In light of the recent tragedies of police murdering citizens and citizens murdering police, I expected that things would get ugly again, especially on social media. I shed a lot of tears this past week, but it was due to all of the love I was seeing. Some of the posts were from last April and were being passed around again. Some of the posts are recent, but they all carry the same message - let's give our attention to love. I'd like to share a few of these beautiful posts:
These tragedies are providing us with the opportunity to change - to be more human to each other. To see each other as a person - not as a color, sex or religion. We are allowed to be angry, we're allowed to be furious - let's let that motivate change in our society, not propagate more hate and division. The bottom line is NO ONE deserves to be targeted. What does deserve to be targeted is hate and that is brought down by love. What deserves to be targeted is racism and ignorance and that is brought down by dialogue and getting to know others for the people they are. Change must happen and it starts with each and every single one of us. At the end of the day it is more important that we "don't hate evil more than we love good" because, quite frankly, #LoveMatters.
Love, Adrienne :)
I used to work as a substitute teacher a few years back. I have a few degrees in education, but I am so beyond disillusioned with our "education" system that I barely put those degrees to use. I know a lot of teachers who are amazing at what they do. They really care and they do their best to be creative and try to keep the attention of their students - many of whom were raised on sugar and video games. Yet, the teaching field is becoming more and more challenging as teachers are being forced to teach to tests, they are dealing with serious behavioral issues, they have to put in their own money for supplies and their job goes home with them. How many teachers can get all of their papers graded, teach full schedules and plan their classes while filling out non-stop paperwork for the state before the end of their work day? Not too many.
While on a trip to Antarctica, I met a man who worked for the State Department whose job was promoting our education system abroad. I couldn't fathom this. I've attended schools in other countries and can tell you, their education systems are far better than what we're doing here. This is a person who never taught (yet his mother was a teacher) and considered himself an expert. I think we have too many "experts" in the higher up positions and not enough people with the ground experience to say this is what works and this is what needs changed.
I can remember when I subbed for a home economics class, the lesson plan was how to use a microwave - SERIOUSLY??? No wonder the high school kids were so bored and despondent. How about teaching them real life skills like how to balance a check book, how credit cards work, how to do your taxes, how to balance your diet and grow your own food...?
Another time I subbed for a high school science class and the kids had a group test to take. The fact that it was a group test boggled my mind. I caught them cheating as they were able to find the test online and were using their smart phones to tell them the answers. They all laughed when I took their tests away. How about teaching ethics in school?
During a language class that I was subbing, a boy made the comment that he was going to beat the crap out of another student at lunch. I had a quick talk with him about what the consequences would be if he did it and how it wasn't worth it. After the kids left for lunch, I called the office to give them a heads up. When the students returned from lunch, I asked where the (angry) student was and they said he was taken away in handcuffs for punching another student. How about we teach kids how to resolve their problems without resorting to violence? How about we teach our kids how to deal with their emotions?
My last story is about the time I subbed for a social studies teacher. The A.P. classes played on their phones, talked to each other and refused to engage in the classroom discussion. These are our future "leaders." Yet, the "degenerate" class engaged in a meaningful conversation about present day politics. These were the "misfit" kids, yet they showed more intelligence, respect and critical thinking than any of the other classes. A classic case of never judge a book by its cover. These are the kids who are shunned. Why aren't we teaching kids how to engage in dialogue with those different from them? To understand that their views matter too?
Our education system needs a massive overhaul and more testing is not the way to go. We need to bring humanity back into the picture. We are more than our brains. Bringing back the arts, teaching critical thinking, allowing for the expression of creativity, teaching empathy, teaching techniques on how to handle the stresses of life - these are all things that would put our children on a better path for a better tomorrow. How much further are we going to go down this slippery slope before we decide to generate real change?
Forever learning LOVE, Adrienne :)
Do you have a go-to song that just seems to help you get through things? Or, when you hear a song, it immediately transports you back to the event or situation it reminds you of? We have our playlists that help us get through our breakups and our workouts. We have songs that soothe us and songs that get our bodies moving. There are songs that speak to the plight of humanity and there are songs that raise our spirits and bring us back to our humanity. It’s amazing how powerful music is.
Over the past months, as I’ve been going through a lot of transitioning, there is one song in particular that I turn to. It’s called "Countless Roads" by Swiss singer James Gruntz. His music is a fusion of blues, jazz, pop, soul and beats. I was fortunate enough to see him live and have his CD. The first song on the CD was a little annoying to me because he’s repeating the same words over and over and over. Then, I really listened to what he was saying and that song has become my mantra. The lyrics are:
Shadow and light
Shadow and light
All is mercy
All is (in) mercy
So don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid
I can’t tell you how much I love this song and sing along to it when I need that boost of inner strength. This life takes us down countless roads filled with shadows and light, but in the end – there really is nothing to fear. We, as an essence of Divine energy, are greater than our fears. We are never really alone as we go down these roads. The shadow and light are there to show the contrast, to help us learn - it’s how we choose our roads and find our way. This is one of the greatest lessons I’m learning – to not be afraid.
Love, Adrienne :)
I recently heard the saying: "We can either allow something to destroy us, define us or strengthen us." I get the point that's trying to be made - we should persevere by allowing our traumas, trials and tribulations to strengthen us instead of staying stuck in them. As I usually do, I thought about the quote to see how it applies to my life. I realized that all of the hardest experiences I've been through have in some way destroyed me, re-defined me and strengthened me.
My confidence has been shattered, my trust in people became nearly nonexistent, my fears have maintained me in a chokehold, I have felt rejection at every level of my being, I have felt worthless and yes, my heart has been broken - multiple times. I have been abandoned, I have been put down, I have been misunderstood, I have been ignored and I have been defined as someone I am not. All of this has come about through different circumstances throughout my life.
I have felt utterly destroyed. Yet, I realized that it was the false parts of myself that needed to die off. I have had to dig deep to find the healing and compassion that is innately me. I have had to stop looking outside of myself for something I've had inside all along. My happiness is internal. My love is internal. My confidence is internal. It's not out there or in someone else. It's like the Phoenix rising from the ashes - I was destroyed and through that destruction, I was renewed.
For as long as I can remember, I've fought against the confines that I'd been placed in by myself or others. I was in an imaginary prison of who I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to behave and act. If I wasn't a certain way, how would so and so love me? I have learned that I can re-define myself - that I am not how others define me or even how I define myself - especially if it is contrary to the True Essence of who I really am. I do not have to live up to the expectations that others hold in order for me to be loved. I am loved because I AM.
All of the hard times in my life have absolutely strengthened me. That's what the hard times are for. They are meant to grab our attention to make the necessary changes our Soul needs to grow. It's during these hard times when our hearts must be more expansive than ever. The ego may want to wallow, play the victim or the coward, yet we must take ownership of who we really are - an Essence of the Divine who is innately love and compassion. That's who I am, that's who you are, that's who the person who hurt you is - we just keep forgetting or are completely disconnected from that Truth.
The events that occur in our lives can hurt us profoundly as well as introduce us to a pain we never knew possible. Be compassionate with yourself. Work to open your heart instead of the knee-jerk reaction of shutting it down. Let go of the emotions, thoughts and beliefs that hold you back. When life knocks you down - let it destroy you. Let it destroy all of the false aspects of you that no longer serve you. Let it define you - by re-defining YOU. Your ego may feel like it took a huge hit, but your Soul remains undamaged. You are your Soul, not your ego. And yes, let it strengthen you. We grow from every experience we have - in small ways or by leaps and bounds. When life knocks you down, take the time to acknowledge where you're at and how you're feeling. Take the time you need to heal and forgive. When you're ready, dust yourself off and stand back up - preferably with your heart more full of compassion and love.
Love, Adrienne :)
A lot of unsettling things have happened in the past week or so. Brock Turner's mild slap on the wrist, voter fraud and the massacre in Orlando have been quite the hot topics. Social media can be an incredible tool to promote awareness and move us towards change in a more positive direction. Due to the Brock Turner sentence, people are having a deeper discussion on rape culture. This case is a perfect example - he was the perpetrator, but his father, his friends and he himself tried to convince us that he's the victim - I guess they convinced the judge. This case brought to light the injustice that pervades our legal system. People should feel uncomfortable, they should get riled up - it's something that must change. It is NEVER o.k. to sexually assault another - yet it's occurring every day.
There have been so many instances of voter fraud. One person filmed that every time they tried to vote for Bernie Sanders, their electronic vote would go to some other candidate whose name I haven't heard of. There were personal stories of people going to multiple polling places, but they all had run out of ballots. The system is either massively flawed or it is rigged - I'm guessing it's a combination of both. This should stir people up, it should get them talking - it's something that needs to change. Our vote is meant to count.
The Orlando massacre is another sad and tragic situation. A lot of people, who were out for a fun night of dancing, leave behind grief-stricken family and friends. This should shake people up - it is something that needs to change. It is NEVER o.k. to hurt other people to satisfy a vendetta.
On all of these topics, people have taken to social media to express their views and opinions. What's disheartening is so many are contributing more energy to the ugliness. The victim blamers and shamers added their 2 cents. A good deal of Trump, Clinton, Sanders supporters had their say, mainly by bashing each other. The anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT and anti-guns are all finger pointing. People are so caught up clinging to their beliefs and going at each other that we're ignoring the bigger picture that needs to change.
We must stop grouping people and labeling or defining them by their gender, ethnicity, religion, social caste, sexuality, political view or culture. A person, is a person, is a person. What motivates someone to walk up and kill another or go into a crowd and open fire? What motivates a person to physically and sexually harm another? What we're seeing in the news today are not isolated cases. We've seen them in the past and we'll continue to see them in the future until we, as a society, do better. We need to acknowledge how desensitized we have become. All you have to do is turn on a movie, t.v. show or video game - most of which propagate physical and sexual violence. As I was doing some research for this blog entry, I went to the BBC site. Their top stories: the Orlando massacre, violence at the Euro 2016, a Dutch woman convicted by the Qatari court for sex outside of marriage (her drink was spiked and she was raped) and a Canadian hostage killed by a militant group. Yes, it is time for us to do better, to BE better. We must hold each other accountable, promote the best of our humanity and we must come from a place of LOVE - not hate. I leave you with Lin-Manuel Miranda's beautiful words from his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards.
Love, Adrienne :)
WWJD was quite the trend a while back. When you came across a situation, you were supposed to ask yourself, What would Jesus do? and act/react more like he would. Jesus was an amazing teacher and example of compassion. It seems that he truly practiced what he preached.
I recently read an article about a lady who came across a young man holding up a sign asking for assistance. He'd been laid off and couldn't find work and could no longer afford housing or even a cell phone bill. She helped him out. What stuck with me is something that she said, "extend your hand, don't point it." When it comes down to it, many people will judge or look the other way instead of lending a hand.
I love the image above because it reminds us that we're all here for a reason and a major part of that reason is to love, be compassionate and help each other out. I can see why people turn to God as some of the things we face individually or as a community are simply overwhelming. The issue lies in that people are either waiting for God to fix things or they just accept what is and say it's all part of God's plan. Isn't it possible that we are here to have this work done through us? That we are the ones we've been waiting for, but haven't realized it yet? That through our own individual and united actions, we can and do change the world for better?
If we want this world to be a better place it all starts with loving ourselves. Then, that love and compassion we have for ourselves spreads out to others in a genuine way. It's time we start seeing the world and others through Source's loving eyes. I'm pretty sure that's what Jesus would do.
Love Adrienne :)
Sometimes, you can find some real gems on Facebook. I came across a post of this story from Tales of Hasidim by Martin Buber. It's quite a poignant story. So often people turn to their religious teachings and miss the point of acting from compassion. Our Source, God, whatever name you choose to define it by, is the essence of unconditional love - pure and beautiful. Unfortunately, some bend religious teachings to support and or justify their hate, their fear or to control.
The media has been drumming up the issues of refugees, transgender rights and politics to name a few. It is disconcerting how much hate and fear is flying around these topics. How can someone be cruel to someone else (face-to-face or not) and then feel they're a good person just because they went to church/mosque/synagogue/temple? For those who preach that God hates gays or is against them, they truly do not know God. How can we preach that God is love, yet only for certain kinds of people? We're applying conditions to what's actually unconditional.
The story above is a great reminder to live from a place of compassion and love - for self and for others. We all have the capability to do so. It's all about choice. We are innately good, we are innately love. It's time we start recognizing it and owning it. In helping ourselves and others, we're actually more in alignment with our Creator and we live from a space of Truth - whether we believe in a God or not.
Namaste, Adrienne :)
I recently read Dying To Be Me, by Anita Moorjani. It's about her NDE (near death experience) when she had stage 4 cancer. Not only did she have an NDE, within 6 weeks of that experience, her cancer was gone. It's a fabulous account and is full of wonderful wisdom gleaned from the other side. This book is definitely worth a read.
In her story, she discusses her childhood in Hong Kong. Of Indian descent, she was raised in the Hindu traditions, yet her early education was in a Catholic school run by nuns. She talks about an instance when a classmate of hers asked why she and her family didn't attend church on Sundays. When she replied that her family is Hindu, he said, "You need to tell your parents to take you to church to pray to God every Sunday, otherwise you won't get to heaven when you die." When Anita got home, the following dialogue occurred with her mother:
"Mama, my friends and the Sisters at my school say that I have to go to church on Sundays, and I have to study the Bible if i want to go to heaven when I die."
Her mother replied: "You don't have to worry about that. Just tell everyone at school that we're Hindus; and when you're a little older, you'll study our scriptures, the Vedas. People from different places have different faiths. You'll come to learn that after we die, we're reincarnated into other circumstances."
Anita: "I don't think the kids in my school are going to buy that, And I'm scared. What if they're right? They can't all be wrong. How can the Sisters be wrong?"
(My favorite part) My mother pulled me close and said, "Don't be scared, Beta. no one really knows the truth - not even Sister Mary. Religion is just a path for finding truth. Religion is not truth. it is just a path. And different people follow different paths. "
Anita came to realize the truth of this statement during her time on the other side. There is no one religion where we go after we die. She learned many other truths as well and shares them with others, as she experienced them, in her book as well as in speaking engagements.
I once heard the comparison of a bicycle wheel and religion. God/Source/Creator is the wheel and the many spokes are the different religions. Different spokes, same wheel. Instead of spending our energy trying to convince others that our spoke/religion is better or is the only way to Source, we should be directing that energy to actually getting to know Source, the God within and the God without. Religion is a tool, a path - it is not the end all, be all. We're all on our own paths, our own journeys - but no matter the path they all lead us back to the same space.
Love, Adrienne :)
I once attended a presentation on vinegar and wine given by a wonderful man named Kurt Ammann who has a vineyard in S. Africa. I really enjoyed his talk and trying the different types of vinegar that they make on his property. He made a comment about wine that was a "hmmmm" moment for me. He said, "The same wine tastes different to each person." As I let that sink in, it got me thinking about how in life, no two people see it, experience it or live it the same way. Each experience we have collectively "tastes" different to every person involved. Some savor the experience, others dump the wine out of the glass in disgust, while others chug it down and go looking for more. What one may find as sweet, another can find too sour.
This little anecdote is important because we sometimes need to be reminded that not everyone sees things the way we do. Back in the day when I used to drink, I very much enjoyed sparkling white wine. I'd been told that it's not "real wine" or that red wine was way better (I never tried a red I actually liked). Who cares? I'm the one drinking it and enjoying it, thank you very much. Why do people feel the need to impose their own experience onto mine? More importantly, why would I let them?
Besides understanding that we all experience the same things differently, it's important to remember that the only time other people's opinions dictate our own experience is when we let them. We all have our opinions - some are just way more vocal and pushy when offering theirs. Your experience is yours, their experience is theirs. How much their opinion changes your experience is up to you. If you let them, some can ruin your experience or, on the flip side, they can direct you towards a new way to experience that you hadn't tried before. At the beginning, middle and end of the day - it's your life. By becoming more cognizant of how others impact your experience, along with the understanding that we all experience life through different eyes, the more conscious and aware you'll be - which will bring about a whole new experience unto itself. Wine anyone?
Cheers! - Love, Adrienne
I've taken some flack for the work I put into myself as I make my way along this journey of self-discovery. I've been told it should be less about me and more about others; that I'm selfish. I disagree. There are times where you really need to make it all about you and there are times when you really should put others first. The difference lies in if what you're about to do is for the purpose of your ego or for your Soul/Essence/True Self. For example, if you decide to run a stop sign just so you can get in front of a line of traffic, only to then turn 1/4 mile down the road - you're catering to your ego. There is no thought for the others in traffic - whom you have now just slowed down - only your need to hurry up, get ahead and put yourself first. That's the Ego: me, me, me. Now, let's say you have a ton of responsibilities that are demanding your time, yet you go out for an hour or so to walk in Nature. You're taking the time to decompress and reset your rhythms so you can go about the rest of your day without the threat of burn-out looming over you. That's self-care and looking out for the "I."
There is nothing selfish about walking your spiritual journey. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself and giving precedence to your relationship with your Soul. The most important thing we can do is get to know who we truly are, to break down the falsehoods of the ego and stop living as how others have defined us . As we connect to our Real 'Self' - we begin to live out the compassion and love we truly are. We begin to see others with different eyes. We begin to act instead of react. The ego is all about reacting - it thrives on emotional triggers and playing out drama.
If it's all about your ego - put others first. If it's about your Soul connection - put that first, every time. There's a Zen proverb that I love: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour. This world is in the state it is because we're letting our egos run the show. Imagine if we all worked on our Soul connection and lived in the truth of who we really are - it would be a much different reality. I encourage everyone to take the time to quiet the mind and connect to your real Essence. Take some time each day to consciously breathe, reflect and connect. It's a life changer!
Much Love, Adrienne :)
Last week I had the happy opportunity to take part in my cousin's special day. It was a joyous wedding and I was brought to tears quite a few times due to the amount of love that abounded. Being the sentimental somewhat crafty one in the family, I came up with an idea for a slightly unique wedding gift. No matter how much we care about or love someone, we will inevitably hit some rough patches. Without those rough patches, how can we grow? I approached her guests during that down time after the wedding and before dinner and asked each one to write down a piece of wisdom/encouragement for the couple. I folded all of the flower shaped papers and placed them in a decorated Mason jar with the sign: "The... who needs Dr. Phil when you have... Wisdom Jar. "
While I was considering what advice I'd offer, this project got me thinking about relationships in general - friendships, romantic, familial, you name it. It occurred to me that there are 3 C's for successful relationships:
Have a beautiful week! Love, Adrienne :)
Life really does seem like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you're slowly climbing your way uphill with something, sometimes you round one curve to only find another, sometimes it's a series of loops and twists, sometimes you end up going through dark tunnels and sometimes it's straight downhill. Like life, a roller coaster ride can be thrilling, scary, heart-stopping, terrifying or exciting - usually it's a combination of those feelings. The past few weeks alone have been quite the ride, especially for people in Ecuador and Japan. There has also been a number of pets crossing the rainbow bridge as of late and it's hard not to be sad when you lose a fellow passenger.
Recently, for myself, there have been some highs, quite a few lows, some new twists and turns and I've been thrown for a couple of loops. What I've come to realize is it's up to me as to how I see this ride. I can tightly grip the handle bars and and brace myself for what might come next, I can allow the ride to terrify me, I can smile and enjoy it as much as I can or I can throw my arms up in the air for the duration. It's totally my choice how I'm going to react to this ride called life. I can scream, I can laugh, I can cry, I can be pissed off it's not going the way I want it to, I can sit and observe or do all of the above. While there aren't any wrong choices, each choice does affect how I perceive the ride.
There's a photo of my nephew when he was little and it was his first time on a kid's roller coaster ride. The photo captures the sheer bliss and joy on his face. To me, it's a magical moment caught in time. It's a reminder that we're all capable of experiencing that bliss, that joy - when we let go and enjoy. I also love the photo you see below. Take a close look at the passengers.
The women in the first two cars seem to be having a great time. The women in the third car look bored and irritated. The women in the last car look like they're too busy worrying about their valuables to even enjoy the ride. This is your life, your ride - you have the power of choice too. Life will definitely throw some twists and turns, some curves and some huge ups and downs - the question is, how are you going to ride?
Here's to enjoying the ride as much as possible - Love, Adrienne :)
This coming Friday, the 22nd, is Earth Day. It's a day to demonstrate our support of environmental protection. We live on such a diverse and beautiful planet, yet the short-sighted actions of humanity have contributed to the elimination or near elimination of tens of thousands (if not more) of species who also inhabit(ed) the Earth. It punches me in the gut every time I drive by a piece of land being strip mined. It brings me such sadness to see tree after tree being chopped down. There are places in the U.S. where the water is undrinkable due to contaminants from corporate dumping, run off from mining, fracking - to name a few. Don't get me started on the fact that many countries are still dumping massive amounts of trash into the ocean everyday including tons of plastic - as in 8 million tons a year. Out of sight, out of mind - until you're personally affected by it. At this point, go to any coastal beach and you will find trash washed up on the shore. I was recently at a beach preserve on the East Coast and was flabbergasted by the amount of tampon applicators lying all over the place. This is trash that washed up on shore. Just drive along any roadway and you'll be sure to find trash along the side of the road that someone tossed from their car. Unfortunately, mankind has taken on the role of parasite - we are feeding off of and infecting the planet we inhabit.
Looking at the photo above, tell me, where are the boundaries? Where are the borders? They are man-made. The ever growing trash dumps, the ridiculous amount of plastics we use and toss, the inhumane ways our meat is raised and butchered... we are the cause of what's happening to our environment, we are the ones shooting ourselves in the foot. We all live on this planet and only for a short while in the grand scheme of things. It's time that every single one of us becomes aware and conscientious of the footprint we are leaving behind. We are the ones consuming. We need to consume less and demand that companies work in harmony with the planet instead of gutting, contaminating and destroying it all in the name of profit.
It's time to let your voice be heard. It's time to take action to protect our home. It's time to speak up and on behalf of our Earth. When tragedy strikes, we tend to unite and help each other out. Yet, tragedy, on a greater scale, is unfolding on a daily basis and we choose to remain oblivious or are so overwhelmed to the point where we don't do anything. Find a cause for the planet that you're passionate about and get involved. Be conscientious of what you're buying and research where it goes when you throw it away. Instead of using a plastic baggie for your sandwich everyday - place it in a reusable container. Turn off the lights when you're not using them. Use a reusable drinking bottle instead of constantly buying plastic bottles of water. One small step I've recently taken is I refuse to buy products that are packaged in materials that aren't recyclable. My next step will be to contact the companies and let them know why I'm not buying their product. What are some ways that you too can work and live in harmony with the planet instead of against her?
For the Love of Earth, Adrienne :)
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis B. Smedes
If there's one thing I've always been quite good at, it's holding a grudge. If you really hurt me, you better believe I'd hold a grudge - for decades. I've been working through a lot of these grudges over the past few years, but I've found that there are some that I just can't let go of. I try very hard to walk my talk. I want nothing more than to be at peace, but the pain is pretty deep. I've been open to that 'next step' to help me with forgiveness. As fate would have it, I was recently able to attend a healing circle on forgiveness. I left with quite a few takeaways that I'd love to share with you. If you're struggling with forgiveness of yourself or others, perhaps something here will help shift your perspective.
1. A LOT of energy is spent on holding a grudge or not forgiving. Consider how much energy is used up thinking about what someone did to us. How many times do we replay it in our mind? Add to that the drain from all of the emotions that are tied to that situation. If you think about how someone did you wrong - you're putting your energy there and reliving all of the associated emotions. Is that where you want your energy to go?
2. Forgiveness and compassion go hand in hand. It is about having compassion for others, but it's more about having compassion for yourself. It involves loving yourself enough to release the burdens of non-forgiveness. As they say, when you forgive someone, it's more about doing it for your sake rather than theirs. It's not about forgiving what they did, it's about releasing the emotions and thoughts that are still causing you pain.
3. Forgiving someone does not mean that you condone their actions. It means you are ready to be at peace with the situation. Forgiving someone does not mean that you have to let them back into your life. Also, be sure that when you forgive, you're not just glossing over your feelings or stuffing them down - they need to be acknowledged and processed.
4. If you can't forgive yet, that's ok - just love yourself anyway. This was a huge takeaway for me. Sometimes it takes longer to forgive someone. You're not a bad person if you can't offer someone absolution. Give yourself the time you need and work through your emotions. Definitely keep loving yourself through the process.
5. Forgiveness contributes to a peaceful world. Forgiveness is about returning to a state of peace in your own being. As within, so without; our inner world reflected in the outer world. If you would like more peace on this planet, start with yourself. As Marianne Williamson beautifully stated, ”The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world. Angry people cannot create a peaceful planet. It amuses me to think how angry I used to get when people wouldn’t sign my peace petitions."
Forgiveness is so important and not usually easy to achieve. Can you think of some people in your life who you hold a grudge against? Who do you need to forgive to bring yourself more peace? What are you holding that you need to forgive yourself for? Start there. Make a list of the reasons and emotions. Work through them. If you're struggling and feel that you can't forgive something/someone, keep loving yourself and work at it as you go. As you work through it and open your heart, you will reach that point where you can honestly say, 'I forgive you' and be at peace. There's a wonderful song that I invite you to listen to by Matthew West, titled Forgiveness. Here is a glimpse of some of the lyrics to his song:
It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’
Here's to working on setting ourselves free. Love, Adrienne :)
As a kid, I would have frequent excruciating pain in my knees. I was told this was called growing pains and that it was a phase that would pass as I grew older. What I've discovered is that growing pains can occur at any age and can last throughout our lifetime - the growing pains I'm referring to are those that result from life lessons and experiences. Life can dish out some pretty intense experiences. I know, from the core of my being, that when we go through something painful, there is a lesson there. What keeps us from re-experiencing that pain in future circumstances is to learn that lesson so that we can view life with new eyes. When we're going through a trying time, we basically have 2 choices:
1. We can allow ourselves to wallow in our emotions, which keeps us trapped and creates more drama.
2. We can take a step back, look at the situation for what it is and allow ourselves to grow from it.
Choice #1 is really easy to do. We feel justified in our emotions. We even go as far as to identify ourselves with our emotion - I am anger, I am unworthy, I am unlovable, etc. Many of us revel in the victim role: it's their fault I'm feeling this way or what did I ever do to deserve such treatment? You may not have done anything, but you are holding some belief system which attracted this experience into your life. And, yes, people can say and do things that feel awful, but ultimately, you're the one in control of your emotions. How others act says more about them than you.
Choice #2 is harder as it requires responsibility, determination and action. We make the choice of stepping out of the drama and victimhood. We acknowledge how we feel, but we don't allow ourselves to live there. It takes work to stay out of victim mode which requires commitment and determination. We have to take action in confronting our outdated beliefs that no longer serve us. We have to work through our emotions. We have to take back our position in the driver's seat.
The seed of a flower has to push its way up through the soil before it can blossom and bloom into its full glory. Growing our Soul involves struggle and it can be painful. What's important to remember is we are not those emotions, we are not that pain, we are that beautiful bud on the verge of blossoming.
Love, Adrienne :)
Fiasco is defined as a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way. What transpired at the Pez Easter Egg Hunt last Saturday is most definitely ludicrous and certainly humiliating for the human race (click here for story). The Pez Company hosted an event where 10,000 plastic eggs, containing candy, were spread across 3 fields. They had signs up of the times the hunts would start on each field as they were staggering the times for the age groups. They had 1,000 participants. From what the media was reporting - parents charged the fields early while hurting and nearly trampling some children in the process. Once they finished the first field, they moved to the next and repeated the same behavior. I was appalled that grown up adults would act this way. Why on earth were they even out on the fields in the first place? Pez had to cancel the event due to this ridiculous behavior. The topping on the cake was that other parents blamed Pez for not maintaining control and providing security. Pez used the same number of staff as they had in previous years. Are we at the point where we need constant security to police us because of a few rotten eggs? - pun most definitely intended. Pez provides a free event for the community: 10,000 eggs, 1,000 participants - everyone should have walked away with something and it should have been a good time. I wouldn't blame Pez if they decide to never host such an event again.
Sure, we can blame Pez because they didn't police people enough. Blame definitely lies with the adults who acted so horrendously. But, if we're playing the blame game, let's take it even further - how about we look at this event as a reflection of society and human beings. Where was it learned that this type of behavior is even acceptable? Quite frankly, it's learned everywhere - it's ingrained in our society that first place is the spot to be. It's human nature (our ego) to look after number one - to win, to make sure I come out on top and get my share. The flip side is it's also our nature (Spirit/heart/Soul) to share, have compassion and look out for each other. It's always our choice - we decide how we act or react.
The parents who rushed the fields did so because they were propelled by greed (gotta make sure to get as much as I can, everyone else be damned) and fear. Whether they're conscious of it or not, they fear lack. They're afraid of not having. Think about it - does collecting a bunch of plastic eggs full of sugary candy - that's not great for your health - make you a better person? You feel like a winner because you or your child took more than others? No, no, no and no. What happened at the hunt is disturbing, but it's also a wonderful teachable moment of how not to behave and why not to behave that way. Children mimic adults. This behavior will only continue until we are brought back to a place of compassion - which does exist inside all of us, though it may be quite hidden sometimes. Thinking about this story reminded me of a wonderful video I'd like to share - it's one minute long, yet says so much. Sharing and having compassion for each other is how we all benefit, how we ALL win.
Love, Adrienne :)
I love spoken poetry and I was completely blown away by Daniel Beaty's "Knock Knock." This piece gave me goosebumps. I love how he delivers his message. Words are so incredibly powerful and they jump to life in a spoken performance such as this:
The power to change this world is inside all of us. Our words wield such influence that they have great potential to bring about transformation. Think about the times a caring word from another has shifted a bad mood. The words you speak to others and the words you speak to yourself do have an impact - positively and negatively. When you decide to be outspoken - are you words perpetuating negativity or are they inspiring compassion and love? Our words have power - we have power - to create change in our own lives, our community and our planet. "Knock knock. Who's there? WE ARE."
Love, Adrienne :)
Over the past 2 weeks I’ve blogged about how a lack of compassion, living life unconsciously and over-reacting are all ways that keep us from our heart space. It truly is our choice if we desire to live on autopilot or take over the controls and really LIVE our life. This week, I would like to finish this series with two more major obstacles – they are the ego and fear.
1. Our ego – the master of separation. The ego's job is to help us survive, but we tend to give way more over to it than that. The ego should be in the passenger seat, yet most of us let it drive. If you're feeling angry, sad, judgmental - those feelings are the realm of the ego. Feeling compassion, love, joy - those are the feelings of the heart. The heart invites you to remember your divinity and the oneness we all are. The ego will fight you tooth and nail on this. What it comes down to is deciding whether you want to be from the ego or your heart. The ego loves the driver's seat, but is meant to accompany you on your life's journey as a passenger. If you wish to take the wheel back, you must connect with your heart. Meditation and daily gratitude exercises are a great way to come back to the heart space.
2. Fear – all negative emotions boil down to fear. If I were to ask what’s the opposite of cold, you would say hot. What’s the opposite of happy? Sad. What’s the opposite of day? Night. What’s the opposite of love? You will probably answer – hate, but it’s not. Fear is the opposite of Love. You can boil your hate down to fear. Don’t believe me? Keep asking yourself why you hate someone or something and continue that line of questioning until you’ve hit the root reason – it will be some kind of fear. The duality of hate and love are a conditional game. You either love or hate something due to certain conditions, experiences and beliefs. Unconditional love is quite different - it's love without any conditions whatsoever. Our Source, Creator, God (whatever name you use) is unconditional LOVE. We come from Love, we are this Love. Love is what connects all of us. That’s the energy running through us. That is, until we cover it up with other energies: despair, fear, unworthiness, frustration, anger, etc. Fear keeps you from your heart, love brings you back in.
Connecting to your heart takes effort, but it is well-worth it. By connecting to your heart, you begin to recognize the real you and your life takes on a whole other level of meaning. Take the wheel back from the ego and its use of fear by being more aware and conscious of your thoughts and feelings, by pausing before you react and then choosing how to respond from your heart space.
Love, Adrienne :)
Last week, in part 1 of this series of how to develop a connection to your heart/Soul, I brought up the story of the family who was applauded off the airplane. I ended the blog with this statement: “Your free will is that you have the choice – you can choose to remain in the me-me-me game and 'clap away' or you can get out of your head and come from your heart with love and compassion – recognizing the true essence of who you really are.” The first key is knowing that you have the choice of coming from your head or from your heart. Today, in part 2 of this series, you will learn why the second key is awareness.
We tend to spend most of our lives reacting to whatever is going on around us. Someone nearly hits us because they’re too busy texting instead of driving and we may react by cursing them or going as far as road rage. Someone gossips about us at work and we react by doing the same about them, or crying over it, or punching them out. Our significant other says or does something that upsets us and we react in any number of ways. Someone makes a political post on Facebook and we react with negative comments, we attack them or even de-friend them. Someone makes a comment and we just have to add our two cents. Are you beginning to see how we constantly tend to react? In fact, we over-react, meaning we spend most of our time in reaction mode. The irony here, is we don't even realize it. To really understand what I'm talking about, try the following exercise: for one day, try to be aware of every situation that causes an emotional response. See what happens. See what you do. Just lovingly observe yourself and your behavior. Keep a record of how many times you catch yourself reacting to something and by the end of the day, take a look at your tally. This exercise can be quite eye opening and is a great way to become more present, conscious and aware. Doing this exercise for a week to 10 days is a fantastic way to begin to train yourself on being more aware.
Which brings me to the next part, we tend to live most of our lives from the unconscious. We are living out lives based on past experiences and beliefs. If you think of your mind like an operating system, any time a situation arises, your O.S. will check all of your memory files for similar experiences and will bring forth any associated beliefs and emotions. These can be from when you were a toddler, from past lives or from ancestral files. Needless to say, a lot of the belief systems, from when we were children and from when our ancestors were struggling to survive, are no longer true or relevant to our present situation – but they sure do dictate it as long as we allow the unconscious to run our lives. In order to no longer allow the unconscious to run our lives, we must become conscious - we must become aware - as much and as often as possible.
It’s really hard to be from our hearts if we’re always from our heads. To be from your heart, you need to be present and aware. The mind lives in the past and the future, the heart is in the NOW. The mind reacts. The heart just is – Love. What keeps us from being from our heart is remaining on autopilot, stuck in our heads and letting our unconscious dictate everything. The first step to getting out of your head is becoming aware. Be in the present moment as often as possible. Focusing on your breathing is one way to bring you back to the now. Becoming more aware and present allows us more access to our hearts and helps connect us back to who we really are.
Love, Adrienne :)
Author's Note: Recently, I was inspired to write about why it can be so hard to connect to our heart/Soul. I'm breaking it down into a 3-part blog series. Today is the first part. It is my hope that this series will assist you in some way in developing a connection to your own heart/Soul.
I came across a news story recently about a young boy who had an allergic reaction on an airplane (click here to link to story). As dogs are now more common on planes, coupled along with the airlines not cleaning between flights as they used to, it’s easy to have an allergic reaction. According to the family, it was the first time he's had such a reaction. The boy and his family were asked to deplane – which they did. Not only was the child suffering physically, through no fault of his own, as the family de-boarded – people in the back of the plane clapped. They clapped. As if that wasn't bad enough, the family was on a bucket list trip as the little boy’s dad has terminal cancer. His mom posted her son's reaction on her Facebook account: What crushed us was that our 7 yr old boy looked at us with tear filled eyes and said, "I'm sorry that I put you through this. This is all my fault" then he proceeded to say, "I can't believe that people clapped. They shouldn't do that because they never know who already has sadness in their hearts"
It’s the me-me-me syndrome. It's all about me and I don’t give a crap about you. The young boy’s allergic reaction delayed the flight, so I understand people stressing over missing connections. Some of them may have had heartbreaking reasons as to why they had to make their next flight. Was applauding this family, who willingly de-boarded the flight, an act of compassion? Absolutely not. This brings to mind the quote by Wendy Mass: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
It was very easy to feel sympathy for the boy and his family, but when it came to the people who applauded, my emotions ran the gambit. Maybe because I’m super sensitive, it grates me that much more to be exposed to people who are completely insensitive. My first reaction was to comment on the story and share my displeasure of such egotistical, ridiculous behavior, but I realized that would stoop me down to the level of those I was so displeased with. The little boy and his family has my compassion, but so do the people who felt the need - and entitlement - to clap. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The comment section of the news story varied between how horrible the clappers are to it’s the parents’ fault. Lots of blaming and finger pointing - from those who weren’t even present for the situation. When we throw nasty energy at each other, we may as well be the “clappers.” They showed a lack of compassion. Many people commenting on the story did the same.
The finger pointing and blame game are the ego’s way of maintaining separation. The cruelty of behavior, comments and actions generate more of the same negative energies. What happened on that flight was unpleasant and unnecessary, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn from. Here's the 1st key to connecting to your heart/Soul: recognize that you have free will. You have the choice to choose to remain in the me-me-me game and "clap away" or you can make the effort to get out of your head and come from your heart with love and compassion - thus recognizing the true essence of who you really are. It's about becoming aware and consciously making the choice that allows you to be more connected to your heart/Soul.
Love, Adrienne :)
Hello! I'm Adrienne Almamour, an empathic intuitive conduit. I assist people by detecting and clearing their subconscious emotional energy blockages. This blog is a commentary and reflection of life from an intuitive standpoint which also incorporates ways that allow us to be from our heart.