Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary...

I dare you. Say it three times: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary. Will you do it? There was a time I wouldn't do it. I didn't want a bloody, angry, vengeful virgin coming after me. Ok, so I was nine years old and believed this story. And still, I know that many of us may be a little apprehensive about calling Bloody Mary out, out loud, just as we are afraid to call our fears out, out loud.

Photo from mandalas.com
We may be afraid of calling our fears out because we don't want to face them–then we would have to deal with them or, more commonly, because we don't want them to come true. Yet naming our fears does not make them come true. Naming our fears can actually help us see them in the light of truth, for what they really are, as something that keeps us from peace, enjoyment, satisfaction and well-being. 

Naming them is one thing. Naming them allows us to look at them and let go of them. Calling on them, though, keeps us full of fear, anxious, neurotic, troubled. Constantly calling on our fears in our thoughts, in the ways we express ourselves and in the ways we act keeps them true, brings them into our reality. 

You may be surprised at the magic behind naming our fears. Many fears are dispelled just by calling them out. I used to be afraid of eating alone in public. Yep, I know. It sounds silly. It is silly. But I was. Once I named my fear, it went away. Once I named it out loud I realized how nonsensical it was. I know that there are more serious and stubborn fears. There are fears that terrify us and may be harder to banish, but they can be eliminated. It will just take time, effort and faith in your power to do so. When a fearful thought comes up, vanquish it with another thought. Keep a list of replacement thoughts handy while you get in the habit (believe me, it helps). If something we fear were to become true, then we will deal with it if and when it does. In the meantime, we need to remember that fear will not protect us, but it will hold us back from trying new experiences, taking pleasure in what we choose to do for a living, enjoying people, choosing happiness, being glad, tasting new foods, wearing new styles of clothing, taking salsa lessons and more. 

So, what are you afraid of? Making mistakes? Looking ridiculous? Writing a bad novel? Poverty? Cancer? Aliens? Losing? Going bald? Call it out. Take the spookiness out of your fear. Lift yourself out of that haunted place. Your thoughts have that power.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Please excuse our absence. We are experiencing scheduling difficulties. We return tomorrow. Light & Love, The Soulcerer's Apprentice

Friday, August 15, 2014


Stand where you are, preferably barefoot, with your feet parallel to each other, shoulder-width apart. Look at the tip of your nose, then close your eyes softly. Take one deep breath in. Count one-two-three. Exhale. Breathe as you would throughout this standing meditation.

Feel the earth beneath your feet.

Feel the stability.

Feel connected.

Feel the energy exchange between you and the Earth.

Feel every thought, every feeling outflow into the Earth.

Receive every thought, every feeling return to you through your firmly planted feet.

Feel your stance.


Focus your mind on our connection, our oneness.

Imagine beams of light flowing from you into the Earth.

Imagine light flowing back into you.

Stay. Stand. Breathe.

After ten minutes or so, smile, breathe deeply, exhale. Go.

Art from artistic.aviary.blogspot.com. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


When I was a workaholic, I used to think that not sleeping–pulling all-nighters, staying up late to finish a project, waking up early to work a few hours before heading to the office–was a virtue. "I'll sleep when I am dead" was a common phrase around the workplace between me and my colleagues. I am so sorry that I perpetuated that attitude for I have found that sleep is one of my antidotes to the stressors of life. After a restful sleep I am energized and ready for what may come. Sleep restores my body to proper balance and clears my soul and psyche. I consider sleep a part of my spiritual practice. It helps me heal. I surrender anger, fear and anxiety to sleep. My dreams now tend to be vivid, a sort of fun meditation. Proper sleep allows me to take on challenges in a more positive way, to focus better and accomplish more. I can say today that sleep is my secret to staying highly productive and in good spirits.

There are several things that I make important in order to maintain a good relationship with sleep:

  1. I look forward to sleeping. I don't see it as a chore or something that gets in the way of what I want to do. 
  2. I build a ritual, a routine around sleep. This gets my body, mind and soul ready.
  3. I make it sacred. I don't allow anyone or anything to disrupt my sleep. 
  4. I am thankful–before and after. 
Photo from o5.com
Sleep when I am dead? Are you kidding me? I can only sleep while I'm alive. That's when it does me any good. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where's the problem?

Grab a problem. Any problem. Grab it. Ok, so you can't grab a problem. Problems are intangible. 

When I was a teenager I stopped referring to problems as problems. I wasn't as aware as I am today. But back then the drama and negativity surrounding the word bothered me so I started thinking in terms of situations. Now there was a word I could deal with. I then always found solutions. 

Photo from mandalas.com 
We talk about problems all day long. We hold on to them as though they are something concrete, heavy and palpable. Problems exist for many of us. Yet for others, problems don't exist or, if they do, are easy to resolve. We take life in filtered through how we see the world, what we believe in, what we want, what we are afraid of, how we feel, how we think, what we expect from life and how we see ourselves. When a situation presentes itself, all of these factors come to the forefront and affect how we respond and, therefore, what we then experience. How we perceive what is going on will either keep us in the problem or lift us out of it. When we face difficulties, do we find blame, feel alone, become overwhelmed, get angry, see ourselves as victims, turn irrational, become neurotic, freeze, suffer, find obstacles at every turn? Feeling this way blocks our intuition, our inner guidance system and our creativity–keeping us in the problem. But seeing situations in a different light, from a fresh perspective, opens the channels for solutions to appear. Sometimes this willingness to see in a new light is all it takes for a perceived problem to cease to be a problem.

Today is a good day to reach within, to find your center, where feelings of love, joy, calmness, serenity, compassion, kindness, oneness, security and peace abound. Let these be the ones to affect your perception and to open you up to solutions, insight, synchronicity and deeper consciousness.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Endless summer

I am not sure of where I am going with this. I have been struggling to write all day. I have done most of what I recommend blocked writers do in order to get out of the rut, even breaking my handwriting habit. And so, I have surrendered and come to my keyboard a cappella.

I can't seem to focus. The summer ends today, for us anyway. School starts tomorrow. A new beginning. Not only for my son, but for me as well. I am now the mother of a seventh-grader. Summer ends today...

I think of verse 16 of the Tao Te Ching where it says, "endings become beginnings." This ending becomes that beginning for both of us. I can feel a little excitement creeping in and a little apprehension. It's the alchemizing of one period into another. It's the releasing of all those experiences into this moment, the one that counts. It has just now hit me that my mourning the summer now gone–the weekends at the beach getaway, the travel, the time spent with family, the unawareness of clock-time, the spontaneous adventures, the bonding in love–and the fretting over tomorrow, this week, the semester and the new school year have kept me from experiencing the present, from enjoying today. The yearning for what has passed and the worry of what I have no control over have consumed our last day of the summer.

© 2014 The Soulcerer's Apprentice
It's one of my big lessons, to learn to live in this moment–to enjoy it, savor it and appreciate it with deliberate intention, on purpose. I have wasted this day. I intend not to do that again. All I can think of in order to turn it around, to metamorphose it, is to collect the feelings of joy, enthusiasm and passion for life, the emotion, the fun, the laughter, the memories of the wonderful rush of summer days and the presence I brought to those days. I want to bring that to the days to come, every moment, to make each one an endless summer.

Let us take today and only today. There's nothing we can change yesterday, and there's nothing we can do about tomorrow...except not to create regret for ourselves by not enjoying today, the only day in which we can choose to be happy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

One moment's meditation

Sit comfortably, wherever you are.

Inhale. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale.

Look at the tip of your nose. Now close your eyes.

Breathe calmly.

Let your thoughts surround the idea that everything is fine. It is.

Continue breathing as you normally would. Keep your eyes softly closed…

…until a soft smile turns your lips.

Take a few more calm breaths.

Inhale deeply. Exhale.


Photo from magictails.com

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Inner Balance

I was at one of the national brand drugstores when I came across a jar of Inner Balance. I went straight to it. Thirty pills for $19.99–yes! No, not really. This inner balance was not what I thought. These were probiotics. Not that I thought I could buy inner balance for my spirit, thought part of me wished I could.

Life is so packed with activity–career, family, friends, social commitments, philanthropic engagements, community involvement, projects, responsibilities, undertakings and other obligations–that we feel blown to the four winds, grasping to keep steady, balanced.

Although there is no such thing as a jar full of inner balance for the soul, there is a ballast within that can help us be less scattered, more stable and grounded. We get there through meditation. Meditation calms our minds, alleviates extreme emotions and reactions and relaxes our bodies. With time, it is where we go to find balance, inner peace and connect with our Self. Where probiotics keep our intestines detoxed and balanced, meditation can remove psychic toxins and keep up centered.

Today is a good day to close our eyes for a moment, inhale–long and slow then exhale–longer and slower. Relax your lips, letting them open just a bit. Stay. Breathe. For a moment. Find your inner balance.

Photo from mandalas.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

While we wait...

Wish upon a star. Now what? Oh, I remember. Now we let go. What do we let go of? The outcome, of course. Now what? We wait. And while we wait? Ah, that's the tricky part.

We set our intentions and have to go on with our lives positively knowing that what we want will come about. Yet we have to let go of trying to make it happen, of trying to control it–the when, where, who and how–the specificity, the pressure on ourselves and the process, the obsession and the striving. I have found that between setting our intentions and letting go, in the wait, what we must do is align our habits with our desires. There's the balance. While we wait, we do our part. If we are writers waiting for our next project, we write. If we are actors waiting for the next role, we audition. If we are in public service waiting for our next appointment, we serve our communities. If we are waiting on funding for our next venture, we continue to work. If we are professionals waiting for a certification, we continue to practice. If we are waiting for inspiration, we stay involved in life, dance, read, breathe nature in.

As we go about our days working, cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping, visiting friends, making dinner, playing tennis, meditating, paying bills, celebrating birthdays, daydreaming, folding laundry, calling family members who live far away and catching up on our reading lists, we include habits that expand, enhance and cultivate our wishes. This will keep us focused yet relaxed about the outcome. Before we know it, the wait will be over.

Photo from desktopnexus.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


What do we guard ourselves from? I sit here thinking about this. Do we guard ourselves…I mean, really guard ourselves? If so, from what? Is it guarding ourselves or is it keeping who we are from coming out? What is it that we are protecting ourselves from?

We fear being hurt, disappointed, blind-sided, lied to and betrayed. We are afraid of failing, losing, rejection and our own vulnerability. We are scared of letting others down, what they may think of us, disapproval and being excluded. We fear so many things and we have a tendency to try to over-protect ourselves from these and other perceived threats.

We then try to protect ourselves with preemptive strikes, intimidation, cockiness, false self-confidence, arrogance, distrust, antipathy, hostility, recklessness, pessimism, pushiness and impetuosity. We guard ourselves by not letting others in, trying to control outcomes, building antagonistic barriers–physical and emotional. And yet, we don't really protect ourselves. When we guard ourselves, we create other dangers. We suffocate and atrophy. And, we keep calling unto us that which we fear. As long as we feel that we have to protect ourselves from something, that something will appear.

Self-protection keeps us from new experiences, enjoying the differences, knowing beauty and being happily surprised. It keeps us from real pleasure and excitement. We close ourselves to healing, safety and joy. We become our own prisoners–locked in by our lack of trust, paranoia and disproportionate wariness.

To take care of ourselves, we need to have that inner-knowing that nothing is done to us and that nothing that happens to us defines us. Whatever we feel someone does to us or against us is really between them and whatever they believe in. By centering in Spirit, we strengthen our connection to our inner-knowing. We can try keeping the bad stuff away, but we do so at the risk of keeping the good at bay. By allowing other close, by allowing others in, we help ourselves heal. Outside of our walls, fortresses and prisons we find joy, laughter, happiness, guidance, fun, love, support, understanding and fullness of life.

We are loved and protected. To be aware, to really know this, is the safety and security of the Self. Now that's Self-protection.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The names of God

We went to the outlet mall to shop for the next semester's clothing. We went to the usual store he likes to buy his work shirts and pants at. As he looks through the color options, he notices that the pants he usually buys have a new style name. They are the same, but the name is different. He is puzzled. After coming to terms with the change, he, of course, decided it didn't matter. The pants fit. The name didn't matter.

They fit. The name doesn't matter, I kept thinking. That's right. It is not the name, but the experience that matters. Just as God has many names–and many faces, and many languages, and many ways in which he communicates with us, ways in which we relate and understand. Our relationship with God (or Source, Spirit, The Divine, Krishna, Christ Consciousness, The Universe, The Tao, Buddha, Brahma, Father, Allah, Holy Spirit, Creator or any other name by which we call who or what we believe in) is very personal. He (or she) comes to us in ways we can recognize him with no imposition, relating to us as we open and will ourselves to the relationship.

There's not a one-size-fit-all truth and what we call something or someone does not change their essence. It is our experience that is relevant–how we love, forgive, enjoy, have compassion, encounter life and, ultimately, find comfort, belonging and each other, that sense of oneness that eludes us in the day-to-day grind. This is what matters.

I am still thinking...Oneness…that's another good name.

Photo from vi.sualize.us.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Good job!

I was listening to a child psychologist speak to a mom about her three-year old daughter. The mom was frustrated because her little girl talks back, disobeys and has a defiant attitude. The psychologist observed a video that the little girl's dad secretly took of her after she had been put to bed. The little girl scolded her doll out loud, pointing her finger, furrowing her brow, snarling–in her meanest voice–all sorts of no-statements (No, you can't touch that. No, you can't play there. No, you can't sing so loud.) The mom was heartbroken to hear such negativity…and then she realized her daughter was imitating the adults around her–in tone and demeanor. The psychologist suggested a little praise. I suggest the same.

We call ourselves stupid, berate ourselves over our mistakes, reprimand ourselves harshly for not meeting certain standards. And while being arrogant, cocky and full of oneself is egotistical, chastising ourselves does not make us humble, does not make us grow, improve our condition or help us make better choices. When we continue to focus on what we do wrong, we begrudgingly do just enough not to go through averse consequences, through what we'd rather not go through. What's the joy in that? There's no forward motion, achievement, gain, self-improvement or change.

Catch yourself doing something good–taking the stairs instead of the escalator, being nice to your grumpy neighbor, sticking to your budget, volunteering, enrolling in a class, going on a walk with your wife, recycling, etc.–and say Good job ____________ (insert your name here)! This will create a subtle ripple of emotion and more opportunities to do the same. Doubts about yourself will begin to fall away and you will begin to rewire your automatic thoughts of yourself. Success, competence and ability are, and will seem, natural to you. Be non-apologetic to yourself and everyone else about your gifts, your talents and your aptness. This is an exercise of your Self, your greatness. Recognize what you do right and anything you are not doing as you would prefer to will naturally go in that direction. As your negative self-talk lessens, you will find great joy in what you do and who you are.

Image from siempredeviajepoesia.blogspot.com