Friday, March 8, 2019

In with the love, out with the jive

In with the love, out with the jive. I heard this in a cartoon many, many years ago. Since then, it has become one of my favorite mantras. There are moments that are so overwhelming that it seems like the world will collapse under my feet at any moment and I will fall into a deep, dark, bottomless whole. But a pause, a deep inhale and an In with the love, out with the jive as I slowly exhale brings me back to center, to a place of wiser perspective and an almost surreal calm. It allows me a moment of forbearance long enough to reach for inner strength and to remember what I've learned. Yet, many times I forget that I can do this, that I know how to detach from nervous reactivity to the chaos around me. When I react, I echo the turmoil. Nothing great ever comes of this. I end up tired, confused, angry, sad, and so unproductive. I keep going back to thoughts that cannot help pull me out of the storm. What can I do?

Ah, I can choose a different thought. I can choose to do something different. I can remember to breathe in love, breathe out the thoughts that cannot help me. Today is a good day to make a short list of thoughts and actions that can help us. Worry never protects us, fear never motivates us into creative action, anxiety never pulls us out of distress, negativity will never open us up to new ideas, and mused anger does not give us clarity or positive direction. What can we remember today that will inspire us? What thoughts can we cultivate that will move us into inner peace, prosperity, joy, or simply feeling good? What thoughts can we repeat to ourselves that will bring us up rather than keep us down? What action can we take in order to reap in beauty, enthusiasm, excitement, passion, and good vibes?

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© 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, March 1, 2019

How do you do it?

How do you do it?, she asked while wiping away her tears. She was feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious, and sad. She couldn't understand how I manage everything that I do while she can never finish anything on time. She feels she is drowning in obligations and responsibilities. I smiled and said, one little bit at a time. People are amazed at everything I accomplish in a day, seemingly without getting frazzled. The truth is I'm on the verge of getting frazzled many times in a day. Yet, feeling that way is my signal that something is off, that I'm reacting, forgetting what I believe in, answering to the speed at which others would have me run. And it is then that I remind myself that the way to do it is one little bit at a time.

There is, of course, more to it than just doing it one bit at a time. There's my list of priorities, my to-do list, my appointments and commitments. Ah, and there's my list of non-negotiables: my spiritual and contemplative practices and my self-care rituals. Once I'm clear about all of these, I do them one bit at a time. It doesn't fail. It's magic.

One little bit at a time I'm able to focus on the task at hand. Not having my attention divided allows me to complete whatever I'm working on in a shorter amount of time than when multi-tasking. I also make less mistakes and am able to enjoy whatever I'm doing. When I exercise this level of awareness I flow knowing what to do next, when to readjust a plan, how to respond to the unforeseen, and to be in sync with the cosmos. One little bit at a time also allows me to see when I'm loosing my groove, giving me the opportunity to refocus, to stay disciplined, and motivated.

Today is a good day to practice mindful doing. Let's take a few minutes this morning to breathe in gratitude for all that we have and are responsible for and breathe out our grievances. Let's take a few minutes to breathe in clarity and breathe confusion and the rush of the world. Let's breathe in trust and breathe out doubt. Let's breathe is belief in possibility and breathe out contrary feelings. Let's be clear on what is important and what we have to do today, and then, let's do it...one little bit at a time.

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© 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 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.
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© 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.

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© 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. 

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© 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.

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© 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.

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© 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.

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© 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.

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© 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.
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