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

Ah, to embody love

Ah, to embody love.

A practice many think begins when we first fall in love.

But, one that I have come to believe begins when we first fall out of love with love.

Because our invitation to re-embody love often arrives when we have experienced hurt, disappointment, and heartache.  When heartbreak cracks us wide open.

We become students of our body, heart, and mind so that we know what nourishes us—what grows the heart bigger and helps us give less value to the creative stories of the mind.

There is a willingness to release false notions of what it means to love and be loved, so that we then can let go and love ourselves more fully.

We practice self-forgiveness because we start to see that self-judgement and self-recrimination only exists to keep ourselves small, dim, and enslaved to hurt and anger.

We practice forgiving others because blaming and judging others is only a reflection of ourselves.

Embodying love does not necessarily mean feeling good and in the flow of love all the time.

It is about being present to the natural opening and closing of the heart that, to remain in flow, must close and open without imposition.

Many times we wrong ourselves and convince ourselves that we are bad for not always being in our loving.

And when we do, we miss the opportunity to inquire within… 

What do I need to nourish myself so that I can love more? 

What thoughts and behaviors can I let go that block me from being in my loving? 

What can I forgive of another so that I can love more freely?

For the answers to these questions lead us back to loving love for love’s sake.

In the end, to embody love is a practice of continuously engaging in the cycle of acceptance, presence, forgiveness, and open-heartedness with ourselves.

Loving you,

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 Importance of Tapping into Your Innate Genius

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved January.

There was always an excitement about January 1st, because I got a chance to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.  The previous year, with all its ups and downs… GONE.

I wrote specific, measurable, achievable, and reachable goals.  I’d even do vision boards.

And some where around January 20th…. the momentum started to slip.
Until I got the most amazing opportunity…. (drumroll please)…

 

I got the chance to ask the late great Wayne Dyer a question.  It went something like this… How do I keep myself going?

 

Here is what he said….

“Assume the feeling from the end.
Don’t think about doing, but that it is already done.
Don’t think about the end, but from the end.”

He talked about that when he was getting ready to write a book, before he even sat down to write it, he would start by imagining that book already written.

What I learned in that moment was that it did not matter how much I want something.  If there are any misaligned inner parts or perceived obstacles, no desire had a chance.

I learned to approach a desire as already having arrived, and what I found was that the heaviness of “making it happen” disappears and the obstacles my saboteur loved to give me, stopped having the same power.

But how do I know which is the goal for me?

When we choose goals without first slowing down and tapping in to our innate genius, we are more likely to choose goals that don’t align with our higher soul purpose.

 

tapping into your Innate Genius

 

  1. You can start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position.
  2. Take a breath and close your eyes.  Place a hand over you’re belly so that you can feel the rise and fall of your breath.
  3. Imagine yourself already having completed or achieved your desire. Use all 5 senses to really put yourself in the context that best supports what you want.  Example. If you are wanting to write a book, imagine the book already on your bookshelf. What do you see?  Hear?  Smell?
  4. Begin to notice the energetic shifts in the body.  Is what you are imagining resulting in your feeling expansive and relaxed?  Or, are you feeling more contracted and tense?
  5. If you experienced yourself as expansive, note where in the body you are feeling the most enlivened.  Anchor in this feeling before writing goals, creating living visions or vision boards.
  6. If you experienced tension, be curious about the reasons for wanting this goal?  Is it something you really want?  Are there competing intentions/goals?  Does it help to divide goal into smaller signposts?
  7. Write it down — write your goal as already happening focusing on what supports you.  Example. I am opening my book with my family surrounding me.  We are all excited and I am feeling proud.  I love how my book feels in my hands and the smell of this new book makes me even happier.

Here’s to an amazing and beautiful 2018.

In loving,

Jacqueline

 

PS… A little surprise for you… https://youtu.be/2Lskzq0yHWw

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