Take a deep belly breath in…one where your belly extends outward…and hold it…and then release it…ahhhh. Let’s do that again, this time, inhale to the count of five, hold it to the count of five and release it 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Yes. Like that. Doesn’t that feel good? Centers you and grounds you, right?
This is how I started off my day (well, after the shower, breakfast and drive to Marlborough to attend the Natural Living Expo). I went to hear a talk at 11am. Now, first of all, 11am is still morning for me, especially on a Sunday. Second, I purposefully didn’t have coffee, because I knew I was going to be plenty awake by the energy of the speaker I was going to see…the energy that IS Gabrielle Bernstein! I wasn’t wrong, she kept us all energized with her special way with words and light humor.
I’d been working on reading her most recent book, May Cause Miracles, which requires the reader to only read one chapter per day for 40 days to unlimited happiness. As one might expect, there’s lots of homework involved, which I haven’t been good about doing, even in the 50 pages I was up to so far. But I’ve seen her on videos and on Oprah so I knew I was in for a treat and to be spiritually motivated by the time her time with us was done. Despite being young, she lead much older women than her to not only cry but also ask for wisdom and advice that someone of Gabrielle’s years might not be prepared to give, but she nailed it. Sometimes years don’t matter, girlfriend.
She talked about fear and how it can cause us to take a “descent from magnitude to littleness”. I hear that and it makes me think about women becoming mothers. So many women feel like responsible and powerful adults and strong women until they get pregnant…then it becomes about asking, “am I allowed to _____?”. Then approach labor and that fear increases…because of a new experience and the fact that it’s an uncomfortable and unpredictable experience, many women will shrink away from their power and allow all control to be taken by others. Wait! There’s a saying in the birthy world, “women of earth, take back your birth!”. So cool. Anyway, even Gabrielle talked about how if we are constantly trying to control your energy and your environment, it can leave you in darkness. We need to just let go. I just kept thinking about how much easier birth and parenting are when we just stop trying to control it all! But change is hard. Changing your way of thinking is hard. So, Gabrielle addressed this, too: all we need to change is the willingness to change. Riiight. Let’s get to work on that! Easier said than done, dontcha think? But yes, it’s true.
One of my favorite things she said today was “raise the voice of intuition“. I love that. I try to follow that myself and encourage others to do the same. We need to trust our intuition. It may not make sense intellectually, but intuition is powerful and should be revered. Gabrielle calls intution our “-ing”…or inner guide. Yes. Love it.
Another thing she said that resonated with me is “stop dancing around the perimeter of who you are meant to be”. That’s what inspired me to say “yes” to the mug and water bottle I bought today (see at right). I’m guilty of it as much as the next person…wondering what people will think of me or what I do or what I say. I’m trying to change that. Some days I’m good at walking my own authentic path and other days I find myself sinking into the fishbowl. That’s why it’s called a practice in so many professions or in yoga or meditation. We never perfect it. We don’t perfect ourselves. We practice.
Gabrielle gave us a sneak peek into her up-and-coming book with discussing the 5 Sutras for the Aquarian Age. Sounds so “woo-woo” but when you hear how Gabrielle explains it, it’s very plain and clear.
1. Recognize that the other person is you. They aren’t more or less than you. The more we celebrate those who shine, the more we shine. And then the big psychological issue I’ve heard before when dealing with conflict resolution…the things you don’t like in others are the things you have disowned about your own self. Gulp.
2. There is a way through every block. Trust and develop your intuition. Be quiet/meditate/exercise/take a quiet walk for a little bit every day so you can receive those messages. And when your intuition, your inner guide, your -ing speaks, answer with “absolutely, yes!”.
3. When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off. Do not hesitate. Make it happen. Today. Wow, this is a challenge in my life. I find that some days I’m so very motivated and get a LOT done and others I think about motivating and then it’s dark out. Then again, maybe I needed a day to chill and reflect, right?
4. Understand through compassion or you’ll misunderstand the times. Make eye contact with people and hold a place of compassion for where they may be in their struggles. How many of us have gotten angry at someone in customer service. But if we remember that they are just trying to do their job and they have good days just as much as bad days (because they are human, too), it helps to be compassionate.
5. Vibrate with the cosmos and the cosmos will change the path. Bring a positive energy to everything you do…a positive attitude. An openness to spontaneity, new things and unexpected changes. Sometimes when you make plans, the cosmos has other plans for you. Be open to that. I love the word “cosmos” for some reason. I’m frequently heard saying, “I put it out there to the cosmos.” It’s like a prayer. Prayer doesn’t definitively mean speaking to God or only done in a certain religion. We can be spiritual without a specific religion and the “cosmos” is like a universal way of referring to a highest power. Work through this one however you see fit within your spiritual practice.
One thing that struck me as particularly true for mothers everywhere is something she said about guilt…”Guilt is a chief weapon for keeping you in an illusion.” Moms have so much guilt about leaving their child(ren) for an hour or two or (gasp!) overnight. But it’s really an illusion that your partner or another caregiver can’t handle it. You can’t create a situation where you are the only person in your child’s life that can feed them/soothe them/change them/entertain them. Sure, if you are breastfeeding, leaving breastmilk is important, but we have the capability to leave milk for our little ones (um, that’s why it’s called HAND-expression…but sure, pumps work for some mamas). Remember, the more you do for yourself, the better mother you’ll be. It’s true. Gabrielle reminded us about the saying, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child.” Right. [There’s that thing about breathing again.]
She ended b y reminding us that it’s not what you do, it’s the attitude you bring to it. Yes, we know that. We’ve heard that. But that’s one thing that meditations can be …reminders to let go.
So, go meditate. Take a walk. Exercise hard or do yoga. Lay on the floor and just listen to yourself breathing deeply. Want something to guide you? Gabrielle has some free meditations on her website. You can learn more about Gabrielle and from Gabrielle via her website.
Thanks, Gabrielle, for the inspiration. You may be a bit wise for your age, but that’s okay. You rock.