Make Room For Joy

I just surprised myself and said these words out loud–by myself, out of nowhere—“I love my life!”

I actually stopped, looked around to confirm that no-one else was there, then thought, “wow, that was pretty cool.”

All I was doing was looking in my refrigerator, deciding what to make for dinner, when, BAM! a sense of joy and well-being washed over me. The truth is—I really do love my life. I love who I am, I love what I am becoming and I love what I want to bring to the world. Conceited, you say? Self-centered? Arrogant? I used to think so too.

As spiritual beings living this human life, our only job on this planet is to find what sets us on fire and do it!! Be it!!

I didn’t understand that before. I lived a life of keeping myself small to fit in with the people around me who might be upset by my energy and passion. My child self kept quiet so I didn’t rock the boat and upset the delicate dance of the family unit. My adult self was afraid to fly away and let others find their own path if my spirit needed to soar. Well, my soul kept calling until I did.

The interesting thing about the above self-declaration is that all day I was bobbing up and down like a see-saw from fear thoughts to thoughts of faith—back and forth, back and forth. But, this time, when I felt the fear thoughts I knew they were just my mind trying to keep me from feeling free, so I loved them and let them pass. I acknowledged them, told myself they weren’t real and let them float away.

I think that made room for the joy!

While I may have to remind myself of this truth again tomorrow, it’s becoming more second nature to live in the ease and flow of trust and well-being.

Today I will remember that ups and downs are normal, any fear I have is an illusion and that we are here to feel and spread joy!

How Confusion Can Guide You

I used to think confusion was a bad thing—like a problem to solve or something to “get out of” as soon as possible. If something didn’t feel right or I couldn’t understand what was happening, I automatically thought  I wasn’t seeing things clearly. Consequently, I tried harder and harder to change my perspective so I didn’t feel like a crazy person. After decades of going against my inner knowing, what I have come to understand is that when I am feeling confused I actually am seeing things clearly; I am seeing them from the eyes of my soul.

Confusion is my inner guidance telling me when something’s not right for me. It’s a messenger of truth and a teacher of self love.

When I feel confused, I am in my head and out of alignment with my heart and soul—trying to make sense of something instead of letting truth emerge. When I am aligned, there is no question of right or wrong or should or shouldn’t. It just is.

Confusion is my ally and my friend. It can show me where I am being manipulated or disrespected, either by myself or others. When I think,”If I am really in a loving relationship, why do I feel so devalued?”, I can become aware that this confusion is really my intuition telling me that I deserve more. Now I can make different choices. And when I ask myself, “Why do I keep doing the same things if they continue to bring me unhappiness?”,confusion guides me to see that by making decisions that are not in my best interest, I am actually disrespecting myself—not feeling worthy enough to treat myself well.

Today, I am reminded that confusion is the GPS of my soul. I will invite confusion in, knowing that a magical shift is about to happen. 

Unblock Your Abundance

“For the earnest student, taking responsibility means never forgetting to have fun.”

Seriously,

   The Universe 

(Taken from “Notes From The Universe”)

I awoke today so grateful for the abundance of comforts in my life—my wonderful bed and my sanctuary apartment. The blessed support groups I belong to and my open heart to the divine unknown.

Yet, as is common after waking, almost immediately following those feelings of wonder came feelings of lack. The mind does this, right? As soon as my heart opens up, my ego becomes afraid and thinks it still has to keep me safe. It says to me, “Why do you feel blessed? You know you’re not where you want to be.” and “How will you make enough money or ever have companionship again?”

Well, I have learned enough about my ego to know that whatever it says is a bunch of bunk.

It’s my soul that tells me what’s real, and I have trusted myself and the Universe for long enough to know that my abundance is already out there. Yup, it’s just waiting for me. So I am very conscious and aware when I am not in that high vibration to attract it into my life.

So here’s the thing…..

I am an excellent student—always have been. I am the one who  gets straight A’s. I’m the over-achiever, the uber-prepared and the problem solver because I felt I had to prove my worth. But even though  I can feel my truth now, I am still trying to get that perfect “A” –this time on my spiritual journey of self-healing.

When people ask me, “Oh, are you dating anyone yet?” I automatically say, “Oh no! I still have so much more healing and work to do on myself.”

Them: “Got any plans this weekend? Wanna go to the movies?”

Me: “Oh, sorry. I have so much to writing to catch up on for my Blog.”

Them: “Wanna go for a drink after work?”

Me: “Wow, I wish I could. I have 3 self-help courses I’m working on right now.”

What is that?

That feels like a block to me. Am I telling myself (and the Universe) that I am not ready to move on—that I’m not enough yet?  Am I closing myself off under the strictness and discipline of “getting better”?

It feels like a suppression. A denial of what my soul actually wants–to have fun and receive!

Receive! Receive! Receive! Yes, it has been long enough now and I am passionate to receive the love and joy I have to give. And I am ready to be in the flow of allowing and instead of trying so hard. Nothing is going to pass me by because I go out to dinner with a friend. I’m not going to backtrack and fall under someone’s spell again if I lean toward what feels light to my spirit.

So even though I want to find out more about the young woman in me who wasn’t aware she was being manipulated and tricked and silenced, I also want to be free and to welcome joy and love into my life again. There is no “done now!” in self-exploration. I don’t have to wait for all the answers before I allow myself to accept love and be more playful and joyous. I don’t have to take my healing so seriously. And I don’t have to choose one over the other.

I know that the unravelling of falsehoods naturally begins in the presence of attracting and receiving Joy. This is the place where I heal the most—this open space of allowing light into my life.

So this is the place where I get to “lighten up”! This is where I get to have fun! Be playful! Goof off!

This is the place where I remember who I am.

This is the place where I raise my vibration for all I desire and all I want to gift.

This is the place where I get to live my soul’s purpose.

Today I choose light over heavy in all aspects of my life and I know my outer world will  mirror my inner condition.

Trauma and Miracles: Interview With a Shaman Part 2

In part 1 of our 3 part interview with Jennifer Monahan, she described how a mysterious stranger introduced her to her spiritual calling. Now in part 2, hear how a traumatic event led her to do things she never imagined she would do.

Here’s the audio version, if you’d rather listen!

https://www.aheartbasedlife.com/interviews/

 

Lorna:  Okay, perfect. So this is all so interesting about how that happened, like out of the blue.

Jennifer:  Out the blue.

Lorna:  You weren’t there searching for anything like that to happen at all.

Jennifer:  I didn’t even know what a shaman was.

Lorna:  So now, you come back to San Francisco. You were working full-time.

Jennifer:  I was working full time. I was a Business Strategy Consultant working long hours and…

Lorna:  Traveling a lot from what I remember.

Jennifer:  Traveling every week. Yes, on a plane every Sunday or Monday and home every Thursday or Friday and yet at the same time, I was getting trained by my guides.

Lorna:  Wow.

Jennifer:  It was a pretty intense time.

Lorna:  Wow. So, someone I know calls that side hustle or side gig or something like that.

Jennifer:  It was a side gig.

Lorna:  Yes.

Jennifer:  It really was.

Lorna:  So then, you decide to quit your job.

Jennifer:  Well, I decided to start doing the Shamanic work on the side.

Lorna: Okay.

Jennifer:   And so, I launched Spirit Evolution in 2014.

Lorna:  Tell us what Spirit evolution is.

Jennifer:  Spirit evolution is my Shamanic business.

Lorna:  Okay.

Jennifer:  I had been doing Shamanic sessions on friends and family for some time before that and I said, “Okay, I am ready to make this official.” And so, I created websites and actually created an LLC around it and have built an organization and launched it to friends and family in September of 2014.

Lorna:  And so, you did that on the side.

Jennifer:  Then, I did that on the side. I did that on the side because I wanted to have a little bit of a safety net, right?

Lorna:  Yes, yes.

Jennifer:  In San Francisco, the rent’s so expensive and I wasn’t quite ready to walk away from that kind of income.

Lorna:  Yes.

Jennifer:  Two months later, I was walking across the street in the financial district and a minivan hit me at 25 miles an hour. Read more Trauma and Miracles: Interview With a Shaman Part 2

Wanna Ask a Shaman Anything You Want? I Did!

The first of a 3 part interview with Shaman and friend Jennifer B. Monahan, author of “This Trip Will Change Your Life”. Here, Jennifer explains the history of Shamanism, what it is and how it can help  us heal, and introduces us to the mysterious stranger that led her to her calling

For the audio version of this interview, click here: https://www.aheartbasedlife.com/interviews/

Lorna:  I’m here with my friend, and shaman, Jennifer B. Monahan. I would like to share some of her story with you and learn more about her at the same time. So, hi Jennifer.

Jennifer:  Hi.

Lorna:  I’m so glad to see you again. So Jennifer just returned from Guatemala and she’s back in San Francisco for a couple of weeks before she goes on her next exploration, which I’ll ask her about. So, first thing I want to know is what is a Shaman? How would you answer to that?

Jennifer:  Yes. Shamans have been around since the beginning of time and every indigenous culture in the world has their version of a Shaman. They may call it a Shaman or medicine man or woman or a witch or voodoo or whatever. But basically, what a Shaman is, is somebody who works with the spirit world to help bring about healing whether that healing is for an individual or community or even the planet.

Lorna:  And that’s it. It’s that simple.

Jennifer:  It’s that simple.

Lorna:  (laughing) I expected it to be a longer answer.

Jennifer:  No, it’s that simple but obviously there’s a lot more behind it. So, what a Shaman does is they will enter an altered state of reality. I use drumming. So, either I have a person there who is drumming for me so I don’t have to focus on that or I use an MP3 of drumming but that drumming allows me to get into a state where I’m more receptive and open and able to communicate with the spirit world.

Lorna:  And is that still a state of awareness or would you call it a trance?

Jennifer:  I’d say more trance than awareness. The way I describe it is that, you know when you’re falling asleep but you’re still awake but you’re in that in that kind of twilight zone and in between, it’s kind of like that but the difference is that I am still completely in control. I am fully aware of everything whereas in that twilight zone, you’re just kind of drifting along and you’re not really guiding anything. With a Shamanic experience, when I go on a shamanic journey and enter that altered state of reality, I’m fully aware and what I’m doing is I’m calling in my guides, my spirit guides, my power animals, ancestors. I’m calling in the guides of the person that I’m working with and say, “Okay, here’s what we’re working on today. Suzie Q. is having this problem and let’s work together to help heal it.”
What they do is they, 99% of the time, give me what the root cause is. So, I could have a client that I’m working with who is recovering from breast cancer and you could say, “Oh, the problem is cancer cells.” Well no, actually in a particular case of one client, the problem was that this woman didn’t know how to love herself.

Lorna:  Exactly, and it was manifesting in the physical body.

Jennifer:  So, and it manifested as breast cancer. So, they help me get to the root cause.
Then we work to begin the healing process. Sometimes the healing can be instantaneous and sometimes it takes time and I can guarantee you that pretty much every time, it requires whoever the individual is that I’m working with to make changes to their life.

Lorna:  Right, to participate in the healing on their end.

Jennifer:  They have to participate in the healing.

Lorna:  And that state that you’re talking about like when you’re almost falling asleep, that’s kind of the state where sometimes a lot of answers come in—like answers to problems that you haven’t been able to figure out and you’re just like almost falling asleep and you’re thinking, “Oh my God. I know what to do about that.”

Jennifer:  Yes and the reason for that is because in our human forms, we vibrate at a certain level. Let’s say that our level is 100 for lack of any other kind of description, right?

Lorna:  Yes.

Jennifer:  The ascended masters and the guides and things that are in spirit form are at a much higher level. They’re vibrating at a much higher level and let’s say 500, right?

Lorna:  Okay.

Jennifer:  When we are in that zone, whether it’s through a trauma induced trance or we’re starting to fall asleep, we’re actually shedding our … I’m going to say our physical body. We’re still part of it, of course, but we’re breaking free of the weightiness of physicality and we’re vibrating higher. So maybe we’re getting up to say 250 and these numbers are just an example. They don’t mean anything.
But then it’s easier for our guys to come down and communicate because it’s worked for them to lower their vibration and get heavier just like it’s worked for us to break out of our physical vibration level and move up.
So, it’s kind of a meeting in the middle wherever the middle ends up being.
And then, it’s easier for them to communicate.

Lorna:  Wow.

Jennifer:  Yes.

Lorna:  And so, when we are vibrating higher, aren’t we getting more in touch with our true selves because we are actually … we’re actually spirits…

Read more Wanna Ask a Shaman Anything You Want? I Did!

Evolving Emancipation

A year and a half ago I thought I was lost. When I left my 32 year marriage at the age of 55 all I saw was what I had left behind and I couldn’t see who I could be without my identity in that relationship.

My therapist wrote me a promise one day and I thought her ideas were lofty.

It spoke of rising up and taking on heartache for all it’s worth to flush out the falsehoods and emancipate myself from painful patterns that I was unable to face until now. She said I would look back and speak a prayer of gratitude for turning the worst thing that ever happened to me into the best.

I didn’t believe her then, but she was right. I am doing just that.

Now I follow my spirit and shine my light.

I am going to share what I have learned from the energy shift that happened in me and how I followed my inner guidance, regardless of fear, and trusted the unknown path ahead.

One of my first thrills was moving in to my own apartment, and feeling an overwhelming joy when I first opened my very own empty refrigerator. To me, it represented the excitement and anticipation of all that I was going to fill my life with. It starts with being alone. To ask myself “what do I even like, anyway?” I didn’t even know.

And thus begins the journey of self discovery.

I relish my own space, even through the pain of loneliness, because when I meet my match I will have used this time alone to heal myself and connect with my spirit.

One step at a time, my love.

Be Great or Stay Small-I’m Getting Rid of My Bully

As I continue in my new single life of self-discovery, I’ve been thinking a lot about my biggest bully–self-sabotage.

Yup, I’m just gonna put it out there! See, some of what I have gained from delving deep into my soul over the last year and a half have been these “big reveals” of some hard core stuff—and sometimes, when something is really big, I don’t want to see it. Then not wanting to see it creates anxiety and separation and anxiety and separation create fear and confusion and fear and confusion create grief and loss and then I need a break.

Thankfully, I finally understand that there are two sides of me that keep wrestling around in my head. They act like they are trying to help me, but sometimes they end up confusing me even more. Why would I be thankful? Because, after many years of feeling like a crazy person, it is actually a relief to finally realize this very simple truth—one “me” wants me to be great and the other “me” wants me to stay small. That’s it! That’s the big secret.

I know! It’s nothing more than that and at the same time, it’s everything.

So we all know something about this, right? We all know about the ego and how it’s just this image we have of ourselves, but it’s not the real us. And that the real us doesn’t tell us lies like we’re not good enough or that we need to change. So, now that I know this, I can choose which me I want to take advice from! Brilliant! Actually, I am astonished that it has taken me so long to figure this out because both of these “me’s” have been right here my whole life, so you’d think I’d have made their acquaintance by now.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes the hardest part of changing and creating a new version of myself is tending to the wounds that keep me from being comfortable in that bright light of greatness that all of us were born with. It’s hard. It’s hard to be awake to the automatic tendency to defer to the “shadow” parts of me, born from what I learned in the past. Like when I was told not to be “too big for my britches” or “don’t get so excited” or maybe I should “settle down”.  These are the dark parts of me that I unknowingly inherited as a protection from circumstances that I didn’t understand.

But when I am losing myself in something that I love—when I look up to find that hours have gone by and I think “where did they go?” that’s when I am connecting with the other side of me. The Bright Side that tingles and thrills and creates and loves. And the reason I am tingling and thrilling and creating and loving is because I am communicating with my soul and I have tapped into my purpose.

I’m not sure, who said “old habits are hard to break” but I do know that the old familiar shadow “me” is a habit. Just when I am feeling spot on, she walks right in like she owns the place!  She starts bullying me, then suddenly the feeling of elation begins to fade and self-sabotaging thoughts are just there! Seriously—just like that! I mean, how dare she? Sure, I gave her a lot of credit in the past and maybe I let her think she was the boss, but she can’t just stroll in here like that anymore!

The problem is she doesn’t know that yet.

But she doesn’t know this either.

She doesn’t know that the prize for my dedication to self-development is that now I know that I can watch for her and see her coming. I can tell her that, no, I am NOT going to call that old friend who is always negative and brings me back down, where I am more comfortable. And, no, I am NOT going to have another glass of wine instead of writing or reading or meditating or going for a walk. And, no, I am NOT going to watch just one more hour of the news instead of doing yoga.

She doesn’t know that I am going to choose the LIGHT now, and not the dark. But she’s learning. Because I am too.

I am learning that I am not meant to stay small and that I am supposed to have my own voice. And that I don’t have to avoid what is uncomfortable so I won’t get hurt. And I don’t have to defend and protect myself anymore, because I am safe. And I am learning how to find my worth within myself instead of outside of me. So I don’t think I want her around much anymore.

Yet even though this is true, I want her to know that I love her. She is a part of me and I want to know more about both of those “me’s”—the one that wants to shine and the one that is afraid to. I don’t think I have to worry about her going away any time soon, but now I want to be the one to invite her in or not.

She could have a magical lesson to teach and who doesn’t like a little magic?

Mind-Body Connection of Restorative Yoga Kicks Butt!

I just spent 3 full hours doing nothing but taking care of myself!

I know, I never have either! And all I did was sign up for a restorative yoga class.

I’ve taken short restorative classes before but this was three full hours of self-indulgent, self-loving, body and soul self-care.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with restorative yoga, it’s purpose is to “restore” the body and mind connection in stillness. It’s kind of like taking a nap with the perfect props to support every inch of your body.

When I walked in I was instructed to collect these things:

4 blankets

3 bolsters (long, thick pillows for supporting under the knees, for example)

a yoga mat

2 bean bags

2 eye pillows

2 very large square Euro-style pillows

a block

and a chair

A chair? Totally.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what in the heck we were going to do with all those things but for the next 3 hours we did  just 4 poses, each one held for 20-30 minutes, and we used every last one of those props. The instructors adjusted each person individually and by the time they were through, every part of my body was perfectly supported and I felt weightless. It was the most comforting, peaceful, back-to the-womb feeling I have ever experienced.

Oh. And I’ve never done “legs up the wall” with a chair!

So, thank you, Restorative Yoga!

Thank you for helping my mind and body heal.

Thank you for making me feel like I had a 3 hour massage and all I did was lay there.

Thank you for letting me experience what it feels like to literally do nothing.

And thank you for reminding me that a quiet mind brings me back to who I am and allows perfect guidance to enter.

(If you’re wondering where this awesome class is and you live in the Bay Area, check out The Mindful Body Yoga and Massage Studio)

A Journey From Fear To Love

I woke up full of fear andfeeling like something bad had happened. That ever happened to you?

I was feeling really judgmental of myself—like I had done something wrong or behaved in a way that was not true for me. In that state of half-awareness, I began to follow that sense of doom even more—one thought leading to another and another—almost like water down a drain.

Then, all of a sudden, one of my favorite quotes pops into my head—“Everything is Loving Guidance”. I don’t even know where that came from, but, Oh, yeah! Thank you!

So now I’m thinking maybe I can be GRATEFUL for the way I feel this morning if it’s all loving guidance, right?

(By the way, as a side note, I was very proud of myself for remembering all this stuff.) See, I used to hate the part of me that makes mistakes. But I’m working on loving myself now. So instead of engaging in all of the negative self-talk that automatically slaps me in the face and shrinks me down to the manageable size my old, wounded self can handle, I am trying to be aware enough to see what’s happening and CHOOSE something else instead.

Read more A Journey From Fear To Love

Trusting Yourself to Drive Solo

It’s funny how our lives are like road trips. Sometimes we are driving by ourselves, watching things stream by outside our window. Trusting ourselves to make our own decisions, we choose what route to follow, what to listen to on the radio, and when to stop for gas or something to eat.

But somewhere along the way we begin to doubt whether or not we know where we are going or if we can find the way on our own. Or if we are smart enough to make sure our car is safe to drive by ourselves or if we will have enough money for the rest of the journey. Maybe we start getting bored or don’t know how to handle the loneliness that comes upon us.

So then maybe we choose to travel with someone else. Maybe it’s someone who is with us for the duration of the drive, and was maybe always meant to ride with us from the beginning because they feel just like we do. Or maybe its someone who just needed a lift and is only going to the next town, and we were there at just the right time and really enjoyed their company. And we will never forget them and we don’t even know why we were so moved by them but we were.

After being married for 32 years, I am now single. When everything fell apart I was grief-stricken and scared to death. Let’s face it, to say that I am middle-aged is probably being optimistic and I didn’t want to believe that I was starting over at this stage of my life.

Read more Trusting Yourself to Drive Solo