TRUE LOVE CHECKLIST: Is It Love Or Something Else?

I wanted to make a follow up post to go along with my last post about the misconception that Love Hurts. We discussed that Love is and always will be Love. We also discussed how if it’s not love that hurts then it must be fear. Mistaking  something else for love is not an uncommon problem.  When we have been betrayed, we think it is love that brings us pain, but really the pain was caused by deceit. “How could she do this to me, I love her.”  When we go through a loss, we think it is Love that brings us pain, but really the pain is caused by our attachment. “But I love him.”  When we go through a conflict we think that it is love that brings us pain, but really it is an unmet need.  “She doesn’t love me like I love her”. It’s misidentification like these that allow us to buy into the  belief that it is Love that is hurting us. That someone else is hurting us. If we never loved in the first place, we would be safe. WRONG! It is not how someone else is being that hurts, it is how you are being that does.

“What hurts is not love itself, but rather our unloving actions or reactions, the conditions we place on love, the fear that we are not loved, our resistance to being loved, and even out lack of faith in love… You experience pain when you are thinking, feeling, or behaving in a way that is not loving.” – Robert Holden

Love is a state of BEING. To BE Loving is a choice we must make. And if we aren’t in our loving, we are in fear. Remember, We can not be in both states at the same time. True love never dies. It is unconditional and everlasting. When there is a change in dynamic or even a loss, TRUE love still remains.  If in examples like the ones above can lead you to misidentify what love is, in what other ways may you be mistaking true love? What fearful reasons are really the root of your pain?

In Robert Holden’s book, Loveability, he has a TRUE LOVE CHECKLIST to help you “be aware of any mistakes you are making , recognize the real cause of pain, learn any unlearned lessons, and most of all, choose a better way”. 

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TRUE LOVE CHECKLIST: (the following has been copied directly from the book)

1. Is this love or fear?
“The basic fear ‘I am unloveable’ is the primary cause to suffering. When you identify with this fear, it causes many tears to fall. The fear is not true, but if you believe it, you will turn away from yourself. Feeling unloveable causes you to reject your internal loveliness…When you believe ‘I am not loveable”, it causes you to contract inside, to defend yourself, and to behave in unloving ways that add to your pain. You also experience pain when fear appears to triumph over love: for example when it looks like love is not present, that love changes, that love is being withheld, that love is not enough, and that love dies. In deep pain, the fear is that love has forsaken you. In other words, love has rejected you, too. The temptation here is to reject love. However, when you stop loving, it hurts you even more. Only by loving can you begin to face fear, heal the pain, and walk out of hell. ”

2. Is this love or dependency?
“Many psychologist view dependency as a major source of pain in love. They counsel you against needing anything from anyone, lest you get hurt. One way to counteract this fear of dependency is to be totally independent of others. Unfortunately this causes just as much pain. Independence looks like freedom, but really it is a dead end. It shuts you off to the whole creation. Imagine if you had no relationships in your life. The truth is, we depend on relationships for our growth and evolution. Relationships are how we learn to love and be loved.

Health dependency allows you to ask for help, to be open to inspiration, to cooperate with others, and not to try to do life by yourself. Unhealthy dependency arises when you feel unloveable and see others as the source of your love. You believe it is their job to make you feel whole, secure, and connected to the world, to heal your wounds, and to validate you. Inevitably, though, when you make someone your source of love, they will also be your source of pain. No one does a very good job making someone feel lovevable, mostly because it’s an impossible task.”

People can encourage you to feel loveable, but they can’t make you feel loveable. Making sure you feel loveable is YOUR job, not someone else’s. 

3. Is this love or attachment?
“Can you feel the difference between feeling connected with and feeling attached to someone? When you love someone, you feel a connection that defies all physical laws. You feel connected from the moment you first recognize each other. Your friendship is timeless. You feel connected even if you live ten thousand miles apart. Your friendship knows no distance. You feel connected even when you haven’t spoken in ages. Your friendship is beyond words. You feel connected even if one of you is in heaven and the other is still here on earth. Your friendship is beyond all form. Your love for each other serves as a memory of your true nature, and somehow you know that your connection will continue long after you have forgotten about your visit to this world.

When you are attached to someone, it is still possible to feel that love connects you, but mostly what you feel is fear, anxiety, and pain. Attachments are contracts based on form. Pain arises when the conditions of attachment are not met…Pain also arises when the form of the relationship changes. Children grow up and leave home. Parent divorce and leave home. Our best friend gets married. We get married and divorced. People we love die. We grieve the loss of form, and understandably so. But, in truth, there is no loss in love, not when you allow yourself to feel your genuine connection to each other. ”

4. Is this love or do I have an agenda?
“What do you expect from your mother? What do you expect from your lover? What do you expect from your child? from the world? Whenever your expectations are not met, you will know it, because you will feel disappointed, let down, angry, and hurt. What is the difference between an expectation and a demand? Nothing much actually. Expectations look innocent enough, but they carry an agenda, a plan, and a demand to get something. Each expectation is set on a timer, and if you don’t get what you want in time, the bomb goes off.

Expectations are fear based. They are an effort to grab what you want instead of letting it come to you. The more afraid you are of not getting what you want, the more expectations you have on your list. Expectations are frustrating because they arise from an attitude of getting that blocks receptivity. They create an agenda that acts like a wall between you and the other person. Love doesn’t have an agenda, because an attitude of love is really based on BEING rather than getting or receiving…Love helps you to BE what you want to give and receive.”

Common Expectations That Cause Hurt in Relationships:
* I expect to be loved by everybody
* I expect people I love to love me, too
* I expect people I love to love me more than others
* I expect others to know how I need to be loved
* I expect others to love me the way I love them
* I expect people I love to know that I love them
* I expect others to love me without making mistakes
* I expect others to love me all the time.

5. Is this love or am I trying to get something?
“You can’t feel hurt unless you are giving to take”, says Chuck Spezzano. When you give love in order to get love, it ends in tears, either right away or eventually. Love is not something to get. You can’t get love from people like you get a bottle of soda from a vending machine. If you did a naked dance in front of them, you could probably get their attention, some approval, and even a wild applause. This might feel pretty good, but it wouldn’t be love. If you give love in order to get love, you will end up feeling disappointed and resentful. “Look what I did for you”, you yell. “I even did a naked dance for you,” you cry. When you give love freely, you feel the love you give and you feel loveable NO MATTER WHAT the return.”

6. Is this love or am I in sacrifice?
“There are two types of sacrifice: unhealthy sacrifice and health sacrifice. One is based on fear and the other on love. Knowing the difference is the key to knowing how to love and be loved. Unhealthy sacrifice may appear to work at first, but love and dishonesty are not good bedfellows. Lovers try to play small in a relationship in order to heal power struggles and avoid rejection. Children get ill in a desperate attempt to heal their parents relationship. Business leaders nearly kill themselves for their cause. Unhealthy sacrifice is often well intentioned, but it doesn’t work, because it’s based on fear not love.

Healthy sacrifice is a different story. To be happy in a relationship, you have to be willing to sacrifice your fear for love, independence for intimacy, resentment for forgiveness, and old wounds for new beginnings. Above all, you have to stop giving yourself away and learn how to give more of yourself. You give yourself away when you are not true to yourself, when you play a role, when you don’t speak up, when you don’t ask for what you want, when you don’t listen to yourself, and when you don’t allow yourself to receive.”

7. Is this love or am I in a role?
“Two people in a relationship will play out a number of roles together. When you are happy, you barely notice these roles exist. However, when things are not okay, the roles are more fixed and rigid. They are your position and your point of view in the relationship. They affect your capacity to give and receive. They can cause you to polarize and to oppose each other. This is painful, as you no longer feel like you are on the same team. The perceived separation can cause a power struggle and more conflict.

Roles that are fixed and rigid cause hurt and pain. These roles usually begin in childhood, born of fear that you are not loveable or that there is not enough love to go around…When there is a problem in the relationship, your homework is to find out what role you are playing and also consider what good things could happen if you stopped playing this role. Here are some good examples of roles that cause polarity:”

* Am I loving this person or am I playing the role of a martyr?
* Am I loving this person or am I playing the independent role or the dependent role?
* Am I loving this person or am I playing the role of the parent or the child?
*Am I loving this person or am I playing the role of the rescuer or the victim?
*Am I loving this person or am I trying to be positive or be contrary?

8. Is this love or am  I trying to change the person I love?
“Have you tried to change your partner recently? How did it go? Were they suitably appreciative? I imagine you didn’t get a thank you note for your efforts. Have you tried to change your children? Were they receptive? Did it work this time? Children are willing learners, except when they don’t feel loved. Have you tried to change your parents? After all, they’re getting older now and so they should be weaker and less able to resist your campaign. Has anyone tried to change you recently? How did you feel about that? Did you feel more loved? Are you feeling even more love for that person who wants to change you?

A common mistake in relationships is the belief that your love will change a person, eventually. You can’t love someone and want him or her to change. For a start, when you try to change people, they do not feel loved by you. If anything, they feel judged and rejected. Love does not seek to change people, because love does not find any fault in a person’s true essence. Love can help a person grow and to bring out the best in him or her; but you will not see any of this of you do not love the person unconditionally in the first place. The paradox for love is that when you stop wanting each other to change, you are changed, and this change enables you to love each other more. “Ask yourself:

* Am I loving this person or am I trying t o fix him?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to improve her?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to save him?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to heal her?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to get him enlightened?

9. Is this love or am I trying to control this person?
“Every relationship experiences what is commonly called a power struggle. This is not just in marriage, but also in relationships between parents and children, between in-laws, and between siblings. In a power struggle, both people have to learn to give up trying to control each other so as to experience true friendship and love. When a power struggle is healed, it helps both people feel more equal, more connected, and more loved.

Control is a form of fear. When you are tempted to control the relationship, it’s because you are afraid that you are unloveable and that you might lose someone’s love. Unfortunately, the more you try to control a relationship, the less loving it feels. Too much control makes the other person passive or passive aggressive. The more you control someone, the less attractive and interesting the person is to you. Control stunts growth, it kills aliveness. Here are some points to consider:

* Am I loving this person or am I playing it safe?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to protect him?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to protect myself?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to keep the peace?
* Am I loving this person or am I trying to hold on to her?

10. Is this love or am I trying not to get hurt?
If you believe that love hurts, you will be afraid to love and be loved. This fear of love makes you want to protect yourself against love. Your ego creates an arsenal of defenses that stop you, for instance, from loving too much or loving too easily. You employ these defenses to feel safe, in control, and emotionally insured against any injury. And still you get hurt. And hurt again. Eventually, by some act of grace, you consider the possibility that these defenses are the cause of your hurt. And so it is, because defenses are made of fear and fear keeps you stuck in the experience you are trying to escape.

Until you realize that love doesn’t hurt, love will always seem to hurt you. That will be your story anyway. If you are willing to let go of your story, even for just a moment, you can start to have a different experience of love. As you begin to  dismantle some of your old defenses, you notice the love course runs more smoothly. Eventually, your defenselessness opens you up to experience pure love.”

 

If you are feeling pain or loss of love in any moment, stop and ask ask yourself, is this true love or is this something else?  It isn’t until you discover what it REALLY is, that you can start to heal and return to loving.

What are some ways you mistake pain for love? In what ways can you think, feel, and BE more loving? Leave your answers in the comment section below.

xoxo,

barista

How Can Love Be The Solution When It’s The Problem?

Lately I find myself talking about Love a lot. Ok fine, always!! Love is all we need right? The one thing that took me some time to realize was my misconceptions about what Love is.

I think most people think that Love is an emotion or a feeling. A Noun. Something we can find, have, or keep. I used to. “He loves me because _______” or even better “He doesn’t love me because _______”. We narrow love down to an “it”. Yet “it” can mean something different to everyone.

What I am continuing to come to realize is that the  more experience I have with Love and the more I understand Love, the more exact Love becomes yet the indescribable and undefinable all the same.

One thing I do know for sure now is that Love is and ALWAYS will be Love. There is only ONE Love. Love is NOT different depending on the person. It all comes from one place. Your heart, your soul, your existence. Love knows no boundaries, no comparisons, no conditions, no separation. Although Love knows many expressions, it is all the same Love.

Love is the ONLY thing that is real. Everything else is an illusion. Love is always available, even when we think it’s long gone. When all you can see is pain, Love will sit there patiently waiting for you to return and welcome you with open arms when you do.

“Love always loves you, even when you can’t or won’t love yourself.” – Robert Holden

The second thing I know for sure is that LOVE DOES NOT HURT, even when you undoubtedly think it does. That is probably the biggest misconception of them all. That loving in the first place is the problem.

If Love hurt, how could it be Love? Love is nothing but itself. Is and ALWAYS will be. If Love does not hurt, then what does? That’s easy. Fear does! But don’t get it twisted… fear may seem like an enemy to love but in reality fear is there to show you where love needs to be. Love sees no enemy, it ONLY sees Love. So where is the Love in fear?

In Robert Holden’s Book, Loveability, he discusses the obsession with “falling in love”. He goes on to tell a story about his five-year old daughter and a boy she liked from school. He mentions that it would be wonderful if “children were introduced to their own eternal loveliness before they started obsessing about falling in love”.

He states that:

“The early obsession with falling love is a sign that we have already started to doubt our own Loveability. By falling in love with someone, we hope we will remember how loveable we are. We hope someone will catch our fall, in the fall from grace, and thereby save us from the basic fear that ‘I am not loveable’. Much of the desire to fall in love is about being loved rather than being loving.”

He then goes on to quote  J. Krishnamurti.  “You want to be loved because you do not love; but the moment you love, it is finished, you are no longer inquiring whether or not somebody loves you”.

love-vs-fear

image from: word from the well

One concept that I am exceptionally fond of, is the concept that we have two basic choices in life. A choice between Love and fear. Although expressed in thousands of ways, there is only one love and there is only one fear. “Love is the mind of the real Self, and fear is the mind of your self-image or ego.”  We are constantly choosing between Love and Fear. Worthy and unworthy. Loveable and Unloveable. Whichever you choose to identify with, is the one that you give power. If Love is the only thing that is real, then the idea that you can be unloveable is not real. LOVE IS YOUR EXISTENCE. If your source were not that of Love, you would not be here.

The fear that you are unloveable is the extension to all other fears. It’s the fear the hurts. Not Love. Love is what heals!

In Holden’s chapter “Love and Fear” he states that:

“Love brings up everything unlike itself for the purpose of healing. Love and fear have the opposite effect on you. The principle effect of fear is that it prevents you from seeing where love is present, whereas love helps you to see where you are afraid. Love makes you conscious. It switches a light on in your mind. This light brings everything into view… Love does not judge, so nothing is hidden. Love does not condemn, so there is no deception. Love does not censure, so all is revealed. Love exposes the fears you identify with, the secret shame you haven’t forgiven, the old wounds not yet released, and every other unloving thought that blocks the awareness of love’s prescence… Love shows you what you think of yourself and also how you relate to yourself. Love and fear cannot co-exist…Love brings fear into full view so that you can see if there is a message for you, a lesson for you, or even a gift for you. This is how Love heals fear. This is how love helps you to be fully present, undefended, and open to your life. Love brings up everything unlike itself so that you can let go of fear and be the loving person that you are.”

Love is the energy that runs ALL things. Underneath anger is Love. Underneath sadness is love. Underneath control is Love. Underneath judgement is love. If Love did not exist there, we simply would not care. Love is never really the problem though… Love is the solution that lies UNDER the problem. Love is who you ARE! .The problem is simply not knowing your own Loveability.

So when you find yourself angry, sad, controlling, or judgmental…. ask yourself where you need healing and just apply a little love. Remember you are loveable. Remember your existence. Turn off the fear and Turn on the LOVE! Your wound will begin to heal.

What are some ways you choose love when fear is present? Leave a comment, you may just help someone out.

xoxo,

barista

Ending Year One and Remembering What Has Always Been

thumbnailI remember when I was a really small child, maybe 5 or 6, and having an “Inner Body Experience” as I would like to call it. I could stare at my hand for a few seconds and all of a sudden feel myself as a soul inside of my body. It was as if I was watching a movie or a play and watching my thoughts and watching life happen in front of me. I would trip out a bit thinking about how I am a person with a body and this is all real yet having this knowing that I and everyone else was much more than what I could see or comprehend at the time.

Having this experience was almost like a high for me. I remember the first time I did it, i felt weird and didn’t really know what was happening but after a few times of having this experience, I was able to control it and all I had to do was look at my hand and I would disappear into this Inner Body Experience. I could look into the mirror, look at my face and know that I was not my body or my thoughts. I was a soul. I was the Universe. I knew that I was Love.

As I got older and started identifying more with myself as my ego, the Inner Body Experiences happened less and less until they didn’t happen at all anymore. Not that they couldn’t, but as experiences happened, I simply started to forget who I was. I identified with my body, with my thoughts, with my behaviors. It wasn’t until recently that I even remembered the Inner Body Experiences ever happening at all.

After going through a really depressing stage in my life, probably one of the worst times ever, back when I was 23 years old and pregnant with my first son, I started to rediscover my Self.

“A certain desperation is usually necessary before we’re ready for God… Until your knees finally hit the floor, you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It’s when it begins”
-Marianne Williamson

It felt like I had dove head first into a never ending well and couldn’t stop. I was taking seminars, and reading books, and watching movies, and learning a bunch of things that resonated with every single thing I felt I ever believed in during all the years before. My “knowing” and my inner feelings were being expressed through these things in ways that I could never express outside myself. The best part was that none of this felt like I was “learning” anything but rather was “remembering” it all.

I would open a book and everything I read was like something I already knew inside and I was getting validation for my previous thoughts and beliefs. It was the learning how to BE these things that became the hard part. After living years and years in my ego, forgetting what I felt and knew when I was 5 and 6 years old, living this more conscious lifestyle wasn’t so easy. Especially because the ego will do anything it can to make sure you hold on to it.

When I discovered the University of Santa Monica, the school for Spiritual Psychology, my heart almost fell out of my chest. To take classes and get hands on experience in learning how to break down the barriers that are preventing me from living the full expression of my soul, seemed like I had stepped into a miracle. Everything I had ever connected so deeply with, was being taught in an experiential way through this school. So not only was I going to further the “remembering” but I was going to get practice in learning how to “walk the talk”.

This last 9 months of school has been nothing short of amazing. There was not a moment that I felt I didn’t want to be in class. I craved the environment we all created and the loving energy that existed by stepping foot into the classroom, even being pregnant. It was safe, and accepting. Loving and vulnerable. I had connected so profoundly and deeply with almost every single person I ever talked to in that classroom. I had seen myself as them when they spoke and I knew they saw themselves as me when I spoke. The feeling of unity and oneness was experienced every weekend that I had class (which was one weekend a month). It became impossible to look at anyone in my class and not just love the shit out of them. It was impossible!!!

We had a 6 day lab as the last week of school; It was the chance to really go deeper into our experience of healing and resolving. We set intentions about what we wanted to get out of the lab. Most people wanted to go where they were afraid to go before. To touch on the things they were afraid to touch on before. To jump off the ledge and prove to themselves that they indeed knew how to fly.

I learned the true power of intention during this time. The true power in following through with what you intend. One after one, all week, people were healing and growing and loving and knowing. Including myself. Everyone just seemed so beautiful and light filled. It was intense and nothing I had experienced before.

As I woke up on the last day of class, I felt like my heart was on fire. I felt like it was the end of something even though class would start again in 3 short months. Through out the year I had judged my process so much, and this time I finally felt like my heart was just opening. As I stepped into the classroom and saw all the beautiful faces of my classmates, I felt so overcome with love that I just wanted to cry uncontrollably. Every person I saw, I saw past their body, I saw past their thoughts, their behaviors, their personalities. I saw right into their loving essence.

My intention for that last class was just to remember WHO I AM. That morning I remembered how when I was 6 I would look at my hand and have my Inner Body Experiences. I started to talk about who I am as a Soul and my Authentic being, my truth.

I am not my body, I am not my thought. I am not my behaviors or personality.

I AM ACCEPTANCE, I AM JOY, I AM PEACE, I AM VULNERABILITY, I BRAVE, I AM COURAGEOUS, I AM FREEDOM,  I AM THE UNIVERSE, I AM LOVE!!!!!!

I AM EVERY SINGLE THING I SEE IN EVERYONE ELSE. This means that All the great awesome qualities I was seeing in my classmates, I Am those things too. I AM! All I have to do is remember that. I was finally getting it.

I left my last class feeling the best I had felt in a very long time. I was finally remembering it all. I was finally returning to love. My heart was burning with what had always existed inside.

The one thing that trips me out is that I started class 4 months pregnant. I grew a human being inside of my body during 5 months of the year. Class was the last place I was before going to the hospital and giving birth to my baby boy. They say your consciousness exists in every cell of your body, so to think of the consciousness my child entered this world with blows my mind. He’s he happiest baby I’ve ever seen. Crazy thing is that, when I started this journey at 23, I was pregnant then too and I was going through an intense spiritual growth period. My son that was born then was always super happy and chill. I’m convinced that this awakening has a lot to do with it. People ask me now how did I get so lucky, my reply is “USM!”. 🙂

The journey has not ended by any means, there is still a lot of work to do, but I have clear intentions on what I see for my life. How I want to serve others, and I can’t serve others without honoring my SELF. This first year was only the beginning! I am returning to Love.

Here’s to the end of a miraculous year. To all the classmates I met and connected with, and even the ones I never got to talk to,  you are beautiful. You are loved!!!

Can’t wait for year two! watch out world, WE’RE COMING!

xoxo,

barista

My Truth: How I Learned To Honor Myself

So it’s 10:30pm and I’ve figured out that this might be the time I have to write posts for the time being. AFTER the baby goes to bed. Hopefully I can get back to writing more frequently.  I don’t like waiting so long before talking to you.

So this last month has been extraordinary for me in so many ways. It all started with my classes last month. It was a very powerful weekend for many people and things have just been shifting a lot for me and others. Everything that weekend flowed together so perfectly. My whole path started to make sense and things just really hit home for me.  It started at the Friday night class on May 2nd.

We had to do a trio conversation in which we talked about what the hardest thing  has been for us during the program so far. I talked about how I have had a hard time “DOING” the work. Implementing the practices. Practicing the skills. Really learning how to walk that talk. I mean this is one of the main reasons I decided to go to USM. To have the experiential practice that would catapult me forward on this path I have been on during the last 6 years. And here I was learning all of this amazing stuff, and I would come home on a peace high for a few days but then I would dump my folders and books to the side until it was time to prepare for school again 3 weeks later. Not really staying mindful daily about how to keep the work going.

Reading books and blogs and going to seminars had only worked so much for me. I have been able to develop a huge  passion for my spirituality and purpose but really felt lack in the “DOING” area. Sometimes I would feel really motivated and empowered to stand in my integrity but most of the time, I can admit, I was just intellectualizing it all and not really connecting on an emotional level for myself. Helping others was great but doing the work myself was a lot more challenging. Going through months and months of class and witnessing people’s lives changing right in front of me was starting to make me jealous. Started making me wonder if I was ever going to change or keep wasting time by not “DOING” the work.

In one of the next trios I had acknowledge myself. I acknowledged myself for sitting in the chair. For being in that classroom. Sometimes I would be in class and it would just hit me that “I’M HERE”. I’m doing it. I had heard of USM three separate times before I decided to check it out. When I looked it up online it was in perfect timing because there was an intro meeting THAT week. I thought of a couple of excuses of why I wouldn’t be able to go but I felt the fear and went anyways. I immediately felt the connection and knew this was the place for me because it was exactly everything that I am passionate about. It was the opportunity to really get pushed into DOING. And get my Masters in the process. What a bonus!

I then made a million excuses for why I might not be able to go. I found out I was pregnant. I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford it. Plus a million others. BUT I went through with it. I felt the fear and I did it anyways. I had to really acknowledge myself for that. Usually fear makes me turn the other way but this time I dove straight in and it all has worked out perfectly.

After 5 years of wanting to go back to school, here I was. And not just any school. School how I always imagined it would be. I love this school so much that I was in class the weekend of my due date. I was having contractions in class and STILL participating in trios (until of course they got too painful and I had to leave to give birth). THAT’S how dedicated I am to becoming a better version of myself to serve the world.  I almost took that weekend off until I realized there was no place else I would rather be. What beauty to have the loving energy of my classroom surrounding my child right before his debut into the world.

During the Sunday class is when everything just hit home. There was a surprise waiting for us as we entered. I can’t spoil it for when anyone reading this decides they want to attend USM in the future (which I promise it’s the BEST thing you can ever do for yourself). But what I will say is that this SURPRISE was absolutely amazing and so so powerful. I was moved to tears and it really just hit home that I AM HERE! I am right where I need to be. It hit me that Year 1 is only the beginning.

Year 1 is the preparation for the best yet to come. Year 1 is where my hands are supposed to get dirty. Where I am supposed to go through a ton of emotions. Get mad at myself. Get mad at my process. Get mad at my ego. Get mad at my job and my friends and my family. I dont doubt this will continue to happen, probably more intensified, in Year 2 but its so I could learn how to love and appreciate it all. The process is the beauty of it all. I was realizing that Year 2 was where it was really going to begin and I was perfectly in a space of being able to trust my process and timing.

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After our surprise the next trio we had to express gratitude to those who have helped us on our path. The first person that came to mind was my boyfriend. If you personally know me and are really close to me, then you know that I have on and off again issues with my boyfriend. If you are in my class at USM and have done a trio with me, you know that I have on and off again issues with my boyfriend. I am not going to cookie cut it for the sake of looking good, we have had issues for a really long time and so many times I have wanted to call  it quits or have tried to only get back together again and repeat the process over again.

I will admit, my relationship is also another reason I am at USM. As I said, I want to become a better person to better serve the world and in that includes being able to better serve ALL my relationships, the one with my boyfriend being most important. I also knew though that learning everything I am learning, and by really stepping into my true authentic self, I was also risking the relationship. I was risking the possibility that we wouldn’t make it through. I was risking the possibility that I could lose him. And as I write this, maybe that’s been the hard part about the DOING. I had been afraid of losing what I was used to. I had been afraid of being uncomfortable. But trust me, If you really want to step into your true authentic self, you can NOT be afraid of losing anything. What you have to gain is so much more powerful.

Looking at my relationship though from a place of gratitude, especially having gone through the feelings I was going through from the weekend, gave me a VERY different perspective of my path. I won’t go into the connections I saw in past relationships but what I will say is that over the years, most intensly in the last two, I have had a VERY strong calling to honor my Self (Self with a capital S meaning my Soul)  and step into my truth. Two of the qualities I am working on are Vulnerability and Authentic Expression. I had a hard time being vulnerable, especially with my boyfriend, and a hard time authentically expressing myself because of the fear of getting into an argument (which happened a lot with us).

I have done multiple meditations and insights that always have led me to the same answer of “BE VULNERABLE, SPEAK YOUR TRUTH. TELL HIM HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. CHOOSE LOVE”. I have had ample opportunity to do so and almost always I chose to ignore. Let me tell you, you can only ignore the whispers for so long before it becomes a yell. Over the last two years that is what happened. HONOR YOUR SELF. HONOR YOUR TRUTH. HONOR YOUR VULNERABILITY. HONOR YOUR AUTHENTIC EXPRESSION. CHOOSE LOVE. I’ve heard it over and over and over.

The first time I remember hearing this whisper was during my last long-term relationship ten years ago. I had been unhappy for a long time but instead of honoring my feelings and expressing myself, I waited for things to get bad so I could just leave without feeling guilty. And  it worked. I have tried to do that in this relationship a bunch of times but the beauty in this situation is that we have kids together. The Universe wasn’t giving me the easy way out this time. THIS is the time the lesson is going to be learned. I would want to leave but every time I couldn’t leave because I KNEW I hadn’t expressed myself. I knew I hadn’t been DOING the work. I knew that there was a possibility that things could be different if I would just HONOR MY SELF. But I also knew there was also a possibility of loss.

Thinking about this in my trio, about this guidance being yelled at me over and over for the last two years, I realized that if it were not for my boyfriend and how he is, or how I perceive him to be I should say, If it weren’t for how we act and react with each other, I wouldn’t be in a place to where I am being called to honor my Self. I wouldn’t be in a place of opportunity to step into my true Self. To step into my vulnerability. To step into my Authentic Expression. To step into the LOVE that resides in me. Its because of that, that he is perfect for me.

I would get mad at myself a lot for how I would respond and react in certain situations. I wanted so badly to change but had felt like there were no results. If it weren’t for my boyfriend, and all the boyfriends before him, ALL the relationships in my life, and how I perceive it all to be, the issues that come up for me, how I respond and react I wouldn’t be called to change. I wouldn’t be called to really step into my full Self. So really, I thank everyone.

I was REALLY realizing that everything has happened the way it has because THAT is the way I would learn how to become the real me. Issues were mosy present in my boyfriend because he was the closest to me. He mirrored myself perfectly. We all learn in different ways and we attract to us the situations that aid in our learning of lessons and this was my way. So what had come from that realization was nothing but pure and honest gratitude. Gratitude for my boyfriend for being who he was and being with me the way I was. If it weren’t for our relationship, I could not say that I would be where I am right now and for that I am grateful.

Gratitude helped me shift my view. Everything came together in that moment. I realized that yes here I am at USM and I have this great opportunity to learn so much about myself and others, I need to DO USM. This is the chance I have longed for. Take advantage and DO the work. DO the skills. DO the practices. I outlined my ideal relationship and now it was time to DO the steps that would take me on my way. I felt more empowered then I had ever felt before to HONOR MY SELF.

That weekend my boyfriend and I had argued (such perfect setup by the Universe) and usually when we argue, it feels very vulnerable expressing myself to him, especially in any loving type of way. Until then, Vulnerability had not been my strong suit. That Sunday I got the urge to call him just to tell him I Love You. Sounds silly and maybe so simple for others, but to do that in the midst of an argument, especially when I was feeling defensive, was a very big deal. I felt the fear but I also saw the opportunity for me to step into that vulnerability and authentic expression. So I got out my phone called him and said “uhhh so ummmm i just called ummm because, umm i just wanted to tell you that I love you”. Of course he responded very lovingly and it was THAT phone call that changed our relationship.

We started talking about our argument, I listened with my heart instead of getting defensive. I HEARD him and I empathized with his feelings. This led us to stay in a very loving place when I came home which then led us to a very open and honest conversation about our relationship. Where it was and where we want it to be. It led for more opportunities for me to be vulnerable and express my truth and HONOR MY SELF.

My teacher has always said something along the likes of, “If your calling is to be courageous, you won’t wake up one day all of a sudden courageous. The Universe will provide you with opportunities in which you can choose to display courage.” This time instead of running away, I chose to step into it and the response was wonderful. I chose to be vulnerable. Let me just say we have just made it a whole month without fighting. If you really know us, you know that’s a miracle. There have been little spats here and there but nothing like they once were. And when there have been little spats, we have been really quick to enter our loving and dissolve them. I have to continue to chose vulnerability and authentic expression. Most importantly I am aware of my self judgements and compassionately forgiving myself for them. Now instead of asking myself “Why am I still in this relationship?” every time I feel uncomfortable, I now ask myself “What opportunity is my soul presenting to me?” and let me tell you, it makes the world of difference.

You see, it all started with GRATITUDE! If it weren’t for EVERY SINGLE THING that has happened in your life, you would not be the YOU that you are today. And YOU are a wonderful, powerful, being of love. GIVE THANKS to all that has presented itself in your path. You can have the life of your dreams, give thanks and DO the work.

I want to hear from you. What is something you want to DO that has challenged you? What quality would it take for you to step into your greatness? How has the universe given you the opportunity to step into that quality? How can you acknowledge yourself RIGHT NOW? Who can you give thanks to in aiding you on your path?

Leave me your comments in the section below.

You are loved.

xoxo,

barista

 

 

 

Guest Blog: An Ode to The Power of Self-Love

It is a Friday night and I’m home alone. I don’t mind being home on a Friday night, as I’m very much and introvert. But because I’m not use to being alone too long and get a little freaked.

The other night I fell asleep a little teary eyed because I knew hubby would be leaving for his annual boys snowboarding trip. At this point my husband and I have been married for almost 9 months and together for 3 years. We are very much in the honeymoon phase and even more entwined because we have both been working from home for the past three weeks.

We’ve been in such a honeymoon phase that I was resisting being away from him. Taking care of my son and catching up on work with no distractions kept me occupied for the first couple days. I just tried to slip into single mom mode again. Then today knowing that my son (from a previous relationship) would be with his dad this weekend I totally shifted my energy.

I did things my way, cleaned my way, played my music full blast, etc. I got bored for a moment eating my dinner of frozen pizza and ice cream by myself and then I decided that it was time to dance. I danced for a full hour, got a good sweat going and got to move my body without any little boy or big boy eyes on me. I kept dancing as I showered, singing along to Lorde.

Now I’m sitting here doing a very pampering and nourishing steam and listening to my favorite songs with only the Himalayan salt lamp and lava lamp lit. It is totally luxurious and decadent. As I hit play on VV Brown’s song ‘I Love You’ I remembered how I would do this type of stuff for myself weekly when I was single. I would take myself on an ‘artist date’ and sing myself love songs. It may sound totally narcissistic, but I’m a Leo, it is my job to teach people how to love oneself like the royal, majestic beings that we all are.

It is no coincidence that when I developed this practice then, and only then did a lover come into my life that could match the standard of love that I yearned and wished for. This is what self-love looks like. I share this and I will continue sharing things like this because I’ve been exposed to too many women (and men) who complain about crappy relationship after crappy relationship. When I tell them that it starts with practices like this they are timid to actually do the work. You will only attract what you are willing to give out…. to give to yourself. When you can dance around on a Friday night alone totally in love with just fully being you this is when the magic starts to happen.

Not many people know this but I was in a very abusive (emotionally, verbally) relationship for so many years. I was depressed and suicidal whenever we broke up which was often, because my self-esteem was so damn low. I didn’t think that anyone else could love me, so I put up with someone who was my complete opposite and we literally could not communicate. To see how far I have come in this area of my life motivates and lights me up so much. When I boast about my husband it is not to make anyone jealous or to brag, but to show people how joyous love and life can be. It is a victory chant from the little girl in me that was so deeply hurt and so scared for so long. It is me saying to that suicidal girl ‘hey I’m still here and life is freaking awesome, thanks for not giving up’.

Please love yourself first, and keep doing it. Even if you are in a relationship, never stop caring for yourself. You need to nourish yourself before you can nourish anyone else. This is why I will always over share. This is why I share even when I know certain people think I’m weird or nutty. I know that someone needs to hear this and I will not silence myself in fear. Let us shift the way we love and start to raise the bar for self-love. I encourage you to make your self-love a priority and to share your wins with the world. May we all have a relationship that feels like a victory dance.

Disa Jean-Pierre is a Spiritual Mentor based in Los Angeles, California. Disa is a mother, wife and healer. She is a certified Reiki Master and Success Coach whose goal is to help people love bigger and shine brighter. You can connect with her on GlowInTheHeart.com or watch her latest video on YouTube.com/GlowDisa.

 

Time Off

If you haven’t noticed, I did not post Good Deed Sunday, nor even  a late post yesterday. I have not been feeling too keen since Saturday and also been beyond busy. I have been feeling yucky in the stomach and just sort of nauseous. I thought this went out the window in the first trimester but feels like it’s back. Hopefully I am not getting sick.

I decided to take this week off for finding Good Deeds in the journal. This doesn’t mean I will not be mindful of random acts of kindness when and if the opportunities are available, I am just not going to commit to anything this week and take the pressure off from daily updates via Facebook.

I also do not know if it’s the pregnancy hormones or what, but for the last few days I have also just been feeling sort of down and somewhat defeated like I want to run away from everyone and everything but I have been reminded to surrender and let the spirit take care of all that I can not right now. SO I am being conscious of that.

I will update you on this last weeks deeds and how they went and communicate with you this Sunday (if not before) for the following deeds. The best part is, last week was RAOK week. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS. But of course we try to make RAOK week a daily thing right?

wpid-20140209_183814.jpg2/9/14: BUY A NICE WATER BOTTLE so you will be less inclined to buy plastic bottles:
So I did not go out and buy a new water bottle although that was my intention. I did of course, clean off an existing water bottle that I love and will start to use that. For the most part, I do not buy bottled water often but I do drink water at work and use plastic cups so by bringing my own water bottle to work I can save on the plastic cups that I would be using.

BONUS DEED: LEAVE A BIG TIP:
On this day I was also able to fulfill an old deed from last week which was to leave a big tip. I went out to dinner with my son, to Chiles and I left the amazing waiter an 100% tip. That felt really good and I bet it made him smile.

2/10/14: PLAY FREEZE DANCE:
This one was fun. Like I previously said, I dance around my house a lot usually acting silly, so this one just added to the fun ness. I had my fiancé in control of the music while my son and I danced around the room. We would freeze when he stopped the music and often just laugh at each other. It was a nice short getaway outside the routine of dinner, homework, bedtime.

2/11/14: MYSTERY DEED aka (I forget exact wording) BRING YOUR CO-WORKERS A SURPRISE during the time of day you know everyone needs a pick me up:
I was unable to complete this one. My plan was to go to Jamba Juice during lunch and bring everyone back a some smoothie. But was unable to make it to Jamba Juice this day. I will try to do this before my last day of work though in two weeks.

2/12/14: scroll through your phone and CALL THE PERSON YOU’VE KNOWN THE LONGEST:
I actually completed this one the previous day, on 2/11. I did not count family members of course, just friends, and I called my long time friend Jessica. We have been best friends since we were 7 years old. Going on 23 years to be exact. The awesome thing is, we hadn’t talked in a while so it was something I was excited to do so I could catch up with her. She did not answer when I called but I was able to talk to her this last Sunday night and I get to see her this weekend. She lives in Northern California and I haven’t seen her since last April. So I’m excited to catch up.

2/13/14: BAKE WITH YOUR KIDS:
Usually I don’t have much time to bake during the week, rarely at all in general, but I made time this week just for that. I made some valentine cupcakes with my son. He got to do all the stirring and of course the best part of licking the spoon clean afterwards. That of course is always a favorite childhood memory. I made a short video but am unable to download it here. But the cupcakes came out wonderful.

2/14/14: BUY A BUNCH OF FLOWERS on your way to work. Give each one to a colleague you appreciate:
I actually completed this one on Thursday morning because most of my co-workers have Fridays off. I stopped at the grocery store that morning and bought a small bouquet of 6 orange roses and gave one to each of my co-workers including myself. It was a nice surprise and perfect way to kick off Valentine’s day.

If you remember from Friday’s post though, I was able to leave a few love notes on strangers cars. Hopefully they took the time to read them 🙂

2/15/14: Clean out your sweater drawer and TAKE EXTRAS TO CHARITY:
Saturday turned out to be a beyond busy day for me so I was unable to complete this deed BUT being that I am in nesting mode, I will make sure to do this one before the baby comes.

If you complete any deeds this last week, whether from my list or just your own, I would love to hear about them in honor of RAOK week.

Besides that, I had a maternity photo shoot this last Sunday and I have two baby showers coming up this weekend so I feel very excited about those. Only 6 weeks left and I’ll be a new mommy of two. Exciting and Scary all at once as I have no idea what to expect but of course you will be updated.

I will be resting this week and I hope you enjoyed your weekend and have a wonderful week!!!

xoxo,

barista