I EXIST FOR YOU

I have seen this story come up a few times, you may have as well, but just in case, I wanted to share it with you!

Shikoba

This could just be the best way to resolve all conflicts. — Originally posted on Films For Action In this African tribe, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them. For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done. The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness. But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes. The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help. They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

Shikoba Nabajyotisaikia!

NABAJYOTISAIKIA, is a compliment used in South Africa and means: “I respect you, I cherish you. You matter to me.” In response, people say SHIKOBA, which is: “So, I exist for you.”

Boy could we all learn from this one. To see the loving essence in others even when they can’t see it themselves. To inspire others of their true nature even when it feels hidden. To exist to serve others instead of ourselves. How the world would change.

Next time you are speaking to someone, even better if its a difficult relationship, I challenge you to do so while ONLY connecting with their loving essence. SEE them for the loving being they are. Listen to what they are saying behind the words, behind the behaviors, behind the personality. Connect love to love

I can bet it will make a difference.

xoxo,

barista

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What I Learned From My First Day of School

I officially finished my first evening of class at the University of Santa Monica. I have to admit I was quite nervous and had no idea what to expect. As I got to the University though, it immediately felt welcoming by staff and other students. I expect it from staff but I wasn’t sure what to expect from everyone else. It felt though like everyone was so eager to meet others which was a very comforting feeling.

Upon class starting I just kept sitting there thinking… “I did it, I’m HERE”. It was somewhat of a surreal experience to look around and see all the different faces from all walks of life, all areas of the Country as well as some people traveling from other countries. After talking to a few people before school started, I felt the connective energy like we were all feeling the same. Unsure about exactly what to expect, nervous to start digging deep into our unhealed subconscious, but ready with excitement to start becoming better versions of ourselves. My first evening went amazing and I have a feeling you will get a lot out from me on these weekends that I  have school being that I come out with new experiences and feelings fresh in mind.

Today we learned two basic skills. “Seeing the Loving Essence” and Heart-Centered Listening”. Two very important skills when learning to experience oneself as a soul having a human experience. Two VERY important skills that were great starters because it will help us throughout our experience at school to learn to see people as one and really grasp the truth of being souls having a human experience. The Professor called it, “seeing and hearing with Soul-centered eyes and ears”. 

To sum up Seeing the Loving Essence, it is “not about solving people’s ‘problems’ nor is it about ‘fixing’ them. It is about how you will ‘be’ with them. In my own words I connected that it is about “SEEING” someone as another soul and connecting with them on that level versus the physical form that they seem to be. Connecting through the energy of LOVE. It is important because as we begin to connect more with ourselves as spiritual beings comes the ability to connect with others as spiritual beings. It leaves a space open for us to be accepting to others as they are in their truth rather than what their personality or ego may be projecting. A lot of times we like to hold on so much to the personality or ego because we use that to protect ourselves but it separates us and gives us excuses as to why we are different. We have to remember that personality and ego are just outside layers covering the truth of someone and underneath we really are all the same. 

We then went into talking about the importance of listening from the heart. One of the things that “pinged” my mind (I got that description from a peer in class) was when the Professor stated that “words are just reference points that help us try to communicate something”…. he went on to explain “book and libro are just words that communicate something…they are describing the same thing but both words are NOT books, they are just words…Words are not the things they represent”. This stuck out to me a lot because I think I can tend to get caught up in the words being said and my meaning of them and less connected with the feelings and expression behind the words. A question he suggested we ask ourselves when listening to others was “What is being expressed behind the words being said?” We learned how to listen from the heart while being fully present. A major part of this was listening was resisting the urge to give advice. That’s where I knew there was a learning experience for me.

I talk to a lot of friends all the time. I tend to be someone my friends feel like they can talk to about meaningful situations. The thing is, I do find myself constantly giving advice, which I learned tonight that often while doing that you are more focused on listening with the intent to fix a problem versus just listening from the heart and connecting with the person talking. We have been trained all our lives to fix problems so it’s not surprising that it is the way most people listen. Because people tend to always come back to me for conversation, I often feel like my advice is worth giving, and truthfully maybe sometimes it is worth giving WHEN ASKED FOR, but I learned tonight that listening is one of the most important parts of connective communication.

At the end of the night we got into groups of three and we practiced talking, listening, and observing. Each person got a chance to do each. It was interesting to feel the drastic change in the energy when practicing each role and experience. Not only that, just relating to each other about how each of us felt being in each seat. Every time the group started a new conversation we started with focusing upon opening up into our authentic selves, setting an intention for that conversation according to what role we were in, and asking the spirits for help assisting us with our intention. 

When I was in the “client” seat, I think this was the “hot seat” for us all, I felt how hard it can be for me to open up, be vulnerable, and speak from an authentic place deep within. I spend so much time giving advice that I often avoid being the talker. As the client We had to talk for 17 minutes about something meaningful to us. As I realized I was going to be the client for the first role, my first thoughts were “What am I going to talk to these strangers about for 17 minutes” . Because I was the only one at the time that was expected to talk and share, I was able to feel that vulnerability of feeling open and naked but was forced to work through the fears I was having at the time and open up about something that was meaningful to me. While I got to experience how it felt to share and be vulnerable, at the same time I got to feel what its like to be truly listened to and connected with. By being in this role I felt more powerful in my need to step in that fear and express myself more in the relationships that I have.

While being in the “facilitator” aka a listener’s seat,  I was to listen while assisting to helping the “client” find their own answers by asking questions without giving advice. While sitting in this seat and listening to the client speak, I found the profound difference in “listening” and “hearing”. Most of the time I do a lot of hearing but not a lot of listening. I went into that seat with the intention to listen for the expression and less for the words. To also connect instead of seeking to solve a problem. My eyes opened a lot here because I felt I was able to connect with the client on such a profound level and just realizing how much I can miss out on with others because I’m not really listening from a place of love and connection. It also made me realize why TALKING to someone is so important. I do a lot of text or typing online with people and by doing that I am missing out on the key components of how listening is really effective. Through talking to someone, even better if it can be in person, you are able to feel the energy of what is being expressed in their tone and their meaning instead of just seeing words and attaching our own meaning to and tone to them.

Next time you are in a text conversation, it is very important to remember, as much as you think you are feeling and seeing what is being expressed, without the physical tone and energy of the other person talking, you really are ONLY attaching YOUR meaning to the words and what’s inside of YOU not them. Not only that, usually while texting, we are distracted at the same time so our attention is never fully present with the other person. I’ve learned to try to avoid trying to get into important conversations through text. Tell someone “I want to be able to be fully attentive and feel and connect with what you are saying, let’s talk on the phone or meet up in person”

And finally being the observer, It was nice to see and connect fully with the relationship of two people having effective communication. Watching one be vulnerable while the other listens with their heart. To experience that from an outside view was very eye-opening and leads to more clear intentions of what I want my relationships to feel and look like. It also gave me the opportunity to purely just listen and see without the expectation or intention to be involved but just feel. 

Overall, my experience of the first day was amazing and I can only imagine what the rest of the weekend, and year will feel like. As scared and nervous as I felt walking in versus how comfortable and safe as I felt walking out shows the power of a strong community of people and what a loving energy can give for someone. I can admit I had some judgement and assumptions towards the people in my group but that was immediately dissolved when I had the intention to feel their experiences. That one exercise that allowed me to feel a connection and similarity to the other two people in my group also allowed me to equally feel more connected with everyone in the room even though I had no conversation with them, and even those that I have relationships with outside of class and THAT is learning how to truly seeing the loving essence in everyone. 

I cant wait to see whats next!

Remember the last time you were in a meaningful conversation with someone. How well were you engaging in that communication? Were your intentions to fix a problem? Did you give advice? Did you feel what the person was feeling without judgement or assumptions? If you were the talker, were you able to be vulnerable and open? If not, what was stopping you?

Challenge: Next time you are in a meaningful conversation with someone in person and you are the listener, I want you to set the intention to just listen to them and feel what is being expressed behind the word. Connect and see yourself in that person. See them through the lenses of soul centered eyes. If you are the talker, open up and be vulnerable. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Notice how it feels to be listened to or NOT listened to and still connect and see yourself in that other person. Then come back and comment how having soul centered eyes and ears felt?

Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments section below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else

xoxo,

barista

 

Day 38: “I Will Help Those In Need” – Funds 4 Nate

Good Morning Fellow Coffee Readers,

Today I wanted to share with you my experience of Day 38 of “May Cause Miracles” and how I decided to be of service to others. Week 6 is all about focusing on becoming a miracle worker. A quote that I liked from the book was that “being a miracle worker isn’t just about letting go of negative beliefs and becoming happy: there is much much more. Being a miracle worker is a practice of personal growth that leads to worldly transformation.”

Wednesday was my second time repeating Day 38 because I decided to start the week over again a few days ago. On Day 38 the focus is “Shift from ME to WE”. The morning reflection was:

“Today I prepare to shift my focus from me mentality to a we mentality. When I am of service to others, I get out of my own way and stop focusing on my own inner turmoil. Today I choose to shift my attention from my internal dialogue by consciously paying attention t o others. I will listen to those who want to be heard. I will help those who are in need. I will guide those who are lost. I will serve those who call for love.”

Although May Cause Miracles is not religious based book, because of the value of this particular prayer, for the evening exercise I had to recite the Prayer of Saint Francis (which you can find here) and then meditate in a way to get my inner guide to help me be of service to someone else. The first time I did this exercise I focused on someone I knew and how  I could be of service. The answer came to me as in to help my friend, who is on a tight budget, with photographing her wedding within her means and budget (I do photography on the side). This time I didn’t want to focus on anything specific but wanted to see what would show itself in my path. I told you, I’m having fun playing with manifesting stuff.

Last week a friend of mine’s boyfriend had a stroke while in the gym working out and was rushed to the hospital. I remember, at the time, vaguely knowing about it but not the extent of the aftermath. Well just yesterday (the day after my meditation mind you) I finally was able to visit the funding website they set up to get help for his medical bills because he needs to go through intense therapy to recover from a loss of many of his skills including his speech and motor movements. I had NO idea this was going on. I was amazed when I saw how many people had helped in just two days. They posted a goal of $15,000 and two days later over 80 people had helped and they raised more than $9,000 for her boyfriend.

I immediately knew that I had viewed this website on this day for a reason. My inner guide was bringing it to my path like  I had asked. I had actually saw her post about the website the day or so before but hadn’t gotten the chance to look at it and I believe it happened yesterday by no mistake or coincidence. I wasn’t even consciously thinking about my meditation from the night before. It wasn’t until after that I realized the connection. So this morning I donated $50 towards his funding. Being that I have a voice, on here especially, I feel the need to share with you the information and do with it what you will.

I know that many of you do not know my friend nor her boyfriend but I would LOVE for you to at least take a look at their website and read about his story. IF you feel compelled, feel free to donate for the help of his treatment. I’m almost positive they are going to end up needing way more than what  is being asked right now and any amount helps. Let’s come together and help show them the power of WE and raise well over the goal amount being asked. Sporadically I have hosted my “$50 give-aways” where I ask for ideas from other people of where to donate money but every once in a while, something more personal and close to home calls and this is one of those moments.

Check out www.gofundme.com/funds4nate and read Nathan’s story and I just ask, if the urge speaks, listen! Even $1 counts. Feel free to let them know My Mornin’ Coffee sent ya.  🙂

Here’s to a WE based mindset!!!

xoxo,

barista

Happy Birthday To Me

happybirthdaytomeSo Wednesday was my 29th birthday and boy did I feel special. I found myself continuously thinking “what did I do to deserve this?”, Sometimes even thinking “I don’t deserve this”. Isn’t that crazy? On my birthday of all days, I would think I didn’t deserve the love or gift that someone is offering me.

How do you react when people give you compliments? Instead of saying thank you and receiving the positive energy, many of us tend to dismiss the compliment in some way. We will minimize it or counter it. You may even say thank you but really aren’t taking it in at all. I never noticed I used to do that until someone had to blatantly point it out to me. Conversation went something like this “I love your hair, its beautiful” “Omg I hate it, it’s so thin and damaged, but thanks”. Boom a three in one!

Throughout the day on my birthday I had to consciously think sometimes “you are getting this recognition because people love you and want to express that”. I’m sure I can’t be the only one that has a hard time receiving love. Why do you think it’s so hard for us to receive love? It could be a multitude of reasons I guess but some that come to mind are because 1. We aren’t used to it 2. We fear the vulnerability 3. We don’t receive enough love from ourselves.

We Aren’t Used To It

One reason it could be hard to receive love is because you did not have a lot of positive experiences when you were younger. This lack now leads to a pain surrounding love. Maybe your parents didn’t encourage you as much as you would have liked. Not only that, maybe you saw your friends parents encourage them therefore you built this pain around the fact that you weren’t getting the same thing. In order for us to fully take in love, we have to be able to open our hearts. When you open your heart you have to touch on that bottled up pain that is there. Sadly, our human nature has been to try to avoid pain so we choose to keep our hearts closed making it hard to let the positive energy in. Paradoxically this avoidance will actually lead us to more pain down the road.

I think a good way to try to heal this part of you is to go back to the memory of that little boy or girl and give them the love you wanted. It’s even better if you have specific memories in which you clearly did not receive what you needed. If you felt your parent did not show you the love you wanted, know that it does not mean they didn’t love you. Maybe they didn’t get the loved they needed when they were younger therefore have a hard time expressing it just the same. Tell yourself “Even though I did not receive the love and encouragement I wanted, I choose to love and encourage myself”

The Fear Of Being Vulnerable

As mentioned above, to fully receive positive energy we have to be open to it. Being open can feel totally exposing. When someone would give me a compliment, it felt awkward to sit there and just accept it and say thank you. I felt naked. Someone was “seeing” me so  I had to cover up by counteracting the compliment. Whats wrong with being seen? I can’t help but hear the voice of the crocodile hunter… there’s me mate right ova there. so here’s what we do, we gotta give ye a mighty compliment aye, when ye accepts it that means ye trust us now right…well now that we have that trust there we have the opportunity to pounce on that mate there when they aren’t looking at us and eat em right up…oh yea and then spit er right out because ye taste bloody horrible! (ps: dont know if Australians say “ye” i just made it up haha

Oh yea, people can then sense your weakness then pounce when you’re not ready, and then when they can really see you they will reject you… so you MUST stay guarded at all times right? We’re not zebras in a field of hungry lions. We are humans and deep down we seek love but again we  want to avoid pain. Being open means being vulnerable which means being susceptible to pain. Well the great thing about pain is that it is a function of your own perspective. Practice being vulnerable. The fear of vulnerability often feels like you have something to hide, so start sharing stuff. Even if it’s just to yourself in the mirror for now. Let it all out…the good, bad, and ugly…and then guess what… LOVE YOURSELF!

We Don’t Love Ourselves Enough

I would say one of the number one reasons it’s hard for us to receive love is because deep down we don’t feel worthy of it. Of course we all like to think we love ourselves but think about how you show love to yourself. Is saying “ugh my hair is so thin and damaged” loving yourself? Is talking negatively about your body loving yourself? Is telling yourself you’re damaged loving yourself? If we can not receive enough love from ourselves, when someone else  is giving us love we tend to have an inner conflict. What they are saying or doing is not matching up to out internal beliefs. In this case, one of two things will happen… we will either let our own negative belief win, OR we will exchange the negative belief for the positive one. Being that we’ve been wired to take the easy route, keeping whats already there is usually what happens. So time to practice the latter fo the two. Exchanging the negative belies for positive ones. We can start by the beliefs we have about ourselves. Each morning try to say something positive about yourself. Then list reasons why this is true. Smile at yourself. Hug yourself. Dance, Sing, LOVE YOURSELF. Love yourself as if you were a friend, because in reality you should be your own friend.

I can admit, I had to remain pretty aware throughout the day on my birthday in order to fully receive all that was coming my way. And guess what, IT FELT GOOD!!! Could you imagine that. Receiving Love FEEL GOOD! So this barrier we’ve built around our heart to avoid pain actually has blocked love in the process. Silly us!!! My birthday present to myself was letting love in!

Try it!!! Be vulnerable, Love yourself, and Get used to it and I promise you, it will feel great!!! Happy Birthday to me.

xoxo,

barista

I’m Baaaaaack!

So I have been a little M.I.A (and no that’s not Miami) for the last month or so. So many changes have happened and truthfully I just didn’t make time for the blog. I beat myself up for it a bit but then realized that it’s ok to take a break! Sometimes when you take a break and sit out for a bit you can come back refreshed and brand new.

So upon starting this little post I decided that I want to really give my true authentic self. I know I have said this over and over andddd over again but it’s the part I struggle with when it comes to this blog. I worry so much about readers and followers that I don’t focus much on just allowing my inside to shine out. No expectations. When you have no expectations is when you can allow yourself to receive the highest results and most times that can come in ways we NEVER expected.

I decided it’s about time for me to start a routine to have that time to myself in order to touch on the feelings that are usually pushed aside. I realized that as in tuned with my SELF as I am, I am just as much out of tune. Ever get asked, “How are you feeling?” and your typical answer is “Good” or “I’m okay”. Do you even know that means to you? Do you REALLY know how you’re feeling? Can you accurately describe your feelings? How do you know you feel that way? What in your body is telling you so? These are questions most of us don’t even think about before uttering the expected “I’d doing good”. If you don’t know the answers then how do you know that how you describe to be feeling is even accurate to whats really going on? The only way to find out is to start investigating the truth behind the words.

As mentioned in my very first blog, I am an avoider. I avoid FEELING. So as part of my routine I want to start to meditate and sit with my feelings and write from my heart and from what I feel. This way it can come from a pure place, even if painful, instead of a place in which I need validation or recognition. I used to get so scared about writing… “what if I’m not good enough” but if I allow myself to write about whatever comes up I can do no wrong because that is what needs to be dealt with at that time.

I just finished my first mediation partially guided by a small script in Gabrielle Bernstein’s book “Add more -ing to your life”.  I downloaded some relaxing meditation music and just focused on breathing. I sat on my couch, put my hands to my side and took deep breaths in. I worked on focusing where the pain was coming from. At first I thought my stomach and I was trying to breathe through the pain. Then as I was doing that I started thinking “well why would it come from my stomach, shouldnt it be my heart or something”. There’s that expectation again. I wasn’t even sure if anything was really coming from my stomach either at that point.

After taking a few deep breaths, my head started to feel like it was floating and it started moving what felt very slowly but uncontrollably. It fell back against the couch and slowly was moving up and down , left and right. I immediately thought about “Ask and It Is Given” when Abraham got Esther’s attention and of course I then started trying to figure out if my head was making letters. Yup expectation again! When I caught myself I re-focused back on breathing and just allowing whatever was happening to just happen. It almost felt like a masseuse was guiding my head in circles trying to loosen it up and get my to just relax and let it in.

Maybe that was my answer… Maybe that is where my pain is located. In my head. Maybe in all my expectations. I will have to touch on that more but it was an enlightening experience none the less and led me to start up this post and come back to My Mornin Coffee. So here we go, with intention to let the expectations go, starting with this blog. This is not a “normal” post for me…there is no “message” but some times maybe there doesn’t need to be. Some times the words just need to be free with nothing in mind but to glide. And I will allow that to be ok.

Thanks for having me back!

xoxo,

Guest Blogger: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

 Hello… I haven’t always been a straight “A” student nor a contributor to life. Growing up disturbed, lonely, and afraid led me into a constant cycle of abuse which varied between abuse coming from outside myself and the abuse coming from inside my own beliefs and decisions. I always knew I was meant for something greater than a life in the adult industry, but I never had the enthusiasm and determination it takes to overcome the obstacles I was facing. That is, until I became a single mother and vowed to do whatever it took to learn what it meant to heal and become a healthy, hard-working mama. The love I had for my child gave me the key to my motivation and success. Through showing up for her, I get to heal myself and give her all the things I needed as a child. Love is a powerful thing.

I would say most people do not like to be uncomfortable… the ones who do, get used to being uncomfortable because they have seen the payoffs. Those are the ones truly living. Like Olympic athletes who struggle through every training, push themselves to the edge & triumph in their success after they have reached their goals. They have to learn discipline, dedication, and foster the ability to overcome adversity. I have realized, I am the Olympic athlete of my life.

Ever since I can remember, I have lived with this deep pain in my heart and the overwhelming feeling of not belonging to anyone or any group. I experienced a lot of adversity through multiple layers of abuse that no child should ever experience. I was in so much pain that I had to learn how to survive, not life, but survive my own feelings of discomfort (suffering). I would run, literally, I would hide, and I would self-medicate for over a decade. Until one day, an innocent human life was put in my hands to take care of & I decided to face reality once in for all. Intuitively, I knew that the only way to being capable of mothering a child would be to stop the crap & get ready for battle with my own demons.

Over time the lessons get deeper and more clear. Just recently I transferred to UC Berkeley with a bundle of fears and self-doubt. How can I, an ex-stripper (some would say ex-whore), keep up with the big dogs here in the academic & spiritual world? I have recently won 29 awards for my community service efforts, my club involvement, and advocacy. I am riding on a full-ride scholarship to the best public school in the world. Most people without heavy abuse baggage & decades of self-loathing would be delighted. I, however, went into a terrible depression. All the issues I thought I had already worked on came rearing their ugly faces & for a moment I believed it was who I was. But then, through reaching out to God, to my inner self, to my friends, and my family… I realized this is the lesson. I am allowed to feel. Deeply, truly, for better or for worse & this very torment I was going through, I knew it would soon come to an end & I would be bigger, stronger, and ready for the next level.

The trick is acceptance & non-judgement BUT how can I not judge myself when I am on the kitchen floor crying wanting to give up and feeling so alone? You just have to breath and ride this part of the wave and trust this the path will not abandon you. I chose this! I will practice receiving & soaking up the fruits of my hard work & dedication. This is the hardest part for me… just accept the goodness & let go of everything that I AM NOT. I can testify that when you set out the intention to heal & to reach your fullest potential… WATCH out bc it ain’t no joke! You will have to face the deepest darkest ugliest parts of yourself & the world to emerge on the other side. 

All I wanted four years ago, when I became pregnant, was to not party and to heal for this child. I wanted to be a good mama, I wanted no one to ever take this child from me… and I got it! I didn’t know how hard this road would be, but I also had no idea how deeply rewarding it was going to be as well. Just when I think it can’t get any better, it does. And, then it gets bumpy again… but those bumps catapult me into another level of existence with my heart blazing on fire, ready to take on the world & love & be & sing & dance & play & eat & feel. That’s the adventure.

People always tell me “your so inspirational” “how do you do it” “you are so brave”… For me, there’s absolutely no other option anymore. I refuse to live in misery and pain and shame anymore. I have the most precious responsibility to adhere to raising a little girl… I don’t dare give up or back down from that even when everything in me screams to run away. Get comfy with being uncomfy & wonderful things will happen.

If you want to heal, if you want to be free, if you want to learn what it means to live, just ask & get ready. Take your stance.

xo, Robin

Robin Rivera, a former worker in the adult industry and abuser of alcohol and drugs for many years, is now an ambassador for the CalWORKs Association (which supports low-income families get out of poverty through education & training). She is also a mentor at MISSSEY (Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth) where she works helping many young girls and prevent sexual exploitation of young children through raising awareness, education, and development. Recently Robin was awarded the  2012 Miller Scholar at UC Berkeley as an undergrad and started her curriculum there this August. “All of these involvements have been part of my healing process teaching me one step at a time to love my path and to have self-acceptance. 29 awards later and numerous public speaking engagements, I have accepted that because of my position it is my obligation to give voice to all the people who society can not hear”. You can follow Robin’s personal blog, Crazy Beautiful.