Happiness Happens

Have you ever noticed how easily we feel happiness when we are around a puppy?

Research has also shown that owning a dog is good for your overall wellbeing—a dog never judges and is always there to listen.

A dog does not have requirements to give you love.  It simply does.  Who else becomes wildly excited to see you because you have been missed for the mere minute you left the room?

Each of my dogs (and sometimes cats… yes, it’s a bit of a zoo in here at times) greets me with soulful, loving eyes every time I look at them.  My dogs don’t care that I lost it 5 minutes ago, that I made multiple mistakes, or that I have put on a few extra pounds.

Their response to us is void of blame or needing approval.

Dogs are mirrors into our very soul.

Because dogs remind us, on a soul level, that which brings us to a state of utter happy-happy-joy-joy is loving ourselves wholeheartedly—no shoulda’s, coulda’s, woulda’s, or need for any approval or justification outside ourselves to feel happy.

Happiness: An inside job

 

Happiness is a state of being.  When we divert too far away from it, we will go through great effort to feel it again.

It feels good to feel happy. We feel light, carefree, and it feels so darn yummy to laugh!  Our endorphins and other feel-good hormones fire off and life feel so sweet in the happy-filled moments.

And, happiness many times is a shared event.  We are often in company of others having heart-felt connecting moments with them.   Even if life is not marching how we desire, when we experience happiness, it all feels good right there and then.

What we forget is that these moments open us to the state of happiness already inside ourselves.  We forget that it is always there waiting for us (just like my beloved dogs).  It’s not the person or the circumstance that provided our happy, it was us giving ourselves the permission to crack open and let it out.

When we practice happiness from the inside out, we open to knowing that we can access and tap into it at any time.  The key to this opening being Self-Love.

Self-Love being the practice of seeing ourselves through eyes of acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness.  We don’t judge ourselves for not knowing any better or making choices out of our ego’s need for approval or being liked.

We then derive happiness from accepting all our parts—the good, the bad, and the not so pretty.  From here, we also nurture integrity with ourselves—when what we say, do and even think, are in harmony despite what the ego mind demands.

“Happiness is when what you think,
what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” 

– Mahatma Gandhi

Our choices and actions are then based on love, not fear.  No worry about others accepting us or loving us more or less, because of who we are.

And, as a reminder happiness begets more happiness… love begets more love.  When we love and feel happy, we attract more of this from the world around us.

 

How to create more Happiness and Self-Love?

  1. Don’t believe everything you think.  Just because you think it, it doesn’t make it real.  The brain is the great creator and it will create stories that are not true.
  2. Forgive YOU.  You know that thing you did one time (or maybe a few times) that made you feel bad, embarrassed, or ashamed? It’s time to let that go for reals.  And, as a reminder, you did the best you knew how back then.  No Monday morning quarterbacking!  Everything is a learning experience.
  3. Release the need for approval.  Now this doesn’t mean you don’t consider the consequences of your behavior or choices have on others.  What it does mean is that you can be the sweetest, juiciest summer peach, and someone will just not like peaches.
  4. Let yourself feel it all.  It’s healthy and normal to feel unwanted and have negative feelings.  It’s all part of being human and all ways to practice acceptance and self-love.
  5. Reach out to family, friends, healers, therapists, coaches—whoever you need to help you through the tough times. You are not expected to go through them alone.  To ask for help is a huge act of love.
  6. Shake and move your miraculous body.  Moving our body helps the body relax, release toxins, and fire up the feel-good hormones.

Happiness happens.

Make sure it happens to you and that it happens often.

Love… and Happiness,

Jacqueline

 

PS:

Here’s how I usually start my daily pursuit of happiness.

Mornings with Lucy

Want to dive in deeper and get a little help making happiness happen?

For women

For men

See ya there!

Celebrate and Soak Up the Powerful Energy of Summer

Summer is here!

The time of the year when the Northern Hemisphere is celebrating it’s connection to Light while the Southern Hemisphere emerges itself in to Dark.  A time of the year when both these energies are in balance in our beautiful planet.

The days are longer, the evenings warm, outdoor fun all around and time off beckons us.  All invitations to step out, surround ourselves by others, and relish in the body.

The sun and the hot days are good and essential reminders to find balance between frolic and laziness, summer plans and doing nothing, time with friends and family and time for self-reflection and introspection.

This is the season to step away from the usual and step into some fun in the sun.

Summer is the perfect bidding by Mother Nature to nurture and tend to our garden so that we can see the harvest in the fall.

 

Now is the perfect time to spend outdoors to soak up powerful sun energy and honor the sun’s warmth with reverence and gratitude for the abundant blessings in life.

This season is also a gateway to celebrate our own inner fire and power.  The power that brings things to fulfillment, expanding and brightening our lives.

It a time to remember that we, like the sun, contain the power to nurture and sustain, and that we have a ability (and responsibility) to burn as brightly as we can keeping ourselves, loves, and dreams bright, warm and alive.

Our ancestors, whose life was more closely attuned to the cycles of the sun, celebrated the summer by building great bonfires connecting them to the power of the Sun and its season.

How Can You Celebrate and Soak up the energy of summer?

 

Step Outdoors into Morning Glory

Step outside first thing in the morning, and dig your feet into the earth. Soak up the rays of the sun’s light.  Grab your morning coffee and feel the morning surround you.

Breathe in the Sun

Stand in the sunlight with feet apart, and palms / arms up in the air in a posture to receive, facing up.  Close your eyes. Breathe. Notice and  absorb all the healing rays of the sun’s light and warmth all over your body.  Imagine it penetrating every cell.  Letting the warmth really seep in.

Water Practice

Water is a conduit and a connector. We ourselves are about 80% water.  When we connect to water – both is inside and outside of ourselves, we are opening up to the natural foothold with all that is Divine.  Water provides a cooling effect and provides a balance with heat. Create or step into a body of water. You can fill a bathtub, throw water balloons, or simply dip your toes into a pool.

Wishing you much frolic, joy, balance, and summer bliss.

 

Love,

Jacqueline

Sacred Sexuality + More Heart Space in Your Sex Life

While modern religions have defined sacred and spiritual as being separate from the body, from nature, and certainly from sex, the ancient the roots of our language and history imply something quite different. 

Our collective history suggests that at one time there was a sacred nature to sex. 

Given the shifts in our current culture and news headlines, now is the time to reacquaint ourselves with this ancient wisdom.

Sacred is defined as that which is made or declared holy, revered, blessed, holy.   

Sacred is also understood differently by varying cultures. 

One example of this is how in many indigenous cultures, the concept of sacred is one of relationship—based on reciprocity and connection—rather than dogma or popular opinion. 

In these native cultures, humans, animals, plants, including Mother Earth herself, are considered sacred because everything and everyone are seen as an essential part of the Whole of creation.  Therefore, every living creature is recognized as inherently sacred because  each is part of the interconnected web of ecology and energy that births, sustains and carries life.

Sacred Sexuality is an essential part of many spiritual traditions and cultures.

Sacred sexuality implies an awareness that sex is the inception of life, of all that is, a powerful connection to Divine energy. 

It is no coincidence then that the word sacrum is also the anatomical term for the triangular bone at the base of the spine—the very place that Tantric traditions say is the seat of the sleeping kundalini or Shakti energy. 

When aroused through practice (e.g. yoga, dancing, hip circles, hip thrusts), the kundalini rises up the spine to awaken the spiritual centers in the brain—the place where many of our habitual mindless chatter also resides.  And when empty, the place where we connect to Source.  

And, here is where it is important to remember that without the sexual act, most of us would not be here. 

Sacred Sexuality therefore acknowledges that our life force and our sexual energy originate from the same source.  Once does not exist without the other, at least not for very long. 

Sex is sacred because of its role in bonding, connection, and staying present.

Mutually satisfying sexual exchanges naturally intensify bonding between people.  Of course, sex can take place without bonding.

But, if we are not careful and habitually have sex without bonding, without connection, this can eventually lead to heart closure or not seeing our partner as an equal in the relationship with equally important needs and desires.

Sex opens the heart only if we bring the energy up and we access our heart space.

The Tantric attitudes of slowing down, awakening all of the senses, tuning into subtle energy, letting go of judgment and blame, expressing gratitude for the gift of life, and savoring the present moment are wonderfully supportive tools for intimate relating.

When we take the time to remind ourselves of what we are really trying to create with our lovers, we become more conscious of the need to connect and create greater intimacy of the heart space. 

We attune and notice the nuances of our partner and co-create with them a safe space to talk about what we want and, as equally important, what we do not want. 

Sex then becomes more than the chase of the orgasm or performance. 

Sex becomes the vehicle with which all partners use their channels for pleasure to connect with themselves and their partner. 

This is how sex becomes sacred again because it expands our state of consciousness—we are fully present to the here and now in our own body and in that of our partner. 

Sex is sacred because of its role in accessing peak experiences of love, oneness, and healing.

Humans have an innate need for peak experiences of bliss, merging, and ecstasy. 

We also  have a deep longing for union with the Divine.

When we access expanded states of consciousness through sex, we validate our intuitive sense that sex can be worship and that worship can be erotic.

There’s a reason why in many moments of pleasure and orgasm,  the words that are moaned most often is “oh my God!”

Sensuality is the embodied alignment of body-heart-mind-spirit.

Sacred Sensuality integrates our personality, our soul, and our human nature.  How we relate to our world, ourselves, and others is done through the innate sensual body.

The paths of Erotic Spirituality teaches us to embrace and honor the body as a temple of Spirit, rather than trying to deny our natural sexual impulses. 

And when we begin to recognize our own body as a temple for the Divine, we also begin to see our partners through the same loving lens.

Because when we open our hearts to our own divine, sacred nature, we can then do the same for others.

How to Create More Heart Space in Your Sex Life
  1. Leave all judgments at the door… actually leave them at the curb.  There’s no room for any of it in the heart space.  When we focus on lack or what we are not getting, we are literally closing the heart space which makes it difficult to create and maintain connection.
  2. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Sounds silly, but, yes, breathe!  It’s not about deep breaths to your pelvic floor (although that may help too, more on this in another blog).  Breathing is essential for us to relax, for the body to remain open and present. The more we hold the breath, the more the body tightens, the more the brain focuses on silly chatter leaving the heart to eventually close.  Breathe.  Focus on filling your belly and emptying.  See how it relaxes you and welcomes more softness to the front side of the torso. 
  3. Our NO is more important than our YES. The greatest lesson in any Tantra practice is knowing your “NO’s” because when you know them and express them, your “YES” is more heartfelt and genuine.  When we agree to something out of default, our body gets tense, and  so does our heart.  And, on the flip side….
  4. Listen… especially to your partner’s “NO’s.” Do not question, invalidate, minimize, or contradict any NO’s.  When you do, you are not present, you are not in your heart, and above all, you are no longer safe to your partner which always results in heart closure.
  5. Slow down.  Look at each other.  There’s a reason why most Tantric practices begin with Eye Gazing (aka Soul Gazing).  It gives us a chance to really see our lovers, feel their energy, and notice what feels good or not.

And, remember… this is a practice. not an event.

Most of did not get a chance to learn about sexuality in a sacred, holistic way.  So practice, be curious… and lead with the heart.

Love,

Jacqueline

How My Heart Cracked Wide Open

If you have spent time with me or have read previous blogs, you know that I am a HUGE believer that all relationships—no matter how big or seemingly insignificantly—present themselves for our highest good.

Sometimes relationships reflect the parts that are difficult to accept or where we need the most healing.  Others reflect the parts that are admirable in others and that have yet to be uncovered in ourselves.

And, then there are the ones that remind us that we are indeed magical, brilliant beings.

This was exactly my experience when I met Cracker.

 

 

 

 

My beautiful friend Kate, an equine coach, invited me to come visit her and Cracker.

 

 

 

In many traditions, the HORSE is seen as a shaman having special medicinal and intuitive abilities healing illness or dis-ease at the soul level. 

 

Shamans gain insight or vision from working with the energies of nature such as rocks, trees, the wind, the land, and they gain knowledge from working with the spirits of animals and humans, particularly our ancestors who have transcended into the higher realms. For the shaman, everything is alive and holds wisdom.

In our first few minutes together, both Cracker and I were curious of each other.  I petted him and walked the pen.  Keenly aware that he was “seeing” me without coming too close.  Looking back, he was waiting for the moment when I was ready to receive his gift.

Horses have a deep connection to compassionate, nonjudgmental understanding.

Using their gentle and powerful presence, horses help people heal by holding sacred space for us to explore and find freedom from the constraints of our own stories and beliefs.  And, as ancient tales share, horses possess the power of Divination and clairvoyance which enables them to gift humans healing from what we cannot quite perceive.

 

Then suddenly without much warning, but with much gentleness and grace, Cracker came face-to-face with me.  He looked deeply into my eyes and began to breath into my heart space.

Have you ever looked into the liquid eye of a horse?  Magic and ancient wisdom resides there.

He began to lightly nudge me and breathing deeper over my heart, face, and eventually bowing in front of me.  He even stopped at my previously injured hip – an injury that occurred so long ago, but still pains me from time to time.

In order to communicate with the spirit or consciousness of others, a shaman will shift his/her own state of awareness through meditation or repetitive sounds such as that of a drum or rattle. Cracker used his breath like a drum.  Each exhale and inhale lulling my body into a deeper state of relaxation.

Tremendous energy simultaneously lifted and ascended.  Like a potent Shaman, Cracker lifted the heaviness that surrounded my heart and breathed in exquisite light into the tender places.

The closest word that expresses this experience is pure BLISS. 

He continued to make cribbing noises at my heart while looking into my eyes.  Continuously breathing in a rhythm that reminded me of the ceremonial rattle that I have used numerous times to bless my own clients.

It was beautiful, peaceful, and even though we were outdoors surrounded by other horses and animals, it was extraordinarily serene.  My body felt so light.  My heart cracked wide open.

 

My heart has remained open and I continue to feel the subtle nuances of the energies that surround me. 

It’s been a few weeks since my time with Cracker.  My eyes fill with tears every time I think of my time with him.  The resonance of that moment has stayed deeply within me.

Thank you, Cracker!  Thank you for your gift.  Thank you for cracking my heart WIDE OPEN!

 

Love,

Jacqueline

 

PS…. Wanna meet Cracker and see what gifts he has for you?  Join him, Katie, and
me on March 25th.  Here’s the link,
or check out the information below.

The Dirty Little F Word Required for a Great Valentine’s

V-Day is here!

Love is in the air… may be…

I keep seeing posts and blogs about being “so over Valentine’s Day.” 

Now I don’t necessarily buy into the fanfare, Hallmark cards, and candy.  But, I am also reminded that as humans, we are programmed to connect, love and be loved.

So to ignore or minimize this very human need on a day that is focused on celebrating LOVE, is missing the opportunity to celebrate who we are on a core soul level. 

In last week’s post, I wrote about Self-Love being the most important ingredient in any hot and sexy love affair.  And, it’s true.

I truly believe and know that only when we are truly in alignment with our own beautiful spirit, can we completely and authentically give and receive real love.

If you aren’t sure where to start with Self-Love, my encouragement to read last week’s blog (click here).

Amidst lovers and loving, perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is learning how to fully accept and love ourselves.

Today I extend two invitations….

One, to inquire on how you share your loving with others in a way that is meaningful to them and to you.  Not based on what you might get back from being loving and a lover, but as a reflection of the depth of your self-loving.

Because when we love ourselves first, we can then give, serve, and love without expectations making our well of love suddenly bottomless.

Two, to practice inquiry on how you may be keeping yourself from experiencing and sharing the depth of your loving.  The possibility that loneliness, sadness, resentment, grief, and upset are ways to keep yourself, safe in a way, from experiencing the freedom love has for you.

Because romantic love is only one flavor in the rich palette that is LOVE.

I know that for many this day can be quite painful, especially for those in grief or longing.

For me Valentine’s Day can and has been bittersweet.

As a child, my beloved dad would surprise my sister and I with Valentine’s gifts every year.  It was always such a joy to find his tokens awaiting our arrival from school.  His gesture of love never requiring a thank you.

For many years after he passed,  my missing him kept me from celebrating love on this day.  The turn-key happened when I recognized how my grief kept me restricted and constricted in an effort to avoid feeling pain again.  Allowing myself to feel the sadness and the pain, and feel it all the way, set me free.  Free to celebrate his legacy of love that still exists in me on this day and everyday.

 If you’re longing for what has yet to arrive, can today be the beginning of releasing needless suffering giving way to nourishing yourself as an unselfish lover does?

And, if you are a partner in a relationship that may not feel so great, consider the invitation to love despite the imperfections of you and your partner without attachment to any particular outcome.

Now I haven’t forgotten about the required word for a great Valentine’s…. helping lovers love loving hot and sexy together.

Lovers loving love hot and sexy together happens when we are willing to engage in one big dirty F word….

FORGIVENESS

Nothing kills romantic love and dims erotic spark like our fanning the flames of resentment, bitterness, and upset.  

Forgiving the judgments towards your partner and self.

Forgiving God for actions that may be judged as cruel.

Forgiving past lovers for they were not part of the tapestry the Universe has woven for you.  

Forgiving yourself for being human and imperfect.

Forgiving a body that changes.

Forgiving the judgement of feeling and wanting all that you do.

Forgiving, perhaps just enough, to allow yourself a different experience of yourself as a lover, acting from a place of full loving, having no attachment to getting anything back, or waiting for another to pay back an old debt.

Forgiveness sets your free to love and be loved.

Freedom to get LOVED up by LOVE…to reveal the truth about how you really LOVE.

Love cannot be owned, ended, or held captive. 

LOVE is a Being, a presence, a reflection of the truest part of your Soul.

You, the essence of LOVE LOVING LOVE fully and purely.

💕 Happy Valentine’s Day… Happy LoveBeing Day 💕

Loving you today and everyday,

Jacqueline

 

PS…Come play and discover different flavors of romantic love at next week’s Love, Intimacy & Attraction Event, info & reservation here.  It’s gonna be good 💕.

The Most Essential Ingredient for Hot and Sexy Love

It’s February!  The month we celebrate love. 

But before we dive into how to have a sizzling and hot V-Day, let’s stop for a moment and talk about the most essential ingredient to hot and sexy anything…. (drumroll)…. SELF-LOVE.

By definition self-love is having regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.

In my work with individuals and couples as well as my own journey, the practice of self-love is not always easy.  Our small, ego mind in an effort to keep us safe, can go on endless loops of negative self-talk and sabotaging behavior. 

This leads us to seek validation and love from others, rather than ourselves, which almost always results in our feeling unsatisfied and unloved.

And, when we don’t practice self-love, it can often lead us to being needy and unloving which is a sure way of putting out any sexy fires.

For only when we are truly in alignment with our own beautiful spirit, can we completely and authentically give and receive real love.

Because when we love ourselves, we know that we can give without becoming resentful or depleted. 

We give love because we are full of love.  We are fully immersed in the deep flow of love and loving.

The practice of Self-Love

Slow Down and Be Mindful.  People who have more self-love tend to know themselves well. They take the time to slow down and consider what they feel, think and want.  They take others into consideration when making choices, but not solely on making others happy or sacrificing self.

Know the No’s. The greatest lesson in Tantra practices is knowing your no before saying yes to anything. You will love yourself more when you set limits and say no to things that do not align and genuinely serve you.  And, when you do say yes, it is a wholehearted agreement you will not regret later.

Taking Care of Business.  Practice good self-care. People who practice self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, good nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.

Kindness and Forgiveness.  We can be so hard on ourselves!  There really is no need to punish ourselves for mistakes that ultimately prove pathways to healing, learning and growing.  The greatest act of self-love is acceptance of your being imperfectly human.  We all do the best we can given our our choices in any given moment.  Hindsight is 20/20.  Stop judging from that view. 

Living with Intentional Desire.  You will accept and love yourself more when you live through intention and desire, purpose and really wanting.  You will make decisions that support this intention, and create steps towards heart-felt desires.  Your heart will burst for YOU when you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do.

Amidst lovers and loving, perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is learning how to fully accept and love ourselves.

The act of being our own hot and sexy lover… before we are this for someone else or invite a lover in.  

For now, go practice loving yourself BIG.  Next week we will talk about lovers loving love hot and sexy together.

xoxo,

Jacqueline

The Natural Ebb and Flow of Intimacy

Intimacy…

plays an essential role in humans.  As social creatures and at the root of our humanity, is the craving for close, personal and reciprocating relationships with others.

Intimacy usually refers to mutual openness, sharing, and vulnerability.  Its lifespan can range from a single interaction to a long-term relationship of years or even decades.

It can exist in a variety of relationships spanning from close friendships to parent and child to family and even neighbors and co-workers.

But no other relationship contains the polarity of needs and interactions than that of our romantic relationships where intimacy also denotes sexual interactions because of the roles and expectations of these relationships.

Intimacy in a romantic pairing relationship is built over time.

At the beginning of a romance with hormones heightened and curiosity on overload (aka limerence which we will discuss later, so stay tuned), our attraction is high and we experience glimpses of intimacy.

New relationships might have moments of closeness, but the long-term intimacy that characterizes close personal relationships is a building process.  Because as we get comfortable and let our guard down, more of our “parts” show up and so do those of our partners.

There is also a natural, healthy ebb and flow to intimacy — a relationship might be highly intimate or be lacking in intimacy without anything triggering the rise or the fall.

The problem becomes a problem when people judge the quality of their relationships based on the depth of intimacy and the degree to which they feel close to their partner, or how they perceive their partner being intimate with them.

Then, because of previously unresolved issues, they shutdown, avoid, or run and blame their partner or circumstances for the state of the relationship.

The truth is that….

Intimacy is about being intimate with ourselves… Into-Me-I-SEE.

To create and practice real intimacy is to practice seeing into myself, recognizing old and new wants and desires, letting go of what is not really me, and then (huge here) allowing the space for my partner to do the same without wronging or taking what is being shared personally.

The reasons why infidelity occurs are many, but the common thread I have found in every couple that has sat across me, perhaps not verbatim but some version of this – I did not know how to practice intimacy with myself, so to discover and reveal parts of myself to myself, I went elsewhere. 

True intimacy requires trust and vulnerability…  and this is frightening when we are not comfortable with parts of ourselves.  We look to our partners to validate us, to make us feel accepted, to feel loved, and yet none of this matters if we cannot do it for ourselves.  

Getting emotionally naked

The healthiest and most passionate of relationships naturally have moments of high and low intimacy.   What keeps them going is that they know this and when the intimacy is low, there’s no blaming or avoiding what is happening.

Instead, they get emotionally naked.

They have the willingness to explore and then express deep sadness, hurt, fear, and love…oh, yes love!

And because they both get naked, there is no need to blame or avoid, because they recognize that when one of them disengages, it is not a sign that something is wrong, but that a new level of depth is ready to emerge.

And they seek moments where they can experience themselves differently.

Don’t get me wrong, many people struggle with intimacy, and the fear of intimacy is a common concern in therapy.

But sometimes, to allow ourselves a moment to have that spark of intimacy – to let ourselves be seen and while also having the willingness to see without intruding or pushing any agenda… so we can build from that in therapy, in quiet moments, and even in the loud ones.  (A little positive psychology always helps.)

Because contrary to popular belief, the couple who never quarrels and seems like the perfect pair is not necessarily the couple who has the greatest intimacy.

It is the couple who expresses themselves and their differences, who engage in their struggles and challenges in a constructive, honest way, who may perhaps from the outside look contradicting or too different, but who can also find ways to express their love that are truly intimate.

Want to experience a moment… perhaps that spark?

Come join The Art of Love, Intimacy, & Attraction Evenings.  An evening focused on the tending and nurturing of all your parts. Couples and Singles are invited to attend.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

 

 

 

 

 

Screw the Goals… Cherish the Stillness

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom
– Francis Bacon

 

The New year is here! 

Happy 2018!

One of the most powerful ways to move forward in creating your dreams and intentions for the new year is to focus on what you’ve learned, celebrate your wins, and forgive the past.

I find that when I do this, I feel more present, more grounded, more at ease, and most importantly, excited about what’s next.

And, how I begin this process is by finding the stillness, the moments of pause and silence.

When I was a child, I loved New Years.  I loved the idea of starting over and that come January 1st, the past was wiped, fresh start.

The older I got, the more life experience under my belt, the more I felt the heaviness of what I did not accomplish, the goals left behind, and the relationships, including the one with myself, that did not feel any better.

In an effort to feel good, I followed what so many “experts” say to do – jump right into creating and manifesting on the goal line.  The heaviness did not quite go away.

I found that when I moved past the stillness and straight into goal achievement I was skipping the most important lesson …. MY SOUL LEARNINGS, the reason why my soul had called in those precise let downs and wins.

“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes radiance.”
~ Morgan Freeman.

Soul Learnings is the belief that everything that happens – the good, the bad, and the ugly – happens for my highest good.

We also cannot access our learnings though busyness, noise, and haste.

Seeking the stillness allows us to quiet the mind and stop judging, blaming, and avoiding.  Instead, we get in touch with our inner counselor, the part of us that is wise, holds equanimity, and has a higher vision.

From this place we begin to recognize what we learned in the last year with gratitude and grace.  We also get to celebrate the wins, something so many of us forget to do.

Forgiving others, not for their sake, but for our own sake.  Because in doing so, we create and manifest from a space of compassion, abundance, not scarcity, fear, or angst.

When we practice forgiving ourselves, we remember we are worthy of creating what we truly desire based on authentic alignment not guilt, remorse, or obligation.

Most importantly of all, when we slow down, we give ourselves the chance to ask, “What do I want?   What do I really really really want?” from a place of what feels good and what nourishes me and my relationships.

Where to find moments of silence….

  • Taking a shower or a bath.
  • In the car, arriving home, right before getting out. Or, after dropping off the kids before driving away.
  • Morning coffee… sip it slowly.
  • Before or after a yoga class.
  • Park your car at the furthest point of a parking lot and walk slowly towards your destination.
  • Close your eyes.  Breathe slowly and deliberately.
  • Rather than look at social media, read emails, or play a game, put on a song you love and let your body lead (you may want to put headphones on too).
  • Read a book.  The Alchemist being one I read every January.

And remember, that even the most beautiful rose bush is pruned and rested before it begins to radiantly flourish again.  Below are a few offerings on the making this year the most flourishing and sizzling yet.

Wishing a magical and magnificent 2018,
Jacqueline

Holiday Blues: A Spiritual Perspective

 

So much talk about the season of merriment and light, yet for so many…

The paradox of the holidays.

It can be said that there is wisdom to be gained through challenge, hardship and suffering.  It can also be said that there is deep learning and truth to be gained.

Because when we are in a “dark night of the soul”, the deepest part of our being reaches out for a more valuable connection with heart and spirit.

This, however, may not be immediately apparent to the ego self.

In the midst of pain, anger, grief, or sorrow, the ego self becomes attached to specific outcomes – “I will feel better when…,” and cannot see the possibility for learning and for a greater life on the other side.

This paradox is hard for the human self to grasp when feeling the heaviness of pain.  Our most human response to suffering is to want to end it, and the human heart cannot help but believe that what it feels, the deprivation of joy, love, and, even hope, cannot possibly be the source of something good.

And yet, in the darkest hour of the night, there is a sharpening of vision, and what appears empty and dark, suddenly holds the promise of light.

 

In this sense, a dark night of the soul may first appear as if all the light has gone out, but the soul continues to support the seeking of light and continues to radiate and attract light toward the self that suffers and struggles.

After all, isn’t it true that when we feel disconnected from joy and love, we begin to seek that joy and love with a more willing and malleable heart? We begin to see the glimmers of light where moments before there were none to see.

Light attracts light even in the darkest hour.

 

This is the divine beauty of the soul.

From this perspective, the holidays – holy days –  is the ideal and soulful time for our journey into the light… the surrender into the light of our own being.

In loving,

Jacqueline

 

Holidays… Holy Days … Invitation to Practice Loving

 

A reminder that the holy days, regardless of religion, culture, language, country, or ethnicity, are an invitation to love freely – without the need for reciprocity or finding worthiness in another.
An invitation to practice love loving love – the practice of being present and loving for the sake of loving. 

To love openly because we are all soulful beings and, in the eyes of the Divine, are all equal – no one better or worse, more spiritual or less.  The only distinction that each of us arrived on earth with different soul curriculums.

The holidays are high holy days because they serve as reminders of the holy that resides in each of us.

A sacred summons to seek the Divine in another.
A reminder that all moments are for our highest purpose.
Wishing you the most beautiful holiday season.

May it be filled with bliss, compassion, peace, and a heart filled with love.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object never really matters.” 
– Marilynn Robinson

 

The Gifts of Pulling Away

“He doesn’t really listen”
“She plays on the phone rather than spend time with me”
“It’s like I don’t even exist”
“I feel invisible”
“The dog gets more love than I do”

When a man or a woman checks out emotionally, mentally, or physically from their relationship, it can be for many the beginning of death of love. 

Many men overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, give into feeling lost and check-out.

Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if he were to step into a fuller expression of himself, he would push others away, not be man enough, or be seen as a fraud.

Women in an effort to not rock the boat, not to make another feel bad, keep quiet and often agree to parameters of the relationships through default until one day this becomes impossible for her to continue.

Overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, she gives into feeling lost and checks-out.  Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if she were to step into a fuller expression of herself, she would no longer belong and be seen as a fraud.

We can respond to the pulling away of the other by adding final blows or to see the pulling away as part of the cycle that can return us to greater love.  Perhaps not always to greater love with our current partners, but greater love nonetheless.

Man stepping into a strong and powerful masculine energy by learning how to authentically express their authentic masculine presence without disempowering and disconnecting from the feminine.  Without minimizing, blaming, or telling her she’s feeling or being too much.

One way to to start this, is my empowering and embodying those parts that he finds hard to love… the parts that have been castrated and often appear in moments when disempowering another or perhaps even abusing another.

The parts that remind you of how powerful you are because you can annihilate another with your hands, but it takes more courage not to.

Inner spaces that feel soft and vulnerable because those are the parts the connect you more deeply to the heart of humanity.

Woman remembering how powerful and raw the authentic feminine presence is without punishing or building walls.  Dropping the need to blame or remind him of his failures.

Start by reminding yourself that you are not here to simply put up with things or to play nice.  Your gift of intuition bestows your wisdom and truth telling. Your willingness, your courage of heart to offer ALL of you, even the uncomfortable, imperfect, chaotic parts is an invitation not only for you, but for your partner, your family, your tribe, the whole world to get out of our heads and into our hearts.

The truth is that NOW more than ever, both men and women have the opportunity for growth, healing, and learning on how to step more fully into their true self.

Both using their feeling lost, their checking-out as signposts that their higher self is requesting a look inward, to create space to heal before anyone can return more fully to love.

And to all parties involved…

Be loving
Be compassionate
Be kind to yourself.
Be honest.
Don’t take it personally

This December I am offering Men & Women (sex specific) events to help you step into a deeper, more graceful, love-filled expression of you. In January, I will be adding co-ed Love, Intimacy & Attraction events.

In loving,

Jacqueline

The Gift of Thanks-Giving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love food… and I am enamored with sweet potatoes and yams.  My love for them is so great that it is not uncommon for me to make several sweet potatoes and yams recipes on this holiday.  There’s also the mashed potatoes and gravy, watching the dog show (I usually eat my first batch of sweet potatoes while watching this), the turkey, and spending time with family.

But, what I love most about this holiday is that it is a day we set aside to deepen in the practice of gratitude.

Because giving thanks helps us recognize, appreciate, and gift ourselves and others transformation.

When we express gratitude, we open up to love, and we are reminded that, although not perfect and sometimes downright painful, there is sweetness, expansion, and healing woven into life.

Have you ever noticed how saying thank you can change you and your outlook on things?  Have you seen someone transform in front of your eyes when given gratitude?

I have.

We may not get transported to a place of glitter and perfection and the bad doesn’t necessarily go away.

What we can experience is a shift and lightness in our emotions.  Our sense of connection and presence in the moment may deepen.  There is a reminder that grace always seems to appear when we need it the most.

Research has also found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being.

Giving thanks can also impact the overall experience of happiness which can be long-lasting.

Now, I get it.  It’s not always easy to express gratitude or to find ourselves in a state of thankfulness.

Four ways to Cultivate Gratitude on Thanks-Giving

  1. Say thank you often.  Look for opportunities to say it — particularly to those who serve you.
  2. Practice not gossiping, complaining, or judging for the day.  (You can do it!)
  3. It is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy. Yet how we look at things is dictated by how we feel about them.  Being grateful is a choice: We can feel grateful and not be grateful towards the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives.
  4. Engage in compassionate forgiveness.  Sitting at a table with family discord and conflict is never easy, but for that day (and every day after if you choose), remember that at any given moment we all do the best we can.  If he/she/they, had thought of something better to do or say, then they would have done it.

I also want to take the opportunity to give Thanks to YOU.

Thank you for showing up.
Thank you for allowing me to be of service.
Thank you for engaging with me.
Thank you for sharing your time, your attention, and to many of you, your heart and soul.

Wishing you a blessed and delicious Thanks-Giving,

Jacqueline

Love trumps hate.

Many have arrived to my office this week stunned and in disbelief over the events in Charlottesville.  Some asking how to deal with the fear and anger. Others inquiring about the notion of love replacing hate.

One of the things I love about my practice is that I get to serve a multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual population.  Many of my couples are of mixed ethnicity and even mixed religions.  Once during a women’s event, we looked around the room and experience such joy that in the circle were Christians, Catholics, Buddhist, and Muslim women of varying ages and cultures.  One woman stated, “We can teach the UN a few things.”

There is a part of me that perhaps is a bit Pollyanna always looking for the good, the silver lining in everything: darkness always leads to light and after every storm there is always calm.

I admit that given the political climate of this country, it gets a little hard at times.  Today, I sat with a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes.  Hate spewing out of so many. The silver lining becoming dimmer at times.

Hate is defined as the intense or passionate dislike for something or someone.  Hate helps build the illusion of separation, of being different, of competition over false identities.  This mixed with prejudices and judgements can be combustible.

Love on the other hand, is having affection, love, compassion for ourselves and for every other being.  It opens us up to see the beauty in things and the good in others.  It serves as a reminder that in God’s eyes, we are all the same.  A homeless man is no better than the one living in a mansion.

Love can erase hate because if we practice love and being in our loving, we are aware of our prejudices and we are willing to be curious and inquire about them.  We question the validity, where we learned it, how it serves us, and our willingness to change it.

I for one do not believe in being colorblind.  In full transparency here… when someone tells me that they don’t see race, they don’t see color…. I gulp.  It’s natural to see the difference in others.  What is not natural is closing down our hearts because of what we assume to know because of another’s skin color, religion, culture, or ethnicity.

When we allow ourselves to be curious and inquire about our assumptions, we actually open our hearts a little more. And when we forgive ourselves and our assumptions, we elevate the whole planet. 

The alternative is ignoring our  assumptions to the point where we judge ourselves for having them.  And given that life is a mirror into ourselves, we eventually see in others what we dislike in ourselves.  We then use hate to fuel and give ourselves permission to blame those that remind us of what we do not want to see in ourselves.

So can love erase hate?

Yes… it can and it eventually will.

In the meantime, please remember that you are love, are loved, and you were made to love.  Don’t shut down or don’t push away.  Once you center yourself in this, take it to the streets. Go out and be in your loving with others.

Here I arrive at my silver lining which is remembering….

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Be the light we all need to brighten our world a little more today🌟.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

Sensual… Not Necessarily Sexual

St. Theresa Comes to Rowe

 

I recently attended, both as participant and assistant, in a woman’s workshop focused on sexuality and the Medicine Wheel led by the incomparable Gina Ogden.

On the first night, all the women walked the Wheel, placing their sacred objects and sharing with the group what each object represented — one representing what they want more of in their sexual life, the other representing what they want less of.  As the evening continued, one theme came to light — the impact of religious training on sexuality, particularly that of that Catholic church.

This peaked my interest, since I attended Catholic school for 12 years and I was fully aware of the training and dogma that these women shared. As I heard the women speak, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for my rebellious spirit and my curiosity — they have always been my saving grace. The truth is that I never believed what the priests and the nuns said about love and sex. I did not believe that I would be a sinner for enjoying the pleasure of my flesh since God himself (or herself) had created this very flesh. As far as I can remember, I believed that sex was one of God’s greatest gifts. It was a gift that allowed us as humans to transcend our bodies and the illusion of separation from others. There is a reason why, in moments of absolute pleasure, the words “oh my God” are said aloud in every language and across every religion.

 

As I sat in the circle, watching and hearing these women, I was also keenly aware that I had a small picture of St. Teresa of Avila in my bag. Until that moment, I had been  unsure of the reason why I had packed it a few days before.

St. Teresa is a Catholic saint and mystic who had a profound religious experience before an image of the wounded Christ in the convent oratory.  She felt, “He was within me, or that I was totally engulfed by him.”  Saint Teresa’s love of God and her desire for spiritual union with him manifested in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a golden spear and sent her into a trance — an ecstatic rapture.  In her autobiography she writes:

“The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease, nor is ones soul then content with anything but God.” (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by herself, Chapter 29).

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ec-stasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

​When it was my turn to walk the circle and share my objects, I put St. Teresa in the center of the Wheel symbolizing integration. I spoke of how she is a beautiful representation of what God truly intended for us — to surrender to the moment and to enjoy the gift of the human body with its multiple areas of pleasure. Whether we do this alone or with a lover, it does not matter. When we say,“yes” to enjoying our bodies, we are allowing our gift of aliveness and connection to be fully present. We breathe in life more fully.

In the Medicine Wheel, sexuality and spirituality exist in the same quadrant because the quadrant is about connectivity. Although many may not agree with me, I cannot see any separation of sexuality and spirituality. One leads directly to the other. My spirituality is about connecting more lovingly and authentically with myself, others, and God. My sexuality exists for the same reason.

The women in the circle reminded me that night that much work needs to be done to heal the lines that create separation, aloneness, despair, and negative beliefs about God and sex. When St. Teresa was placed in the circle, I believe the healing began. That night, there was a lightness that she radiated from the center of the circle into the heart of every woman.

Picture

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ecstasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

Originally Posted on 11/13/2015