand would instinctually dive into my purse to find my phone... to no avail. Phoneless, I was left to experience the moment to the fullest... noticing details and subtleties that I would have missed if I was swiping through filters and tapping my photo into perfect lighting and focus. Spared from likes, comments, and other digital distractions, my experiences become more meaningful and - surprisingly - more memorable. I do, however, acknowledge and commend photographers around the world whose life's work it is to bring the beauty of travel, landscapes, and experiences to those who will never have the opportunity to see those sights for themselves. Here, I'm calling out the people who stop to take a picture of a rose bush on their run, instead of literally smelling the roses. And the folks who take a picture of their latte before enjoying it, as if taking a picture makes it taste better or mean more. (Full disclosure: I was that person.) Look - it's ok to capture the special moments. But catch yourself when capturing them becomes more special than the moments themselves. I know you don't scroll through your camera roll to look at the 17 different sunset pics you've taken over the lifespan of your smartphone anyways. And their impact on your Insta followers is short-lived, at best.

2.) Looking up and around is much more rewarding than looking down. Catching the eye of a stranger. Witnessing a precious moment between a mom and her child. Dodging a stalled vehicle. Seeing a shooting star. When you can't look down and scroll through a social media feed or set random reminders while waiting in line at a coffee shop or at a traffic light, you have the opportunity to make meaningful soul connections with others and experience the raw beauty of life happening around you. You wouldn't believe how much you miss when your eyes are fixated on the blue-ish glow of your cellphone screen. It's both scary and bleak. I actually couldn't believe just how often I would default to my phone as an escape from simple everyday vulnerabilities or opportunities to relax with a still mind. Did I find it 'uncomfortable' standing outside the restaurant waiting to meet my friend for lunch, with nothing to occupy my eyes and hands? At first, yes. What is it about needing to look busy?! It had become habitual to always have my phone in hand as a way to look 'busy,' or 'important,' or just to avoid eye contact with another human being. Not possible when you're cellphone-less. So, instead, I would take in my surroundings, smile at other diners coming in, or have a moment of self-reflection. And you know what happens when you're not distracted? You're actually living and giving yourself a chance to process and decompress throughout the day. Which leads me to...

3.) 'Always on' KILLS thoughtfulness, integrity, and the ability to be truly present. When you can always check your email, respond to a text, and be reached, communication becomes much less meaningful. Did I miss some texts and calls that I would have liked to receive (a dinner invite, a funny pic, a call from my sister)? Yes. But (most of) the important folks, or people who really wanted to connect, tracked me down. Can you believe they didn't even have to resort to snail mail? And I had a more present, meaningful conversation with those people because of the effort they invested to reach me. Needing to make a more-than-two-second effort to reach someone really makes you take pause to consider the necessity and importance of your message, which ultimately forces you to be more thoughtful in your communication. It helps to cut out the pointless fillers that feign real connection, and it also encourages you to actually pick up the phone to have a deep conversation or true catch-up. Another interesting part of not being 'always on:' when you make a commitment to someone - like 'I'll meet you at the restaurant at 12:30' - there is no, 'I'm running late,' or 'Parking!' or 'I'm sitting at the table in the back corner.' You have to actually find each other. And actually be on time. And actually trust that you will both arrive, as planned. (Reminds me of an old black and white films, wherein people just miss each other... rounding the street corner before their lover dashes into view, tardy for their date.) There is a certain glitter and mystery around not having the ability to connect when you're out and about or set to have plans.  It requires integrity and trust. Trust that the person will follow through on their word, and trust that the Universe will deliver (or not). Finally, when you DO find your friend (assuming that they didn't get pulled over for texting-and-driving, or were running late from their spin class, or flat out forgot because their digital calendar didn't remind them) - you are totally present for your meeting. You don't say, 'hold that thought,' because your other friend is texting you to make weekend plans, or because you want to look something up on Google. You are completely and totally attentive and able to enjoy your company...or at least much more than you would have been if you courteously had your iPhone face down on the table.

Not having a phone has made me vulnerable. Vulnerable to wrong turns and missed communications. (Although, my understanding of side streets has certainly improved without the crutch of Waze.) It requires that I work harder to stay in touch with the people I love. It means that I have to wear a watch. It enables me to cut back on distractions and give my mind, and my lunch date, my full attention. This accidentally-off-the-grid period of time has been a true blessing. And whenever I do have a phone again, I will be exceptionally more mindful of when the phone is actually allowing me to connect, and when it's forging or sacrificing connection with the world and people I care about. I hope that you will take this to heart and feel how it resonates with you. Perhaps you didn't even recognize your habits, because it's become part of everyday life to roll over in the morning and start looking at your phone, or take one last peak at Facebook while your body and mind try to prepare for sleep. Start taking small steps to reclaim your attention span and vulnerability as an observer in your own life. It is truly rewarding.

Favorite new track, premiered yesterday. Other Lives, "Reconfiguration"
I live in the present. Moment to moment, moment to moment...