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Creating a Personal Writing Retreat

Posted by on Apr 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Creating a Personal Writing Retreat

 What: A personalized, no cost, at-home writing retreat for aspiring writers When: Four days leading up to the new moon: a creative, reflective time of the cycle. How: Choosing a writing project and creating an environment to accelerate it. Why: Because I desire to give myself every opportunity to successfully complete this project. Who: For me and my wild and windy brain.   A number of people have let me know they would like to do a personal writing retreat.  I’ve done exactly two now, so of course, I’m an expert and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.  Truthfully, writing this out is simply a way of capturing for myself what I’m learning since I don’t always know it as it’s happening (which is pretty much the reason I write anything). That, and convincing myself to share this seems to bully me into finishing the task.  Hopefully, in the end, everyone wins.   Here are some of my learnings from this personal writing retreat, in no particular order: 1.   Imagine the shock when I suddenly remember that I don’t have any reason not to do this. It was a total wide-eyed wake up call to realize that I have everything I need to create my own writing retreat – the space, the time, the commitment, the supportive tools, the freedom. The fact is, I have had all this for quite some time already but didn’t see it because I had become such a master at listing reasons why I couldn’t do things. This reminds me (swift kick to the butt type of reminder) how powerful those life-long patterns of thinking are and how important it is to keep checking them. I am re-committed to noticing how my excuses, like jangly keys to a baby, are a huge clue as to where to look for what I want. I wish I had allowed myself to create whatever shape and size of retreat would work for me much earlier so I could explore what squirts out when I give myself an intentional, uninterrupted space.  2.  One over-riding excuse has been that I don’t seem to write well in my home. There are always tasks and errands creating distraction, so I find retreating has transformed my home into a ‘hovel for my novel’. The part of me that longs to support the artist in me does all the pre-work – I imagine a beloved, amazing writer coming to stay at my home and I clean and prepare for her. I shift furniture creating new spaces to give her creative options. I turn off the ringers, the clangers, and beepers. I strategically place things to draw on, read from, paint on, and write on.  I set a timeframe for the retreat so the creative brain knows how to pace the race that’s set before it. And then I light a candle and invite her in. 3.   I require fuel for the journey.  Yes, good food and a variation of refreshments (clink). But also inspiration that aligns with what I’m working on. I’m always amazed at how I stumble upon exactly what I need. This time it was Mario Martinez’s work, The Mind Body Code.  I got a sniff of it through a post by the delicious author, Liz Gilbert. I followed Mario’s trail...

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The Master Cleanse, Menopause and Movements

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Master Cleanse, Menopause and Movements

Q&A: Master Cleanse, Mighty Menopause and Majestic Movements (bowel, that is)  This post is written in gratitude for all the people who put their own experiences online while on the Master Cleanse.  It was comforting and instructive to be able to read personal accounts about all the unique aspects of this particular Cleanse.  Like many others, I am not a doctor or health care practitioner and simply make my experience available for those who are curious about whether this Cleanse is right for them.  Plus, I saw almost nothing written about doing the Cleanse during the menopausal years. Even if you’re not in that season or gender, I trust you’ll find some valuable ideas in this post.  I’ve written this in a Q&A format so you can easily skip to parts that interest you.  First, the good news! Q:  What are your most amazing outcomes from successfully completing a 10 day Master Cleanse? A:   I feel like my body is mine again. I lost 10 pounds of stomach bloat, so my clothes fit properly again my skin and hair are soft and less greasy my cravings for sugar have subsided inflammation in my right finger joint and the plantar fasciitis in my left foot have completely dissipated hot flashes are less intense and much less frequent.  I have the healthiest looking poop I’ve ever seen (get used to being a little obsessive about your poop if you plan on doing this Cleanse!) I’ve learned a lot about what role food plays in my life.  I spent the time I wasn’t preparing and eating food researching the latest on food and health.  As I was coming off the Cleanse, I gathered a host of new recipes to create a comprehensive nutrition plan so I could successfully sustain these outcomes.     Q:  What made you consider doing the Master Cleanse? A:  Like many, I had always dismissed the Master Cleanse as something for the uber-healthy crowd.  It sounded like the extreme sport of cleansing to me.  And then a year ago I started dating a guy who went on the Master Cleanse a month into our relationship.  I was able to watch his experience up close and personal.  I still didn’t think I would ever put my body and mind through it because, well, for a zillion reasons, not the least of which is the, you know, not eating anything for at least 10 days!  Then I turned fifty, with Christmas a few weeks later, and it felt like my body just couldn’t process the amount of ‘celebration’ it had endured.  By the end of January my body still seemed confused and imbalanced.  Peri-menopausal symtoms had been coming in waves over the past year already but now it seemed to really be kicking in: weight gain, more frequent hot flashes, excessive bloating and missed periods.  It felt like I was drowning under the strain.  Like when a boss drops a huge project onto your desk when you’re already struggling to just get the day-to-day tasks done, my body seemed overwhelmed and ill-prepared.  It appeared that desperate times required a new approach.  Q:  What was your process leading up to starting the Cleanse?  A:  I asked my guy to forward the complete document on the Master Cleanse, written by Stanley Burroughs in...

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My Year of Jubilee – Uncertainty. Unexpectedness.

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Uncertainty. Unexpectedness.

Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. These states tend to sound like the negative version of something more favorable. With that sinister “un” hanging out in front of them, they appear to make a TOP 10 UNWANTED LIST that includes words like unloved and unhappy.  Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. For most of my life, both of those words pointed to a lack of something. They would roll in like fog, striking fear instantly as it became difficult to see the path. I experienced a decidedly unsettled feeling about the inability to properly anticipate and regulate a situation. Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. I notice how both of these states get into my space and want to dance with me on this trip. I know them immediately. There’s a void in the information flow. I don’t know enough to make an image in my head that feels immediately comfortable.  But instead of coming to a scrambling stop or an anxious retaliation, I breathe. I anchor myself with everything I already know about my resilience. I tease myself that unexpectedness also means something infinitely more delicious than what I can imagine is possible. I invite myself to let the fog reveal its mystery in its time.  I have danced with huge globs of uncertainty in the unfolding of this trip and it hasn’t slowed me down one time. Uncertainty has given me the grand opportunity to access my bigger YES at every turn. But I’ve worked up to it. I recall very clearly lying in my bed one morning last spring when the plan for this trip was being conceived. The thought of getting an unexpected diagnosis of cancer before the trip – statistically an ongoing possibility – fluttered through my mind and landed like a cold thud. I remember how I felt instantly captive to the idea of a lifelong certainty of the ongoing uncertainty about when or what type of cancer I might get.  And then I made a decision that had been forming for a few years already. Like a phoenix out of the ashes of bondage, I decided I would live like I’ve already survived. I would make the kind of gutsy decisions that those who have survived the worst, suddenly find effortless. I would live while I’m alive (cue Bon Jovi). I would be grateful for every day and its unexpected gifts. I would choose to dance in the waters of uncertainty as they splash up fresh ways of being fully alive.  I began to see that the worst kind of diagnosis is living in fear of life’s uncertainties and allow those to write the prescription for my life.  Try this question on for size:  What if I just survived ___________ (the illness/pain that strikes the biggest fear in my heart), what am I now free to DO, SEE, and BE while I’m in human form?  Whatever those first images that form in your mind … how can you begin to make THAT beautiful, scary, unique, perfect thing a reality right now? Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. Bring it on. It’s what traveling abroad offers in spades. I smile when people say that I am on a trip of a lifetime because I’ve decided that THIS is now my life. Perhaps it won’t always look like a two-month European adventure but I will continue to live in the...

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My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating us

Posted by on Nov 10, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating us

  He lifts the copper cup that holds their wine and says to the waiter across the restaurant, “It seems to have evaporated.”  I am dining two tables away and have never heard that particular request for a re-fill before and I laugh out loud.  And out of thin air, a beautiful new friendship is forged.   John is travelling through Greece with Clara.  They are both in their seventies, only a few years younger than my own parents.   They met in Spain last year while they were vacationing separately and quickly discover they are from the same area in Brisbane, Australia.  They both had rich, diverse lives before they met. One just had knee surgery, the other is waiting for a hip replacement.   And now they are in love.  Serious, crazy for you baby, love.  They’ve chosen to keep separate residences but spend a lot of time together, much of it seeing various parts of the world between stints of grandparenting and work gigs for John, who is an environmental geomorphologist.  I ask him to say that again slowly so I will remember, as by now I have pulled up a chair at their table, with wine glasses refilled twice.  I am being regaled by stories of how love is bigger than history (which is Peter’s hobby) and religion, and infinitely stronger than the rules of how mostly-retired people are supposed to behave.   I bump into John and Clara twice more after our lovely visit at the restaurant.   The last time I sidle up to them as they are walking home arm in arm, a combination of giddy love and supporting each other’s challenged ligaments.  I gain on them easily and ask them how their ‘hobble homewards’ is going.  Their laughter wakes the sleeping dogs across the street.  They insist on buying me a drink at Fagotto’s, a local afterhours music bar.  Hearing aids are adjusted as needed as we have a round of local wine and speak excitedly, like old friends who can’t believe their luck at meeting again.      I learn about something called a ‘babymoon’.  Apparently Clara’s youngest daughter isn’t too impressed that her mom isn’t home right now to look after the firstborn grandchild so she can take off for a vacation before the second child is born.  Taking a babymoon, they call it.  Clara just shrugs her shoulders with a tinkle in her eye and the knowledge that her involvement in her grandchildren’s lives will continue to be extensive, but with a new approach, where being a grandmother isn’t just about sitting at home waiting to be of service.  Clara is a woman who loves to contribute to her family with a wealth of ongoing personal adventures and a passion for life.    John tells me about some of his travels to Canada as part of his environmental work.  I listen animatedly to this well-educated grey-bearded Renaissance man, who shares his life’s work all over the world and intermittently gushes shamelessly about his beautiful luck at meeting the lovely Clara at this stage of his life.   I ask them a question that I’ve started asking locals and tourist alike.    What’s your favorite celebration?    Most people answer the question with a reference to a recognized holiday.  These two both...

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My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating a name and a NO!

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating a name and a NO!

I’ve been here on Crete for two weeks today – exactly half my stay.  And in that time I have participated in two celebrations that are near and dear to the Cretan heart. The first.  According to the Greek Orthodox tradition (and the taxi driver assured me 99% of the Cretans in Chania are), every day of the year is dedicated to a Christian saint or martyr. When someone is named after one of those saints (or a variation thereof), that day becomes their “Name Day” and is celebrated.  Yesterday was the ‘name day’ of the owner of the restaurant where I’ve enjoyed getting to know the staff.  I was invited to sit and then served a special drink to celebrate his day since they proclaimed that I am no longer a tourist.  I’m not a local either, obviously.  There isn’t a name for a long-time tourist who isn’t a local.  Perhaps there should be?  I propose: Tourcal? When people come to Crete to work they almost all take on a Greek name.  There is something about a name that anchors you into a culture.  I have met a plethora of non-Greek born men who have legally taken on the name “Nikos” which means ‘victorious people’. Ah the freedom in victory.  What’s in a name?  A proclamation.  I imagine in some ways choosing a Greek name when you’re an adult is a little like getting a tattoo.  You decide what you will be called because it means something to you.  Well that, and chicks seem to like the name and it’s easy for tourists to say.   The second.  The Ochi Day (pronounced O-hi) Parade remembering how in October, 1940, Italy, backed by Hitler, wanted to occupy Greece and General Metaxas responded with a simple but definitive “Ochi!”.  No! in Greek. It was a No! that some argue ended World War II much earlier.  One theory suggests that had Greece agreed to surrender without resistance, Hitler would have been able to invade Russia in spring, rather than making his disastrous attempt to take it in winter. Knowing your No! will change history.  Often more than just your own. No!-ing what you know needs to end opens doors to freedom. A definitive No! opens the space for a bigger brighter YES.            ...

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Year of Jubilee – How does Joy want to Rise?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

  Planning my own birthday celebration in a foreign country on my own has parted a curtain on what celebration can be.  I’ve known for a very long time that traditional celebratory elements left me wanting. And for far too many years, this secretly made me feel like something may be seriously wrong with me. I saw many people delight in the flowers, the balloons, the gifts, the countless ritual aspects associated with various holidays. The dressing up. The new this and that. The endless food preparation. The decoration and five storage bins worth of re-creation to one’s spaces. The invitations and the back-slapping party salutations.  It’s not a huge leap to surmise that without easy access to joy, celebration often falls flat. Strong libation can only take a person so deeply into relaxing the obstacles between us and some version of happy for a night.  But I think I get it a little more now. Not so much the cake and balloons part yet. But the part about the creative energy put into the event. When it feels like a choice instead of an obligation, celebration can be taken off life-support. Not unlike attempting to keep the marriage bed fresh after 20 years of wedded life, how does one keep it in the choice category before it slides sideways on the sheet onto the to-do list for the week? Well, I’m about to find out.  I am on a self-proclaimed year of celebration. A Year of Jubilee. Bring me your Christmas. Send in your Easter. Ring in the New Year. Dare to have another birthday. Proclaim the weekend has arrived. Tell me you’re getting married. Announce the sun is shining. I want to celebrate it all! The thing I will do very differently however, is release any obligatory, time-honored approach to what celebration needs to looks like.       I will ask myself one simple question:  How does JOY want to RISE in LIGHT of this OPPORTUNITY to CELEBRATE? JOY – the physical, emotional, spiritual response to a decision to celebrate RISE – the sensation of buoyancy in body and mind, a creative shift, a lift, a lilt, a lovely loft under my wings. LIGHT – the enlightened awareness that shines in through the cracks from unexpected places and even some more traditional spaces. Lightness – the ease and shiny yes – will be my guide and measure of the time and energy that I pour into any given opportunity. OPPORTUNITY – every moment is arguably a praise-worthy moment. I choose a celebratory approach to every day. And layered intentionally into this foundation, I will choose how to respond to the call for a more consciously creative expression. CELEBRATION – a mere moment of acknowledgement to an extended heart-planned event that allows joy to rise.  I’m pretty yummed-up about this year of celebration. I look forward to celebrating with many of you.  Jubile-e-e-e-e! (figured a new word for the traditional ‘cheers’ was in order for the...

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My Year of Jubilee

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 4 comments

    My Year of Jubilee     What’s this Jubilee celebration all about, you ask?   Well, I’m about to tell you about the parts I know so far.  And I can’t wait to keep posting about all the pieces that will reveal themselves as the year goes on!   I was on a walk about a year ago and suddenly realized that my big 5-0 was only a couple years away.  I imagined what I might be doing by then, how I might like to celebrate that milestone birthday, and even more importantly, I began to imagine how I wanted to show up in this upcoming decade.  Who do I want to BE as a single, entrepreneurial, 50 year old woman?! Apparently my mind kept looking for clues to these questions as time went by.  I began to notice random connections to what 50 represents.  I recalled learning that in ancient times, the Year of Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year.  It was a sacred time of covenant and freedom, when property was returned to the original owners, and slaves returned home to their families.  And I kept wondering what that might mean for an individual person’s life. The term ‘jubilee’ is pretty old school, so looking up the word got the ball rolling nicely. To jubilate is: an act of rejoicing an expression of great joy a feeling of great happiness and triumph. So the YEAR of JUBILEE is a celebration year which may include, but is not limited to … elation, delight, excitement, rejoicing, ecstasy, festivity, jamboree and joy!    Who wants in?!   When a trip to Italy with my cousin started to gain a growing YES momentum earlier this year, it struck me that I would be away right before my birthday and the start of my Jubilee year which begins the day after my forty-ninth birthday – making it the start of the fiftieth year.  And so my 50-th birthday becomes the ultimate culmination of celebration and jubilation for the year … and of course all the years that brought me here. I didn’t know much else yet but I knew I wanted solitude for the kick-off of this celebration year.  I wasn’t sure where.  But just like so many other aspects of my life as I tap into my internal guidance system and trust it implicitly, then magic happens.  I chose Crete based solely on the fact that it was the most southern part of the European Union and since it would be November, I figured I’d need to transport fewer heavy sweaters in my suitcase if I went there.  The rest of why Crete is the perfect place to begin has been unfolding beautifully after the decision was already made.  I can’t wait to share more about that along the way. Since I’ve never heard of anyone doing a personal version of the Year of Jubilee, things are wide open to create a year that will foster freedom and infuse joy.  I noticed how celebration often involves a sense of: honouring the PAST arriving in this present MOMENT in order to truly celebrate and how the best kind of celebration joy always flows ON.    There’s ripple effect.  There’s joy-bomb splash-over.  There’s light spilled on all those gathered in the giving and receiving...

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My Imaginarium

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

My Imaginarium

I call it my Imaginarium. In this place I am most able to allow juicy half-thoughts to rise out of their state of primordial goo and eventually morph over to the part of my brain that will actively create with them.   I love how walking offers inspiration and how showering allows ideas to bubble up faster than the lather in my shampoo. But it is in my Imaginarium where the brightest stars streak across the galaxy of my mind. It is in the moments as I wake, where the magic happens.   Since I’ve created a lifestyle where I rarely require an alarm clock and I have no one else’s schedule to consider, I get to hang out in the Imaginarium many mornings.   While we might believe that all things happen first in mind, then in action, it is still a challenge to justify staying between the sheets when there’s work to be done. But come back to bed for a moment where it’s still warm for there is a meeting of the minds about to begin. It feels a little like the Vegas Bellagio Hotel fountain display, complete with lights and music, is about to start.   The Imaginarium is where the first inklings of consciousness squirt up, and with it, all manner of random transfer of information from the beyond to the now. I float on the current of oddly-shaped ideas and images and allow them to swirl around with no need to direct them. Like an astronaut in space without gravity, there is a buoyancy and freedom to the way things move.   Since I am not aware of time, it’s difficult to calculate but ideas keep coming until I sense a few that keep coming around. As my attention goes to them, suddenly there are more words in this space. Questions are posed with no expectation of an answer. They simply appear. Less as a solution, more as a growing magnetic force of knowledge. They are not chronological nor logical. They simply are. And most arrive dripping and slippery and playful.   My time in the Imaginarium in the past few months has bubbled-up, confirmed and embraced my plans for the fall. And since the Imaginarium is largely free from limitations and fear, it is a plan so much bigger and bolder and more beautiful than I could have ever simply ‘thought up’.   Our daytime thinker is often limited by so many beliefs. The Imaginarium is limitless and free from regular rules of engagement.   For all its recent attention, it still seems that how we access the brilliance of our minds is largely underestimated. We make plans. We worry our way through the details of how life will unfold. And all this focus on the “get ‘er done” has separated us from a very internal partnership that knows so much more than our conscious brain is able to offer to us.   Some people access this connection in meditation or a yoga practice. Others in prayer. The brain tools used in coaching have been the greatest gifts in how I’ve personally enhanced the connection.   There are no rules or absolutes. You will know it. It feels like truth right down to your toes, and then some more. It may be a soft...

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A trip to YES

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

A trip to YES

  What: An international adventure birthed from of my wildest dreams Where: Italy and Greece When: October and November, 2013 Who: Me and my cousin, Anne. Our grandmothers are twins.  Our desire map for this trip is identical. How: By following the YES-brick road Why: It called, I answered   Here’s how it unfolded … Marianne Williamson writes: “What would it mean to fulfill my destiny? Ask yourself that question and see what emerges. Don’t over-think it…just see what comes up for you. Then there is nothing to do so much as something to embrace … to say YES to. To know that the programming for doing and becoming that thing already lies within you, no different than the architecture for the oak tree lies within the acorn. The blueprint is already there; what you bring to the process is a continuous attitude of YES!”   I began noticing, and then actively following, my internal YES in the last few years. And what a transformative life force energy it is. Slowly even the uncertainty of the unknown feels like a delicious mystery to be revealed. The internal YES taps into one’s intuition and deepest knowing. More and more, the NOW becomes available because the present is not so busy over-thinking. It’s safe to say that it’s pretty much the complete opposite of the life strategy I employed for most of my life!   My latest huge YES came a’callin a few months ago in the form of a trip. It started as a cool idea during a conversation with my cousin, Anne. Although the door had closed on the plan for both of us a year earlier, now it was cracked open again. Every day it called to me. After a week of increasing volume and a consistent tugging at my core, I sent an email to Anne. I told her how strong the YES had grown. Her response came back in capital letters that read, ME TOO! The morning we were to begin discussing actual trip details, I woke slowly allowing my sleep world to download to my conscious mind. I became aware that I would be getting home from this trip just before my 49th birthday.  Where do you want to be on your 49th birthday, I asked myself? Alone in a foreign country, was the clear response.   As I allowed that answer to gain momentum, I asked myself what it was about turning 49 that elicited such a specific and immediate response. The first interesting observation was that 7X7=49, which made this year unique. Every 7 years is historically a Sabbatical year, a time for reflection and rest (and in some careers, it’s an opportunity to take a year away from teaching or pastoral work in order to renew ). And apparently every 7 years each cell in the body that regenerates will have done so at least once resulting in a brand new person, on a cellular level. So the 7th cycle of this seven year transformative regeneration becomes a super-sized time of renewal. Well, that sounded like reason enough to create some time away. But there’s more, something inside prodded. Then I remembered. The day after I turn 49 is the first day of my 50th year. The 50th year is The Year of Jubilee, an ancient Hebrew custom I learned about way back in my...

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I am a sexual goddess

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I am a sexual goddess

 I am a sexual goddess! And guess what, SO ARE YOU!  Oh yes, sweet, ravishing body-spirit, YOU are divine and truly sublime! Oh please don’t cringe at the title.  Save your energy for things that are much more important and life-giving.  Like how you will show up even more brightly in the world as the burgeoning creature of spectacular love-light you already are. This proclamation has little to do with HAVING sex; the ACT of coitus.  This is about the energy that announces, I am ALIVE and HERE … RIGHT NOW!  It says, I am capable of outrageous adventure AND the most tender of exchanges.  It whispers, I bathe in the mysteries of this moment and slipstream on the currents of time.  Joy will rise.  All are welcome.  It is a sad state of affairs that our sexuality is limited and tied so tightly (oh, loose those ties that bind our sheets) to whether we are ‘doing the deed’ with our spouse, our boss, a lover or a random who fills the spot for a time. In truth, it’s always been about HOW we show up in ALL of our life.  WHO we are on our side of the bed.  Where we are headed and how we intend to get there.  It’s about WHO WE ARE in this breath and the scary, luscious, fragrant next inhale.  That is all.  That is everything. For the greatest display of sexuality is truly how we feel about being in our body and expressing our exposed soul … especially when there’s no one else in the room. Not sure what that means?  Oh, but yes you do, sweet, vulnerable lover of life.  It’s when you dodge your own powerful eyes in the mirror, ensuring the makeup [or stubble] is attended to but resist a lingering glance into your depths.  It’s the moment when you adjust your breasts [or your manhood] but forget to wait just a moment longer to feel how fiercely you desire to engage your heart’s truest longing. Our sexuality knows about things that the rest of us doesn’t always receive in that memo.  It outlines the key points in our swagger and it paces how we move through the world. It is the split-second sweet spot in our smile, the engaging flash in our gaze. It has full access to the blueprints of our spiritual unfolding and physical remolding.  It lays out the blanket for our very best offerings to the world.  It allows us to BE complete, and completely vulnerable, in our naked selfhood. Think bigger, Expansive One. Think  w i d e r.  Feel to the outer edges of who you are becoming and you will be a soulful drink for the thirsty one beside you by simply being present.  You will be salve for those who seek healing through the ways you engage your creative spirit.  And beautifully and mysteriously – your gifts of love will come back to you ten-fold and breathtakingly retold in the stories of those you meet. And if fairy tales hold ancient, reviving truth, you may also connect the magic of YOU with the most enduring and alluring that the universe introduces to you.  In which case, open your arms in connection to your soul’s song, your meant-to-be, your fate-mate, your can’t-quite-shake. Open generously to the soul in human-form who walks alongside and helps you make more sense of life than any other. But regardless of relationship...

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