Seeing through Eyes of Love

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…

Everything that happens in life is an opportunity to LOVE.

And above all, an opportunity to love YOU—to truly 100% love yourself completely, no matter what.

Every failure.

Every heartbreak.

Every panic attack.

Every clumsy moment.

Every win.

Every celebration.

Every moment… an invitation to love yourself.  To dive into the pool of self-love.

Many believe that to love oneself is selfish.  That it is undesirable and perhaps even narcissistic.  Some even cite cultural rules and religious dogma that self-love is…well… simply wrong.

To practice loving ourselves, is remembering your true nature, that you cannot love others without loving yourself first.

 

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha 

 

When you honor your love for yourself, you open and give to self and others from an ever-filled abundant well of love.

To love yourself means to give love, attention, and care to the self, so that you can be filled to overflow and then be able to share, love, and nurture your relationships, careers, work, housework, parenting, and your lovers from that space.

Self-love is a practice of filling the yearning from your soul because it is about practicing listening to what we desire, acceptance of it, and acting towards it.

Self-love is important because it is process of remembering where your genuine power resides.

To love you means being willing to say no to what does not serve and yes to what brings more aliveness and hope.  Errors and mistakes transform into openings where the light shines in.  

To be in self-love makes life simpler and more carefree. 

Because when you love yourself more, mountains aren’t made out of molehills. You are kinder and more compassionate.  You stop beating yourself over mistakes or temporary setbacks.

You remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness.

And, when you find yourself in relationships and circumstances that set you back, you replenish your own well, request a change or even walk away because you know that love calls each of us to shine and help our beloveds do the same.

Self-love inspires you to feel more deserving of the good things.  There’s less sabotage.  And, more freedom to  go for it—to go after the heart’s desire with more motivation, gusto and focus than ever before because you believe in YOU.

To love yourself is the ultimate reminder that the Divine does not reside outside of you.  Rather it is in you

To be in self-love is to see you through the eyes of love especially those moments when the world or our ego tells you that you are undeserving.

Seeing though eyes of love…

Celebrate yourself every day.  This is not about perfection, but your willingness to notice the quotidian things you do that are done with care and love.  With self-Love, we express self-appreciation and compassion.  We celebrate our wins—big and small—because we are worth it to ourselves. 

Practice self-forgiveness.  Everyone does the best they can given the circumstances, skills, and choices one perceives having in that moment.  If you could have thought of something better to do… you would have done just that.

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! ~ Dr. Seuss.  The greatest act and most powerful of practicing self-love is accepting you exactly as you are.  This does not mean that you never heal, grow and learn.  What it does mean that all your quirks, imperfections and warts are ways of loving yourself.

 

Love,

Jacqueline

 

PS: If you are a woman in Greater L.A and want support in creating a self-love practice, join me at Shine Bright from the Inside Out on September 22nd.

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

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

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

 

Our body… The Greatest Learning Instrument… Enjoy the Ride

If we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, then our greatest learning instrument is our body.

Let’s start with our most human parts.  Our belly being the keeper of our emotions and the archaic stories of our tribe.  Our hips helping us move in the world. Some with more relaxation, others with more tension… both being okay.  Our pelvic floor rooting us to Mother Earth and the place where we connect and disconnect from everyone else.  All of it showing up for our learning and expansion.

Throat, eyes, and crown being our more ethereal and abstract parts.  Our throat seeking to speak our truth, sing what we feel, and shout what we must say at times.  Our eyes guiding us to what we envision for ourselves.  The eyes also being the mirror, gateway to the soul – the core of our being that carries no stories of hurts or dissatisfaction, but just pure loving.  Our crown being the spot in our body that is most connected to that which is higher than us.  Call it any name you want – God, Yahweh, Allah, Spirit, Universe, Goddess – it is all the same.  It is the part of us that leads the inquiry into who we are, what life is about, and seeks meaning to our existence.

This leads us to the heart.  The part that balances the ethereal and the human, the part where love resides.  It is in our heart space that love is born, love is given, and love is received.  Stories do not exist here. When we are born, breath comes through here. And when we leave our body, breath comes through here.  It is the place where we nourish our human desire to connect and our soul’s calling to expand.

So where does the brain fit into all of this?

Your body is the vehicle while your mind is the navigation system. They work together, not separately or in contradiction of each other.

 

We are the drivers of our ride.  When we decide to go right, we go right.  When we decide to turn left, we go left.  The navigation does not take over, but simply helps us get there.  From time to time the navigation system gives us feedback “maintenance required,” “hazard,” or even “system overload,” but it does not take over the driving.  Therefore the only time our minds take over is when we forget how powerful and divine we really are.

You are a spiritual being having a human experience.  You came equipped with all you need to handle this crazy and delicious life ride.

So next time the navigation system wants to take over, here are a few suggestions:

 

  1. Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y feeling every inch of your being.  Notice where the tension is. Breathe into that area.
  2. Place one hand over heart and the other over the area tension and say, “I am a spiritual being having a human experience and I arrived equipped with what is exactly needed at all times.” Repeat as needed…and breathe.
  3. Celebrate the good moments. Don’t wait to remember you are human only in the negative, heavy moments.  Celebrate the happy feelings because they too are part of this ride.

 

Loving and supporting you,

Jacqueline

 

Photo by Craig Whitehead

Gratitude for ALL of it… the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful