Friday, March 22, 2019

Growing

This is probably the wisest thought I have ever resisted: it is in crisis that we grow. I´m a very pragmatic person. I like to flow. I avoid obstacles. I plan. I organize. I like things to go as expected. I wouldn´t say I like it easy. But I like the flow, uninterrupted. So accepting complications and hurdles was not easy for me. That is until I started to appreciate the challenge, the growth, the evolution, until I started to see what I perceived as difficulties in a new light. I started to see things as happening for me instead of to me. In relaxing my defensiveness and resistance, I gained clarity and openness.

What is your challenge right now? What are you struggling with? What are you resisting? Could you see it without judgment? Could you accept it as it is? What can you learn from this experience? How can you grow as a result of it?

Today is a good day to set our emotions aside, to detach feeling from our thoughts of our present circumstances. We grow when we bust out of our comfort zone. We bust out of our comfort zone only when we accept our situation as it is, not wishing it were different, not opposing it or denying it. If we are able to see things as they are, without judgment, we are able to change them and in changing them we are brave, we are wise and we grow.
Image found at mandalasforthesoul.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, 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?

Image found at topsimages.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, 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.

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, 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.