Friday, December 29, 2017

Reflections Are Like Diamonds In The Rough

As I reflect on 2017, there are many words to describe the feelings that I have - aware, grateful, transitional, connection, compassionate, joy-filled, content.  The list could go on, but I will take each descriptor and outline the months beginning with January of 2017.

In January of 2017, I was acutely aware of needing to make important decisions for my family's health and well-being, and that meant seriously looking into selling my home once again.  I was also very aware of the deep friendship and support from my dear friend Jamie, who started a Go Fund Me to assist with our family hardship.

February, March and April brought forth such gratitude to family, friends, colleagues and others committed to the process of having excellent health-care available that supported growth rather than being stifled by only a conventional process.

May and June were definitely transitional months.  I moved Ashley to Boulder and continued onto CA with Tammie.  It's interesting how this all came about at once.  I had been contemplating a move to support my own health, as well as to be in an environment that was more supportive of integrative medicine.  My dear colleague and mentor, Heather, assisted me with my astrological chart to hone in on areas that may support my healing and growth.  This all came at the same time - sale of my home, moving Ashley and myself.  While a busy time, it was the most cost-effective manner to accomplish this all.

July and August were about exploration and connection.  I have made wonderful friends, explored dance, met amazing artists and have truly felt a sense of peace living in beautiful Ojai.  This place is known for its healing energy and upon visiting Meditation Mount, I immediately felt the connection to Graymoor - a mountain in the Peekskills of NY and place that we frequented as a family.  These holy mounts erected Peace Poles in the same year - clear across the country.

In September and October, I chose to begin the process of digging deep into self-compassion - an area of my overall well-being that I had neglected over the years.  My focus had been on surviving, achieving and caring for my wonderful girls, but there was a nagging inside that informed me that in order to truly heal, I needed to begin this process.

In November, I met with a shaman/medicine woman - a wise woman who immediately connected me to my core - joy, pain and all!  Interestingly, my Mom had always been very proud of our Indian heritage and here I was, investigating this spiritual realm.

December came and I realized that my professional gifts were bringing me to Santa Barbara quite often, another beautiful, mid-coast city with similarities to Ojai, but with an expanded view of integrative medicine.  I thought that I would wait until May when my lease was up, but I was getting clear messages that I should look sooner. 

Not only did an ideal apartment show up, but professional interests have been percolating.  As has been my experience in the past, the landing was pretty rough.  There were massive wildfires in both cities, resulting in two evacuations.  This is where the diamonds are now seen - in the rough!  Not only have I witnessed care and concern, but I feel very content with how this year has come to a close.

I have washed off all the ashes, have placed most of my items away and am planning a holiday party tomorrow - gathering friends from my new home, 5000 miles away from home!

It is about being grateful and content with what we have and feeling the connectedness to all of humanity.

I wish you a very happy, healthy and peace-filled New Year!
Love
Julie

Monday, December 25, 2017

"His Clothes Were All Tarnished With Ashes and Soot"

A long-standing tradition in our family has been to read Twas the Night Before Christmas and given that our family spreads from sea to sea this year, Ashley suggested we skype and face time to read the book. 

Traditions are a way to solidify bonds and to create a sense of belonging and familiarity.  This year was especially important for our family, as we have faced so many changes - all growth filled, yet not all were easy, nor the fruits to be seen in the moment.  We are all well and moving closer to where we want to be in life and what will bring about the greatest expression for our unique gifts  in this world.

For me, the past two weeks have been anything but peaceful, yet I felt an inner knowing that all was going to be okay.  Being new to CA, I experienced my first wild fires, two evacuations and a move that aligns with my personal mission and vision in life.  Santa Barbara has the largest per capita non-profit organizations and has ongoing research and movements about environmental concerns - sustainability, energy use, honoring the use of our land.

Holiday plans were changed for us all, yet we are so connected.  In fact, Lindsay and Scott move on January 1 to San Diego - now a 6 hour drive instead of a 6 hour flight!  And Ashley is comfortably settled in Boulder, just graduated and now working full-time at Pearle Vision.

Tammie has been a real trooper through fires, moves, motels and long car rides and she continues to remind me about the "bright side" of life.  Her unending devotion, love and puppy-like mannerisms can really bring me back to earth when I begin "spinning out" with the next steps.  I am reminded that we only have what is right in front of us - a beautiful life with opportunities to share love with others.

Let me close with the end of the story - "But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight - Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

Whether you celebrate Christmas or another tradition, I send you love and blessings on this day and always.

(Remember just a week ago, the skies were colored with orange smoke, but the resilience of nature brings us back to balance - time to do our part as well!)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Just What God Ordered

It's now two days after leaving the fires in Santa Barbara.  Tammie and I have been in clean air, blue skies and I say to myself, "What more could I want?"  I keep thinking of how fresh air feels like a birth-right and how in other areas of the world, it does not exist. 

Going down the rabbit-hole of thought, I begin to realize how we have opportunities right in front of our eyes, stating the obvious.  It is time to take care of the environment and while there are hundreds of thousands of acres lost to fire, this new ash will become a new beginning "IF" we choose to see it that way once the dust settles - no pun intended.

Out of my usual character, I decided to do a vacation-like activity yesterday and visited the Hearst Castle.  What a beautiful area, site and national park.  I was proud of myself for taking time to indulge in this activity - something that becomes difficult for me to keep in balance of my total health.

We all share in the commonality of having "blind spots" and one of mine happens to be not giving to me.  Sounds simple, but the legacy of self-sacrifice is so entrenched that while I've heard the words and have "gotten it" cognitively, but somehow, there has been a loss in the translation to feeling it and being worthy.

A little over a month ago, I restarted my shamanic journey and the main gift that has transpired is self-compassion.  Much like my folks and their respective families, stoicism has been a saving grace and while I agree, this attitude and behavior has surely done me well, I also now see and feel how it has also eroded at my total health.

A small move to go to a museum - things I enjoyed in the past when I had more time and money - but I was grinning ear to ear, both inside and out, as I pulled away from the castle.  This entry is two-pronged today:

Let us begin to band together as a human race, treating the earth and people with love, respect and care for the long-term AND treat yourself with love, respect and care.  It's all a balancing act!

With Love
Julie

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Breath of Fresh Air

As I've navigated two evacuations in the past two weeks, I continue to feel blessed, calm and keep tapping into what is truly important in life!  It's been me and Tammie (aka TT - my Dad named her Tammie Terror many years ago as a frisky pup) with a few belongings, jugs of water and a tank of gas.

As I drove away today, there were a few college students along the road handing out free water bottles.  At the grocery, assistants were smiling and asking if we needed help, and while waiting turns at four-way intersections, everyone took their turn graciously!  No honking of horns, no angry drivers, just folks gettin outta town like me!

What I've witnessed in this devastation is a bonding of humanity and kindness that truly warms the heart.  Being new to CA, I've downloaded the apps for alerts and have called the 211 update line and people on the other end have been so kind to assist me with further information since I do not know the districts and counties.

Today, I chose to leave before the increased mandatory evacuations because I started to have labored breathing.  Not a whimp, but being careful given my ongoing immune challenges.

Yesterday was my official move to Santa Barbara from Ojai and after three trips back and forth, I unloaded what I could by about 9pm.  During the days prior, I left boxes and furniture in the driveway.  Since my belongings are covered in ash, I've left them on the porch to clean each item before bringing it inside.

My new landlord was "angel number one"!  He allowed me to stay in the unfinished apartment while evacuated from Ojai, then he moved up my date for moving so that I could free up my apartment for another who lost their home.

"Angel number two" - the fellow who assisted my landlord with painting and prepping the unit, came today to help me haul up a few pieces of furniture to my porch.

And there are others in the mix as well.  My cousins up north who had Tammie and I stay last week; my friend who helped me pack and calls
daily to see how we are doing.

It's when stripped of all the veneer that one can truly see the gifts in life and to be happy in the moment!

Could not be stated better!

TUT
The path to enlightenment is not a path at all, Julie, it's actually a metaphor for the time it takes for you to allow yourself to be happy with who you already are, where you already are, and what you already have... no matter what.
Just do it, 
  The Universe
The first photo is as I am leaving home - awoke to seeing live fires on the mountains in the distance
 The second photo is a little north on route 101 heading north

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Twas Some Weeks Before Christmas

As I ponder this past week, it has been an experience of polar opposites - devastation  and destruction of homes, land, livestock paralleled by an outpouring of love, concern and connection.

I left my home exactly one week ago and hunkered down with Tammie in an unfinished apartment on a futon laid on plastic bags to protect it from the soot.  And yet, I felt grateful - grateful for having a safe place to stay without needing to be in an evacuation center.

As the days progressed, the fire and smoke moved north where we were and soon, the ashes were falling like snowflakes.  After four alarms in the middle of the night, I decided to head really north, staying with my cousins about 5-6 hours away.

Before leaving town, however, I attended a prayer service that felt so heartwarming and focused on the gifts of life and lessons learned in hardship.  After leaving, I went back to the shopping area where I left my vest the day before and the area was deserted.   While Christmas lights flickered in the store windows and music was piped in throughout the outdoor mall, no-one was in sight.  The only activity was the increasing shower of ashes coming down through the sky.  It felt like a sci-fi movie and we were the lone survivors of the end of civilization.

While an eerie feeling, I was not afraid.  Instead, I began the inquiry again.  Why am I here, in this place, now?   What is the lesson to be learned from it all?  I began to think of one of my favorite Christmas movies - Dr Seuss',  "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  Why this story one might ask?

Empty stores, no-one shopping and in fact, no-one even around!  And yet, out there in the surrounding areas were firefighters, military, Red Cross volunteers, people checking in on others to make sure they are safe and settled.  It's not about the boxes and bows, nor the presents under the tree, but more about the true meaning of Christmas and of life itself.  We are here to love.  We are here to serve.  We are here to be in connection with one another.

I'm back home in Ojai - a city that is smoke-filled at this time.  I have friends who are safe and others who lost their homes.  I'm pilfering through a few extra blankets and towels to give to the next family who comes to live in my home at the end of the week.  I feel blessed in that I had begun the process of planning to move to Santa Barbara, 45 minutes away, due to work.  This move was to be at the end of December and I have been able to coordinate to move two weeks earlier in order to house a family who lost everything.  For me this is God's grace at work.

Look for the miracles - they appear every day if you look!

Love
Julie

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Snowfall of Ash

It's been a month since updating on most social media sites - life has taken twists and turns that continue to always bring me back to a place of gratitude no matter what.  That has taken years of practice, patience, frustration and acceptance.

Today as I write this entry, I am sitting on my futon on the floor of an unfinished apartment with dust, and dirt and fresh smelling varnish.  Yet, I feel so very grateful to be here, alive, warm and sitting next to Tammie, who is now 14 years old!

Last week, Tammie was very ill with an acute bronchitis that caused a collapsed trachea.  We were back and forth to the animal hospital for a few days, xrays, medications and finally, the vet suggested acupuncture to support her trachea.  Tammie has responded well and I feel so lucky to have this "old girl" in my life!

Just three days ago, I was evacuated from my apartment in Ojai due to devastating fires that have claimed thousands of acres of land, houses, farms, businesses and very sadly, animals.  While unafraid, this is unlike anything I have witnessed in my life and now three days later, forty-five miles north of Ojai, we are being asked to stay in much of the time while ash falls from the sky and the air quality is very bad.  As I prayed and asked God what am I meant to be doing and being during this time, I received a clear message to serve.

Immediately, I called the local colleges and Red Cross to see how I may assist and surprisingly they were set.  I next reached out to friends and on the net about moving up ability to have my apartment ready sooner for someone who has lost their home.

Backing up just a bit, I made a decision earlier in November to consider relocating to Santa Barbara for business opportunities that are opening up and in the process, my soon to be landlord not only allowed me to bed down here, but is willing to move up my move-in date so that I can accommodate a person whose home burned to the ground. 

As I have stated so many times in the past, there are no coincidences in life.  My initiation of the move created an opportunity for me to be safely housed instead of being in a shelter and afforded me the ability to help another person in the process.

Divine intervention prevails yet again!
Love
Julie

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Knock On The Doors Of Life

"Sometimes when a door is slammed shut, Julie, the very best thing you can do is to knock on it again, and again, and again.
 
But I'd recommend you try all the other doors, too.
 
Yours,
  The Universe"

This began a train of thought that exposed an area of my personality or shall we say, shed light on it to be healed!  As I continue along the path of self-discovery, self-healing and listening to the dialogue between my mind and body, I am so very aware of how the mind/ego wants to take over and direct the rest of the orchestra.

The focus of my healing is presently on self-compassion and letting go of attachments that no longer serve.  Yeah, I've been there and done that before, but this time round, the peeling of the onion is allowing the deeper awareness of the hurts, pains and influences that keep me and I assume, many of you, in the repetitive "mouse wheel" of life.

My "stubbornness" has gotten me through many trying times, for I don't give up, yet I also have not listened to the inner voice of wisdom that gently knocks and says, "try that other door!"  I see clearly now that the stubborn armor was a way of protecting myself, wanting to believe that perserverence eventually meant love and acceptance from the other.  Well, I've tested that one out and it surely does not always work!

Where did that come from, you might ask?  Certainly parental influences - after all, Mom was a Leo and Dad, a Taurus.  Both personalities are strong, protective and stubborn - although there is more to the birth chart than the sun sign.  Other possibilities - being an only child in a family with lots of anger, yelling  and expectation; seeing the world as a dangerous place where self-defense (in my case, being good and quiet because I was not very athletic) became a way of maneuvering life.

Is this bad - absolutely not!!!  These experiences must be met with curiosity and an ability to recognize that one's style is a compilation of all experience.  Can you knock on other doors to see what gifts lie behind them?

Opening the many doors to life!
Julie

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Behind The Wall

Just back from an amazing weekend working on personal health - improving my immune system to combat lyme and to keep leukemia in remission.  And I know that I will share this with my increasing number of clients who are challenged with both lyme and looming or active blood cancers.  No coincidence here.  I am meant to learn, synthesize and share - part of my life purpose and journey!  While I've had cognitive "knowing" about aspects of my healing, the part that I have evaded for a long time has been really allowing the soothing and calming of my parasympathetic nervous system.

I had learned about and was immersed in this healing practice while in Germany in 2012, using the concepts of Bruce Lipton and  Greg Braden, but even then, I was still caught in the cognitive "knowing" rather than a feeling "knowing" or body sense of being whole and healed.

What I learned and felt this weekend was that for most of my life, I used thinking, analyzing and organizing as coping mechanisms given one traumatic experience after another.  Being in a hypervigilent state allowed me to react quickly when needed - whether ducking from a violent parent or threatening husband or more recently managing the tragedies in my children's lives. 

I knew that I needed to reprogram my brain pathways to no longer perceive even a minor stress as a threat on an unconscious level, but also really needed to accept that I deserve to take time to heal.  The key word here is "deserve", for I have wrestled with this one for as long as I can remember.

I have been told by my various treaters that I do an excellent job taking care of myself with diet, exercise and a positive attitude, but the one place that has been hindered is in allowing rest to be part of the equation unless of course,  I was feeling so ill that I could not perform.  I finally see and am ready to blow through this blindspot.

Prescription in part is to be out in nature every day for about an hour.  I love being out there, but often shortchange that for work. And to sing more!  And to light a candle daily letting go of people and energies that no longer serve me.  There is more that will be revealed.

As I walked with Tammie today, we passed two nursing retirement homes and I saw the high walls as representative of being locked inside.  We keep old folks safe by putting walls up, emergency bells in place etc and in our lives, we often do the same thing - create imaginary walls to protect those injured childhood parts that need love and understanding before coming back to the whole and healed person.

I'm getting it and more importantly, feeling it.  For the past few days since returning from my weekend of immersion into brain rewiring, I have felt in my body in a way like never before and I have been smiling even when no one is looking!  Stay tuned for more ahhas in my upcoming book, hoping to be published in February.

Standing in front of the crumbled wall,
Julie


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Connecting the Dots Together

As the week progressed, I became more aware of messages being given to me about my spiritual path and how I am to assist in the transformation.  While I still do not know how or what this is supposed to look like, I do know that my deep connection to Spirit keeps bringing back to a simple, yet not always easy way to "see" each other, to "see" nature and animals as ONE.  The vision that kept coming to me was archangel Gabriel.

When I looked up her symbolism, it became clearer to me that I am a messenger, as was she.  I am but one small person on this earth moving through life with positivity and inspiration, yet this is my path.

While speaking with various clients this week, the theme kept arising - the hurt felt from another's action, the co-worker who was vying for a position of power. My response was to stand in a place of empowerment (tadasana pose is a favorite way to embody this state) and to see the other as equal, evening out the energy.  For it is often a mirror of our own feelings of inadequacy that brings about this inequality of energetic exchange.

This brought me also to a personal experience during the prior week where I was the one re-learning this very lesson.  I was in a situation where I had put so much stock in putting the person I was about to network with on a pedestal, seeing myself as less than, inadequate, yet hoping to make an impression.  Of course, my overly eager energy was not enough to cover my internal feelings of inadequacy and I left feeling disempowered.  Before processing the event, I had created the story that this person was entitled and I, genuine.   Even if so, it was my energy that created this awkward experience in the first place.

Tough lesson to learn, but so worth the time and effort.  If WE, the people of this continent, can begin to see each other as part of one system with a unified purpose, friction will begin to dissolve and people will begin to come together.  There will be enough to share - food, love, shelter. 

Take the time to connect the dots of your daily experiences and see the fruits of their meaning.

Namaste

Sunday, October 15, 2017

It's All About Perspective

As I watched the amazing sunset along the beach in Santa Barbara, I ran back to grab my phone to take a photo of this pinky-orange color - something different from what I have been used to seeing back east.  Not only did the sun appear huge over the horizon of the water, but it was moving swiftly towards disappearance.

I eagerly talked with others around me about this beauty and how lucky we are to be here in this time and place while things are swirling around us with challenge, despair, devastation.  Somehow, the awesomeness of nature can bring about perspective and gratitude for what we have in this very moment.

I took my photo, excited to share with my family back in Boston, but somehow, the picture did not do justice to what my mind's eye had just captured.  I sent it anyway with a description of just how awesome it really was.

As I walked back to the car, I felt a sense of peace, but also an acknowledgement of just how perspective shapes our lives.  It coalesced some of my recent readings and reflections.  In "Me Finally" by Mitch Tishler, he uses the analogy of the aperture on a camera and when the aperture is open, so are we - receptive, inviting, able to take in - and when the aperture is closed, we are more likely in a place of self-criticism and judgement, which then extends into the world as we see it - uninviting, adversarial.

These nuances in life - the photo on the phone camera not being what we really see, the look on the face of someone who may be in pain but is interpreted as being unfriendly and the voice in our head that keeps us small - are all opportunities to alter the perspective.

Open your aperture!
Julie

Monday, October 9, 2017

Taming The Monkey Mind

It is Monday and I did successfully manage to alter the trajectory of my day yesterday.  Sundays have always been a day of increased anxiety, except for the one to two hours of singing that I would do at church.  Singing has always provided me a way to connect with my soul and my soul with others.

Since moving to CA, I have softened my "monkey mind" - the chatter in the background that effuses into the forefront of my mind, often increasing anxiety and decreasing focus.  Years of conditioning coupled with a brain chemistry that shows rapid thought process (high glutamate levels - another topic another time!), have supported creativity and ability to multi-task, BUT overuse will create burnout and potential illness due to inflammation.

Voila, I have experienced the perfect storm, am moving through to the other side, and my continued persistence to find other ways, to create new pathways for myself and you, brings me such pleasure in the discovery process.

Scene One from yesterday:  upon awakening, a flood of thoughts came about the weekly billing and balancing (my least favorite task!), preparing for the week ahead with seminars to provide (three to be exact), emailing confirmations to clients (this used to be my assistant's role), establishing new relationships in town for growing my two businesses - personal counseling and ClearMind, a new business focused on cognitive performance.  How will I do this all?  What if I cannot keep up?  How dare I consider doing "fun" things today!

Ahh - that last one is the key to opening my new door and is the one that is so conditioned.  In fact, part of my reason for my move is based upon learning to have fun, to practice a slower way of being and to really bring play into my life!

As you have read in my previous blogs, I AM doing all of this AND I continue to wrestle on occasion with these old ways of being.  Bringing myself back to:  "This is not me", "I am worthy of joy and peace",  "The background voices will diminish as I practice giving to myself".  Breathe into stillness and choose living in the moment.

I completed a few things and packed up to try a new adventure - Dance Tribe.  Not only was it amazing, but I left feeling free, open and ready for a glorious day!

My message to you is to recognize these long established patterns and consider using the statements from above.

Live with Joy,
Julie

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Life Is Beautiful

Not even sure where to start this week, as life continues to unfold so beautifully.  The few downsides - ant infestation, migraines, allergies - are so minute compared to:
1)watching young children frolicking along with such confidence and not a care
2)having Tammie jump up beside my head in the morning with her "happy to see me" look
3)eating my dinner on the beach under the full moon after a day of inspiring others during a corporate seminar on mindful eating
4)having a meaningful meeting with an architect about sustainable, eco-friendly tiny house building - my next chapter in life!
5)completing a challenging fitness class and seeing the marked improvement in my strength compared to post-surgery and chemotherapy two years ago

It's in choosing to see the gifts in life that bring us along the path toward gratitude and by fostering this within ourselves, we CAN influence the world, bringing peace wherever we go.  I say this amidst the tragedies that occur all around us because these events remind us of the need to seek peace within and without.

May you choose peace and gratitude each and every day!
Julie

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Happy Birthday Thanks

It is not quite a week since I have returned back "home", although my oldest best friend says that she cannot call CA home for me yet!  I had a most enjoyable trip back to Boston and things have shifted in a wonderful way.

While the trip started off rough - delayed flights to the point of arriving early the next morning - somehow, I kept my cool.  I had planned and packed my meals and snacks, brought plenty of work to do with me and found a corner at the airport to do some yoga stretching!

My birthday was such a day of celebration - Lindsay and Scott kept it well under wraps about having family and friends surprise me at the restaurant where I thought it would be just us three.  I was delighted and felt such a loving connection to all present. 

Each day there were visits with friends and family, but the difference was that I felt less rushed, able to be present with each person I visited.  I believe this shift has begun as a result of moving from my fast-paced, check it off the list orientation to a bit slower, being in the moment style.  Of course, this was precisely part of my reason for the move.

It has always been the case that I have needed to remove myself from my environment in order to unplug.  Same with vacations - never would rest at home, but move me to a different environment and I would be able to decompress.

There were many highlights to my week - being with Linds and Scott, seeing Dad doing well, visiting with many family and friends, attending yoga every day and attending Ali and Mike's wedding.  Ali and Lindsay have been friends since the 3rd grade, much like Jeanne and I from the 2nd.  Things peaked with my singing with Jamie at his gig and then spending the day recording with both he and Chris for a CD I plan to release later this year.

I am now 60 - cannot quite believe it, yet, I also feel refreshed and ready for this new chapter in life.  The moral of the story - listen to the inner yearnings of your heart and soul and be present to yourself and each person you are with.

With love and gratitude,
Julie

Saturday, September 16, 2017

That Which We See Is That Which We Be!

Well stated - Dr. Mitch Tischler. Also, addressed by Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden and other forward thinking individuals.

I invite you to think of situations where life feels unfair, where struggle feels insurmountable, write down the details about yourself and anyone else involved in the situation.  Where are there similarities in these challenges?  What do they represent?

I do believe it comes back to the self and how we view the core of our being.  If we are pure love - indian philosophy; or made in the image and likeness of Christ - christian philosophy; then how can we then feel less than, not good enough, undeserving?

In my life, I continue to wrestle with these very questions along the journey of healing my mind, body and soul.  I find it fascinating to entertain and believe in the idea that the biochemistry follows the thought, but it is more clearly visible to me now, more than ever.

Concrete example:  I had a meltdown yesterday, feeling overwhelmed because our administrative assistant for the new business needs to stop working for family reasons, thus, there are new computer programs for me to learn, as well as now seeking a new person to fill the role.

As many of you know who follow me, technology is a language that feels foreign to me.  While I have gotten better with time, as I read instructions, I often have no clue about what is being stated.  At least now I try to figure things out, but it can be hours of time spent without resolution.  I have a few folks with whom I am testing out the tutoring piece, but still find a language barrier in "getting it".  This week there were multiple occasions of this happening and by yesterday, I felt angry, misunderstood and helpless.

Once I stepped away from this, I realized that I had been immediately brought back to that second grade scenario with my folks - over the math and reading comprehension - "What are you stupid?".  Now this is no name and blame on them, BUT, I have still not let go of that message, the deeply ingrained tape that rolls around in my head!

I also immediately made a connection that I have intellectually discussed in the past, but only today put the pieces of the puzzle together.  I had learning issues in the 2nd grade and this was also the time when I gained significant weight and was teased by other kids.  It was a lonely time and I recall Mom and Dad fighting a lot during this period as well.  A chaotic, unsafe time for young eyes and ears.

My two girls also had challenges in the 2nd grade.  This is when their respective teachers recognized that they were indeed very bright, but were not mastering math and reading.  Hmm - genetics?  brain chemistry?  stress?  Yes, to all of the above!

As an adult, however, we have the opportunity to see this as the past and that the set of circumstances is not WHO we are.  Each and every moment of our lives are new opportunities for self-acceptance and self-love.

The next time you are feeling unsettled, stop and ask yourself, where is this originating from?  Is it true?  Can I stop, regroup and be compassionate with myself and those around me?

Be love,
Julie

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It's Sunday: Do I Choose To Do or To Be???

The usual wrestle with the "day of rest" vs the "day of preparation", nags at me every week, yet there is a choice, even though it does not always "feel" like a choice.

I am growing to believe (I state I believe, but am still a novice in practice as many of you are), that while there are the "to-do's", it is about the perspective and acknowledgement that these tasks are moving one in the direction of the perfected reality.  Think back of my earlier blogs referencing Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden, as visualizing the end result and working backwards.

This practice is what has truly gotten me through tough times and each week is a new opportunity to reaffirm that choice.  I've often referred to re-thinking semantics - instead of "I need to ..." or "I want to ..." or "I have to ...", consider a powerful "I choose to ...".  Not only are you buying into the next set of tasks or events, but you are also using an internal driving force instead of an external one.

Today is a sunny day and while I have my list of tasks, I will carefully go within (take a few silent moments to check in with my inner voice), address tasks seeing the end result and also choose to get out into Nature, where true peace and harmony can align us.

Happy Sunday,
Julie

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Right On"The Universe"

"For you, Julie, it's never really been all about the cottage at the beach, a multimillion dollar bank account, or the adoration of fans, has it?
 
Okay, sure, you could roll with it...
 
Instead, it's been about having a life that allows for the expression of your creativity and exchanging your rare and special gifts with the world. To be yourself, no matter the cost, laughing often, and knowing to your core the meaning of love, friendship, and hot chocolate on a freezing cold night.
 
Just wanted you to know that I know this about you. And I think it's just great how you're imagining the latter when you visualize these days. Especially the laughter and love.
 
Pretty much got you pegged, huh? 
   The Universe"

As I read this morning's reflection, it could not be more right on or timely - of course, those of us in "this world" recognize that there are no coincidences, only connecting dots if we choose to see them!

I had planned on writing yesterday in response to my usual Sunday blog about how I spent much of Sunday because it was not only revealing, but so healing as I continue my process and share with you.

I did call my husband (hate using the word ex), leaving a lengthy and love-filled message, I spoke with my daughter and son-in-law and then called them back to sing Eva Cassidy's version of Over The Rainbow. I sang with my dear friend Jamie, the Iz version for their recessional song at the wedding last year and this song has a long history in our family.  I called my Dad and spoke with my cousin, Patti. We talked about how similar our paths in life have been.  I felt so connected!

OK, enough suspense - I spent hours singing, playing my guitar and just belting out music and it felt wonderful!  Simultaneously, I was also aware of the programs running in the back of my head - the chatter of the sub-conscious.  "Should you indulge yourself on un-productive activities, hurry up, what have you accomplished, how dare you waste time - but I just focused on breathing and of course, when singing, you gotta breathe or else!

This was a lightening bolt of healing data and the ahha is quite profound.  Now to keep it rolling.  This is where the discipline of practicing that which we know we need to do for ourselves comes into play!

May you be touched and inspired to find your self-expression in this world.
Over the rainbow,
Julie

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stuck In The Throat

As I am reading this chapter in Navigating Life With An Open Heart, I stop to ponder the words of feeling stuck in the throat.  A flood of images come to me:  forbidden to speak up “or else”-little child; do I lie because my parents told me to or do I do what my gut tells me-3rd grade; do I tell Dad how humiliated I feel when he chaperones dances in my 7-8th grades and cuts in dancing with me while I am trying to be with my friends-he thinks it is funny and I want to explode, but must maintain composure; how do I save my life when Dad is holding me by the collar saying he will kill me-11th grade;  how do I speak up in court when my estranged husband is staring me down with his cohort of friends telling lies about me and threatening to make it financially impossible to survive, to take our daughter away, to ruin my reputation at work and in life-age 31.

I’m getting it now – my body feels tight, I want to burst into tears and I am thinking, I want to sing my songs.  I want to share this spiritual connection with others, while soothing my own hurt.  It passes and I am brought to this symbolic day – my anniversary to my first husband-so talented, yet so troubled from his own experiences; it is the day when I miscarried my twins at 6 ½ months-they are with me in spirit and I believe have been given to me as Lindsay and Ashley; it is the anniversary of Lindsay and Scott’s first year of marriage.  How ironic they did not know the other events, but for me, it closes a circle of love.  I will reach out to my husband today as I have over these years, with an intention to heal the hurts between us in this life, always hoping to make it ok.  I do not blame him because I see now with an Open Heart, that my inability to “speak up”, led to confusion and misunderstanding.  

I also know that this is part of my stuff :
I was the glue that kept Mom and Dad together and wedge that kept them apart, I am the one who bridges two worlds in my work life, I am the one who tries to create peace when tension is high, I am the one who hosts for all-poor, friends, family.  Yet, is this truly me or just an aspect desperately seeking connection?

Ah, the continued exploration. And, it is all perfect and is all beautiful.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

From Mount to Mount

As I visited Meditation Mount yesterday with a dear friend, I felt the presence and energy of Graymoor, a beautiful mountain in Garrison, NY, nestled in the Hudson River Valley.  I grew up visiting Graymoor as a child with my folks, as my uncle had joined the order but had to leave due to health problems.  The friars at that time, worked in the community, tended the fields, growing food to feed the poor and my uncle's congenital heart condition disallowed labor of this nature.

As a teen, I was less enthralled by visiting a religious place, but came back around during college days while studying philosophy.  As I have mentioned before, what has always resonated with me is Fr Paul's vision when he founded the order - "that all may be one".  To this day, my path is about connecting people, helping us recognize that there are many paths to the same truth - love is the only way and peace and understanding assist in finding this not only in ourselves, but as we peer out through our lenses into the world at large.

Meditation Mount has the same peace pole, which I did not know until looking at an updated photo of Graymoor this morning.  Also, both places opened their missions within the same year - 1970-1971. How ironic that the energy and influence cross from sea to sea, and that I see and feel the synchronicity of this very energy.  There is beauty and grandeur in observing the mountains and valleys, and a gentle reminder that while we are so small in comparison to these natural wonders, we influence every aspect of their continued existence and vice versa.

My message today is about seeing the beauty in the nature that surrounds us, to acknowledge the awesomeness within ourselves and others and to ponder why you are where you are in this place and time.  For it is through this connection that we will truly learn to serve.

Love
Julie

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Remembering Mom With Healthy Fudge!

Tomorrow is Mom's birthday and I have been aware for the past week - remembering her last birthday in the hospital. I asked what she wanted, as she was never a big cake person and her response was lemon meringue pie, so there you have it, I made her pie from scratch and she was so happy.

As I was talking with Ashley this week, we recalled how much of a fashion eye she had.  She was an amazing seamstress, making all of my first day of school dresses, coats, fancy pants etc.  She had an eye for color, jewelry and accessories.

What was most striking about Mom however, was how much she cared about people - sending cards, letters, making calls to say hello.  It is something that I have continued in my life and have passed it down to the girls.  In this day and age of texting and computer cards, somehow people remark about the old fashioned letter or card, feeling special.

As I went through my day today, I felt emotional - happy thoughts, some tears, really feeling the tug of missing her.  Ironically, I was preparing food for a meeting that I am hosting this week and the dessert that I decided to make was the healthy fudge from my Sweets and Treats cookbook.  Reason being is that one of the staff cannot have eggs, so it ruled out many of the recipes or I would be using flaxseeds or some other substitute.

This fudge recipe came from my Mom's collection and when I would make it as a teen - started cooking by 5th grade - Mom and I would eat the entire batch!  To this day, the recipe, even in its cleaned up version, is to die for.  I smiled as I rolled them and placed a walnut 1/2 on each for decoration.

Tomorrow will be a celebration of her life - one that I will cherish for the rest of mine.

I love you Mom
Julie

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spiritual Psychology, Epigenetics, You and Me

I am landing back to earth from an incredible weekend, assisting at the genetics conference in San Diego, where I am learning how to apply the biochemistry that I learned "a thousand years ago" with cutting edge epi-genetics interpretation.  The science of epi-genetics takes the deterministic view of genes and applies how environment, chemicals, attitudes and beliefs affect whether or not the genes will express themselves in a positive or negative manner.

Coupled with the very long drive to and fro on the freeway, I popped in Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman to listen to Spontaneus Evolution, a wonderful book bringing together biology, history and evolution.  For me, the combination of learning from these disciplines creates a framework that truly resonates with my personal experience and that which I share passionately with my friends, colleagues and clients.

While science has created some predictability over the years, there are "miracles", unexplained circumstances that do arise frequently enough and now there are ways to view, measure and understand them more. This brings up an important point to remember - science is only as good as the technology at the time.  Be careful of casting something or someone off as "not possible" or "crazy" just because behaviors or expressions (illness etc) cannot be measured!

I feel increasingly hopeful about unlocking the mysteries of health and well-being, not only for myself (a complex case, no doubt!), but for the many people that I come in contact with.  There is no doubt that I attract outliars in the medical system, as well as in my life, for I get it, as a humble human being and a practitioner, all in one.

Stay tuned!
Julie

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Am A Teacher Not A Preacher

While riding my bike to dance class, I passed the church with people coming out from a service.  I was immediately given a message and how I know that I am receiving a message is that I have a visceral reaction of chills accompanied by an actual message. On my left side were jagged bright white lights, similar to lightening bolts (this is also one that tells me that something is not conducive to my forward movement) and on my right was Jesus, laughing and assisting me with the next phases of my evolution.

Now this may seem strange, but as my intuitive capacities have grown and continue to do so, the voice, tone of the message and pictures, make so much sense and are not thought up as if I am trying to think of such things.

Jesus was saying very clearly and with a jovial spirit that he is a teacher and not a preacher.  What struck me is that I had visited this church upon my arrival, as I did a few houses of spirituality, and it was not a good fit.  Strangely or not, it was the catholic church.  It felt very sterile, black and white and not what my faith community was like back in Boston.  I have since found two lovely places to sing, pray and feel the sense of community, BUT, what was striking is that I have also been told that I am a teacher and that part of my reason for being here in Ojai is to share my gifts.  I felt clearly that I am to use my voice, sharing the knowledge from my diversified toolbox - conventional medicine, ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting edge functional and genetic science.

I feel more ready than ever and will allow the teacher to show up!

Blessings,
Julie

Friday, July 21, 2017

Passing The Test

As I write this blog, I am brought to exploring two thoughts - the first being how I used "the report card" phrase in my past blogs, and how I wrote this phrase yesterday to eagerly talk about my ahha while reading Me Finally, Seeing-Navigating Life With An Open Heart.

I had not yet put 2+2 together, as today, I do visit the oncologist for the "report card" on labs again and yet, the "test" from yesterday holds even more meaning and excitement for me!  I had just come off from a wonderful evening of presenting on brain fog with my partner and stayed up way too late for me, working on the next phases.

I was awakened at 5:15am by my client who was confirming our 8:30am appointment and I texted back,"All set".  I went back to sleep and upon arising at 7am - a much more normal time for me now since having health challenges (used to be that 5am up and at em person!).  I read the text that I missed his appointment and to my horror, realized that this was my first blip between east and west coast timing!

I apologized profusely and he was fine - we adjusted to later in the day, as I was not prepared for even a 7am start.  I set the limit by acknowledging my mistake, apologizing and offering times that would be more conducive for both of us.  The old me would have dived right in, making for a very stressful day because I would be flogging myself for a mistake!

Next, I was flooded with texts and emails regarding health insurance "stuff" from my daughter - this cloud has been following us for a while - victims of a system that not only is not working, but does not communicate between departments.

I chose to look at my schedule and responded that I could assist later on and that I could no longer do this for her, but would guide her in the frustrating, but doable process.

While tired in the beginning of this day, I felt freer and lighter - had a deep Knowing - and this Knowing is about tone of the real keys to health.  It is about accepting who we are in any given moment, choosing to act but not react, and loving ourselves and others as we set limits that support the self and other in any process.

May you pass the test!
With an open heart,
Julie

Monday, July 17, 2017

On Urgency

As I come off an amazing weekend - full of patients whom I love supporting, having a neighborhood potluck talking into the sunset, playing/practicing music for my christian rock band audition and meeting with our business mentor, a world-seasoned executive coach who loves our vision for ClearMind, I began to recognize the need to also dampen the "urgency button".

My dear friend, Jamie, sent me a book, ME, FINALLY - Navigating Life With An Open Heart, and I somehow knew this morning that I needed and wanted to begin a few pages as a daily practice.  No coincidence here.  I believe and live from my heart much of the time, which has allowed me to traverse the hills and valleys of life, often sensing the need of others, whether spoken or not.

This gift also needs to be dealt with carefully, as I can easily take any request as urgent, needing response immediately.  Conversely, I have come to anticipate a similar response from others and when it does not occur, I am shifted into wondering what I did wrong.  Ah, the right and wrong, the all or none, the black and white.  How this comes disguised in so many ways.

Just this morning, a gift arrived in my email from a client who said, "I noticed you responded late last evening and I do not want you to over-extend."  I then received a text from my business partner stating, "Oh no urgency, just when you get around to it."  These gifts are so timely as I navigate this new territory of balance, expanse and letting go of expectations.

There is no urgency in these man-made expectations, only urgency in opening to the quiet listening of one's heart.

May you take time to listen intently,
Julie






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Living In Peace

I'm  a bit overdue on this blog because I have so much to write about and could not pick just one topic.  I think it is time for book three, focused on the journey of life - my life - because I feel and know that I represent others who have faced challenges, wondering if fear would eventually dissipate.  Indeed it can and it is truly worth the journey.

I feel a bit like the title, A Tale of Two Cities, in that I have two opposing forces occurring at this time, and yet I am at peace with this, at least in this moment.  And remember, it is this moment only that we have.

I'm facing a revisit to oncology in less than 2 weeks and will also be tested for virulent lyme co-infections.  My personal health is declining, yet, I am living, fully living, for the first time in my life.  I am often fatigued, have feelings of flu-like symptoms and find that I am allowing myself to recline when needed.

On the other hand, I walk with Tammie daily - we begin our morning walking to the local outdoor water fount for clean, reverse osmosis water.  It feels like going to the river for water.  I ride my bike to my chosen class of the day - yoga, dance and chanting.  I spend quality time with clients, having a reduced schedule and I am working with my business partner on our new company, ClearMind, a health company devoted to brain optimization.

I am singing spiritual music, auditioning in a week to join a group.  My life and work are so intertwined and both truly feed my soul.  I have often over these years called this my lifework because there is no delineation.  The difference is in my pace and acceptance.

I've been asked whether I feel that illness is unfair and if I ask "Why me?".  In fact, I have come to truly believe, "Why not me?"  I no longer feel that I've done something wrong to be faced with immune illnesses - leukemia and lyme - but keep listening and trusting that I am on my path.  Of course, I hope for a miracle cure, but I also realize that part of the miracle is in living, loving and experiencing joy, even with challenges.

My gift to you all is to share my peace and love with you now and always,
Julie

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ask Seek Knock...And Never Stop

As the week unfolded, I continued to listen to the inner voice, observe, and respond with surrender, not a giving up.  I've not felt well much of the time since arriving, yet have immersed myself into life, loving the new adventures.  That is not to say that discouragement does creep in, but instead of muscling my way through, I am practicing allowing rest, acknowledging that this is now and not forever.

My labs have declined once again and I was not surprised because the symptoms are there, yet, I keep my eye on being grateful for what I do have - my wonderful family and friends, my new friends and colleagues, my beautiful surroundings with mountains, sunshine and blue sky, and the ability to engage in participating and listening to music.

I was keenly aware of two events in particular that brought me to a place of peace, calm and renewed hopefulness, knowing that healing occurs in many ways and not according to my expected timeline.  I had just received my labs before leaving for kirtan (a gathering of the traditional indian spiritual chanting) and I was already feeling poorly, so tearfully, I still chose to attend.  As we sang and prayed, my sadness lifted and by the end, I was filled with joy, being back in a place of gratitude.  This carried me a few days.

Later in the week, I spoke with my cousin and again, felt the sadness as I shared my medical circumstances, but soon was able to come back to this place of not letting the challenges in life become my theme.  Interestingly, my landlady told me to come to a service at her church today, so I decided to try it out and what an experience!

First of all, the music was amazing and everyone sang and clapped, being immersed in prayer.  The pastor was not only charismatic, but wove scripture into current experience.  He talked about the need to have fun in life, to seek joy.  This hit a chord with me because fun, joy and doing things just because, was not much of my growing up experience.  Duty, service and work, were considered to be more important.  It is finding the balance, which is part of my reason for moving here.  And I truly believe as I continue to practice this, I will notice healing exponentially.

As he continued, the words Ask, Seek and Knock along with persistence, were emphasized and these are truly important. How can one receive without asking?
How can one know what he/she needs without seeking?
And how can God or any person respond without being directly addressed?

I left the service feeling full of life and gratitude and upon arriving home to read an article by Dr Daniel Amen, world reknowned psychiatrist, he uttered many of the same words.

My wish for you is to always remain in gratitude, to seek joy and never stop asking for what you need.

Love
Julie

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hitting The Reset Button

For those of you who follow me weekly, you know that this special place , my blog, is where I share my process, my vulnerability. not for sympathy, but because so many feel some of these same dark feelings, yet guilt and isolation can set in.  This is a safe space to know that many of  us walk in the same shoes!

Last week was about a relationship that may never be the fantasy or the ideal and yet, it is perfect in the grand plan - pain helps us humans to learn lessons and become more empathic towards others.

This week feels like a year all rolled into one. First, I opened a bank account with my business partner, making it official that we are committed to making a difference in a big way in healthcare. Two days later, I spent 3 1/2 hours waiting at the CA health insurance division to see what my options are and while having a lovely customer service rep listen to my story, understand my needs, I left there with more legwork to do before finding out my options.  As I sat there, I pondered the definition of "Health Insurance".  What "insurance"?!  There are no guarantees and the state of healthcare in this country is not about health, but really is about disease management and critical  care.  While these areas are needed, what is more important is learning how to prevent these costly illnesses from manifesting in the first place.  Enough said!

I attended two town planning meetings about the future direction of Ojai - a place that is known for spiritual leaders and exceptional education rooted in critical thinking.  I felt very excited and engaged to be listening to the passion for honoring the earth, living sustainably and creating initiatives to foster collaboration amongst the community at large.

More critical to my path was taking time on Saturday and Sunday to observe my pace and my thoughts, allowing myself not to rush, checking off my never-ending list, but to really tune into what I need.  This was partly spearheaded by a conversation with a dear friend and colleague who has been ill for these past few years as well.  While the cause of immune suppression is different, our paths have been so similar and we tend to have very similar go-getter personalities.  She shared with me that she is taking time to heal - she is not working, she sleeps in as needed, walks the beach and gardens.  She has really "allowed" herself to give herself time in a loving way.

I was so struck by our conversation, knowing deep down that I have not allowed that to happen fully.  Yes,our circumstances are different, but in the end, it is tapping into this deep place of deserving and allowing oneself to honor what is needed.  This weekend was a peek into a new reality and it felt great.  The next 30 days will be the test - remember it takes 30 days to create a new habit!

Think about your reset button and tune in!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Reflections on Father's Day

It was an emotional time coming up to this weekend - recognizing what is, what is not and what the fantasy has been.

I generally find balance in seeing the good and not so good in situations, however, when pain strikes, it cuts like a knife.

My Dad has been a good provider over the years - a dutiful man providing the basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.  I am thankful for that.  And he was very supportive during my years as a single Mom, coming to the girls' events and driving my Mom down to babysit.  I know that he loved me in his own way.

On the other hand, my Dad held very high expectations, was explosive and not emotionally available. Discussions of feelings or opinions were never allowed - that was considered disrespectful.  Sitting around the dinner table to talk about the day did not exist - there was to be silence.  and yet, I know that my Dad loved me in his own way.

And as the years have gone along, there is more silence and withdrawal.  I so have longed for connection, for approval.   As dementia continues to take over, he prefers not to talk on the phone and requests that I email him.  When we do speak, there is not the reciprocal interest in how I am doing.  And yet, I know my Dad loves me in his own way.

As I talked with Lindsay earlier in the week, she was very saddened by the fact that Grampy had no interest in her visiting.  She feels sad and angry.  I then somehow feel responsible to "fix it", yet I know that I cannot and it is not my job.  Ugh - the pain deepens as the week goes along.  And yet, I know my Dad/her Grampy loves us in his own way.

I cried, reflected, prayed on it and what came to mind were the other men in our lives who have filled in the void where Dad has been unable to.  Jamie, my dear friend, has been there for me and my family through the dark days and the brighter ones.  Fr Hehir and Fr Tom from my old parish and Fr Steve from Graymoor - all provided guidance, support, love throughout the years.  And for my girls, there were some wonderful male influences who were able to provide what Dad was unable to give.  And yet, I know my Dad/their Grampy loves us in his own way.

How does one reconcile the struggle - I do not have all the answers, but I do know that acceptance is key.  In each perceived negative event or feeling, there is an opportunity for healing, for understanding and most importantly, for moving on.  Today is a new day, one filled with promise and gift.

Be honorable, be respectful, be loving and know that you are loved!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Learning to Listen and Trust Your Backbody

Since my arrival, I have been checking out different yoga studios and was told about a dance studio that offered a wide array of classes including yoga, kirtan (indian chanting) and expressive world dance.

Knowing that a lifelong challenge has been unlocking my tight body, I decided to really step outside of my comfort zone and do some soulful movement, including sensual hip moves and circling arms above my head.

I tried Bollywood, a high paced Indian dance and as I described the class to Linds and Ash, they were in stitches, wishing to be a fly on the wall watching stiff ole Mom!  It was so fun and definitely a step in the right direction.  On Saturday, I tried Soul Motion and the best way to describe this class is interpretive movement to a theme.  This week's theme was the Backbody.

I am familiar with concept from my studies in energy medicine and we did some of this work when I attended the alternative cancer center in Germany a few years ago.  Basically, having an awareness of our past, how our spine supports us and the energy field around us, not just in front or what we can see, helps to create trust and balance.

At the end of the session, our teacher, a wonderful yoga teacher and kirtan chanter, Julia Berkeley, gave us a sheet of paper and pen to write freely for a few minutes without thinking. The exercise began with, "My Backbody ..."  Below, I will share my free association which was fascinating and I hope that you will find an opportunity to consider a meditation focusing on your Backbody and what it means to you!

"My Backbody trusts that I will be safe.  Will bring me fullness of life and stop me when I am moving forward too fast.  My Backbody knows who I am - my strengths and vulnerabilities and wants me to be whole and happy.  What does happy mean, I ask . . . I am finding my way and this exploration of my Backbody, free-flowing and formless, is actually taking shape and form.  Divine intelligence is moving me forward and backward - a circle of light and love.  I thank you Backbody for holding me up and in place, not stagnant, but alive.

With gratitude to my teachers,
Julie

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Giving Back Receiving - Both Are So Important

The other evening, as I explored other areas of town on my bike, I passed a man carrying  two plastic grocery bags.  We exchanged a smile and hello - something I so accustomed to from my Friendly's Ice Cream training.  Always make eye contact, smile and say you will be right with someone - good old customer service!

He asked me if I wanted some apricots, going on to say how his tree was so abundant this year that he is giving fruit away.  I graciously accepted, said thank you and was so excited, as I have not had fresh apricots in years.

Upon arriving home, my tea tag read, "We are most happy when we give of ourselves".  I smiled inwardly and outwardly, snapped a photo of the fruit and sent it to my family.  What I've noticed thus far in this small town is a warmth and sincere welcoming, as well as curiosity about my being here.  There's a slower pace with folks stopping to ask and learn more.

I've thoroughly enjoyed providing community service over the years and during this past number of months, have been the recipient of such an outpouring of love and support.  My observation of myself in this process is that I have truly begun to accept and love myself for who I am, with all my talents and imperfections (that is the key word!), I am much more able to accept gifts of love and support without guilt, but with pure joy.

It is the energy exchange of giving and receiving from the heart between beings that brings peace, joy and love.  May you smile and don't forget to read the tea tags.

Love
Julie

Monday, May 29, 2017

Step to the Beat of a Different Drummer

It is a beautiful Spring day and a holiday. With consciousness, I chose to really step to the beat of a different drummer, something that does not come easily to me.  My drumbeat has been a fast-paced, on the move beat, even during periods when a slower beat may have been a better choice!

While there have been many reasons for my move and to this particular location, in part, it has been to really reset my way of being, to rewire my "energizer bunny" mode.  And today was the first day where I allowed myself to really participate on all levels - mind, body, spirit.

The day began with my waking once again feeling exhausted, allergic, stiff and a bit tearful that I was not feeling so great.  I realize that I have been on the go and in crisis management mode for months, that it would take some time for my body and brain to relax and rejuvenate, but come on, I've been here now a month.  Let's get on with it!

I went to yoga, feeling cared for by my instructor who has this wisdom and compassion, much like Heather and Kristina, and by the end of class, I was already in a different place.  That inner knowing that usually comes with my yoga practice, felt more solid today and there was a lightness of heart and visual clarity that I have not had in a long time.

I decided to stay present to the moment, asking myself what I wanted to do at that time, rather than planning.  My general mode is to have everything efficiently planned so there is no waste of time.  Mistake number one from my past!

I had become so programmed for efficiency that there was no room for impromptu joy!  My day unfolded beautifully and it sure didn't hurt to have warmth and sunshine.  I rode my bike to the market for a few groceries and Tammie's organic, grain free dog food.  She's on a similar diet to her mom!  Gotta love it.

I walked TT many times in between as she never refuses a walk.  I went to this really cool library/bookstore called Bart's Books.  It is an outdoor library with awnings, garden tables and chairs and I sat, reading for an hour.  Upon arriving home, I picked more Loquats from my tree, washed and cooked them.  I then walked to a local artisan shop which was closed, but there were free rocks and driftwood branches - exactly what I was seeking to make a wall hanging.

While being out and about, I viewed the mountains, the trees and the beauty of this community.  Arriving home, I felt content and satisfied, ready to clean my apartment, prep for my work week and now settle into writing this accounting of the day.

The next time you feel down, like things are never going to change, stop and change the beat, reprogram yourself.  It's worth the effort!

A new day is dawning,
Julie

Friday, May 19, 2017

Upside Down and Learning to Love It

As I traversed this week, I faced many challenges - the stuff that is hard for me, the stuff that I don't particularly enjoy doing and the stuff that hits the cord of old tapes - "what are you stupid"-as my folks would say in frustration when I was young or "boy am I stupid" - the embodiment of early modeling that I took ownership for over many years.  This is not about blame - I know that my parents were really acting out of their own frustration and shame of not being able to help me, but when I am tired and stressed, old states of being rear their ugly head.

First it was the bank and quickbooks not communicating due to a state address move, then it was dealing with my professional licenses and how to pay state taxes in another state.  Later on, it was about setting up my laboratory accounts for assisting my patients from afar.  Computer set-up is not my forte and I'd much rather be talking with patients, networking with professionals and taking time to smell the flowers!

It's also been painful dealing with my Dad who chooses to remain angry, stating how he needs help, but will not allow me in.  The double messages that I've received for my entire life are impossible to interpret and I find myself saddened, yet also accepting of a relationship that will never be.

It sure didn't help that my organic mattress that I ordered was on backorder and Tammie and I have been roughing it on a thin daybed mattress on the floor. Oh, my aching joints!

OK, enough complaining.  What I found during this time was that I started into old patterns - fear of not getting my work up and running, overworking in all areas, feeling like I will never catch up.  As this grew over the week, I got a migraine, I felt exhausted and while I was walking daily and getting to yoga most days, I was still caught in the trap.  Life felt upside down and I was spinning out of control.

The ahha came this morning.  My mentor, coach and dear friend, Dr Heather Ensworth, reached out to check in and I emailed my lament along with knowing that this too would pass.  I then went to yoga and met an amazing teacher, Rosemary Garrison.  As it turned out, we had a private session and she asked what I'd like to work on.  I mentioned my fear of being upside down and that I've never been able to do a headstand, even fearing being supported in this posture.

I still had a migraine, but somehow felt drawn to tackle this posture.  I was curious about what being upside down meant to me.  We worked up to the headstand and before you know it, I was up there with very little support and it felt amazing!  I left there almost migraine free.

As the day unfolded, I decided to explore a bit and to take time to "smell the flowers", so to speak.  What a beautiful town, a wonderful day in many ways.  I visited a spiritual retreat, then went to the local church to check out music ministry.  After that, I purchased paint to antique a few items that I purchased for my furnishings.  I had coffee with some new friends and talked with a fellow at the retreat about his interest in theological studies.

I realized that for months and in fact years, my life has been upside down - that I have been shouldering one challenge after another and that fear of not doing enough or being enough became not only a motivator to keep going, but it had become so buried deep down, that when not in crisis, it bubbled up.

By choosing to stop the downward spiral, I was quieted to a place where I could literally stand upside down, knowing that I am enough.

The message of the day is to allow the messy upside down part of life become a metaphor for knowing that it's all part of the "plan".

From a new perspective,
Julie

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Remembering Mom

As  reflect on my Mom, I think of how lucky I am to have had a Mom who supported my interests and who enjoyed many of the same things that I do - music, fashion-she had a keen eye for color and style, food and the latest health info, being available to others in need.

Interestingly, I had planned on attending some service today, whether at the catholic church or another denomination and I was drawn across the street from my apartment to a building called the World University, one that looked just like the buildings at Graymoor,a beloved mount in NY that was home to the Friars of the Atonement.  As I drew closer to the building, there was a sign that stated "Church Entrance" and beneath was written - "Ecumenism, that all may live as one".  I had chills and immediately felt my mother's presence, as if brought to this place by her.  I had always loved the Graymoor Friars' mission, brought forth by Fr. Paul, the founder and the statement written by him was, "That all may be one".

In fact, when I developed the fund raising Power of One concert in Wellesley years back to support the local mental health agencies for suicide prevention, I used Fr Paul's statement.  Out of this was born our contemporary liturgical group and we played for many of the special masses, enrolling the younger folks into the music as an expression of their spirituality.

I felt guided by Mom and look forward to attending a service there which is once a month.  Today as people gathered, the service was cancelled due to the minister being ill, but I met and talked with some lovely people, all focused on a similar path of awareness and enlightenment.  It was refreshing, energizing and relaxing, all in one.

Just prior to going to the service, I went to the Farmer's Market, again meeting gracious people, local farmers, and was surrounded by music on each corner of the tents that were set up.  I was again reminded of how my Mom and I would take the train into Boston for the Saturday Haymarket farmer's market.  We did this during my college days since I was studying not only nutrition, but food purchase and preparation.

I purposely dressed in a blue print dress so that I could wear the bracelet that she made for me years ago - sapphire stones with some other pretty stones.  Sapphire is my birthstone and blue is about communication and connection with the angelic realms.

This evening, I feel complete, having done yoga, soaked in epsom salts with wintergreen and cypress and now preparing to do a little work before retiring.  My wish for all is that this day represents appreciation for all Moms, as well as other feminine energy and support in our lives.

With love,
Julie

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Disconnected But Content

It’s been a few weeks, as we (Ashley and I) have been packing and moving – Ash to Boulder, CO and me a week later onto Ojai, CA.  Oh, and I might add Tammie, our soon to be 14 year old shih-poo, also traveled via plane for her first time!

As we have navigated the busyness of preparing to move, things moved along quite well.  Long days and nights, but to be expected.  Altogether, we packed and hauled 45 boxes to UPS!  A few angels dropped in along the way.  An old friend found my card buried in his papers, reached out to connect and offered to help us pack – what a help!  My cousin then called to offer their SUV for the night before our flight and again, we could not have made this all work without these gracious and timely offers.

Tammie was really good for a high-strung dog, but we realized that she needed some form of sedative for our solo flight a week later – me, the bags and the dog!

Upon arriving to Boulder, we were once again mesmerized by its beauty and stayed in an adorable lodge at the foot of the mountain – comfy beds, so needed for the upcoming week ahead.  Once settled into Ashley’ apartment, I began receiving notices from UPS that I had provided a wrong address for my packages.  Indeed, I had transposed the numbers – I call it my dyslexic fatigue.  Spent a number of hours on the phone with UPS to fix errors and while we are missing 1-2 boxes, all in all, the move went pretty well.

Love the area where Ashley will be, love the program that she is involved in – a therapeutic model that fits our philosophy and lifestyle.  Each day bring new blessings into her life which of course feels multifold for me!

Upon arrival to Los Angeles, I had it perfectly planned – or so I thought.  Picked up my vehicle at the airport marina dealership, concluding that selling my car prior to moving, working with an agent to have the car ready to roll would make sense and indeed, this worked well.  Along the way from LA to Ojai, I had also ordered a daybed – the same one purchased for Ash – as it doubles as a decent mattress and a sofa.  Picked that up and after leaving, started for home.  Tammie and I arrived about 9:15pm.  Went to turn on the lights and nothing.  I chuckled realizing that I had made very sure that Ash was set for utilities, internet etc, but forgot about my electricity.  Now the installation for internet would be also delayed.

Luckily, I carry a tiny flashlight in my purse and we navigated the apartment quite well.  Think it is all those carrots that I consume that help the night vision!  In a humorous way, I felt like a pioneer and there was something a bit thrilling about being disconnected for a few days.  After two days, met my neighbor who graciously gave me an extension cord, a lamp and thankfully, I could make my morning coffee.  The next day, she offered me her wifi so that I could continue business as usual.
I’ve done skype (actually HIPPA skype called doxy.me)) in Boulder, now Ojai and am keeping my schedule on EST for the month.

Life is falling into place.  I love being here – a small town of about 7500 people – and already feel a connection to the folks I’ve met.  While I will always cherish my home in Boston, it is time for a new adventure and a time to bring forth my gifts in a climate where integrative health is the norm.

Sending love and well-wishes to all,

Julie

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Goodbye With Fond Memories and Gratitude

As I wrap up my three short years in Marblehead, I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to live here, yet not without major life challenges.

My folks grew up in Lynn and as a teen, I would ride my bike through town and once in college, dreamed of someday owning a bed and breakfast where I would teach health classes and cook my healthy food for people.

When I moved here a few years ago, I began networking and building relationships with local businesses but unfortunately three months after arriving, I developed a staph infection that required surgery since I had a rare leukemia that suppressed my immune system.  Following a lengthy hospitalization and chemotherapy, I reacted to the chemo and was quite ill for months on end.  So much for getting business off the ground!

Luckily, I lived in a condo within walking distance to town and the pharmacy, so I began to improve my stamina with short walks.  Once able to get back to yoga, I was there at The Loft, most days of the week.  Randy and Laurel’s smiling faces always made me feel welcomed.

I began to work with Steve and Rob at the Landing, creating the SeaFit menu and with Jon and Joan at Marblehead Cable TV, doing health interviews with local health professionals.  Additionally, Mary at the Reporter, welcomed my contributions to the newspaper.

Once feeling better, I did begin the process of creating a health retreat here in town and while many people liked the idea, there was also concern about bringing a larger business as this to town.  I do believe that one day there may be an opportunity to revisit this idea, but the timing needs to be right for embracing a more holistic style of health and wellness.

Last summer, my daughter was married at Crocker Park and the day could not have been better.  It was a highlight of my being here in this beautiful town.  Shortly after, I embarked on a business trip to talk with leading healthcare professionals about integrative healthcare and as I voiced my frustrations, it was suggested that I consider a few other areas of the country, where my gifts could truly blossom.  I began to consider this possibility, knowing that my children also had interest in moving to other areas of the country.

My process was definitely sped up with health challenges that my daughter has faced and the reality of once again needing to sell my home for financial reasons.  For those of you who have followed my articles over these past few years, you know that I come from a place of seeking the silver lining, looking at the gift in the challenge. And this is exactly how I see it.  I feel blessed and complete having been here, hoping that I have touched some lives with inspiration, and I look forward to my new chapter in Ojai, CA, a small community of forward thinking healthcare and spiritual professionals.  I will still be available for consultations via a HIPPA compliant form of telehealth, doxy.me for my east coast folks.
  

With sincere thanks,  Julie

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Week Of Flurry

As I approached my week away for business, I felt excited and organized for meeting a wide array of practitioners ranging from myofascial release therapists to CEO’s of mental health agencies, executive coaches and many others in between.

Upon landing in LA and listening to my voicemail, I had three calls that my younger had taken a turn for the worst, going to the hospital for observation.  While concerned, I knew and trusted that this rocky period would be an opportunity.  Nonetheless, trying to using Google Maps to get to my destiny while making calls to clinicians, the ride was a bit more stressful than I would have liked.

Once connected to the treatment team, I once again felt that this process was meant to be and 5 days later, I am witness to God in action yet again.  Interspersed with amazing meetings, learning about apartments and who would take Tammie (my baby of almost 14 years and my office assistant!), I nailed down an amazing home while en route back to Boston.

It’s kinda how it goes in my life!  Things look bleak, yet I forge ahead not knowing the outcome and each time this occurs, I am more grounded, asking Jesus to guide me, knowing that I am not in control and will land where I am meant to be.

 Tammie and I will live just 2 blocks outside town, walking distance to the park, the grocery store (filled with organic options), shops and practitioners with whom I already feel a connection.  I truly feel blessed!

Backing up a bit, I had the most clarifying conversation with my daughter last night and with her team, knowing that hitting rock bottom last weekend needed to happen in order to shed light on the healing path.  While still many curves along the way and much work to be done in order to move forward, I feel in alignment with my path and with the gentle guidance that I provide my family.

Moral of this blog:  do not get caught up in the flurry;  keep your eye on the end result, seeing the beauty in each challenge as gift.

With love,
Julie