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30 Days of Thanks-giving Starts Tomorrow on Twitter!

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"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse."--Henry Van Dyke

Every Thanksgiving Day for the past nineteen years my dad has asked us the question: What are you grateful for? But instead of making it general, he makes it specific: What inanimate object are you grateful for? What childhood friend? What live performance? 

During the next thirty days I would like to share this tradition with you. Each day on my Twitter page I will post a question asking you to name one very specific thing you are grateful for. Share your gratefuls with me - and the world - on Twitter using the hashtag #whatRUthankful4?

Here's to following that impulse and focusing on the good! (With thanks to my dad for instilling in us the habit of thanks-giving.) 

Next 30-day Challenge Starts November 1st!

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"What if focusing on the good in our lives could lead to an increase in good?" --Karen Lindvig

I came across this quote recently and thought...Yeah, what if? And then I thought...maybe it's time for another 30-day challenge....a Thanks-giving challenge!

So, if you are wondering this too, or if you are just game to give it a try, join me on Twitter, starting November 1st for 30 Days of Thanks-giving. Gobble, Gobble.


#30DAYSOFTHANKSGIVING
#whatRUthankful4?

Inspire-ME Monday #8: Substituting Faith for Fear

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Just one today, but I think it is a powerful one. And maybe one that explains our whole election...

Writer or Blogger? THAT is the question

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Before I took my summer hiatus (which, by the way, lasted longer than I expected, having promised to return in August, sorry about that) I wrote about listening to yourself and for the past few weeks, the phrase "Do you want to be a WRITER or a BLOGGER?" has been staring at me every time I sit down at my desk. This phrase came to me as I was working on Monday's post, "Harmonizing Yes and No," which I started before the hiatus.

This post was to be a continuation of the listening to yourself theme, specifically addressing the difficulties involved in saying YES or saying NO in specific situations. But what keeps coming up for me as I think about starting to write again is this question: "Do I want to be a WRITER or a BLOGGER?" And the answer for me is clear: WRITER. No question.

Conventional wisdom says that these days ("these days" being the days of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and now Snapchat. Actual serious ADULTS are on Snapchat now.…

Inspire-ME Monday #7: Harmonizing "Yes" and "No"

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"Stress is when your mind says NO, but your mouth says YES."The Wallingford Sign

"Give yourself permission to say 'No.' Reclaim the power of 'No' without guilt. It’s a beautiful thing - for you, for the other person and for the relationship. It offers everyone involved the gift of self responsibility. When you have clear reasons and a clear strategy for saying 'No' it becomes a very positive and empowering experience." --Ian Lawton on www.soulseeds.com


"You have the right to say NO."        --The Universe to ME

"The time to say yes is when both your head and your heart freely say yes." --Frank Andrews PhD in his book "The Art and Practice of Loving" 

"...[T]he word 'no' should be the 'end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation.'" --Amy Poehler quoting from Gavin de Becker's book “The Gift of Fear” in her book "Yes Please!"

"Yes without No is appeasement, w…

A bit of R-N-R

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I was going to title this post "Gone Fishing," but I don't fish. Nonetheless I am taking some time off from blogging over the next few weeks to spend time with my family and enjoy the summer before it's gone. I will return sometime in August. If you'd like to be notified when I return, please SIGN UP to receive posts via email in the right-hand sidebar. In the meantime I hope that you are spending the summer doing something you love. PEACE ☮

Everything You Need to Know

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On Saturday afternoon a friend and I headed to the spa for a relaxing soak. In order to do this I had to leave my fourteen year old on his own for a few hours. I have done this before and knew he could handle it, but I wanted to make sure that I had my cell phone in case he needed to contact me. I checked my phone before leaving and the battery was at 32%. Not critical, but low, so I decided to plug it in for a few minutes before I left.
As soon as I made that decision I heard a tiny voice in my head say, "If you plug it in you will forget it. Why not just charge it in the car on the way there?" This was a perfectly reasonable suggestion, one which I decided to ignore.

I walked over to my charging cord, plugged in my phone and sat down on the couch nearby to wait for my friend to arrive. When the doorbell rang I sprang up, grabbed my bag, slipped into my shoes and walked out the door - you guessed it - forgetting my phone in the process. Half-way to the spa I realized what I…

Inspire-ME Monday #6: INTUITION OR, LISTENING TO YOURSELF

And here we go again! One theme flows from another as we continue the conversation with each other, with ourselves and with the great and powerful Universe which speaks to each and every one of us if we will but listen.

The theme this week is INTUITION or LISTENING TO YOURSELF. As important as it is to listen to others, it is equally important to listen to ourselves. Here are some of my favorite quotes about listening to yourself. I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire you to pay closer attention to that still small voice inside:

"In our 'doing' society, we have a zeal for sorting out our agenda and implementing it. But in my experience the world is there to guide you at every moment. The world is calling you to come play, to come risk, to come let your heart burn with a passion that will make sense of your life. The world will speak to you as intimately as your mother did when you were a child, if you can allow the body to teach you its different way of listening.&qu…

Learning to Listen

"To listen well, we must attend both to the words and the silence between the words."  --William Issacs in "A Matter of Spirit," the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center quarterly newsletter


Listening well is not easy, but it is a skill that can be developed with a willingness to learn and some practice.

One of the techniques crucial to being a good listener is shutting the hell up. Also known as pausing. It is easy to get on a roll during a conversation and forget to pause and listen to the other person.

This can be especially hard after asking a question. My husband takes a lot longer to answer a question than I do and it can sometimes be excruciating to wait (and wait....and wait....and wait....) for his answer. But it is important to do so.

If you think you may need practice, watch the video above and listen for the birdsong. If it is hard for you to wait to hear it, pausing during conversations with others may be an important skill for you to learn.

Pay mor…

Inspire-ME Monday #5: LISTENING TO OTHERS

The theme this week follows last week's almost magically. Listening is an important part of any good relationship and it is not an easy skill. It is hard to listen without judgement, to listen without interrupting, to listen without jumping in to share or solve. To just listen.

I encourage you to try it this week and hope the quotations I have chosen will inspire you to listen well:


"To listen well, we must attend both to the words and the silence between the words." --William Issacs in "A Matter of Spirit," the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center quarterly newsletter
"The first duty of love is to listen." --Paul Tillich
"Listen to those who open a path to you; listen and don't say a word." --RUMI

"O Great Spirit help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak and to remember the peace that may be found in silence." --Cherokee prayer

"...[Y]our listening ear is more powerful than you…

Finding Buddha

Continuing on with the theme for the week - RELATIONSHIPS - I want to share with you another quote that is really speaking to me today. It is from Deepak Chopra's book "Buddha," which is a fictionalized account of the Buddha's life.

In this passage Buddha is speaking to his disciple Assaji:

"When you're obsessed with hatred for someone, it's inevitable that you will return one day as his disciple."“Master, I just hope he's better when he comes back,” Assaji said doubtfully. “He will be arrogant and proud,” said Buddha, “But it won't matter. The fire of passion burns out eventually. Then you dig though the ashes and discover a gem. You pick it up, you look at it with disbelief. The gem was inside you all the time. It is yours to keep forever. It is buddha.” 
I have been struggling this week with hatred so this passage really spoke to me. Earlier today I did a meditation in which I spent time inside my heart feeling the hatred and exploring its…

Inspire-ME Monday #4: Relationships

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"Opening to the world begins to benefit ourselves and others simultaneously. The more we relate with others, the more quickly we discover where we’re blocked. Seeing this is helpful, but it’s also painful. Sometimes we use it as ammunition against ourselves: we aren’t kind, we aren’t honest, we aren’t brave, and we might as well give up right now. But when we apply the instruction to be soft and nonjudgmental to whatever we see at this very moment, the embarrassing reflection in the mirror becomes our friend. We soften further and lighten up more, because we know it’s the only way we can continue to work with others and be of any benefit in the world. This is the beginning of growing up." --Pema Chodron

"Fucked up people will try to tell you otherwise, but boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments, or betrayals. They are a purely peaceable thing: the basic principles you identify for yourself that define the b…

Trusting Your Equipment

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"TRUST YOUR EQUIPMENT. " --Cat Saunders, PhD
Today I want to talk more about one of the quotes I posted earlier in the week for #inspireMEMonday because it was a breakthrough for me in terms of understanding why I sometimes struggle more than I need to in difficult relationships.

As I explained in Monday's post, what this quote means to me is something along the lines of, "listen to yourself, listen to your body." In other words, if - after an interaction with another human being - you feel angry or hurt or yucky, don't just dismiss that, listen to it. That feeling is trying to tell you something.

What I realized in my latest session with my counselor (Dr Cat) is that I have not been listening, for YEARS.

When someone does something that hurts me or makes me angry I feel the feeling, but almost immediately I turn it around on myself and start berating myself: "Don't take it personally." "Let it go." "If you were a bigger person …

Inspire-ME Monday #3: Eight Gems

This is the first week I chose quotes without a theme in mind - and the quotes reflect this to some degree - but as I read over them I hear whispers of an underlying theme....relationships, interactions with others, communication. I hope these eight gems will help you move in the direction of more awareness, more understanding, and more compassion (for yourself as well as others).

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~
"May I know what it is to feel the weight on another's shoulders. May I know forgiveness in my heart. May I be given strength to extend my hand across the divide to pull another from the abyss, though that person has wounded me." --Maisie Dobbs, quoting her teacher Maurice in "Journey to Munich" by Jacqueline Winspear

"Dogen-zenji said, 'When you say something to someone, he may not accept it, but do not try to make him understand it intellectually. Do not argue with him; just listen to his objections until he himself finds something wrong with them.'”

A post in which I try to understand the First Noble Truth of Buddhism (and probably fail miserably)

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As I wrote last month before beginning the 28 Days of Abstinence challenge, I have been reading a lot about Buddhism lately. One of the concepts that has stuck with me is this idea that all life is suffering. I both love it and hate it.
I love it because it rings true to me. I read it and something in me lets go - relaxes - the way you do when truth is spoken: "Finally, someone is saying what I have always thought."

At the same time, this idea scares the crap out of me. If all life is suffering then what is the f-ing point? Not what is the point of being here - I don't think any of us knows this for sure and we each have to figure this out for ourselves - but what is the point of living? If all life is suffering, why not just let go, escape, blow this popsicle stand? (Of course Buddhists believe in reincarnation - as do I - so it really isn't a choice. One way or another, you'll be back here eventually. So it's really an "Enlightenment or BUST" kin…

Inspire-ME Monday #2: Buddha & Buddhism

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"When people asked the Buddha why his followers were so joyful and healthy when they lived so simply, he replied: 'They do not repent the past, nor do they brood over the future. They live in the present. Therefore they are radiant. By brooding over the future and repenting the past, fools dry up like green reeds cut down in the sun.'” --From Why I am a Buddhist by Stephen T. Asma, PhD

"Everywhere is here." --Prince Siddhartha in Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Keruoac

"During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my ascent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me." --Herman Hesse from…

Being Ordinary

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"This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do. One has just to be. Have a rest and be ordinary and be natural." --Osho





Turns out, I had kind of a hard time RESTING. I kept finding myself DOING. DOING some writing. DOING some Twitter. DOING some marketing for my book. Luckily I had a silent retreat planned for the upcoming weekend.

On Friday afternoon I drove to St Andrews House retreat center to participate in a 40 hour do-it-yourself silent retreat with a group of women from Seattle Unity. We had been planning the retreat for a few months and I was really looking forward to it.

I arrived a bit harried on Friday night, having hit quite a bit of traffic on the way over, just in time for dinner. I threw my things into the last available room and went right to dinner. After dinner was the ritual to begin the silence and it wasn't until this ended that I could really relax and think about what I wanted my 40 hours of silence to look like.

I h…

Inspire-ME Monday #1: RESTING

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Today I am unveiling a new feature on the blog: Inspire-ME Monday!

As you know if you have read my Blogger Bio (see right) I am a collector of quotes and photographs. For the past few weeks I have been trying to come up with a way to share more of both with YOU, my fabulous readers. Inspire-ME Monday is it!

Every Monday I will be posting a series of quotes along with a photograph I have taken. Some weeks the quotes will have a common theme; other weeks they will be a totally random selection of my current favorites.

Starting today I am also taking a one-week break from the "business" of writing and indulging in a little "pre-summer vacation" vacation. (If you are a parent with kids about to be out of school for the summer, you know what I mean ;) So the theme for this week is RESTING.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about taking a REST:

"Not by anxious use of outward means had Buddha unveiled the True Mind and ended suffering, but by resting quietly in th…

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Dawna Markova

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For this final post of the Write Your Life!online mini-session, I would like to share a prayer with you. I don't remember where I first read it, but it was written by a three-time cancer survivor and I think it gives great advice. Don't live in fear. Open your heart. Become who you were sent here to become. I hope it inspires you to continue the work you have started by writing your life.

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.  I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me,  to make me less afraid, more accessible; to loosen my heart  until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.  I choose to risk my significant, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom,  and that which came to me as blossom,  goes on as fruit."  --Dawna Markova

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Carolyn Hax

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"Make small changes see where they take you, repeat."
--Carolyn Hax

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Lao-tzu

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"A journey 
             of  
             a thousand miles 
begins  
                                with one step." 

                                --Lao-tzu


Don't forget to take  your "one step"  today!

Wisdom from Jan Phillips

"Our job is to convert the darkness to light. Life is waiting for us to convert the cruelties to light. When faced with darkness, ask yourself: How can I convert this to light? Our job is to convert whatever we encounter to light as quickly as we can." --Jan Phillips

Alternate post for June 7th

"It's not a question of better or worse. The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up. If everything dries up, the world is darkness." --Haruki Murakami

Taking a break from posting happy, happy posts about manifesting. There seems to be so much darkness in the world right now. Just going to let that speak for itself. Feel it. Not to let it take over or to overwhelm, but to have its voice. Maybe the darkness just needs to speak and be spoken and be heard and be shared and be felt by all of us in order to dissipate and be replaced by the light. I don't know, but I do know I can't just post happy, happy today. I just can't do it.

~  * …

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Mary Morrissey

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"IF I believed it were possible, what step would I take next?" --Mary Morrissey
How did it go? Were you able to take your first step, or did you get stumped or sidetracked? Either answer is ok. 
If you DID take your first NEXT EASIEST STEP in the last twenty-four hours, pat yourself on the back. Great job! Cross that one off and pick your NEXT EASIEST STEP from the list in your journal. Do that within the next twenty-four hours.  
If you DID NOT take your first NEXT EASIEST STEP, pull out your journal and answer this question: What happened? 
Be brutally honest with yourself. Why didn't you do it? Are you afraid? Are you still unsure about exactly what it is you want to do? Do you not believe that what you want is possible? 
Whatever the answer, write it down and then decide what to do next. You may want to redo your life map, or spend a few days repeating the heart-centered meditation. Maybe go back to your list of next easiest steps and choose a different one as your n…

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: WHAT'S NEXT?

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"You are never given a wish without [being given] what it takes to make it come true."   --Richard Bach
This week is a bonus week - one I hadn't really planned on doing - BUT as I sat and finished the posts for last week on Thursday, I felt like things were incomplete. Like I was leaving you hanging. And I didn't want to do that. 
There IS a fifth chapter in my book and it's called, "What's Next?!?" because it's all well and good to WRITE YOUR LIFE - to draw a new map and listen to what your heart really wants - but after that you have to figure out how to LIVE this new life you have imagined. And that, my friends, takes ACTION. 
Yes, ACTION. 
Stepping out, putting one foot in front of the other and starting to move in the direction of your dream whatever it is. 
So that's what we're going to talk about this week: the DOING.

First things first, grab your journal or a piece of paper. Find a comfy spot to hang out for twenty or thirty minu…

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - BONUS QUOTE - Wisdom from Shakti Gawain

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"We...attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly." --Shakti Gawain

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Robert Fritz

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"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want and all that is left is compromise." --Robert Fritz
At first glance, this quote may seem to contradict the one from yesterday, but I hope you will spend some time meditating on them as a pair and find the part of each of them that is true for you. 

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Rob Brezsny

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"The key to happiness...is in figuring out  exactly your place in reality,  and occupying that.  Attempting to full bigger shoes than yours,  or cram yourself into tinier ones,  is just setting yourself up for misery.  Look at who you really are,  and be realistic about how much space  you actually need.  From the outside it may look rather small  (or oversized),  but I guarantee that once you're inside it,  it'll fit perfectly." --Rob Brezsny

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from RUMI

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"Everyone has been made  for some particular work,  and the desire for that work  has been put in every heart." --RUMI





MEDITATION: In the Center of Your Heart
The following is a simple meditation that will allow you to start to discover what is in your own heart. What work? What desires? What hidden talents or passions? 

For this meditation you will need a meditation timer and about twenty-five minutes of uninterrupted time. Set the timer for twenty-one minutes, or the longest amount of time you feel comfortable with.  
Start by taking three deep breaths. Now shift your attention to the center of your chest, to your heart chakra. Begin to breathe from this place. Breathe IN through your heart chakra; breathe OUT through your heart chakra.Allow your chest to expand and contract as you breathe. Notice any feelings or sensations that arise. What desires are in your heart space? What does your heart yearn for? (MORE what?) What makes your heart sing and soar? Continue to breathe from …

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz

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"If you can see yourself as an artist 
and you can see that your life is your own creation,  why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?"
--Don Miguel Ruiz

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING

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"We have to rewrite ourselves again and draw all new maps." --Mary-Louise Parker

This quote is from Mary-Louise Parker's book entitled, "Dear Mister You," in which she writes letters to a number of men who have been significant in her life. I read it while finishing up, "Write Your Life!" and it fit perfectly for the introduction to the penultimate - and perhaps most important - chapter called, naturally, "Write Your Life!"

There is too much going on in that chapter to cover it in one blog post, so I am going to share a different exercise today, one that hopefully will give you a roadmap for where you want to go next.

For this exercise you will need a few sheets of paper (or your journal if you prefer), a pen, and two sessions of about forty-five minutes each of uninterrupted time, maybe a bit less.

Start by taking three deep breaths. Set your meditation timer for five minutes and allow yourself to just BE for a few minutes before you begin.

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from www.personaltransformation.com

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"To awaken to your true nature, who you really are,  simply 'let go' of all the stories and 'be' right now."  --www.personaltransformation.com
What story do you need to LET GO so that you can BE right now? What story do you need to LET GO so that you can embrace what comes next? 
Spend some time meditating on your "story" and what parts of it are ready to be released. Then release it into the Violet Flame (or with some other ritual of your choice) and LET IT GO! 


Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Amara Rose

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"Be grateful 
for all the challenging people 
in your life -- 
bosses, co-workers, in-laws, 
children, friends -- 
because they're 
your greatest teachers. 
These relationships are difficult 
precisely because of 
your resistance to the lesson, 
which might be about compassion, 
self-worth, generosity, 
or unconditional love."
--Amara Rose


This week I am reading the prosperity classic, "The Game of Life and How To Play It," by Florence Scovel Shinn and there are some great reminders in the book. One, in particular, relative to our work this week with RELEASING. 
Here is the affirmation: "I cast this burden of resentment on the Christ within,and I go free, to be loving, harmonious and happy."
Is there someone on whom you have heaped your resentment over the past few days, weeks, or even years? Let it go by repeating this mantra whenever you think of this person. Allow yourself to be free from resentment and anger. RELEASE it to the Christ within. 

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Gloria Burgess

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"What is the story you need to let go of so that you can step into the story that is waiting just for you?"       --Gloria Burgess, PhD, Jazz INC

When I did my own RELEASING meditation, what came to me was the word CONTROL. I need to let go of CONTROL over all aspects of my life. I need to "let go and let God."

This may sound crazy or even fundamentalist, but if you sit back and truly think about it what can we control in this life? Pretty much NOTHING. So why not admit that and live from that reality instead of spending so much time and effort trying to control that which I cannot control anyway?

The physical manifestation of RELEASING, for me, is taking a deep breath. When I take a really deep breath and let it all out in one long AH-H-H....I feel the sensation of letting go and it is such a relief.

I am no longer pretending that I have it all together, that I have all the answers, that I am in control. I am releasing control and it is such a relief.

After my med…

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. 
He who is devoid of the power to forgive 
is devoid of the power to love."  
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

As I mentioned yesterday, RELEASING can take many forms, and one form is forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive in order to move forward in your life? 
Try using the Violet Flame Meditation today for forgiveness. As you ask that the Violet Flame be sent from the center of the Earth, place an image of the person you need to forgive in your heart chakra. Allow the Violet Flame to burn away any hurt, any resentment, any attachment, any negative energy you may feel. Release and let it go. 
If you find that you want to do more forgiveness work, click here for Day 1 of my 30 Days of Forgiveness challenge from 2014 or above on the word forgiveness for the 2015 challenge.