The Blessing Tree

Writing out your blessings can be a powerful thing and, for those who are more visually inclined, putting those written blessings on display to view can make the experience even more powerful. Why not add a Blessing Tree to your Blessing Altar?  I used dried magnolia leaves and gift card tags to add written blessings to twigs I got on clearance at Family Dollar.  You could also use sticks and twigs from your yard or a small tree. You could also make your tree a garland instead and string your blessings up to hang on the wall. There are so many options for how you can visually see your written blessings on a daily basis.  Both writing and seeing your blessings cultivate daily gratitude.

And remember, you are writing blessings for all events, circumstances, and people in your life.  Here are some examples of blessings on my tree that show how you can cultivate gratitude in all ways and all things:

  • I am grateful for a low bank account because it teaches me to be financially aware.
  • I am grateful for lack because it teaches me I am not living in my abundance.
  • I am blessed by Mitch because he mirrors what I don’t like in myself.
  • I am grateful for my childhood because through it I learned to overcome and have been able to help others.
  • I am grateful for Crystal because through the ebb and flow of our friendship I have learned I am not in competition with anyone.

 

Use magnolia leaves, or similar, for your longer blessings.

(I use a metallic marker to write blessings)

 

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Use smaller bay leaves to write blessings that you like that can be portrayed in one or two words.

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Use gift tags to add the names of people you’ve been blessed by – remembering that even those we believe have hurt us also brought us blessings. Use the back of the card to write how you were blessed.

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You can also use the tags to write about how certain emotions or behaviors brought you blessings, like looking at how noticing resentments offers you a chance to practice forgiveness and acceptance.

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I will add blessings to my tree throughout the month until I put my Yule tree up. Then, I’ll transfer my Blessing Tree branches and blessings to the Yule tree. 

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More Blessings posts to come – if you want to see these posts in your inbox subscribe!

The Love We Deserve

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There is a quote from the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower that was very healing for me. Actually, it was an almost painful awakening that punched me in the gut when I heard it:

 “We accept the love we think we deserve.

 Ah, how true that is. We bring the people and events into our lives that we believe we deserve. And until we believe otherwise, until we explore deeper into self inquiry as to why we believe such things, we will continue to bring in those hurtful and harmful experiences. Why? Because first and foremost the love that we receive from ourselves is the most important.

 “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

 When you look at that quote from the perspective of how we love ourselves then the quote becomes even more powerful.

  You are worthy of love.

So much more than could have been

 

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Team Love Prompt: What does it mean to you to never settle for less than your heart and soul desire?

I am worthy of having my dreams. So are you. Did you know that? You are. But so often I hold myself back by believing I don’t deserve to live an abundant life full of love. Instead I get wrapped up in mindtalk and fear based thinking. I draw people to me who have similar thinking and draw events to me based off that thinking. I look around and wonder – When Do I Get What I Want? When Do I Get What I Deserve!?

Ah, there’s the rub.

Deserve – is a judgement. “What I deserve” is my opinion based off what I believe I’m worth. So if my self-worth is low then what I believe I deserve will, too, be very low. I won’t let myself allow in the abundance of the Universe. I won’t let myself have true happiness and joy. I won’t let myself aspire to reach all of my dreams.

One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Tuck Everlasting : “Don’t be afraid of death – be afraid of the un-lived life.”

When I hold myself back, when I believe things about myself that aren’t true, when I won’t allow in my abundance, when I won’t allow in love, when I won’t allow myself to reach out and branch out and have everything my heart and soul desire … my life is un-lived. Because in doing all of those things – I am not truly LIVING! Then where will I be down the road? Looking back over a life of could have been? There have been plenty of those already. And though I trust my process, though I trust that life has happened exactly and only has it was meant to – I too trust that my free will means I have a choice. And moving forward I choose to say YES! vehemently to life. I choose to say YES! to whatever life hands me…without judgement…without disappointment…but instead with an open heart full of gratitude for every moment I get to experience.

I am much more afraid of spending my life un-lived than I could ever be afraid of death.

And I am so much more than “could have been.”

Be. Love. Live.

The Definition of Self-Love

love_ambassador_icon230x230Team Love Prompt: Dictionary.com defines self love as narcissism, conceit, and vanity. What do you think self love is?

Reading this definition brought a wave of sadness over me. If this is a definition of self-love then no wonder people look in the mirror and hate what they see. We are a society that has been conditioned to believe that loving the self is vane and therefore is something to strive against instead of toward. But that isn’t the only reason I felt sadness. The definition is a poke for me – it mirrors my own lack of self love. It mirrors the self judgments, expectations, guilt, shame, fear, self loathing, self condemnation and a myriad of limiting self beliefs.

We are taught not to be for ourselves first – that this is selfish and not selfless. But how are we to ever be for others first if we don’t take time out for ourselves and our own love? How can we truly love another when we don’t truly love ourselves. If others are our mirrors and we see the light in others in the spirit of Namaste – can we truly see it, feel it, express it when we don’t have the same spirit for the face in the mirror?

What do I think self love is? I think self love is looking in the mirror every day and accepting the person you see regardless of any choices they’ve made, anything they’ve experienced, or anything they believe. I think it’s having the courage to say I am worthy of love. I think it’s fearlessly looking into the abyss that is who you are to see what gets in your way of loving and accepting yourself unconditionally and breaking down any walls or false beliefs.

We hear so much about unconditional love and how love with conditions isn’t love. Yet we walk around dragging a sack of self conditions daily.

Put down the bag.

Release the conditions.

You are worthy of love simply because you are in this world.

Tell that to the face in the mirror.

What I Want For You

My blog yesterday offered great growth for me – and the promise of more to come if I am committed. Today, the growth comes in an unexpected way but the Universe can be a subtle thing!

I received an email from Janet Bray Attwood regarding an upcoming 21-Day Meditation on Love Journey. I skimmed through the email and scrolled to the bottom where I saw the most fitting quote:

I want for you… what you want for you.

Well, there’s that. How very simple. Not, I want for you what I think you should do or have. Not, I want for you what I want you to have. Not, I want for you what I want for you. But, I want for you what you want for you. Wanting nothing more than what the person wants for themselves.

What a beautiful idea.

Unconditional love at its best.

Make Your Own Path

I kept thinking about putting an edge in place to “give Mitch (my husband) space” but just that didn’t seem to fit. So I looked at it more and it went beyond Mitch. When I got the email requesting my February intention for the Intentional Prayer Network I sent “I intend to allow others their paths.”

But this morning that didn’t quite seem to fit either. Then it hit me – I’m still making it about something/someone outside of me.

A Growth Edge is something I learned from the More to Life Program. It is an intention you put into place in order to create change in your life. For example, someone who is typically the wallflower might put an edge into place “To Be Seen” then choose to put himself or herself into leadership positions or get on stage and perform, or speak up in a crowd, etc. Growth edges evolve; as you begin to gain the lessons and growth from what you put into place that edge will run it’s course and you put something different in place.

The growth edge I’m putting in place is based off a quote that has been a part of my life in some way for a very long time. – “Make Your Own Path.”

So, my current growth edge is: Make My Own Path

How do I look when I’m not on my own path?
I’m judgmental, critical, and full of expectations on others (and myself). I feel angry. I see what’s “not right” how others “should” be.  I play the victim. I blame others for my lot in life, for where I am, for how my life is. I don’t take responsibility for my choices. I don’t see that life is for me and do not see the big picture. I don’t see the divine plan in it all. I believe that if others would change then I would be ok, better, life would work out better. I’m not accepting or tolerant. I’m demanding and controlling. At times I am even vindictive. I am not focused on my path and my growth. I am focused on the other person’s path and growth. I believe I know better than them and that they should listen to me. I believe that if they would listen to me and fix what I believe they’re doing wrong then my life will be better. When I’m not on my own path I feel more hurt, anger, discontent, unhappy, sad, sorrowful, guilt, fear, anxiety, worry, and shame. When I am not on my own path I am disconnecting even to the point of walling myself up, not allowing others in. I don’t hug or touch as much. I stay to myself, isolate myself even. I withdraw.

How do I look when I’m on my own path?
When I am on my own path I feel free and alive. I am compassionate, empathetic, connecting, loving, and caring. I take responsibility for my life and my path. I trust life, God/the Universe, my Self. I trust that all is happening just as it is meant to and I feel a deep peace with that trust. I feel connected to myself, life, and others. I feel connected to the Oneness of it all. I make conscious choice instead of reacting. I breathe deeper. I flow with life and allow life to flow with me. I feel softer in my body, less stiff, sore, and tense. I worry less and accept more. I take more time for me instead of using my time to “fix” others. I let go more. I smile more. I connect; I laugh; I dance; I frolic  – I Live! I am open. I hug and kiss and touch. I love and open my heart. I am childlike in the world. I am magical. I am My Self. And I allow others to be who and how they are without judgment. I am in my authority. I am present – Here. Now.

I think before I took “Make Your Own Path” to mean living my life, being free, doing things my way in the world, living Me! But somewhere along the way I came to believe that it meant separating myself – mostly from Mitch, that making my own path meant being away from him- that it was an either or – him or my path.  Now I see that by not being on my path I am separating myself from others and life and Mitch and that by not being on my own path I cannot be fully on my path with him. I see that it’s not an either or but a beautiful merging. I lost sight of the braided path: My path, His path, our path – braided together to make one strong bond.

What work/processes will help me with this edge?

  • Radical Forgiveness Worksheet when I notice I’m judging another, or I see the mirror of another.
  • Radical Self Forgiveness on the Mirror I find or when I am judging myself.
  • MTL Mirror Process to look eye to eye heart to heart and SEE me
  • The Work of Byron Katie process to get to the truth
  • Yoga to connect to my body and breath
  • Meditation to connect my mind and breath and spirit
  • Reiki Self-Healing to connect my spirit with the Divine
  • Chakra healing to align my energy

What will I put into place to support me on my path?

  • Daily Yoga and Meditation
  • Daily “I am that, I am.” Exercise
  • When I notice I’m walling up – open up my body and reach out to connect physically
  • Breathe – focus more on abdominal breathing to bring in calm  and grounding
  • At least one written process/work per day be it MTL, Radical Forgiveness, The Work, or an exercise from another book such as Mind of the Soul.
  • Reconnect and Recommit to My Path.
  • Look at my vision board weekly – sit with it; be with it; breathe with it.
  • Take time out for me

Eight Limbs of Yoga: Tapas

As we’ve journeyed through the Yamas and Niyamas I’ve written blogs explaining the meaning behind each one. This week I found so much wonderful information on Tapas that I wanted to share verbatim the powerful quotes I’ve found. Enjoy! – M. Gatlianne

Niyama 3: Tapas

Austerity, Discipline, Fire – Deep Commitment to your practice on and off the mat.

“The joyful willingness to do what is necessary to reach a goal with fiery discipline.” Gaiaflowyoga.com

“Tapas refers to strength of character in resolute pursuit of yoga’s ultimate goal of the union of Self and God/Universe/Consciousness.  The word “Tapas” translate as a spiritual purification or fiery discipline that burns away impediments that keep us from achieving our highest potential of Self.” Gaiaflowyoga.com

“When the fire of a yogi’s life is burning brightly, he or she is a beacon of light radiating balance and peace to the world. The fire is also responsible for digesting both nourishment and toxicity. A healthy inner fire can metabolize all impurities.

While people often associate discipline with deprivation, it can actually be extremely nourishing. For example, people who have established a yogic lifestyle may arise early, meditate daily, exercise regularly, eat in a healthy, balanced way, and go to bed early because they directly experience the benefits of harmonizing their personal rhythms with those of nature. Tapas is embracing transformation as the pathway to higher consciousness.” Dr. David Simon – The Chopra Center

Self-awakening by activising (activating) the spiritual power within oneself.Bose

Ramping up the practice. That turns up the heat and melts down the obstructions. When things start to get a bit stale, take a look at your daily activities and see which one’s may be sapping your energy, dissipating your spiritual focus, or healing evolutionary energy — communion, integration, etc. Then just drop it — let it go — kiss it goodbye. This will make room/create space and energy for the new healing energy to come in. Usually it is some activity that we know is leading nowhere, but we have yet to place it in perspective — in the spiritual context of where we want to go from “here”. by definition this energy that would have been expended in a distraction is now accessible for “practice”. When we start to focus our practice, it’s like a magnifying lens in the sun — the alchemical process is kicked up another level.Donny

Ultimate practice of Tapas: Love yourself and your life exactly as it IS.  Change nothing, but move with more and more presence and consistency.  Be vigilant that your thoughts, actions and speech are rooted in love.” – Gaiaflowyoga.com

Affirmation/Mantra/Prayer: 

I willingly put forth the effort to create the life I want.

Journal Questions for Personal Growth: 

Write (1) goal you want to accomplish then ask yourself why you want it. I want this because…then continue to break down why you want it…because…because…because until you get down to your deepest intention for why you want to create this.

Then write your willingness to accomplish this goal – how willing are you to manifest what you want to create? And what commitments do you make to yourself in order to create it?

Eight Limbs of Yoga: Santosha

Niyama 2Santosha Contentment

 “The bliss of present moment awareness.” Dr. David Simon

 Santosha asks us to be happy and content with our life as it is, instead of looking for a perfect fairy tale life. This time of perfection isn’t what life is about.  Contentment with life as it is, you as you are, and others as they are is the embodiment of Santosha. This Niyama asks us not to put our happiness or contentment on any outside thing, while we grow and learn but also live in acceptance of the now and trusting that we have everything we need now.

Santosha is the understanding that there is no “end” we’re trying to get to. Life is now.

Santosha asks us to act out of present awareness instead of reaction or ego – observing and loving things in the moment, as they are – without any need to change them. This also pertains to ourselves and others.

Find contentment with who you are, now, and what you have, now. When we resist what is happening in this moment we our out of flow with life. When we accept life as it comes, we flow along with life and allow life to flow along with us.

Daily Affirmation/Mantra/Prayer: 

I accept life just the way it is.

 

Daily Meditation:

“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the Present Moment, I know this beautiful moment.”

Thich Niht Hahn from his book “Being Peace

 Journal Questions for Personal Growth: 

What am I grateful for now?

Start a gratitude journal – writing down at least (3) things each night before bed that you are grateful for about your day. This also pertains to those things that we may judge as bad or that we didn’t want to happen. The “bad” stuff tends to offer us the most miracles and opportunities for growth and change.

Eight Limbs of Yoga: Saucha

Niyama 1:  Saucha – Purity/Cleanliness

Concerned with both outer and inner cleanliness insofar as keeping both the outer body clean and pure, but also the inner body – both physically and mentally. Saucha also discusses keeping our environment and surroundings clean and pure.

 “Cluttered closet, cluttered mind.”

 What we hind away in the closet is often indicative of inner pieces of ourselves, or inner thoughts, that we are, too, hiding away. Look at the clutter in your environment. Do is tie into some sort of emotional clutter inside? (Hoarders are often “hoarding” deep emotional hurts, beliefs, or fears.)

Are you eating foods that nourish your body? Are you reading books that nourish your mind and spirit? Are you participating in activities that nourish you? Saucha asks us to choose things in our lives that nourish us.

Toxic thoughts equal a lack of purity of the mind. When you’re in the mindchatter/monkey mind – when the thoughts are running ‘round and ‘round and you can’t seem to make sense of them ask, “Is this true?” My stopping and asking yourself to look at truth you’re more aware in the situation and less likely to flow along with untrue mindchatter such as self-judgments, judgments of others and life, limiting self-beliefs, and the like.

Affirmation/Mantra/Prayer: 

“Be here now.”

 

Journal Questions for Personal Growth: 

Is this nourishing to be or toxic?

Does this nourish my mind, body, and spirit?

Is this (mindchatter/thought/belief/etc.) true?

Does this serve me and my highest good or does it lead me away from my chosen path?