Monthly Archives: April 2014

Lessons Learned From Wicked

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Witches Hat and Broom

 

 

Last night I was fortunate enough to see the traveling Broadway production Wicked. Not only was it Wickedly good, but I also found it very cathartic. I was so moved by the show’s message, that I spent the second half of the performance feeling the tears streaming down my face as I watched and listened to the moving lyrics.

 

Wicked has so many lessons contained within it – half of them I didn’t even know I needed to learn. But, once again, the Universe delivered.

  • We get what we expect – when you label someone as ‘wicked’ or ‘bad’ or ‘selfish’, you get what you ask for. You will tend to see the traits of that person that confirm your beliefs about them. Because my ex-husband didn’t work outside of the home for the last 13 years of our marriage, I labelled him as ‘lazy’. Every night when I got home from work, I would ask him about his day. He would catalog every single thing he had done that day in an effort to prove to me that he wasn’t lazy. I, on the other hand, was usually appalled by what I considered his less than stellar list of accomplishments that day. Same list, different interpretation. He saw what he had done that day; I saw what he hadn’t.
  • Intelligence is not the opposite of beauty – in school I was a nerd, always have been. Still am. Somewhere along the way I learned that if you’re smart, you can’t: be popular, play sports, make friends, go on dates, or be pretty. And so I wasn’t. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that we are all intelligent creatures. We each excel at something different and that’s what makes the world work the way it does. Yes, I have a PhD in Psychology. Yes, I am a devout and practicing nerd. And yes, I am beautiful, have friends, love to run, and am well-liked by my colleagues, friends, clients, and students.
  • Courage is not the opposite of fear – if we were never afraid to try something, we might never be motivated enough to conquer our fears and actually accomplish more than we ever thought possible. Yes, sometimes courage requires a leap of faith, but you’ll never learn to fly otherwise.
  • Kindness is always the best choice, especially in your relationship with yourself. We all make mistakes, but the fact that we are our own worst enemies tends to amplify their power over us. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Forgive others, forgive yourself. Let go of past resentments and grievances so your heart can open up to hold more loving kindness.
  • Endings are really beginnings – you know the old adage that for every door that closes another one opens? Sometimes you have to let go of the past, let go of what is familiar to find something really wonderful. Sometimes you have to slam that door firmly shut to get a new one to open. And sometimes you might get stranded in a dark hallway while you’re waiting for this new door to open. But open it will. Patience, grasshopper!
  • Different doesn’t mean bad – sometimes you’ll never know how good it can be until you try something new and unusual. I’m not saying you have to go out and try fish eyeball soup. But had I never tried dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds, I never would have known those three ingredients make a phenomenal dessert.

So why did Wicked move me to tears? It made me realize how beautiful we all are – warts, green skin, and all. And how cruel we can be – to ourselves, to others. And that when all we do is try to fit in to someone else’s definition of what we should be or do, sometimes we lose ourselves in the process. And that is a shame – because we are all wonderful and perfect just as we are.

What will you do to honor yourself today, Goddess?

Laughing with the Universe

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laughterI was talking to my friend Lori today – yes, Lori of the “Why did you break your heel?” fame. We were talking about awakening and how once you awaken and learn to listen to what the Universe is trying to tell you, you no longer have to get hit with Cosmic 2x4s.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that 2013 was my year of Cosmic 2x4s. By Fall of 2013, I felt like Lieutenant Dan in the storm-at-sea scene in Forrest Gump when Dan is raging against God and the elements – taunting God with something like, “Is that all you’ve got? Bring it!”

But as 2013 rounded the corner to 2014, I realized something. Telling the Goddess/God/Universe to “Bring it!” will get you exactly what you asked for – more Cosmic 2x4s. By fighting with the Universe, taunting it, I only managed to bring myself more heartache and more pain, which was the opposite of what I really wanted.

So I learned to laugh. Not at the Universe, mind you, but with the Universe. I started seeing those Cosmic 2x4s as lessons I needed to learn. And learn them, I did – after all, when I didn’t or when I slipped up, the Universe kindly sent me a reminder! After a while, those Cosmic 2x4s turned into gentle nudges. And as I learned to laugh with those as well. As time passes, I’m getting more and more ‘gut feelings’ than gentle nudges. Feelings from my intuition that make me stop my course before I do something that would cause the Universe to send another gentle nudge or Cosmic 2×4 my way.

It’s so much easier to be at peace with whatever lessons the Universe feels I need to learn than fighting those lessons. Life is so much more pleasant.

A spiritual teacher once told me, “Life is supposed to be hard.” I now disagree. Life should be easy – we simply have to learn to surf the waves of life rather than fight them. Am I saying that by allowing nothing bad will ever happen to us? No. But by allowing, you’ll be more likely to see the blessing of the event. For example, when my father was diagnosed with cancer, I learned that work – my to-do list, in particular – really wasn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Work would be there tomorrow, whereas my Dad might not. In fact, he only lived a year and a half after his cancer diagnosis.

Did I grieve once he passed? Of course. It felt like my heart was being ripped in two. But the more I allowed myself to grieve, the more that sadness and emptiness passed through me.

My friend Kami has a saying about life’s little lessons. The first step is to eat them – swallow them whole. Unfortunately, most of us stop there. And that lesson turns fetid, rotting away inside of us. After we eat the lesson, we should digest it – process it, journal about it, make sense of it, figure out what it means to and for us. And then, eliminate it. That’s right – let it go. Once you’ve digested it, there is no reason to keep ruminating like a cow chewing cud. The lesson is learned, you’ve gotten use out of it, so let it pass through you.

I wish I could say I always did that – eat, digest, eliminate – but I’m only human of course. Thank the Goddess that the Universe is always ready to serve that lesson up to me again on a silver platter until I finally learn to digest and eliminate it once I’ve eaten it!

So here’s to the Universe and life’s little and not-so-little lessons. May you find the courage to eat them, the strength to digest them, and the wisdom to let them pass through you.

 

Some Day My Prince Will Come? Um… Thanks But No Thanks.

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crown or tiara isolated on a white backgroundI recently wrote an Ode to the Universe for Huffington Post that has gotten generated quite a few personal emails and FB posts. In it, I discussed the lessons the Universe taught me last year. Things like when the universe tests you and you fight it, that usually doesn't work out well for you. The reality is this: whatever lesson the universe is sending you, you need to hear it. You don’t have to want it or like it, but you’d better listen to it or you’ll keep getting that same lesson over and over again.

The Universe recently sent me another lesson, one that I didn’t ask for (or course, when do we ever ask the Universe/God/Goddess for a lesson?!), had no idea was coming, and didn’t think I needed to learn – again.

When I got divorced last Fall, it was the first time I had ever truly been on my own. I went from my father’s house to my husband’s house. Growing up a child of baby boomer parents, mine was a ‘traditional’ childhood – my Mom stayed home while my Dad took care of us financially. As I was the sole breadwinner for the last 13 years of my marriage, I knew I didn’t need a man to provide for me financially. That part was clear.

But I did still think I needed a man. For what, I’m not sure. I just knew that I suddenly became a pariah to my still-married female friends when I got divorced. They couldn’t believe I had left my husband. What would I do with myself? Wasn’t I lonely?

At some point last Fall, I decided they were right. I was lonely. So once again, I decided I needed a man. I wasn’t ‘looking’, mind you, but I was open to the possibilities. The Universe soon delivered one – right to my door step – an old acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a while. And you know what happened? I immediately fell back into my old patterns – the same patterns I had with my ex-husband. Codependency. Enabling. Putting my needs on the back burner for him. It all happened so fast it scared me and we both decided it wasn’t going to work out. I was still too raw, too needy, and trying to start a relationship too soon after my divorce. So I asked for friends – preferably female – and I got them in droves.

Yet there was still some part of me that felt I needed a man to ‘complete’ me somehow. At the end of the day, I was still lonely.

Soon after, I went to a wedding. I met a man there – a creepy in-your-face feel-my-biceps kind of man who couldn’t believe I declined his generous offer to spend the night with him. Lesson learned: when you ask the Universe for something, you need to be a little more specific about exactly what you want.

After that experience, I decided to swear off men. Didn’t need them, didn’t want them. Two hours later, I met another man. This time I was careful. I held back, didn’t let my previous patterns control me. And just when I was starting to warm up to the idea of having a man in my life again, he vanished. Poof, into the night.

And that’s when I finally got it. At 40-years-old I was still waiting for my Prince Charming. For my fairytale. For someone to save me.

But that’s not at all what I was getting. Guys with mommy issues? Check. Guys who want to be taken care of? Check. Self-obsessed? Check. Flaky? Check. Not one ‘prince-like’ quality among the lot of them.

You know why? There is no Prince Charming. He’s a fairy tale. He doesn’t exist. (And even in the fairy tales, he’s not all that useful. He didn’t show up until after Snow White had battled the evil Queen, until after Cinderella figured out on her how to be the belle of the ball.)

Here’s what the Universe has been trying to tell me all these months when I thought I ‘needed’ a man to somehow save or complete me: You’ve got to be your own Prince Charming. There’s no one that’s going to save you except yourself. And nothing you really need to be saved from that you didn’t attract to your life – consciously or not – in the first place. Take charge of your own life. Be the Goddess you are – fierce, loyal, protective, beautiful. You are whole as is, all you need to be and more. You want your Prince? Look in the mirror. You are the Prince in this fairy tale.

No idea where to start? Make a list of all of the qualities your fairy tale prince should have. Now get out there and embody those qualities yourself (and don't forget to buy your own tiara while you're at it!)! And if you need help achieving your ‘fairy tale’ minus Prince Charming, call on one of the maiden goddess: Athena, Artemis, Persephone.

You go, Goddess!

 

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

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oregon coast

 When I think of the word ecstasy, I think of sex. Sex in some steamy Harlequin romance novel. Not sex that anyone has in real life. But that would mean ecstasy doesn’t exist. Then I thought, “well that can’t be right.” It’s in the dictionary so it must be a real thing! 🙂

 

And it is. Yet, it has nothing to do with sex. According to dictionary.com, ecstasy is:

1. rapturous delight.

2. an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling.

3. the frenzy of poetic inspiration.

4. mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things.

Stemming from the Latin Latin extasis or Greek ékstasis, the word originally meant displacement due to the fact that when you experience ecstasy you feel as though you’ve gone outside yourself.

As it turns out, I have experienced ecstasy in my life on many occasions – none of them having to do with sex!

I experience rapturous delight when someone gives me an unexpected gift, when I see a beautiful sunset, or when the moon is full and luminous. That is ecstasy.

I have experienced overpowering emotions on numerous occasions. Excitement on my wedding day. Grief over my father’s death, grief over my divorce. Anger at my ex-husband that made me so mad I wanted to lash out. Sorrow each time a fertility treatment failed. Peace on my trip to Hawaii. That is ecstasy.

I experience a frenzy of ‘poetic inspiration’ each time I am trying to sleep or drive and some idea comes to me and all I want to do is write it down. I wrote my book Awaken Your Inner Goddess in a state of ecstasy. It all felt like it came from somewhere outside myself. That is ecstasy.

When I go in nature – on the trails or even in my backyard in Springtime – I feel transported. Rapturous. Loving the feeling that experiencing creation at its finest brings me. That is ecstasy.

Yes, I know ecstasy. And it is not something that must be fumbled towards. It is not something you seek. It is something that finds you – in the still, quiet moments. In the moments when you stop to just feel. Be. Experience. That is true ecstasy. And it is something that we should all take time to experience every day.

What will bring you ecstasy today?