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Living Your Intentional Life



 

Living Your Intentional Life
By:  Therèse Tappouni

Installment 10 of 10

Learn to Experience Forgiveness

Quality Ten of the “Ten Qualities of Living Your Intentional Life” is Learn to Experience Forgiveness. What a perfect way to end the year and begin with a fresh perspective and a clean slate. It is a lot easier than you think when you accept that forgiving is not forgetting. It is true that what happened did happen, and the person who hurt us did so. The other Truth with a capital “T” is that they have probably moved on and we are the only one suffering. Think about the person who loses it when a car pulls out in front of them. They yell and rant and rave, maybe make an obscene gesture, sometimes even race to cut the other person off. In the meantime, their blood pressure rises, cortisol and adrenaline flood their organs with poison and they are miserable. What about the other person in the other car? They are probably listening to a rock station and humming along with the music. Who is suffering? Unfortunately, this argument appeals to the head, but it is to the heart that we must go. I will share with you a time when forgiveness was forced upon me by Truth.

When he was nearly twelve, my son was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle to swimming practice. He lived for 10 awful days before he left our world to enter his new one. When I arrived at the scene, my son was lying in the street and a woman was off to the side, crying and wringing her hands. I knew she was the one who had hit him. I also knew she was in agony. Before I went to Michael, I put my arms around her and told her to be at peace. Somehow, within my heart, I knew that whatever she had done, it was not with malice and I also knew that there were many times when it could have been me driving when a child darted into the street or someone didn’t look up. It was the end of my marriage that I didn’t want to bring charges against her, or see Michael’s friend who was with him brought into court to testify. He was gone—nothing would change that. I forgave her for whatever part she played in his loss. Michael didn’t deserve less. The pain would never leave me if I locked it into blame and anger.

When I began studying to be a grief counselor, I learned how differently men and women respond to tragedy. Men feel the need to “DO” something, women to “BE”. A man will encourage another to “Get that _________! Take him to court! Make him pay! Women will gather around and try to make the group more comfortable—they bring cakes, make coffee, arrange prayer groups, and take the children for the day. No wonder that in couples who have lost children the divorce rate is between 75% and 85%, depending on the statistics. Men see forgiveness as weakness, though we were taught in every religious tradition that it is the only certain way of moving on.

Do you have someone you need to forgive? I will share with you two more things that will help you to begin the process. First of all, the mantra that I use every single day of my life from The Course in Miracles. The minute a negative emotion rises in you, say the following:

“Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle.

I relinquish all grievances, regrets and resentments and I choose the miracle.”

Really think about this as you say it—I must say it twenty or thirty times a day. What does it mean? Literally, I choose not to have a grievance against the person who aggravates me by coming late, forgetting an appointment, takes credit for my work, etc. The miracle is in breathing away the sense of aggravation or anger that arises in the chest or belly and creates discomfort. I choose to breathe deeply into my heart, exhale from my heart, and say it is not worth the effort (or the high blood pressure, or the release of cortisol and adrenaline that occurs in stress and will cause me to have heart disease.) Instead, I breathe into my heart and release serotonin and other relaxing chemicals into my brain, my heart and my whole body. That is the miracle. To know that forgiveness of the behaviors of others—the lack of desire to retaliate—is GOOD for me, and will make me feel wonderful. In the beginning you will find yourself doing this practice over and over and over. This will alert you to how often you allow yourself to be stressed by the behavior of others. As it becomes second nature, you will breathe in, begin the words “Every decision I make…” and you will feel your body relax, your chest soften and even a smile appear on your face. Believe me, you will notice! The work I do helps clients to go back and do forgiveness work from the very earliest part of life—and sometimes, past lives. It’s all possible and it’s all healing. Our bodies and hearts are programmed for it.

I wish you an amazing joyful, peaceful and prosperous New Year. Your health will improve unbelievably as you begin the practice of forgiveness, and even just beginning the practice of awareness. Until next year, many blessings be yours.

 

Installment 9 of 10

Quality Nine: Encourage a Playful and Open Heart

Since the holidays are just around the corner, this seems to be a good time to review Quality Nine. When Linus explains the meaning of Christmas in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” there are no suggestions for presents or Black Fridays or warnings that your second son will sulk all day if he doesn’t get an Xbox360. He explains the birth of a child who will change the world. It makes the viewer see compassion and love in a simple beautiful fashion. As part of a project I’m working on, I checked out reality TV this week. Oh my gosh! I saw anger, sulking, fighting, accusing and competing—not one playful open-hearted thing. It’s as if families with nothing but wounds are on display for us like some sideshow at the fair. At the end of an episode, all is conveniently healed by a major shopping trip or sexual adventure with someone else’s mate. It seems to me that this is a great time in history to introduce the joy of giving from the heart, not the pocket. After all, most of us have leaner pockets these days, so it’s the ideal time to look at other options.

Several years ago, I began a tradition for myself, within my family, of giving donations to a charity in the names of my family members. My daughter took it one step further by choosing individual charities that she thought expressed each member of the family in a personal way. We are all grown, self-supporting adults with no specific needs for gifts. The charity I chose last year was one that supported the education of Afghan women. Every month throughout the year they sent me a report on what was happening with the money, and I passed it along. It was an open-hearted feeling that lasted all year. The grandchildren have yet to appreciate it, but they receive so much from other sources that they don’t notice or resent my choice.

“Encourage a playful and open heart.” To me, this means a return to the joy we felt as children as the season of love came upon us. Trimming a tree, lighting the Hanukah candles, baking cookies for the neighbors and bringing a person without a local family to dinner are all gestures of an open heart. Playful is more difficult in this time of bad news on every hand. I recommend not watching the news for awhile—not to bury your head in the sand, but to acknowledge that the energy is wearing you down and you can’t do a darn thing about it except pray. So, using Quality Two in the Ten Qualities of an Intentional Life which is “Develop a practice of meditation/prayer,” take your prayer time daily to bless the world and then move on. Take joy in the small things in your life, for they are truly the large meaningful parts of living. These moments can be as brief as sunset or a note from a relative or an “I love you” from a friend. Tuck these moments into your heart and you will immediately have a smile on your face. Playful is to be as a child—in joy in the moment, not anticipating the return of sadness or grief. I wish each one of you that kind of joy as we prepare for the passing of this year and the hope of the new. Just remember to seize the moment and not wait for those things that your hope reveals as possibilities. It is in the now that we can choose love.

Installment 8 of 10

Live Life With Passion and Purpose

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
~
From “The Guest House” by Rumi

The poet’s observation is true, and further on in the poem he advises us to welcome all that comes to us, without exception, and not only welcome but be grateful. This is the basis of all intentional living—but especially passion and purpose. The groundwork is gratitude—and opening our doors to everything that comes without judging. This is not making lemonade with lemons—this is deep heart and soul work. As I wrote in my book “The Promise: Revealing the Purpose of Your Soul”:

This is not a Western concept. We are into accepting with stoicism and faith;
we are not into being grateful when our visitors are, as the poet says,
“a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty.” His absolute
Certainty is that all of these have been sent purposefully, not just
for his own use, but as a guide to the living of his life.

So, how do we create a life of passion and purpose, knowing that every day can bring a new guest to our house?  I like the image of a pond. This pond is our life, and throughout, small leaves and branches drop onto the pond, creating little ripples which fan out and die on the shore. Sometimes, stones—or even boulders!—can drop into the pond, creating waves. Even these eventually die on the shore. What remains is the pond. If we are not water, but land, every impact changes the land. Visualizing our life as water that flows and adjusts and yet remains water helps us to see that what we are is at our core, not what happens to us. It is how we respond to what happens that matters.

So we begin by laying down a foundation. I use many modalities with clients, including HeartMath, Sacred Feminine Visualization, Somatic Intuitive Training, The Passion Test, Feminine Power Skills and Energy Medicine tools. Among these, all agree that visualization plays a strong role and it is our passion we begin to visualize first.

Pick a time when you have at least thirty minutes undisturbed. Put on quiet music, sit with your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Inhale, deeply, into your abdomen, feeling it tighten like a drum. Slowly exhale until you feel there is no more air in your lungs. Do this at least five times.

Place your attention on your heart. Feel the energy surrounding your heart. See it as a color if you like. Feel the comfort in your heart. You are soothed by the music and your beautiful heart.

Now, imagine a garden. This garden is your own creation. The garden of your spirituality can be entered in any way you find natural—by a gate, an open door, a path. Enter see what you have created. What are the flowers? Is there water? Is it in a forest, by a river, in a backyard? This garden is your heart’s space. Step into it. Hear the sounds—if there are birds, what kind of birds? Hear, feel or sense the breeze rustling the leaves.

Soft golden light is flowing down into the garden. Take some time to explore, breathing deeply the whole time, until your garden is exactly as you wish it to be. Then, beneath the golden light, in the center of the garden, you will see a place to sit. Sit quietly, feeling the texture of the seat.

Feel the warmth of the light flowing over you.

Now ask, silently, from your heart, for those who guide and care for you to come and share with you a vision of your passion. Everyone’s guides are different—for some, it is simply their own higher self. For others, there are angels or beings who have passed on or ancestors from history. Hear every sound, every word, as your higher self begins to show you where your passion lives. Take your time. You know—it just has to be revealed.

Once you sense your passion, you know where your purpose lives. Thank your guides, and promise that you will return to this place daily, for at least a few minutes, for further guidance.

The next step is to ask yourself, daily, how best to serve your purpose. Your purpose is to make your life follow your passion. Instill a bit of this knowing every day, asking yourself as the day goes along, “how am I serving my purpose?” Each time you are challenged or feel emotion arising, ask how this is serving your purpose and if you are responding with peace. If you don’t know at the moment, breathe into it and you will realize at a later time. Take it in small steps, going to your sacred heart space every day, being aware of times you are challenged or emotional, and breathing deeply.

This exercise is adapted from a longer exercise in my book “The Promise: Revealing the Purpose of Your Soul” and that is read aloud by me over the beautiful music of Michael Hoppe and others in my CD “The Promise: Walking Your Path of Truth”, both available at www.IsisInstitute.org.  It’s a lot easier to visualize with your eyes closed, not reading directions! I wish you a wonderful experience with Living Your Passion and Purpose. Feel free to contact me via email or phone at:  Ttappouni@aol.com    727-593-3757

 

Installment 7 of 10

Create and Nurture Sacred Space in Your Environment

It is so good to be with the Moxy Women again. I trust you are familiar with Qualities One through Seven at this time—if not, they follow this sharing. I welcome hearing from those of you who are implementing one or more of these Qualities into your daily life.

Sacred Space—what is it and how do I recognize it? In my work and life, sacred space is an energetic living thing that overlays all. In my home, a sense of peace and tranquility greet me at the door. At my computer, that same peace arrives as I sit down to write. In the early 1900s, a poet name Edith Sődergran, a Finn living in Imperial Russia, wrote the following as part of a poem titled “There is no one…”

And God is present in everything.
When the old woman unexpectedly met her cat at the well
and the cat his mistress
the joy was great for both of them
but greater still was their knowledge that God had brought them together
and wished them this wonderful friendship…

This is a simple observation that the Sacred is in all that we do, say, learn and experience. It isn’t a matter of opening the door to the Sacred as we walk into a church, mosque or synagogue or as we settle to our knees in prayer or onto our pillow in meditation. The Sacred is present always, whether we acknowledge it or shunt it aside in anger, frustration or other negative behaviors. The key throughout life is to open our hearts and minds to this presence until we are so aware of it that those negative behaviors are barely possible.

So how do we create and nurture this space? First, and most importantly, we have the intention to be aware and nurturing of the tiniest hint. We make a space for the Sacred to come in and thrive. This is a conscious doing, not a passive being. Remember that the Sacred is already within you and without through Grace. You are simply taking steps to reveal it, like peeling an artichoke to reveal the heart.  Here are examples of ways to make a home for the Sacred.

In your home, remove all clutter in your space. If the nave of the church were filled with piles of old bills, overflowing wastebaskets, old bottles, ancient magazines and dust, how enticing would it be to prayer? Ask each piece of “stuff” in your space why you have it and if you need to have it in your space. If you’re not sure, remove it for a month to a garage or basement and see if it’s missed. If you have a small space and a large family, designate a common area and your own bedroom as “clutter free” spaces in order to bring in the fresh air of calm and peace.

  • In your work space, create at least one area where you can have a small “altar” of things that are meaningful to you, such as photos and flowers. Take hourly five minute breaks to simply look at this area and breathe deeply through your heart. Be aware that you are a human “doing” but you are a spiritual being “being.” At no time is your spiritual being absent—it is just covered over with stuff.
  • Create small areas all over your home where things that bring peace and tranquility abide. A small fountain? Plants and flowers? Photos of family members and friends in a lovely grouping? A small altar with items that create peace in your heart? Paint your home in peaceful contemplative colors, not dark/vivid colors that create jagged energy in your being.
  • Each morning and evening—and throughout the day—breathe deeply into your heart and ask the Sacred part of you to be in charge instead of the ego or feelings of want, need or irritation at your life circumstances, your boss, your family or co-workers. It only takes moments. When you are aware of the steady presence of your higher self, none of these will register in the same way. It’s like converting an earthquake into a gentle wave.
  • Your body is only a part of your Sacred energy, but it is home base. Respect and love your body as the container for all that is good within you. Make a bargain with your body that you will encourage the Sacred and discourage the parts of you that are not worthy of your true self. Ask that you be aware and notice when you are judgmental, critical and unpleasant in any way. It hurts no one but you, and even more so if it is yourself that you are judging. Observe, and vow to replace those energies with compassion, empathy and love. You’ll be surprised how fast this happens.
  • In daily living, ask your internal knowing as you approach a habitual behavior, “how does this serve my highest self?” For example, does your family “graze” instead of eating together? Do you have a ritual before dinner, whether a prayer or a member of the family stating what they are grateful for? Do you limit television and computer games to specific time frames and leave out the violence? (Scientific proof abounds that what goes in is what comes out, eventually. Violent games and movies are known to affect behavior, even if it’s an invisible behavior such as a deadening of our empathy to the victims of violence.) Do you surround yourself, as much as possible, with people that encourage your higher self and bring you joy? If not, why not?

There are many more ways of welcoming the Sacred Presence into your daily life. In fact, it’s a whole workshop! For now, I hope this inspires you to see how easy it is to reconnect with that part of you that desires your best and highest self to be present in every area of your life. Until next time, I thank you for your attention. I know how much there is that infiltrates our daily life, and I am honored when my words are a part of that. 
 

Installment 6 of 10

Infuse Your Life with Self-Generated Ritual

Hello again! I hope you are all doing a little (or a lot!) with Qualities 1-5. If not, Jean is kind enough to have them posted- following this article. When I work with groups, the most confusion comes up around ritual. For those grappling with being “un-affiliated” with the religion or church of their youth, it brings up all kinds of ghosts. Ritual can also be a no-no word from certain ethnic and religious backgrounds, implying god or goddess worship or pagan behaviors. How we carried this into the 21st Century is another article, but suffice it to say that these reactions are real, at the body level, and deeply imbedded. So, why would we want to “infuse” our lives with more of what we have removed or ignored for years? Because ritual is not what we think it is.

Ritual is a reverence for things of the spirit, the family, the country and memory. I usually ask my groups, after the groans, some of the following questions:

  • Do you have something on the table at the holidays that is your mother’s or grandmother’s—like a tablecloth or a bowl?
  • Do you have an area in your house where you gather photos of family and/or friends? Do you have several such places?
  • Do you sometimes have a figurine and/or candles in those same places?
  • Do you eat certain specific foods, create certain blessings or play certain games when gathering for holidays?
  • Do you sing the Star Spangled Banner before a football game, or wear your team colors?

All of these things are ritualistic—places of energetic spirit where we evoke the memory and the presence of family and friends. They are things we do naturally, without thought, because they are part of the tapestry of our lives. Maybe we have carried them on unknowingly because we learned them from someone else. Maybe we created them in our childhood rooms or dorm rooms or in the early days of our marriages. Maybe our children are already creating similar spaces in their homes and offices. Because of the amount of pleasure they create, we can infuse our lives with our own self-created rituals or places of sacred energy. Family ritual changes as the family changes. Divorce, death, illness, children grown and gone, all create flux in the way we observe our rituals. Sometimes the time has come for us to create personal behaviors that are honoring of ourselves as much as ancestry or habit. For those who came from Orthodox religions, particularly Catholicism, recreating an altar in our own vision of our spiritual life is healing.

The most common way of creating ritual is to build a small altar that is ours alone, made up of items that inspire us or create memory of sacred precious times for us. The altar doesn’t have to be fancy, and it can be anywhere. Most women choose the bedroom, so they have privacy and quiet to create their own sacred space. Some use a dresser top, a small end table or a low table with a cushion in front. A lot of us put a scarf or cloth on the altar, then decorate it with things that are meaningful like an angel statue, a Buddha, a Kuan Yin or Blessed Mother or a Native American pot. They then add things that bring them to a spiritual thought, such as candles, flowers, music, feathers, sound bowls, cards and pictures. Altars can be as elaborate or as plain as you like. Mine are reminders of my May altars, when I worshipped the goddess in the guise of Mary, with peonies and lilacs galore.

Then, it’s time to choose a specific time of day where you will devote at least ten minutes to clearing your mind, sitting in front of your altar, and inviting guidance, memory or meditation. Generally, women choose first thing in the morning and last thing at night to put their mind at ease and prepare them for the day and for sleep. At those times, it helps to open your meditation/prayer with similar saying or wording to create a sense of ritual deep in your body.

Rituals can be individual or include members of the household. If you all begin dinner at the table—even if only on certain days—and open with a blessing, prayer or saying, you are creating a ritual for the family. Using dishes that have been in the family, and sharing that with your children, creates a sense of continuity in a world that is moving at the speed of light. Helping your family to create their own personal altars, with their own choices of décor and creation, heightens a sense of their spiritual self as much as awards and statuettes heighten their sense of mental or physical accomplishment.

As you go along, ways of infusing one’s life with the ways of the higher self will begin to change how you look at life in general. There will be daily reminders of how life can be peaceful, loving and intentional, as opposed to chaotic, rushed and disorderly. You will want to spend more time in the place of celebration and ritual, and that can be a wonderful life change. Just start small and see what happens.

  

Installment 5 of 10

Pay Conscious Attention to Thoughts, Actions and Words

Hello to everyone!  First, I would like to acknowledge the upheaval going on in the world at the current time. Given the moon’s phase, the eclipses (especially on the 26th of July) and the uncertainty abroad in general, most of my clients and friends are experiencing some degree of chaos in their lives. I would like to ask everyone to go to the archives sometime this week and re-read the first Quality of an Intentional Life—Tell the Truth/Be True to Yourself. Those women who are coming to me right now are having great difficulty continuing the process of hiding their true feelings and trying to be everything to everybody. This is a good thing! With the upheaval in the world in every area—from Mother Nature to finances—we are being signaled to show up and be ourselves. That won’t happen as long as we are being people pleasers. A reminder: when you are asked to do something, pay attention in the body. If you feel “contracted” (a knot in the stomach, etc.) that is your body wisdom telling you to be honest and say no. Don’t give excuses, because that opens you up to argument. Simply say “I am unable to do that at this time.” If you feel “expansion” you will have a nice warm feeling or even joy in your body. That’s a yes—go for it. Anytime a decision requires you to hide your True feelings in order to accommodate someone, you are hurting yourself. How many times do you hear yourself say “I’m sorry, I can’t,” and the response is “sure you can. Just for a little while, please? “and you feel so mean-spirited that you can’t give this person your time. Maybe what the universe wants is for you to give your SELF more time. If that creates guilt in you, it’s time to look for the source.

This article is about number five in the Ten Qualities of an Intentional Life:’ “Pay Conscious Attention to Thoughts, Actions and Words.” This quality goes right along with number one; Tell the Truth/Be True to Yourself. When your thoughts become angry or resentful because your words and actions went against what you truly wanted, you are damaging many parts of your body with chemicals that are released by those emotions. I advise everyone to take a very deep look into yourself and determine where your greatest desires exist. When you go into silence, close your eyes, and ask “What is my greatest desire?”, pay attention to what part of the body “feels” the answer. Do you picture this happening in your life and feel a great uplifting in your heart, or a warm cozy feeling in your solar plexus or belly? If so, that’s where your desire resides. Write, as I outline in Quality Four, what your desire is and meditate every day on seeing it grow in your life. It’s important that you then apply the pay conscious attention to thoughts actions and words part of the equation in the following manner: whenever something comes up, especially as it relates to your passions and desires, observe how it feels in your body. In other words, if it feels good and draws you closer to your desires, that’s an expansive and positive signal. If you feel a contraction, some kind of uncomfortable feeling in your body, that’s a sign this thing that is coming up would take you away from your desires, goals, passions or dreams.

Use this measure throughout your day, and it will soon become second nature. You will see the strength of your purpose and desire grow, and your need to please others to the detriment of yourself will shrink. Don’t EVER think that this means you are denying others what they need. There will be times when fulfilling their desires feels really good. The tip-off is when you don’t feel good and do it anyway. This creates a reservoir of resentment in us that eventually flows over into the relationship, and by then it’s often too late. Honoring yourself is the answer. Blessings.

 

Installment 4 of 10

Put Your Vision in Writing  

I can already here the groans—“I’m not a writer”, “I hate writing!”, I haven’t written since I graduated.” Well, never fear. This is self-directed fun writing—honest.

Why write? Because the brain needs to lay down new neural pathways in order for us to change how we act/react to life. The deep grooves that are now in our brain are activated every time certain challenges are presented, and these situations slide right into that groove that says how we have reacted for more years then we’d like to admit. In other words, our reactions are triggered by the brain’s familiarity with earlier reactions under similar circumstances. If someone says “you can’t do that,” our brain will take that in and respond in the way we have responded to “you can’t” our entire lives. This could be anger, resignation, agreement or even depression and anxiety.

In order to create new neural pathways—or grooves—the more tools we use the faster it will happen. For instance, if we want to create a vision for our life and we think it, it will deepen the experience if we say it and again if we write it. Changing behaviors requires that we adopt skills that move the process along as fast as possible. The act of using the hand, the eye and the brain at the same time—also known as writing—is the most profound human way to write in the body.

Begin with a journal. Before you write a single word, sit quietly in the space you use to practice Intentional Qualities two and three: Develop a Practice of Meditation/Prayer and Experience and Express Gratitude Daily. (If you haven’t begun those practices, please re-read the articles.) In your sacred space, put on a favorite piece of quiet music, light a candle, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Inhale deeply into your abdomen, feeling it rise. Exhale slowly, letting your abdomen sink toward your backbone. Do this four or five times. Now ask, aloud if you’re comfortable, for guidance on seeing the vision of your life and how you want to experience your life. Use your imagination—nothing is impossible! Picture yourself where you want to be—what it feels, smells, sounds and looks like. Add in anyone you would like to be there with you, or enjoy the feeling of solitude. Breathe deeply as you feel yourself in this place. What are you doing, or not doing, there?  Take your time. When you’re ready, open your eyes and write everything you can remember about the scene, but especially how it felt.

Every day for a week, be observant of what things in your life support or don’t support your vision. As you do, write those observations in your journal. The purpose, in the long run, will be to learn how to support creating your vision. Each day, when something arises that is a request, requirement or suggestion, pay attention to how your body reacts. If it doesn’t feel “good” in your body, it is not something that supports your vision. If someone in particular is asking you to do something, and it’s not your boss ordering you, respond with the Truth—the number one intentional quality. If it feels outside of your vision of your life, say “I appreciate your asking, and I can’t do that” The “and” is better than “but” because the “but” allows the person to argue the point. On the other hand, if your body feels good about the choice, agree whole heartedly.

Soon you should find yourself behaving in ways that show you the new groove you have created—one that honors who you are and what your desires are. More about this next time!

 

Installment 3 of 10

Experience and Express Gratitude Daily

For a lot of people, this is the toughest quality outside of forgiveness, and yet with the application of purpose, Gratitude is the easiest of the qualities, even during tough times. It’s a matter of sifting through the daily “stuff” and finding the gold. Let’s say you’ve had a tough day at work—deadlines were missed, a staff member threw you under the bus with the boss and lunch was fifteen minutes of cold leftovers and lukewarm coffee left from breakfast. Then the school called and said your son was suspended for three days for bullying and he’s only five!

First, I would recommend closing your office door, or if you’re in a cubicle, find a closet or go in the bathroom. If you have a copy of the second quality for living an intentional life, Meditation and Prayer, get it out right now and re-read it or scroll down as the previous installments are just below this one. The secret beginning to gratitude is to breathe—deeply, in and out, imagining yourself as a puppy or a baby with your stomach rising and falling slowly and peacefully. Once you are out of the grasp of your anxiousness, or anger, you’ll notice the difference the breathing has made on your body’s feelings. The next thing to do is to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place where you felt loved, peaceful and in your right place. Breathe deeply as you experience this place. Your body will give you signals that show you this is a much better place and it’s a lot happier.

Now, the things that happened have not gone away, but it is never the thing that happened that is the problem. The problem is how you feel about the thing that happened, and that is in your thoughts and emotions. If you’ve calmed your emotions by breathing and going to your secret place, you can now face the thought of “what is the worst that can happen?” Now change that to “What is the best that can happen?” In the above scenario, the day is over and you’re going home. Tomorrow is a new day, and life goes on even when a deadline is missed. Also, you’ve been tipped off to the co-workers mode of operation. You do not throw people under the bus. Tomorrow, you possibly go to your boss and accept responsibility and make a suggestion for how that deadline will not be missed again. Still, you have to go home to a five year old “bully.” Can you see this as an opportunity? He’s still young enough for you to model peacefulness—especially if you do some deep breathing before you talk with him—and you’re grateful that the incident pointed out a possible problem while he’s still only five. You have the chance to discuss what it feels like to be on the receiving end of bullying, and maybe he’ll tell you something that shows the school missed the boat in blaming him. Whatever happens, it’s an opportunity to create an intentional life with your son and teach him about pausing and breathing before he acts or reacts. Change the problem to an opportunity.

For me, gratitude for retaining a sense of humour is a big deal. I experienced a lot of anger when young women in my retreats and workshops expressed hatred of their bodies. They were already considering botox and other procedures to stave off aging. I’ve known many women who have had these procedures, so I am not judging them, but I am judging the world that makes young girls hate their beautiful bodies. Using my ability to write about things that bother me, I wrote a poem about what it would be like to visit a plastic surgeon. I based the poem on the old song “Embraceable You” to defuse my anger and get me in touch with my humour. I am so grateful to be able to do that. Use your skills, whatever they are, to create gratitude for the smallest things in your world. Here is the poem—I hope you like it. I would be grateful.

Operation She Change

He hums Embrace me, my sweet
embraceable you and circles
my chair, his white coat dispensing
bleach, his right eye floating like
a cod on Quaaludes behind a round
hand-held magnifying mirror.

Mmmm, he hums, gently twisting my nose
back and forth. Mmmm hmmm,
and his hand drifts, lifts first one, then
the other breast, weighing them
like honeydew. I imagine myself
in the cool vegetable aisle at the A & P

think of him there, roaming among
eggplant and squash, straightening
here, paring there, lining up string
beans, pumping them with silicone.
Not for him the imperfections of heirloom
tomatoes–I drift off as his hand moves on.

See you next time Moxy Women!

 

Installment 2 of 10

 Develop a practice of meditation/prayer

I am happy to be continuing this series with you. As I prepare to lead a retreat for women in April, I have been thinking a lot about the return to simplicity and inner spirituality. The second of the Ten Qualities for Intentional Life is to “Develop a Practice of Meditation/Prayer.” Some people instantly see this as a call to a religious practice. The truth is (The Truth being Quality Number 1) that meditation is simply the process of being still long enough to allow the chatter in our heads to subside, and prayer is our own choice of how we converse with a higher power that we recognize, even if it is a vision of our higher self.  The most important ingredient in both is the breath. When we are breathing shallowly, as most of us do, we don’t get enough fresh air to our cells and therefore are toxic to our own bodies, unable to be still and present.

Look at a baby, or a puppy, and see how they breathe deep in the belly—you can see the abdomen or stomach rise and fall as the breath moves in and out. Adult humans rarely breathe that way, though it is the healthiest possible activity. We are tense through the chest and shoulders, causing the breath to be a shallow, quick action, rarely reaching further than the chest.

The first thing to do when we want to calm ourselves is to take deep, conscious breaths. Conscious means to be aware and watching what is going on in our bodies. At this point, ask your body to do what it would like to do, and it will often let out a great sigh. At moments of high emotion, we will sometimes feel tears surfacing. This is the body saying “thank you for paying attention.” Continue to breathe deeply. If thoughts continue to flow, simply watch them go like clouds moving across the sky, and thank them for leaving. Concentrate only on your breath. When you are calm and breathing deeply, you can continue to just feel this peaceful flow or insert a positive thought or desired outcome and breathe it in on the in breath, out on the exhale. Continue this practice for at least five minutes.

Doing this activity before getting out of bed and before going to sleep will start to create a new “groove” in your brain and a new reaction in your lungs and abdomen.  Be patient with yourself! You didn’t learn to breathe shallowly and talk non-stop to yourself in a short time. Changing that behavior will take a little time, though not nearly as long as the other behavior because now you are acting consciously. Your body, your heart and your mind will thank you. Next time, we’ll talk about other easy ways to change negative behavior to conscious positive actions. Let it be easy—just breathe!

For more information on Therèse’s retreat at Pasa Tiempo in St. Petersburg Beach, call her at 727-593-3757 or go to www.IsisInstitute.org.


 

LIving An Intentional LIfe- Introduction

There are ten qualities that ensure you will create an intentional, passionate, purposeful life. When you put your attention on these qualities, you will see things from a new, heightened, passionate place. These Qualities are interchangeable with self, mates, family, community and the world at large. In future articles I will expand on each of the ten qualities. Every area of your life will respond to the practice of these qualities. You will know how powerful you are in your life once you enter the process of Living an Intentional Life. I have already addressed this process on a general level, and look forward to narrowing the focus and seeing you take charge of your own passionate life. Feel free to contact me!

  1. Tell the Truth/Be True to Yourself.
  2. Develop a practice of meditation/prayer.
  3. Experience and express gratitude daily.
  4. Put your vision in writing.
  5. Pay conscious attention to thoughts, actions and words.
  6. Infuse your life with self-generated ritual.
  7. Create and nurture Sacred Space in your environment.
  8. Live life with passion and purpose.
  9. Encourage a playful and open heart.
  10. Learn to experience forgiveness.

Installment 1 of 10

Tell the Truth/Be True to Yourself

“But,” we protest, “I always try to tell the truth.” That’s the truth with a lower case “t”. Before we can really tell the truth, we must uncover the one with the capital “T”. The reality is, we skirt the truth of our lives daily for many legitimate sounding reasons: I don’t want to hurt his feelings; what good would it do anyway? Life’s too short; I’m too tired. All of these may be true, but the energy it takes to be, do or say what is not true for us is exhausting, and can really shorten our lives. I’m not suggesting that it has any value whatever to go around saying what we think about Joanna’s dress, the books John is reading or advising Midge that we notice she’s gained a little weight. That’s not truth—that’s self-indulgent unloading of whatever happens to be on our mind. Telling the Truth and being True to Your Self is deeper at the core of us, and is felt at the cellular level—our bodies tell us when we are covering up our Truth. When we say “yes, I’ll be happy to,” and our hearts are saying “no, no, no,” we will feel it in our stomach, heart, shoulders, or we’ll even develop a headache. As I explain in my book The Promise: Revealing the Purpose of Your Soul,” the body is the tuning fork for the universe, and vibrates at a high level of satisfaction when we are in our right place. When we are denying our Truth, the vibration is low and creates discomfort in the body. This is important, because the state of energy in the body determines health.

For a very basic example, think of a couple who likes movies. She’s very spiritual, practices meditation every day and volunteers in anti-violence campaigns. Her movie choices are calm, loving and people oriented. Her husband is a lawyer and is used to being surrounded by lower vibration energy through his clients and the courtroom. He loves hockey and so-called “action” movies, usually containing lots of violence. They have agreed to take turns choosing the movies they will see. The Truth of the wife is that the movies her husband chooses actually hurt her emotionally and physically, but she promised. Her small “t" truth is that she likes to make her husband happy, and she likes to be seen as a good sport. Her capital “T” Truth is that his movie choices are harmful to her. Her choices are sometimes boring to him, but mostly he seems to enjoy them. Sounds like it’s time for a truthful conversation about what’s really happening here. It may end up that they choose another pastime to do together and she sees “her” movies with girlfriends and he chooses a way to see his movies, if they are important to him.

Who we are, who our True Self is, wants to be seen. After years of covering up and covering over, each of us must choose to reveal who we really are in order to live an Intentional Life—for women, this is often a matter of asking the question: “Who am I trying to please?” Sometimes it is a long dead parent or a religious belief—other times it is a spouse who withdraws approval when we are not who they want us to be. Whatever the facts are, now is the time. All aspects of an Intentional Life involve Truth. Start by being kind to yourself and asking your higher knowing to help you make friends with the real you—then bring her out to play.

Author Bio
Therèse has combined wisdom and insight to create a spiritual path for her life and work. She is a Time Dimension Therapist, Somatic Intuitive Practitioner, Grief Counselor, Hypnotherapist, Writing Teacher and Poet. However, she creates her life’s work most typically through the written word and workshops.Her latest releases are "The Promise: Revealing the Purpose of Your Soul" --which has an accompanying CD of visualizations read by Therese with the Prague Symphony Orchestra--and "Me and Green", a book on sustainabity for young children. Her prior books are the novel A Time to Reap, Lot’s Wife (Poetry); Walking Your Walk: A Woman’s Guide to a Spirit Filled Life; and Night Gardening: Passionate Poems for the Beloved with her partner, Lance Ware. She has written a novel for young people titled Escape from Iraq. Her latest project is co-producing a CD of her poems with a Grammy winning composer. Therese has been published in many literary publications and anthologies, including the Grammy-nominated Grow Old Along With Me: The Best is Yet to Be, where her work was read by Alfre Woodard; and she was featured in Through a Child’s Eyes: Poems and Stories about War.

Therèse leads workshops for Women of Spirit, and also co-conducts workshops for couples and singles focusing on relationship as well as writing workshops with her partner. She teaches the importance of the Sacred Feminine, and ways in which women can focus on spiritual growth in work and relationship while nurturing the feminine. She also teaches workshops to professional women on recovering the passion that led them into their work or relationships, and discovering the energy of life passages such as menopause.

Therese has served on many boards and committees, including The YMCA Writer’s Voice, The School Community Council of Teacher Corps, the local chapter of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and The Chopra Foundation. She is a member of the International Women’s Writer’s Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives and thrives in Indian Shores, Florida.

You can visit her website at:  www.Isisinstitute.org    or contact her via email or phone at:  Ttappouni@aol.com    727-593-3757

Create and Nurture Sacred Space in Your Environment

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