Friday, September 21, 2018

Breakthrough

The first time she sat across from me she was distraught, overwhelmed, and despaired. It has been almost two years now since I started working with her. I had not seen her this healthy, this light, this hopeful in all this time. She broke through.

What she did was both remarkable and nothing at all. She stopped striving. For a woman who has employment, educational and economic disadvantages, this meant shifting her focus. She started by giving thanks for little things. Then she started making different choices, starting with what she chose to think. When she was tired, she thought of the wonderful reasons why she was tired. When her paycheck ran out, she became glad that she was able to pay her bills and buy food. When office politics turned into drama, she reminded herself of the temporary nature of her job and its role as a stepping stone to her goal of entrepreneurship. Nothing around her changed. She did. Her change is extraordinary. She is happy and is achieving her goals, all the while feeling good.

Today is a good day to break through ourselves. We can do this by acting in harmony with and not against ourselves, ignoring the histrionics, paying attention to our deepest desires and not the obstacles, focusing away from grievances and into gratitude. Breakthroughs happen when we break through this idea that we have built of ourselves out of other people’s ideas and expectations, when we make decisions bravely, honestly, and hopefully. We break through when we break away from the old thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that have kept us stuck, bored, helpless, hopeless, down, dull, and mediocre. We can break through by being mindful and taking life with conscious awareness and responsibility. Breaking through is a shift that takes us from conflict and turmoil to joy and peace, and can make us feel good, happy, and fulfilled.

'Mandala Peacock - Bird of Hope' - Art Print found at spectronium.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, September 7, 2018

Fall

Fall. Not literally. But do take a moment to fall into that feeling, into that which you're avoiding to feel. Take a moment to see it, look at it, acknowledge it, greet it. Feel it. Fall into it. Breathe.

Take a moment to breathe slowly, deeply. Fall into what worries you, what is making you sad, what is making you anxious, what is exciting you, what you don't understand, what scares you. Fall slowly knowing that you're safe. Breathe very slowly into it. Exhale very, very slowly.

Breathe slowly into the feeling. Sit with it. Exhale. Breathe in and make no judgment. It is what it is. Exhale. You're safe.

Fallen into the feeling, breathe in and realize that it has not overcome you. You're holding it. Breathe out slowly. Realize that it is just a feeling.

Breathe in and breathe out as you normally would for a few moments, fallen, holding that feeling.

Now take a slow breath in. As you slowly exhale, let the feeling fall away from you. Feel yourself come back up, lighter. Take a couple more deep breaths in and out. As leaves of fall, what doesn't serve you falls away.

I hope this meditation serves you.

Image found at society6.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, August 31, 2018

(Not so) Smart TV

It's only three years old. Our very sleek and very hi-tech Smart TV is suddenly not cooperating with me. I go through the self-help prompts and, though it says that it has reconnected to the WiFi network, I still can't get any programming. It keeps connecting to the errors. It hasn't learned anything. My tv is not so smart.

It turns out that it's reconnection to the network was superficial. It kept going back to glitches. In order to connect and come back to working properly, I had to disconnect it from everything and power it down. I had to unplug it completely. It needed to forget everything that was bothering it, that was making it malfunction. It needed to release and be released form the bad stuff it had attached to. In my frustration with the tv, I realized I was connected to the wrong feelings. I felt I was the one attached to the wrong thoughts, the wrong emotions, anticipation, expectations, difficulty, stumbling blocks, unwillingness. I needed not to reconnect, but to disconnect.

Today is a good day to stop connecting to failure, to defects, to faults, to what doesn't work. It's a good day to disconnect from what is not serving us, from what makes us act up and act out, from what makes us break down. Disconnecting will clear us to connect to what inspires us, to strength, to joy, to creativity, to glorious imagination, to fun, to flow. Let's be smart and connect to a deeper intelligence,  appreciation, bravery, dignity, serenity, beauty, laughter, kindness, to love.

Image found at VideoHive.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.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Golden Rule 2.0

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. This has been our teaching. In religious traditions and in social conventional wisdom, this teaching has been regarded as The Golden Rule. It is the rule considered to assuage all situations. When I do to another what I would like that other person to do to me, I, theoretically, am doing two things, telling them how I like to be treated and respecting the dignity of the other. However, following The Golden Rule doesn't always bring about what we expect.

The Golden Rule is more about the person that is doing than the others. It is well intentioned, for the most part. Yet, the doing may not be what the other person likes. I, for instance, appreciate long periods of solitude, so I like to be left alone, especially in the mornings. If left alone, other people may feel ignored and disregarded. I like to be taught kindly, lovingly. Other people prefer a tough calling out. It's the way they learn. I like a steady, quiet flow when I work. Other people prefer excitement and lots of activity. I like to fast through noon each day. Other people prefer to eat a hearty breakfast early in the day. Some people like to know the details, while others like the bottom line. To apply The Golden Rule in each situation would possibly strain it.

The Golden Rule 2.0 would actually say to do to others as they would like be done to them. This is even more difficult than the original rule for it implies paying attention, being aware, being mindful, and compromise. It implies understanding, communication, and courage. It implies generosity of spirit. The Golden Rule 2.0 implies heightened consciousness.

Today is a good day to do to others as they would have us do to them. Let's pay attention. Let's listen. Let's do accordingly. By modeling the Golden Rule 2.0 we extend an unspoken invitation for others to treat us the way we would like to be treated. By applying The Golden Rule 2.0 we inspire others to do the same.
Image found at redbubble.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, August 17, 2018

Choosing another thought

I was preparing a workshop for overwhelmed women when I myself became overwhelmed after a disheartening episode. Overwhelm took over to the point of losing my breath and becoming physically agitated. I lost my appetite, my ability to think clearly, and my ability to focus. It affected my creativity, productivity and service. It was just too much.

Just when we think we're done with certain situations, attitudes, or people, life has a way of presenting those very issues back to us. And so it was for me. There I was with so many things to do, but, instead of doing what I needed to do, I kept ruminating on the incident, on what was bothering me. In my mind, everything became wrong–my plans, my life, my choices, my dreams, me. I was coloring everything with what I was feeling at the moment and what I was feeling came from what I was thinking. What was I thinking? I needed to choose another thought.

Choosing another thought, one that raises us, that moves us forward, that directs our being away form inner and outer conflict, gives us power. When we do so, we're no longer victims to wrong-mindedness, rampant emotions, and impulsive and hurtful behavior. Today is a good day to choose another thought. When overwhelm or distress takes over, let's choose to think something different. We can choose This too shall pass, I only have to get through today, I'm capable of being calm, I choose peace, This is only one moment out of my life, or It is what it is. Thoughts like these release our resistance to higher ground and disengage us from wrong perceptions. These thoughts allow a cool down in order for us to center ourselves and gather new thoughts. Our new chosen other thoughts can also be images that remind us of kindness, love, generosity, joy, and compassion. In doing so we can generate those feelings as well.

I chose another thought today. I chose this image of my son who warmly smiled at me at my worst and hugged me. This image, this thought, allowed me to let go of what I cannot control, to remember what matters, to remember love, to reach for gratitude and to breathe slowly and deeply enough to come back to center, to come back to me, to come back to love.

Image found at amazon.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, August 10, 2018

The light is out

I keep a tall white candle lit on one of my altars all the time. When it is almost out, I light another one, as a symbol of and a calling for continued light. I keep a candle lit all the time, well, almost. Sometimes, I let it go out, I don't light a new one. I let it go dark. I spend a while without the light. I let my soul experience the darkness.

This happens during moments of turmoil and difficulty. It is not coincidental. I used to fight it and take it personal. Now, I embrace it. I take these light-out moments to go deep. I don't particularly contemplate or reflect during these periods. I don't make any conclusions. I go deep and listen and observe. I surrender and just watch.  The more I practice it, the more I attune.

Though it is not wise to spend too much time in the dark, this is a healthy practice that can help us become wiser and more aware. And, of course, more thankful for the light, for the blessings, for the joy. Dark nights, when reverenced, can become a source of spiritual bounty and deeper understanding, and bring us to communion with our souls.

If this is where you are, today is a good day to rest into the darkness. Let's be still, not resist, observe, listen. Surrender. We will know when to come back to light. While in the dark, we will sharpen our skills of observation, attune our heart's ear, hone our perception with higher understanding, and harmonize with our soul. This surrendering is a prayer not unlike the prayer said in the light. It is an act of faith and the dawn of emotional healing.
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, July 27, 2018

The feed

First five posts in Facebook. That's it. That's all I'll read in a day. It's a self-imposed personal rule, a commitment I made to myself, otherwise I'll fall into the vortex. Have you ever gone into Facebook just for a few minutes and then realized an hour had passed? That's what I mean.

This five-post rule helps me stay productive, otherwise I'll go off-track. One reason is time. Time flies between posts and clicks. The other reason is the content. The feed can be randomly optimistic and positive or negative and pessimistic and it can change my mood.

What do we feed ourselves in terms of what we read and connect to? What do we feed each other in terms of what we post or share? What about the conversations we have? What we feed ourselves supports or enables our patterns of thought. And our patterns of thought feed our emotions, form our feelings, and affect our behavior. It also affect the energy with which we show up and do things.

Today is a good day to watch what we feed ourselves and what we feed each other. This applies to so much more than social media. Music, art, literature, tv, film, physical activity, conversations. Let's be aware of what we connect to, what we partake of, what we participate in, what we contribute to, what we share in, the thoughts we indulge in. Do we want to lift up or bring down? Build or destroy? Contribute or hold back? Encourage or frustrate? Feel pleasant or nasty? Grow or contract? How will we nourish ourselves today? It's all about the feed.

Image found at flickr.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, July 20, 2018

Talk ain't cheap

We spent the 4th of July with friends and family in and around our pool. We had such a wonderful time and wonderful conversations. Among many things, we talked about how we don't talk anymore. No, not us particularly, but in general. We don't get together to exchange ideas, we don't have meaningful conversations with colleagues or acquaintances. We may have been generalizing, but this is our experience. We don't talk anymore.

During our time together that day, we shared great advice, insight, and inspiration on everything from parenting to professional counsel. But it didn't come from seeking or purposeful conversation. It rose from a flow in our conversation, a natural crescendo that can only happen when we're not in a hurry, distracted or have no interest in what the other has to say.

Today is a good day to talk, really talk. Let's talk without an agenda, with a listening ear, without expectations, without looking at our phones. Let's linger in conversation. Let's apply mindfulness to our interactions. Great things can come out of these conversations–socially, emotionally, intellectually, physiologically, and spiritually, including enjoyment, decrease in tension, increase in feel-good hormones, a sense of connection, a boost in feelings of trust, improvement in emotional intelligence, broadened perspective, conscious collaboration, attuned somatic responses, and so much more. Some say talk is cheap. We say it's not. Let's find and offer value in mindful conversations.

Image found at pixels.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, July 13, 2018

Ugly panties

There I was, pulling my jeans down so that the ER nurse could give me a steroid shot. I knew better. Before I left I thought about changing into newer, nicer underwear, remembering something that my grandmother used to say about keeping clean underwear with me just in case I was involved in an accident. I dismissed her advice, just as I dismissed changing before heading to the hospital even though I had a hunch that I would need the injection. It's not the first time that I go against what I know and am sorry for it.

Maybe it was the hurry. Nothing like this had happened to me before. I needed relief and I was afraid of not being able to breathe as the sudden allergy worsened. I reacted to the urgency even though I had time, the resources to change, and a friend whose an ER doctor on the line. Feeling sick and uncomfortable, off I went to the hospital.

Showing ugly panties to an ER nurse is not a big deal, but the consequences of going against what we know can be hard. Sometimes it's not the hurry, sometimes it's the fear that makes us go against our intuition. Doing so can undermine our confidence in the wisdom we have acquired, in our growth, and in ourselves. Not trusting our intuition can weaken and sabotage it, ultimately disempowering us.

What if we have faith in what we have learned and our personal evolution? Today is a good day to practice trust in what we know. Let's not be guided by fear–fear of being judged, of making a mistake, or of failing. Trusting our intuition strengthens it and can help us make wiser decisions. Let's trust ourselves, our confidence in our abilities, our knowledge, our capacity to know what to do if we make a mistake, our insights, and our inner sense of I got this, I know.

Image found at abby-wynne.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, July 6, 2018

Sinless

My son is now 17 years old. He's currently venturing out on his first archetypal hero's journey, traveling by himself to spend time with his father and his family. This is a time full of wonder, doubt, curiosity, apprehension, excitement, inquisitiveness, eagerness, uncertainty, hesitation, arousal, and restraint, all in a motley of emotions. It is a time in which he must practice or challenge everything we've taught him and everything he's learned in theory and through his experiences.

He called me a few days ago because he heard something that bothered him. A pastor was preaching about sin, something we have a different understanding of. In short, the pastor said, among other things, that if a person is sexually confused, he must repent for that is a sin. If a person identifies with a sexual identity that is not normal, he must repent for that is a sin. Further, he said that if a person does not like his mother, he must repent for that is a sin. This is one of many instances in which my son on his journey will confront strong beliefs different from his own and will look for clarity and guidance. He asked me what I thought about it and I replied that being confused about one’s sexual identity makes one just confused, not sinful. And that if one is sure about one’s sexual identity and it is considered not normal, then one is just out of the norm. That’s statistics and math, not sin. Not liking one’s mother makes one conflicted, not sinful.

We tend to humanize God with our limited perceptions and understanding instead of endowing ourselves with the qualities of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, respect, open-mindedness, kindness, and forbearance. Intolerance and calling others out for what we may think is wrong will not rid the world of what ails it or make it conform to our liking. We have enough to focus on within ourselves. Judging others pronounces our fears, insecurities, inadequacies, inabilities, and limited ways of thinking. Accepting does not mean that we necessarily agree with or condone a different belief, it is just a higher quality, a trait of Love.

Today is a good day to be open-minded, understanding, kind, accepting, patient, merciful, compassionate, charitable, appreciative, and forgiving. We don't need to change our system of belief. We just need to be willing to accept that there are other beliefs and allow them to be without our interference. The spirit of accepting and allowing through the qualities of Love creates the energy that will help us heal and grow and bring us to clarity and understanding on our own journeys.

Red Pearl Mandala by Paul Heussenstamm 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.