Friday, May 31, 2019

Do as you wish

I wish to travel. I wish to take whole summers off to write, abroad. I wish to spend more time with my family, to enjoy my husband and my son. There are so many things I wish for.

There are two ways in which I can look at my wish list. I can look at all the ways it's not happening right now or I can look at all the ways I'm making it happen. When I focus on the obstacles, I move further and further away from my dreams. Yet, I can do things that make me feel that I'm on the path.

Though I can't buy airplane tickets just yet, I can forgo the extra latte in the afternoon and put that money towards my travel fund. Though I can't take this summer off to write in Bali, I am working towards the long-term plan. That gives me tremendous joy. I don't feel the possibility, I feel more than that. I feel the probability, I feel the energy, I feel the joy at the thought, I feel how everything I am doing is unfolding according to my wish. Though I have had a bout of long work days, I'm dropping everything to connect with my husband and my son every chance I get. I practice everything that I have learned and teach about productivity and efficiency to be able to do that. I do as I wish.

Today is a good day to do as we wish. When we do as we wish, we invoke our wishes, we break the centrifugal force of the status quo that keeps us stuck in place. Let's not work against our goals, dreams and desires. Let's work towards them. Let's not focus on what we don't like or want, on the impediments, on the naysayers, on negative experiences, or pessimistic views. Let's call on our intentions and infuse everything we think, say and do with them. Let our thoughts, words, attention and actions be in the spirit of what we want. Let's do as we wish and charge our course to make it happen.

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, May 17, 2019

Incantation

He posted a meme about words and spells and why it's called spelling. Right on! I absolutely love this meme. It's about how we create everyday magic.

For many of us, positivity and optimism may not come so easily. Getting chipper when times are gloomy may not be in our nature. But we don't help ourselves when we use words in ways that bring us or keep us down. Words have power. They are magicians' most powerful tool. Words are our most powerful tool. What we say to ourselves can keep us angry, discouraged, heartbroken, pessimistic, stuck, frustrated, jealous, and low-spirited. Conversely, what we say to ourselves can inspire us, uplift us, free us, enlighten us, soothe us, support and encourage us, and move us forward.

Today is a good day to use the energy of our words for our own good. If we're at a point where being positive is too big a leap, then let's inch forward with words that bring neutrality to our moods. When we can't get there, the thought of this too shall pass can help. Our words can bring alchemy to any situation or relationship. We can bless or curse, respect or blaspheme, lift or burden, learn or victimize ourselves, move on or blame, understand or judge, respond or react, help or drag, raise hopes or cast fear, deepen heartfelt bonds or break us apart. What we say affects us and affects others. Our words can attract or repel, open dialogues or be disagreeable, invite goodwill or damper cooperation, collaboration and empathy, hurt or comfort. What we say to ourselves and others can transcend or bind. What will we say today?

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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, May 10, 2019

Pain speaks

I know better. I know better! But here I am again, ignoring what I’ve learned, and feeling the pain I tried to numb. Now, what started off as a slight pain in my lower back has become a throbbing, shooting and electricity-throwing pain that makes sitting, walking and laying down an almost impossible feat.

If you’ve ever been to the dentist for a tooth removal, you know what it feels like when the Novocaine finally wears out. If you’ve had a cesarean section, you know what it feels like when the spinal anesthetic wears off. If you’ve had a cold sore, you know how your lip wants to fall off when the numbing gel no longer numbs the soar. Each of these instances requires that we pay attention in different ways to our bodies. That we take care of an issue. Before going to the dentist, the hospital or the pharmacy, pain alerted us that something was not right. We either heed and take care of the underlying issue or we numb it, ignore it, and then finally deal with it. In the end, we must feel the pain, listen to it and take care accordingly.

I should have listened. My back was whispering stop, take care, rest, recharge. I ignored it and now it’s screaming I told you to stop, take care, rest and recharge! 

Today is a good day to, in a similar way, listen to what our pain is telling us. Whether physical, emotional or spiritual, pain is an indicator that something is out of alignment, out of sync. Numbing the pain through substances, food, medication, alcohol, neglectful behavior, binge tv-watching or social media marathon sessions does not deal with it. Numbing the pain does not resolve what is causing it. Sooner or later we have to deal with the cause. Let’s pay attention to our pain. Let’s be aware of where it points to, of what is asking for our attention, of what needs tending to, of what changes we need to make, what patterns we need to break, what new habits we need to form, which emotions we need to deal with, and what consciousness we need to keep. Only then can we relieve the pain and heal.

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, April 26, 2019

Hungry?

When I'm happy, I eat like it's nobody's business. I don't even mind one bit. I can eat. And I enjoy it so very much. The only thing that ever affects my appetite is anger. It hasn't been a big deal in the last few years. Yet, recently, in dealing with an issue about unneighborly neighbors, I noticed my hands were shaking, I had a headache and my body felt frail and weak. I suddenly realized I had skipped lunch...and dinner. I was not even hungry. I was filled with anger. But that anger was not doing anything good for my body. Nor was it doing anything good for my mind or my spirit. I was frazzled, confused, graceless, unproductive, snippy, and uninspired. I needed to eat.

Our bodies are so affected by our mood states. Temples of our souls, our bodies need more tangible sustenance than mere emotions. With proper nourishment, a sense of healing can make ready the way for us to feel good, to sort things out, to mend. With proper nourishment of our bodies, we can help nurture our souls. When we’re sad, angry, depressed, or anxious, taking care of our bodies is vital to our healing, our clear-thinking and our feeling good.

Today is a good day to check in with our moods and frames of mind. With an awareness of how we are feeling, we can consciously make healthier choices for our bodies and our minds. That awareness can help us get clarity and presence of mind, composure, serenity, and a sense of calm. That awareness can help us choose better thoughts to feed our mind and better actions to sustain our bodies, energizing our general sense of wellness. Once we realize how we are feeling, we can choose, not from that feeling, but from a higher awareness of that feeling, to do something good for both our bodies and minds, and for our souls.

Image found at thephuketnews.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, April 12, 2019

If you must know

Once you know, you know. Once you know, you can't deny it. Once you know, you are shaped by what you know. Choices, perceptions, interactions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions are under the influence of what you know. But to know, you have to be aware. And to be aware you have to be present. You have to be wholly here, now.

Sometimes we feel something is off. Maybe our stress level is higher than usual, or relationships are in distress, our health is suffering, our jobs are in jeopardy, or our creativity is gone. Maybe we just can't seem to get anything right. Or maybe we just don't have any motivation. Whatever it is, we talk about it, complain about it, judge it, look into it, research it, and consult about it, but we can't seem to figure it out. We just can't seem to know. What if, instead of trying to know, we do nothing?

Today is a good day to do nothing about it. Let's be here right now without a plan, except to be aware. Let's tune in to our bodies, our feelings, our emotions, our moods, and our thought currents. Let's tune in and create no thought about it. Let's just be aware without any conclusions or opinions. Let's pay attention. In this mindful state we become conscious and knowing. What could we learn without our interference and resistance? In practicing mindful awareness, what can we know?

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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 29, 2019

The difference

Nothing changed. No-thing in her life changed. Everything was the same. Her job was just as far away from home, her mother was just as critical, her ex-boyfriend was just as un predicatble, her relationship with her family was just as complicated, and her circumstances were just as difficult. Yet, she was calm, healthy and, even, happy. She finally realized that though she controlled nothing, it was all up to her.

What we experience has less to do with others and external factors and more to do with our perception of others and those external factors. We can accept what is or resist it. In acceptance, we grow and flow. In resistance, we struggle and exhaust ourselves. Our perception can help us deal with what is or can block us. We can see every obstacle or every challenge. We can see every ordeal or every adventure. We can see the annoyance or the opportunity to exercise patience and to grow in understanding.

Today is a good day to change nothing, except the way we see things. Life is full of events. The meaning of those events is up to us. We can see things in ways that are helpful to us or in ways that will hinder our personal evolution. Let us see things as happening for us and not to us. In seeing differently, we give ourselves a break from thoughts that bring us down to thoughts that lift us up and carry us through. Between a life full of meh and a life full of growth and joy is our perception. And that is the difference.




Image found at teleflora.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 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.