Finding My Aloha – Part 1

by Mimi on October 1, 2014

 

 

 

 Haleakala AlohaHALEAKALA ALOHA

 

Pink Yellow LeiI have recently returned from my first Hawaiian walkabout, and while it may sound hokey, without a doubt, I know going there has always been my destiny. On the outside, my trip might appear to be quite ordinary, but on the inside, it was anything but! So, please accept this greeting of Aloha as I place an imaginary lei of intoxicating flowers around your neck and invite you to sit with me as I tell the story of Finding My Aloha because I know you’ll find it’s yours as well.

Over my years as a spiritual mentor/channel, I have come to intimately understand the universal search we are all on as human beings…the search for the answers to “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Where do I belong?” For each of us this takes on many different guises and down many different roads, which in truth ultimately lead us all to the same place…our SELF.

Each circumstance and experience, whether happy or sad, is a whetstone for carving away what isn’t true so that our souls can sculpt/reveal what is. I have long known that “wherever we go, there we are”, but it took years for my ego mind to integrate and surrender to this simple but consummate wisdom. As humans, we are so convinced we are lost (a.k.a. broken/victims), that even though we find the glasses on top of our heads over and over, we are sure that the answers must be more complicated than that!

My SelfAnd so we search…search for meaning…search for peace…search for health…search for well-being…search for happiness…search for forgiveness…search for love…search for cures… search for wisdom…search for success…search for satisfaction…search for fulfillment…search for connection… search for perfection…search for home…only to find what we’ve been looking for has been right there inside us all along. But even so, it’s a journey we must all make, a journey designed to lead us to this exquisite Self-Awareness, which makes finding it all the more poignant, powerful and accessible.

Here’s a slice of my own journey…

Through fate, folly or fancy I have moved a lot in my life, with each playing a role in what I have always referred to as my spirit’s search for its true home. As a child I lived in no less than eight houses by the time I was eight (ouch!) and I guess all that original upheaval awakened my gypsy, setting my quest in motion.  Picking up and moving from one place to another was easy for me; what wasn’t easy was feeling like I belonged…like I had found the place (land, house, peeps etc.) that was my home. Nothing ever seemed to fit!

So, no matter where I went, whether it was relocation (too numerous to count), road trip, or vacation, I was always on a quest, searching for that elusive feeling I was finally HOME. Never-the-less, I always took pride in blooming where I was planted while inwardly maintaining that since you can get a flower to bloom through a crack in cement, can you imagine what would happen if you gave it its own garden?

My Inner GardenFortunately, along the way, I began to cultivate my inner garden and that’s when I was blessed to find my inner HOME, which is really what this story is all about. But, even though I discovered what some consider the Holy Grail, I always knew there was more to it than I was actually ‘living’, so the search continued. On August 12, 2014, it took me to Maui, which I intuitively knew would be life changing, but wasn’t sure how.

You see, for as long as I can remember I have wanted to visit Hawaii, let alone felt a strong pull to the South Pacific in general. To be honest, I never really analyzed this magnetism because it lived in and through me, part of my music if you will. It felt like a promise of sorts waiting to be fulfilled, and while drawn to the islands’ magic, my soul was patient to let it manifest in its own time, so Hawaii lived more as a distant dream.

None-the-less, sand and sea has always been a powerful ingredient in my DNA and while my soul was happy to wait for whatever Hawaii held, my human self couldn’t suppress the desire to live by the ocean. Visions of toes in the sand, seashells and sea glass piled by the door, gnarled driftwood in my garden, wind in my hair, as well as dolphins and whales frolicking in my front yard were ever present in my imagination. Eventually, I was able to raise my children two blocks from Long Island Sound on New York’s northeast coast, but that was just a snack compared to what I really needed.

So I traveled far and wide exploring watery destinations trying to feed this undeniable hunger…Bermuda, the Caribbean, Maine’s rocky coast, Haiti, Jamaica, Florida, Mexico’s Cabo, Playa del C and Puerto V, Point Reyes to San Diego, Massachusett’s wonders: Martha’s V, Nantucket and the Cape, and yes, even the Hamptons dahling! Need I say more? Clearly, I’ve been on a mission! And while all of these places are great, for me, they just don’t have the special sauce my soul has craved leaving me dissatisfied and vaguely empty…Hmmm…Now, what’s a girl to do with that?

rocky-mountains-national-parkMove to Colorado, that’s what! Sixteen years ago, the Universe (in its infinite but often inscrutable wisdom) decided to put me out of my beach misery by serendipitously bringing me to Boulder, where to my complete surprise, I fell instantly in love with the Rockies! Go figure! From seaweed to purple mountains majesty in less than four months! My East coast friends and family thought I had lost it! But while I couldn’t explain my seeming insanity, I was happy here like nowhere else and knew I was in the right place…at least for the time being.

In Colorado, I all but forgot the call of the ocean, as I was mesmerized by what I was learning through my profound connection to the land, and how the earth expresses herself here. Being landlocked was an unforeseen spiritual lottery ticket as the Universe had my full attention, and kicked into uber gear to help me remember who I truly am, my gifts and my purpose. I had always been a child of nature, but the magnitude of what I call, the West’s “earth/sky creation energy,” catalyzed my spirit like never before. Every step took me deeper, and at the same time higher.

In Colorado, the mountains, which metaphorically I had always thought of as obstacles to overcome, became mentors. Giant guardians, they anchored and protected my spirit while it expanded. The proximity and exposure to a myriad of wildlife, particularly eagles, hawks, owls and kingfishers revealed my own wings and wisdom. And walking/hiking the land every day grounded me so I could actually use them.

But, like a kid, I thought I was ready for the car keys long before I had it all dialed in, so I sputtered and lurched as you might expect anyone learning to fly. I actually even moved to SoCal for a bit, thinking I was ready to “be in the world but not of it” only to return with sand between my toes but my tail between my legs.

Bedhead-Jennifer HulsGrowing up isn’t always pretty, especially in our adult years when we think we’re done with school. NOT! I still had so much to learn before my life’s purpose could bloom, but champing at the bit only made the process that much more challenging. I questioned, resisted, whined and railed against everything I construed as a delay to my heart/soul’s desires. These showed up in various guises: self-doubt, crippling fear, health issues, recycled wounds, creative blocks, financial distress, acute frustration and total confusion to name just a few.

Of course I eventually got the perfection of it all and while it didn’t feel so good, my head was surrendering more and more to my heart, which helped me to see every day as giant step forward in spite of what it looked like. And so I walked the land here in Colorado until I was ready for whatever was to come next, and that’s when Hawaii appeared five months ago.

There is nothing about this trip to Maui, from its conception to birth, that wasn’t magical. To be honest, so much occurred in its overall manifestation, I am still putting words to the music. The original idea was infused with the possibility of living there. The questions to be answered: Was this the place I had been seeking my whole life? Was this the outer reflection of my inner home? Could I really leave my children, grandchildren and friends and move to an island (albeit one described by many as paradise) in the middle of nowhere?

The answers to those questions and more came quickly but not as clearly or as obviously as you might expect. It was a ten day odyssey of clues…Maui revealed the truth(s) I was looking for slowly, sensuously, willing me to stay present to every moment. I was imprinting, awakening and activating simultaneously. It was purely alchemical from beginning to end…and beyond.

Hookipa Sea Turtle RestAnd the message was always the same, but always creatively delivered, in different forms…a bamboo house where I slept, a myriad of exotic flowers, the trade winds’ constant caress, a dormant volcano who is inexorably alive, the ever-present womb of blue above and below, sea turtles who let me sit and swim with them, the ocean’s exuberance and power as it plays on the lava coast, heart-starting sunsets and sunrises, the sands of ubiquitous beautiful beaches, the sensory abundance of lush greens, hidden waterfalls, tiny impassable roads that cultivate patience and generosity, and people…oh so many people whose smile and Aloha invited me IN over and over again.

I quickly understood/experienced Aloha as the message. It is so much more than a word, and although it is Hawaiian, it also is much more than Hawaiian.  In truth, it is a universal vibration that we all resonate with because it is part of our spiritual DNA. In Hawaii, everything and everyone is in resonance with Aloha because it is who we are at our essence. It is pure consciousness. That’s why Hawaii is such a compelling destination, one that people return to over and over. They go because they are instinctively looking to connect/align with Themselves.

Aloha can be described many ways but at its core, it is a way of being, a reverence for all things, an interconnection with the earth, an infinite expression of LOVE, which is the love that transcends our human experience. It is the expression of perpetual awakening to the magnitude of all that we see, which includes one another. Aloha means seeing with our inner eyes, which always see the love. On Maui, I have never felt more seen in my life.

Living Aloha means living from your center, the truth of your being, your authentic self, the love that you are. There’s no place for pretense, façade or fear to find purchase. Even though I have worked tirelessly to let go of my fears, some have been constant companions most of my life. But on Maui, I incredulously watched them spontaneously dissolve. I was stripped of all illusion, of anything that wasn’t me, of anything that kept my heart from leading. And in the process, I finally got to ME without anything in the way.

It’s not that I didn’t know “I” was here but the ego mind (“i”) is tenacious and run by fear, which means it believes it knows best, thinks it’s alone, is perpetually in survival mode and doesn’t ever stop long enough to “BE” because it’s forever lost in “do.”  I had been trying to marry my heart and my head for years and in Maui that union was finally consummated.

I share this story because this is an unprecedented time of change and possibility on the planet and we are all (yes, each of us) being called to find and live our Aloha. You don’t have to go to Hawaii to get it, or live there to sustain it. It is a truth as ancient as time itself, and the Hawaiians have been nurturing it for all of us. It is a truth whose time is now. I was entranced to find it already lived within me, to find I had just been calling it by another name, and to find its individual and collective promise.

Sunset NapiliAs Marianne Williamson so eloquently wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” It has taken me sixty-seven years to embrace my light and all the gifts that come through me, and finding my Aloha was the doorway out of the dark.

Nobody can afford to deny the LOVE that they are any longer, let alone let it shine. That is everyone’s Aloha. In part 2 of this story I will share with you how you can find and live it wherever you are.

 

 

 

It would be a treat to hear your own stories of finding your Aloha and I look forward to your sharing them here and ask that you share the LOVE on Facebook and Twitter too. Thanks!!

XXOO – Don’t forget to LOVE yourself today.

 

 

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Living The Magic Of Now

by Mimi on August 5, 2014

 

 Em's Chick Chick Dreams

 

Time. What’s your relationship with it? Does it rule your every move or are you in control? Do you think it’s real (in other words finite), or do you think that’s just our perception? And, like me, have you ever pondered whether there isn’t actually an inexhaustible supply, and the limits we put on it are our own illusion? Or, do you believe (consciously or unconsciously) that if we continue to chase it, we’ll either harness it or at least get to its beginning so that we can finally relax and partake of its elusive benefits?

For years (before I got to pondering), I was part of the majority, the “chase it till you get it” camp. I thought time was never on my side as there were never enough hours in the day, the week, the month or the year…to do the things I had to do, let alone wanted to do. Because I believed time equaled a short leash, I acted accordingly.

I was addicted to squeezing the juice out of every minute but not to savor them. Instead, I marched feverishly to the beat of time’s fleeting drum and never stopped to smell the roses, feel the earth, or allow myself to actually beat in rhythm with life itself. Like so many others, I lived according to the call of the outer “doing” forces, rush, hurry, and never enough, rather than listen to the inner pulses of “being” which are comprised of infinite moments, sweet pauses, and milliseconds of joy.

And like everyone else who is always on the clock, always gasping for air, always meeting self-imposed deadlines, always creating another list, always trying to fit it all in, always racing to the next appointment and invariably always putting pleasure last…I wasn’t happy or healthy. The harder I worked, the faster I ran, the more I accomplished, the less I had. Tilt!

Never-the-less, like everyone else I kept wringing out “just one more hour” for “just one more thing” that once accomplished promised the elusive reward of more time (measured in money, sleep, fun, relaxation, spiritual awareness, success, satisfaction, inner peace, family richness, physical well-being, self-development, etc.), which only brought me more of the same…the illusion of never having enough time!

Like a hamster on a wheel, I believed I was getting somewhere, only to look up and realize I was in the same place, out of breath, tired and numb. But this was the only zone I knew, and even though it was painfully unfulfilling, chasing time had become a default position so I stayed on the wheel.

After all, the stakes kept getting higher… biological clocks ticked, retirement loomed, financial success nagged, professional goals taunted, unrealized creative expression ached, gifts and abilities pushed, purpose and passion beckoned, and long-held heart’s desires all competed against one another racing the clock to be the one to finally outrun time so that I could have time to enjoy any of it.

And there’s the rub! While I achieved many of the things I thought I wanted/needed during those endless years of effort and energy, paradoxically, I had no idea how to enjoy them because I didn’t think I had time. On top of that, I was exhausted and had no energy left for the rewards.

I had become a beast of burden, slave to carrying my own load of “have tos and in order tos”.  I was so far out in front of myself that I had lost myself. Operating within the so-called boundaries of time (i.e. we only have so much/so long etc.) kept me trapped in its fear-fueled illusion of lack, stripping me of my innate ability to be in the present, knowing time as eternal (kairos vs chronos), receiving those gifts.

I know that seems like an oxymoron in a world wedded to 24/7, a world that for the most part believes eternal time only comes with death, but here’s the good news, the opposite is true. Yes! Eternal time is now…you don’t have to wait. Trust me, there’s always enough time… but in order to experience it you have to get off the hamster wheel. But, here’s the bad news, as we are creatures of habit this can be a bit of a challenge.

So here are some of the tried and true things I did (and still do) to get off the wheel and break the spell that time waits for no one…

  • stopped wearing a watch
  • never set an alarm
  • meditate before my feet hit the ground in the morning
  • threw away my lists
  • actually smell roses
  • learned to ask for help and then taught myself to receive it
  • became a wonder junkie (i.e. through the eyes of a child)
  • began to do things I’d always wanted to but never found the time to
  • began to set my hyper-responsible self free
  • surrendered to ‘what is’ and let go over and over and over
  • learned to love myself and what that really means
  • took time to listen to my body and meet its needs
  • started to nourish my spirit
  • gave up warp speed and learned to trust the flow
  • threw away my superwoman cape
  • cultivated kairos rather than chronos
  • painstakingly allowed myself time to relax
  • lovingly reassigned my ego mind jobs of joy
  • gave up being so damned punctual

As I began to slow down, I realized what I had really been racing time for all those years was internal peace.  And, I found it not through conquering time, but through understanding time as a continuum of which we are all a part. Time isn’t outside of us, the face on a clock, the months on a calendar, the wrinkles in our skin, or the years on our driver’s license. It runs through us, a fertile river of endless treasures that we have only to let carry and feed us.

In the past ten days I have experienced this river at its most poignant. In the nexus of time, I held my newborn granddaughter, Emerson Georgia Baratoff, as the river, of which we are all a part, baptized us over and over with its infinite gifts, her four weeks, me sixty-seven years. In this timelessness we shared the heartbeat of life, connected and forged our bond.

Effortlessly we flowed with the river as it met our needs…She ate, slept, pooped, burped, cried, cooed, smiled (for the first time), listened and stared in wonder at everything around her. I did pretty much the same. Without agenda, urgency, timetables, lists or fears she knew she had plenty of everything she needed and always would.

Emerson was (and is) living the magical power of right now and made sure I was too. She reminded me over and over, “Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” May the magic of now always be with you too!

 

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guilt

 

 

Welcome to Self-LOVE Boot Camp aka How To Have A LOVE Affair with Yourself

(A weekly series of treasures, tips, tools and tidbits for the adventure.)

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

#6. The Scarlet Letters:  G.S.R.  Guilt not. Shame not. Regret not. (aka Gun Shot Residue)

Guilt, shame and regret are probably the heaviest emotions to carry. Like cement shoes, they weigh us down, hold us under, compromise our bodies and rob us of our life-force.

Through self-love you will learn to have infinite compassion for the parts of you that have carried around any measure of guilt, shame or regret, and in the process you will let them go for good. These three emotions are self-inflicted wounds that have no place in a healthy relationship…with ourselves or with others. They add fuel to our inner bully and prevent forgiveness and personal growth. They are the proverbial thorn in our side, tearing away our true power and ability to find the gifts in all our experiences.

Guilt, shame and regret contaminate our sense of ourselves and keep us from moving on. That’s why I call them G.S.R. – gun shot residue. They are sticky, invisible and hard to wipe off. Also, we believe they are hard and fast evidence of some imagined wrongdoing or unforgivable sin. As a result they have become forms of self-punishment and atonement. And, because they are so pervasive, we accept them as normal when in fact they are eating us alive.

In my experience there are very few who haven’t experienced guilt, shame or regret at some point in their lives. To me, it’s not so important that you’ve ‘been there’, but critical that you’ve gotten to ‘done that.’ In other words, you’ve moved through them and beyond. Let me explain…

Guilt and shame are often mistaken for one another and can go hand in hand although they are quite different. Brenee Brown sums them up most beautifully. “The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between ‘I am bad’ and ‘I did something bad.’”

In other words shame is always about ‘who I am’ and guilt is always about ‘what I did’.  For years I mixed the two up, thinking I was feeling guilt when I was really feeling shame. In actuality, the shame of being me fed my guilt whenever I thought I’d screwed up (which was all the time) making it a vicious and suffocating cycle.

For those suffering at all from an absence of self-love, shame is our internal scarlet letter, a negative brand that has the power to dim our light. There is absolutely nothing positive about shame.  It keeps us locked away from ourselves, and in turn, from others. Shame is a trap!

Guilt, on the other hand, can be a positive force for change, but in the hands of shame becomes her whip and her hair shirt. Instead of using it as a vehicle for healing and learning and then letting it go, it becomes chronic and we carry it like a cross we have to bear.

Regret is woulda, coulda, shoulda on redial. It is an endless cycle of re-feeling what might have been but wasn’t. It is hindsight gone askew. It is a constant churning of the past, what we wish we could have done differently or something we wish we didn’t do. Regret contaminates our ability to be fully in the present, and as seriously, compromises our physical bodies with its emotional erosion.

Together, or alone, guilt, shame and regret are thieves perpetually robbing us of our inner gold which is the power to change, the capacity to thrive and our willingness to be vulnerable which is where we discover true beauty and connection.

But there is good news – very good news: Self-love is the antidote for guilt, shame and regret. Here are the top ten things it will help you remember…

 

  • 1.    You are human and everything about you is a gift. Be yourself. Let your light shine.
  • 2.    You are here to learn and one of the ways you do that is by making mistakes. Embrace them, get the message and move on.
  • 3.    Forgive yourself for everything and then forgive yourself again. Compassion for others is directly relational to that which you have for yourself. It all begins with you.
  • 4.    You are not your story! Discover the treasure and then rewrite it.
  • 5.    There is always something to be grateful for right NOW! So name something!
  • 6.    Look for the good; it is everywhere.
  • 7.    Happiness is an inside job.
  • 8.    Your heart knows more than your head. Think with it. Follow the love.
  • 9.    You only have the present so enjoy the journey. Go with the flow. See the beauty.
  • 10. You’re not here to please others. That’s impossible, but you are here to be the love you are and that’s easy!

 

I look forward to hearing your stories about how you finally let go of guilt, shame and regret. And, if you liked this post, please share the LOVE on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!

XXOO – Don’t forget to LOVE yourself today!

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glass-half-full1

 

 

Welcome to Self-LOVE Boot Camp aka How To Have A LOVE Affair with Yourself

(A weekly series of treasures, tips, tools and tidbits for the adventure.)

 

“There’s nothing more bad-ass than being who you are.” ~Darren Criss

 

#5. Seeing the Glass Half Full

We have all heard this phrase many times but how many of us live it? We might like to, we might even aspire to it, but the backwash of life has a way of getting sand in our eyes, sweeping away our best intentions to keep focused on the prize rather than what’s in the way. But here’s the good news, and even though it may sound too good to be true, I assure you it isn’t…When you start to love yourself your entire relationship with life and the world in general shifts in the most profound and often unexpected ways.

One of the most obvious and immediate changes is negativity in any form begins to transmute into positivity as we begin to see ourselves through new glasses. Rejection becomes acceptance, discontent becomes appreciation and misunderstanding becomes forgiveness. Caterpillars become butterflies.  As the magic happens in our own mirror, it is reflected outward.

And before we know it, half empty becomes half full, victims become their own heroes, Murphy’s law becomes Murphy’s opportunity and there is treasure in every moment. Quite simply, it turns out that as we see the beauty in ourselves, we are able to see the beauty all around us. And this becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy we’ve dreamt of.

Here are a few things that may help as you begin to get the sand out of your eyes…

  • Happiness Minutes – I was shocked when I first began the road to self-love by how sad I was and how it colored so much of my view of what was possible. I wanted to override it at first, but as that wouldn’t have been very loving I gave it space to be but I balanced it with happiness minutes. Happiness was clearly a muscle I needed to build so I’d time myself to see how long I could hold happy thoughts. (no joke!) My progress was checkered to begin with but it didn’t matter, the positive energy created its own momentum and eventually sadness wasn’t a way of life anymore.
  • “The love in me salutes the love in you. This is a version of Namaste which I personally love and silently use all the time. It is hard to stay in a negative space when you are coming from this place of knowing and feeling we are all love.
  • Rephrase your thoughts – Start to recognize your limiting/negative thoughts such as: “I can’t do this. I don’t know how. I shouldn’t. I should. I screwed up. I look silly. People will laugh. I’m too tired. I look fat. My nose (etc.) is too big.  I’m not smart (pretty, good, rich) enough… and many, many more including any sentence with but in it (substitute and). In the beginning carry a notebook and write them down as it will help raise your awareness to the extent of your own trash talk and how grimy it is. (I was humbled and horrified.)It will also help you think of ways to reword them into positive statements that can become part of your new loving and supportive inner dialogue.
  • Banish Worry – Worry, by definition, is fear driven and focuses on negative possibilities sucking energy from the very things we want and giving it to the very things we don’t want. Lose it and see how your life changes.
  • Protect yourself from negativity i.e. the news, angry people, people who suck your energy, naysayers, drama. Surround yourself with what feels good and let go of everything that doesn’t.

 

I look forward to hearing your glass half full stories here as sharing is a way for all of us to grow. And, if you liked this post, I encourage you to share it as well on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!

XXOO – Remember to LOVE yourself today! You deserve it!

 

 

 

 

 

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Victimology – Chance or Choice?

      Currently, we are living in an unparalleled time filled with both challenge and opportunity at every turn. A new paradigm is birthing and fear is rampant as the world as we’ve known it falls apart in order to renew, realign and reharmonize. No matter how grounded or expanded you are, it is […]

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Self-LOVE Boot Camp – Your Body Is Your Temple Not Your Trash

        Welcome to Self-LOVE Boot Camp aka How To Have A Love Affair With Yourself (A weekly series of treasure, tips, tools and tidbits for the adventure) “You’ll know you’re falling in love with yourself when… You catch your reflection in a mirror and immediately smile because you’re glad to see yourself.” […]

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Self-LOVE Boot Camp – Meet Your Inner Champion

        Welcome to Self-LOVE Boot Camp aka How To Have A Love Affair With Yourself (A weekly series of treasure, tips, tools and tidbits for the adventure)   “Loving yourself is the starting place for making your life your own.” ~ MCS # 3. Give Your Inner Bully a new Job. Part […]

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Self-LOVE Boot Camp – Daily LOVE

       “Love yourself first and everything falls into line.” ~ Lucille Ball   Welcome to Self-LOVE Boot Camp aka How To Have A Love Affair With Yourself (A weekly series of treasure, tips, tools and tidbits for the adventure)   #2 Fall in love with yourself…every day.   I know that falling in […]

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      Introducing a new weekly series: Self-LOVE Boot Camp – How To Have A Love Affair With Yourself Treasures, Tips, Tools and Tidbits for the Adventure The two questions about self-love that I’m most often asked are the same two questions I most often asked myself throughout my own journey, and interestingly, are […]

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It’s Never Too Late

   Did you know it’s never too late?  For what?  Everything! Anything! All of it! Whatever! You name it! A couple of mornings ago, as I sat in bed meditating, I had one of those shape shifter, lightning bolt moments. You know the kind… when something that you thought you knew suddenly becomes entirely rewritten […]

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