Friday, February 15, 2019

The trick

Darkness, that feeling of despair, hopelessness, sorrow, anger, and pessimism, is a trickster. Darkness pretends to be a friend. It comforts us. It offers us excuses to be right, indignant, and resentful. Darkness tricks us, fools us into seeing dark intentions and problems everywhere. It concedes us rights we don't really have. It clouds our mind with thoughts of victimhood, giving us a sense of entitlement. It lures us into fear and everything fear would have us believe.

Yet, darkness is never total and absolute. The tiniest bit of light negates it. The tiniest bit of hope rights the trickster. The trick to detach ourselves from darkness is to turn our eyes away from it.

Today is a good day to shift our attention towards that bit of light. Let's turn towards that bit of good in our day, towards what's working, towards what brings a smile to our face, towards what is a blessing, towards something beautiful and inspiring. Let's not allow the darkness to disempower us, to lull us into complacency, to make foolish decisions, or to giving in and giving up. Let's find rays of light to pierce through and light up one moment at a time. The darkness lies. The light reveals. Let us believe the light.
Image found at gratitude.com.au.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Hello, Sun

My son doesn't have to go to school today. This is great because I have a long list of things to do, a list that is a mile long. I have treatment plans to finish, progress notes to write, lesson plans to put together, bookkeeping and accounting, a lunch date with my dad, follow-up calls to make, emails to answer, and housework. Not having to drive him to school this morning helps because it can easily take 45 minutes to an hour roundtrip, depending on the traffic. With the found time, I decided to get a jump on the day. I slept an extra hour.

I did. I woke up an hour later than usual. That was my intention. I took some time to do the dishes, slowly and gladly, in a spontaneous and improvised gratitude meditation while the coffee brewed. I then sat and sipped my coffee in the daybreak's silence. My day's work pending, I wrote for a while, a handwritten ritual I like to do to release my thoughts and feelings. I took advantage of the time, in the quiet and serenity, to pay attention to myself. With the clock tick-tocking, I breathed deeply and did a sun salutation, a mindful and present yoga sequence to connect my body to the newly born day. As I laid in Shavasana, done, thankful and ready, my son walked in. Puzzled, he asked, I thought you had a busy day today? Well, I do, yet I think that all too often we forgo our self-care to push through laundry lists. We almost never finish them and we stay tired, moody and overwhelmed. On days like today, self-care can be precisely what helps us get through.

Today is a good day to put ourselves first that we may achieve what we have committed to. Mindfully taking care of ourselves helps us sustain the rhythms of life we hold, see meaning in our experience, prime ourselves for the day ahead, calibrate our moods, have meaningful connections and relationships, find strength, vitality and mental clarity, be effective and productive, be less reactive, be calm, have a healthier perspective, and be more joyful. Greeting the day by greeting ourselves first allows us to bend time, to be inspired, to create, to be more lucid. Today, let's run, practice yoga, swim, dance, or go for a walk. Let's meditate, pray or sit in quiet contemplation. Let's read something interesting and inspiring. By taking care of our bodies, our spirits and our minds first, we will be taking care of everything that matters to us. Before anything else today, say hello to the day, say hello to yourself.

Image found at amyfortier.com
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Keep it coming

I hung up the phone, angrily. The customer service representative, the fourth one I spoke with on that day about that particular issue, did not and would not fix the mistake they themselves made. I was out of options. Well, I was out of the options that made sense and that I would be happy with. The only options left were inconvenient and troublesome for us. I called the next number. Another mistake made by another company. Again, their customer service was ill-equipped to fix their mistake. The last few days have been a parade of recurring issues served up by mediocre customer service. I was angry. I stayed angry. It kept coming.  


What was going on? How could I be experiencing the same issues with different businesses? Was it a joke? A cosmic prank? What did I have to do to break this cycle? I had had enough frustration and anger. I was not about to put up with poor excuses, rudeness and incompetence. Yet, that was my problem, the not putting up with. I resisted what was happening. My anger didn't break anyone but me. I was drained and the problem was still unresolved. Until I loosened up my resistance to what was happening, the same issues kept coming up. 

I was rigid and in that rigidity I lost my ability to flow, to see anything but the problem. The flow of grace that I'm used to never guarantees that things won't go wrong, it just helps me flow when they do. When I accept what is, my emotions stay in check, my imagination comes up with the most wonderful solutions, and I can deal. And then, the flow starts and keeps presenting me with more of what I prefer, what heals, what fixes, what works. 

Today is a good day to let go of our unyielding ideas of how things should be and how people should act. Let's be willing to    be open to other solutions, to the highest and best good in all situations. Let's allow a flow in a different direction than the one we insist on. Let's allow new ideas, attitudes and beliefs to present more favorable outcomes. Let's keep our minds and hearts receptive and responsive. Let's let grace in. It'll keep coming. 

Image found at oeljay.com
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Bored out of my mind

It's been a while. For a time now, I have woken up each day before everyone else in the house. I like to take time each morning to gather my thoughts quietly. I read, I write, I drink my coffee, I pray, I meditate, I do yoga. Sometimes I just sit, sip my coffee and let my mind wander. I've learned to resist the urge to "take advantage of the quiet time" to work, to plan, or to organize. I just sit and let my thoughts stray. It can get pretty boring.

Being bored, though, has a wonderfully soothing effect to it. After a while, something lights up inside, something that stays dimmed when we are distracted by entertainment, busy work, and the constant scrolling of electronics. Don't get me wrong, entertainment is necessary to a balanced life, yet, too much of it, or of the wrong kind, can make us dull.

Today is a good day to be bored out of our minds. Let's let our minds roam, get lost. Let's let a little disconnection from the news feed, streaming and cyberspace bore us out of our minds and into our imagination, creativity and flow. Let's let our souls feel supreme. If we're mindful about it, being bored can ignite amazing ideas within us, pacify that anxious energy we get from wanting to constantly know what's going on out there, and open our mind's eye to insight and intuition. Mindful boredom can relax our awareness so that we can appreciate the beauty around us, be more attentive, know ourselves better, connect more deeply, strengthen our relationships, and enjoy the stuff of our days.

Image found at fineartamerica.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 4, 2019

You snooze, you gain

I know, I know. The saying is You snooze, you lose and it calls us to be hyper-alert to everything that is going on around us so that we don't miss out on opportunities. It calls us to jump in without delay or someone else will take the opening, the chance. Yet, I think that this state of hyper-arousal keeps us stressed, anxious, defensive, and worried. It also drains our energy interfering with our ability to make decisions and depressing our moods. Jumping in also affects our ability to relate to others. We assume too quickly, we don't listen patiently, and we dismiss briskly leading us to misunderstanding and defensiveness.

When we snooze, when we pause, we gain. When we take a moment without jumping in, we are less reactive, more composed, and more attuned what is best in a particular circumstance. We allow good in. We open up to ideas and opportunities that we had not even considered. When we pause, we give ourselves the chance to learn, to grow, and to let goodwill prevail.

Today is a good day to snooze, even for a moment. Let's allow the power of pausing to alchemize our interactions with others, to allow greater ideas to flow without our interference, and for other possibilities to grow. Let's allow wonderful things to unfold without our forceful intervention. Snoozing before reacting to what we perceive is an alarm is an invocation to higher wisdom and grace, allowing us to be calm, clearheaded, and receptive to what is best.

Image found at mandalas.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Naughty List

Who keeps Santa's list? You know, The Naughty or Nice List. This is one job I wouldn't want to have–to keep track of who does good and who does bad. How would I really know? How could I judge another without an absolute understanding of their background, upbringing, beliefs, thought processes, state of emotions, sense of self, and level of awareness? Yet, we do this everyday. Some of us more than others. Some of us, more purposefully than others. Yet, when we do, it's not for the mythical list, it's for reasons that do not serve us or a higher purpose.

Keeping track of the morality or righteousness of others' actions taints our own morality. While we judge others, we are diverting our attention from our own actions which is where our focus really makes a difference. Moreover, keeping track of the rights or wrongs that others make drains us of precious energy, and makes us gossipy, pessimistic, unpleasant and negative. It is not our job to condemn or absolve others. We do better by allowing others to be, to learn, to do, to atone, to grow, to walk their path. Our judgment stands in the way of their growth and ours.

Today is a good day to hold a space where people can abide without judgment. Let us offer acceptance, empathy, compassion, patience, kindness, and generosity of spirit. Let us relax our critical minds and open our hearts and minds to lightness of being, inner peace, equanimity, friendliness, hospitality, benevolence, warmth and, in so, enjoy a general sense of ease, tranquility and peace. Let us relax our judgment that we may smile, enjoy the moment, take pleasure in the holiday spirit, make cheerful memories, and have a good time.

Image found at laoblogger.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 14, 2018

What would my mother do?

She taught my to be kind in all circumstances, to be generous with what I have and who I am. There are no reasons to be unkind was always the message, said or unsaid. She has lived and continues to live this way. Even in her strict and stern ways, my mother is always kind and always generous.

When someone rubs me the wrong way, is a jerk, is nasty, speaks ill of me or anyone else or acts wrong, my first instinct is to respond in-kind, to give them back what they dish out. But then a voice somewhere in the ether says What would mom do (WWMD)? When I mindfully consider the question, I respond in a way that not only would make my mother proud, it makes me proud. I am reminded that I am capable of making wiser choices, that I can be kind, that I can be generous. WWMD has become a guiding principle.

The other day we ordered groceries. The tab came in a little higher than I had budgeted for, so when I went to my wallet to get cash for a tip for the delivery person, I pulled a $1 bill. A $1 bill! Geez, it's Christmastime and I pull a $1 bill! My mom would have given him a more generous tip and not hesitated. That's what she would have done. The voice of WWMD came over me, thankfully, before I handed him the tip. I did the kind thing.

The highest version of myself has been built of many things my mother taught me. This highest version of myself now has a voice of its own. It helps me choose what to think, what to say, what to do, what tone of voice to use, how to walk into a room, and what attitude to carry. Today is a good day to ask WWMHSD? What would my higher self do? We know. We know what the highest version of ourself would do in any circumstance. We just have to ask and listen. Let's tap into that knowledge and be kind, be generous. Let's feel good that we can choose words, thoughts and actions that bring about thoughtfulness, sweetness, humanity, altruism, graciousness, loving-kindness, and goodwill. Let's ask WWMHSD? Then let us listen and respond in harmony with the highest version of ourselves.

Image found at pinterest.com
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Alarmed

It was 5:20 in the morning. I was sitting by my window, writing. The soft light of my table lamp cast a warm glow over my hands as I wrote. That's what I was appreciating in the foreground of my attention while, in the background, I was grateful for the peace and tranquility of the moment. In an instant, the harmony was interrupted by a car alarm. The sound rose up from the parking lot up to my window. I took a deep breath and ignored it. It went on for 15 minutes or so until it finally quit.

The alarm was supposed to alert someone to do something about the car. No one did. It, apparently, was not a real emergency. It was a malfunction. And though I was able to ignore it, I still felt the tension. In a similar way, we hear all sorts of alarms during the day. Some are burglary alarms from cars and buildings, some are clock alarms, and some are emergency vehicle alarms. There are other types of alarms we bear. Drama, conflict, histrionics keep us on alert in much of the same way. They create the same type of fear and reactions in our body as a fire or burglary alarm, yet, we're not in real danger. Some of the stories we tell ourselves create alarms too, warning us of dangers that we guard ourselves from. Then there are the rumors, scandals, gossip, malicious talk, speculation, and news that we participate in, creating animosity and fear, warning us of dangers that are not necessarily imminent or real. Add to all of these the many notifications we subscribe to on our social media apps. We stay alarmed, even if we are not reacting to do something about it. This state of alarm keeps us vulnerable, worried, stressed and anxious, harming our relationships and our health.

Today is a good day to mute our alarms. Let's be mindful of what we engage in. When we start entertaining thoughts that do not serve us, that fuel the fire of our fears, let's take a deep and slow breath, then another, then another. When panic sets in, let's acknowledge and name our fear. Recognizing what alarms us many times can help us diffuse state of emergency we create for ourselves. Let's turn our attention away from the alarms to what we can be grateful for, what adds joy to our life, what enriches our experience, what blesses others, and what brings us peace.
Image found at inspirememandalas.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.



Friday, November 30, 2018

The stuff

Thanksgiving this year was quiet, peaceful, and lovely. We lounged around the pool at my parents' house, told stories, caught up, listened to music, enjoyed family, and relaxed. We had turkey, rice, ham, potatoes, salad, and cake for dessert. No stuffing, though. Our Caribbean Thanksgiving turkey dinners don't necessarily include stuffing. Dinner, though, was absolutely perfect. The stuff it was full of made it complete, whole.

It is the stuff we are full of that comes through when we speak, when we are stressed, when we engage with others, when we relax, when we get angry, when we are joyful, when we are rushed, when we sleep, and when we wake. This is why dinner was so wonderful. Our family was full of love.

Today is a good day to be conscious of what we are full of. Is it fear, jealousy, insecurity, a sense of superiority, arrogance, distrust, doubt, worry, or anguish? If so, what comes through in what we say, do, think, and feel is impatience, haste, annoyance, suspicion, instability, apathy, hostility, faults, blame, and hatred. Or are we full of empathy, courage, equanimity, confidence, gratitude, tranquility, hope, faith, or love? In which case what comes through is appreciation, acceptance, consideration, kindness, calmness, affection, respect, politeness, and goodwill. Whatever it is that we are full of is the stuff of our thoughts, our feelings, and our words. It infuses our circumstances, our connection to others, our interactions, and our way of life. Let's be mindful of our stuff, of our what we fill ourselves with. Let's ask ourselves, what am I full of today?
Image found at saatchiart.com


© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Slowing down the mind

Take a seat, if you can. Get comfortable. Close your eyes.

Form a mental picture of the word slow in your mind. See the word, feel the word. Slow.

Now form a mental picture of the word down. See it, feel it. Down.

Take a deep and slow breath in. Let it go.

Take another deep and slow breath in. Think slow.

Exhale softly. Think down.

Inhale slowly and deeply, thinking slow. Exhale deliberately, thinking down.

Inhale slow. Exhale down.

Inhale slow. Exhale down.

Inhale slow. Exhale down.

Slow. Down.

Slow. Down.

Slow. Down.

Stay in this rhythm for a few more minutes. Keep your breath slow and purposeful that it may slow down your breathing, slow down your mind, and slow down your heart. Feel your body steady, ready for today. Carry this energy into everything you do today. May this meditation help you slow down to rev up centered, aligned, and harmonious.

Image found at aspiremag.net.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.