Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Standing In My Truth - In Love and Prayer

This week some students and I parted ways.  We did so amicably and I am grateful to God for this blessing.  Prayer in every words and action and sending love before is powerful.  God’s love heals, forgives, and strengthens us in our weakest moments. 

Without a doubt, the hardest aspect of teaching for me is when I see a child in stress or severe fatigue.  For years I thought that was how it was supposed to be, this was what it meant to rear children in today’s modern, fast-paced world so they could handle the challenges that come their way.  Then later as I dealt with my own issues of adrenal fatigue and lack of sleep it became very clear that this was not what God intended for the lives of our children or us.  Suddenly, the families I admired for their worldly successes, the mothers I compared myself to I did no longer.   Seeing in my own students the stresses and fatigues I dealt with myself seemed like cruelty now -  not a track to better and more successful living.  It seemed they were working harder, but not smarter although their test scores would prove me differently.  I started caring less about their test scores and more about their emotional well-being.  I was more concerned with finding inspiration , a smile, joy in their playing than where they went on vacations and their most recent GPA.  As I began caring about my own heart I started really seeing theirs.  The hard part was when I would explain my observations to their parents only to see them turn and find something else for their child to do. It is very easy to find teachers more than willing to take “successful” students so they were never far away from someone wanting them in their studio or on the team.

I realized by using words like “prayer”, “intuition,” and phrases like “I sense that” I was breaking the cardinal rule of teaching – becoming involved.  Since I had a personal studio, I began to responsibly own the power granted me to nurture those who were still finding joy or looking for joy,  in their playing.  I stopped being run by the machine in my own studio as I did in the corporate world.  I began to look within for my own truth about situations.  At first, I would look to older, more experienced teachers, not only for their mentoring, but for their approval.  I wanted to know what a good teacher and copy their formula – exactly, to the letter.  I forgot, along the way, to even consider that I already was a good teacher who just need polishing.  I was not someone with out inner guidance and the power to stand in my own philosophies about children and living.  I was afraid if my inner spirit influenced my teaching I would not have "successful" students.

One of my dear friends questions the system of why is it we as teachers are to be ranked as “good” for a child to receive high school credit in piano.  If the child does the work, does it matter how “good” the teacher is?  I loved the question and it has permeated into so many areas of my life.  If a student *really* loves piano, I could honestly know very little.  Sure, they would have some musical holes, but their passion - I firmly believe – would see them through and guide them to the right people along their way.  I know that is what happened to me. 

It is my responsibility with my own child to stay aware of what his life purpose is.  It is not for me to decide it, determine it,  or block it, just to nurture it.  How many parents really consider this?  Today I heard a podcast encouraging teaching children to meditate.  I’m sure none of my students meditate.  In fact, I need to be cautious of the word.

Letting a student leave for the right reasons only to see them continue with someone else for the wrong ones is difficult because I care.  However, to freeze it in time and give it a label is not fair to myself or them.  It only serves to inflate my ego and condemn their spirits.  I choose instead to honor myself, in that I spoke my truth in this situation instead of being intimidated.  I am grateful to God things were resolved peacefully and without conflict.  I continue to pray for the children and their parents as they maneuver through life. I was blessed to have them because they taught me just as I taught them.   We are all on a journey and this is theirs.  My goal in their life was completed and now very apparent – for them to know that joy and inspiration is important in life.  And so it is.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: The Power of Your Spirit

The Power of Your Spirit - Order Here!
Initial Impressions:

While we want to transform into spiritual beings, we fear the effort may be too complicated and the rewards not guaranteed.  So we learn  enough to talk about it, but stop short of experiencing it in the most direct way -- through a committed daily practice, because this is where "the rubber hits the road."

There is nothing like a good fussin':-) 

As a piano teacher, I can relate to someone who takes piano for a lengthy amount of time but doesn't get better because they do not have a daily practice at home.   I can imagine the same is true for psychics.  This, to me, is the foundation of this book - to get off our duffs and do the work.  The book divides into four sections - awakening, discovering, surrendering, and flowing,  Each section contains multiple stories with corresponding exercises and questions that are timeless.

Can you really create an authentic, Spirit-led life with daily practice?  Sonia says it will take "attention, discipline, and practice."   Lifestyle changes bring about real and lasting changes, not just isolated moments of the Divine.  She encourages us to center our daily lives with meditation, breathing, and looking within with journaling.  As a result, we can surrender to Spirit  "even when your truth makes you or those around you uncomfortable, unhappy, angry, or afraid?" Yeah - not easy if you aren't use it to it right?  Sonia does break it down in steps through this book.

I particularly appreciate the journal questions and breathing exercises.   These are questions you could go back and use every few months to reconnect to your Spiritual vital signs.   I kept wondering why she kept coming back to breathing and she did explain it!
As simplistic as it sounds, breathing is the only action that can interrupt and actually end the ego's game of fear and control.  You can reset your personal vibration to a more creative, empowered, and joyful level.
Sonia explains that Spirit is "best felt in silence."  This is an underscore of the important of moving from our head which wants to think and talk about spiritual things and moving into a much deeper place.  She gives ideas on how to connect to our Spirit during the day as well as reminders to be open to intuitive thoughts and ideas.    This really is such a wonderful how-to book that is great for beginners.  I think the stories will help beginners because they will see themselves in her client stories.  The journal and breathing exercises are wonderful for all because we can either forget the breathing techniques or it is time to ask the questions anew as we are move through stages of life.

Get out your tools!  We are building an altar!  To Sonia, the altar isn't about the exterior as it is about the interior.  I loved the description that it's similar to walking into a holy place - your energy and Spirit just respond!  What a beautiful space to create in your own home but "...if there's no holy inner work going on, though, the vibration of Spirit won't be present; and the portal won't open."  I wanted to give Sonia a big HIGH FIVE when she mentioned "becoming disconnected when our altars were moved out of our homes and into the churches."  I can't quote this entire chapter, but I would if I could.  It's my favorite!  It even includes things to do while at your altar to connect with your Spirit.  

The ego urges us  "to stay a step ahead of your fears."   I've been so many decisions based on fear, trying to maintain the status quo, please others, or simply from fear of failure and having lack.  That's a powerful sentence in this book.  The daily practice and journaling sections in this book are so rich and plentiful I feel I've had a workshop with Sonia herself.  This is absolutely a wonderful reference book that can be used at any time in one's life.  The questions and ideas presented her for immediate use will never become outdated, in my opinion.  The further I go in this book, the more I reap from it.  She recommends making these habits for 40 days.  This would be a *wonderful* book for a group study during Lent or any other time of year.  It would be wonderful to have a place for encouragement in our new practices as our egos flare up and say we are too busy.

I appreciate how Sonia makes it clear through different stories that it is either ego or Spirit running every aspect of our life.  As she simply states, "Unless we surrender, however, we cut ourselves off from our Divine power and burn out.  Then we're left to rise from the ashes and find our way back to Source once again.  In the end, there is no other place to go."  (emphasis mine)
The outdoor purple steps!  Click to order the book from Hay House

The final section of the book is Flowing with Your Spirit as opposed to "bullying" our way though life.  "The greatest challenge to staying in flow comes when you encounter "the ebb, which is any change, expected or unexpected, that leaves you threatened and insecure because you aren't sure what coming next."   Sonia says that ebbs are a "signal from our spirit to grow."   This section lovingly reminds that it is our purpose to move through these ebbs to reach higher places in our Spirit.  I hold to the thought Sonia shares,  "To flow is to believe that the Universe is always conspiring for our success as spiritual beings,..."  When in an ebb, it is okay to tell the Universe what we want, just leave it open how it will arrive!     As we deal with our own ebb and flow, we are reminded to be compassionate and loving toward others.  What a wonderful reminder as this book comes to a close.

This book prompted me to sit on my porch and watch the leaves fall and hear the birds sing, paint my garden steps purple, and weed my garden.  All things that nurture me and calm me during my busy moments of the day.  When my toddler was acting out, I felt this beautiful inner calm and didn't get rattled.  This book will be referred back by me for years to come.  

*Hay House sent me this book for my honest review*

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Can Create an Exceptional Life - Book Review

!Order here!
Woot!  I'm reviewing a book and so excited about it.  I am thrilled that Hay House sent it to me to review.

I've decided to keep some colorful index cards with me while I read it.  I have a feeling there will be affirmations I will want to use.

Initial thoughts at the beginning of the book:

It is small.  It's very easy to travel with or pack in your purse.

Cheryl begins her introduction with doing things that feel good.  My Judeo-Christian background rebels against this.  However, I think feeling good means ten bags of chocolate.  This book assumes the reader understands that feeling good is about what your inner spirit needs to live an exceptional life.   I found Cheryl's introduction a bit of a 'Louise is so awesome' bit of pages.  My mind kinda nodded off and hoped the book would have more substance.  And substance it had.  Of course now that I've read the book, I see why the Louise is so great introduction was appropriate.

Louise Hay's introduction was very profound because she pulls back and examines what all writers, philosophers, and religions try to explain.Why do bad things happen?   Wow.  This point was addressed from the beginning.  Do I trust life?  Do I trust that life loves me?  Do I trust that what happens is ultimately for my good?  This section is so wonderful for people who might be in their 20's and 30's and need support and affirmation to look beyond what they currently see.  Oh and to top it off  Louise just rattles off this superb list of affirmations for those in a health crisis.  Can you say highlighter?

Chapter Two: Becoming the Creator of an Exceptional Life
Cheryl recalls moments of attempting to prove the correlation of our thoughts and our lives.  This chapter shows such beautiful examples by both women of the proof in our daily life that our thoughts do matter and do affect our world.  Self-care begins with our thoughts.   I associate self-care with taking a bubble bath or physical restoration. The wisdom in this chapter really gets to the core of true self-care which is what we are thinking.  Reading this chapter even gave me a sign.  Just this morning I watched  five minutes of a reality show concerning financially wealthy housewives.  I suddenly realized that these "conversations filled with useless drama and repetitive harmful thoughts" were tearing down the very thing I was building up in myself.  I canceled the season pass.  It was a great reminder that monitoring what comes into our minds and thoughts throughout the day is NOT a waste of time.   It can be so easy to listen to gossip - either in our real life or on TV and think "Hey that's not happening to me so who cares if I watch/listen to it?"  But - it DOES matter.  It matters a great deal.  As Cheryl says so well, "Without realizing it, we develop patterns of thought and behavior that direct our radio transmitter to search for AND emit negative signals that only create more negativity and difficult experiences in our lives."

Chapter Three: How You Start Your Day Is How You Live Your Day
Do you dread awakening in the morning? What message you are sending about what you believe about your life?   Louise likes to have two hours before she faces people.  ME TOO!  I love to walk slowly into my day, even if it means getting up early.  I suddenly feel so much more evolved knowing that Louise does too. :-)  Lest you not want to awaken at 3am, Louise shares "Everything we think and say to ourselves is an affirmation."   All of the moments in my day are important and can be used for my good.  Cheryl chimes in that she relaxes and enjoys her day FIRST thing.  Oh yes - I totally agree!  Highlighter please.  Oh and get ready because there are tons of affirmations to say during your day while you go about.  I wanted to leap with joy when I saw this page!  They also give great ideas for working with children using affirmations.

Chapter Four: How You Live Your Day Is How You Live Your Life
I've always associated Louise Hay with crisis affirmations, if you will.  If I'm ill, or in the middle of a break-up, dealing with my self-worth, weight loss and loving my body - the big challenges for me.  In this chapter, Louise brings out the seemingly little things that add up such as blessing our food, our cars that take us where we need to go and everything in between.  For example, have you ever given thought to what you see all day sitting at your desk?  As Cheryl says, "Sometimes all it takes is a small change to send a big message to yourself that says, "I love you, and I care about what you need."  We can learn intentional actions that create a beautiful life.   There are more suggestions than I could list here, but this chapter is life-changing if you put it into practice in your own unique life.  They touch on work in such a powerful way and include affirmations.  What a relief to know I don't need to fix the world, I just speak the words of affirmation and the Universe handles the rest.

Chapter 5: Don't Break a Habit - Dissolve It!
Ala ego!  This is a great discussion about how to handle life's problems.  You know the ones that just tick you off?  Louise returns to her affirmation that "All is well.  Everything is working out for my highest good.  Out of this situation only good will come.  I am safe."   Louise explains "the more you turn away from a problem, the quicker the solution becomes."   Wow!  I never thought of this before but it makes total sense.  The more I want the problem handled, the more my ego jumps in and tries to dictate all the moves in the game instead of TRUSTING LIFE!  You should read what Louise says about complaining.  That moves into a financies discussion that includes a journal question and of course, wonderful affirmations.   I am realizing this small book kinda covers everything.  This was the chapter that moved me to tears.  Louise shared how affirmations would affect family relationships with those dying of AIDS.  I just broke down.  Using affirmations for family, yes of course, why didn't I think of that.  Chapter Five is my favorite chapter so far.

Chapter Six: The Beauty of Wisdom
 Oh this is so yummy!  Louise shares about growing older and the secret.  It makes so much sense.   They talk about wrinkles, weight-loss, the relationship to one's body.  Loving ourselves first creates this beautiful trickle down effect.  I take that to mean that when I love myself, I'm more tuned into my body (because I love it) and therefore make the best choices in the care of that body.  As opposed to listening to someone else tell me what I need and giving no heed whatsoever to what my body is saying.  Cheryl's input on aging at 50 are so remarkable.  Instead of fighting aging, we learn to see the value in it - becoming intentional about our energy, our time, and our relationships.  Hugs, Cheryl.  This spoke to my heart. 

Chapter Seven: The End of the Movie
This beautiful chapter is one worth keeping for the rest of my life.  Louise, someone who has worked with many dying people, shares her thoughts, beliefs, and insights about death in such a compassionate, real way.

This is a heart book.  It's not a book of scientific theories and big words.  It is a book of how your heart lives, breathes, and moves throughout the day and into the nights.  It's about how we look at  flower, a boss, a co-worker, our employees, our children, our car, our toasters and everything in between.  Cheryl delivers the message of Louise with such gentleness and respect.  She shares her own insights when appropriate, but never competes with the message.

Trust Life and our thoughts are our first step in self-care. Now, off to work on step one.

Much Love

Order You Can Create An Exceptional Life

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Do you know the moment you have forgiven someone?  REALLY forgiven them?  For me, it's when I am filled with emotion which then turns to gratitude.  We love because God first loved us comes to mind.  After a moment of true forgiveness  I wrote this song.  I was walking out the door and stopped in my tracks singing the chorus.  A song I'd heard all my life, but it made sense to sing it.  Why?  Because I felt that all the LOVE, that pure, honest, love does come from God and I want to show that gratitude in this song.

The part I remember as a child was
"How wonderful!  How marvelous!  And my song shall ever be...
How wonderful!  How marvelous!  Is my Saviors Love for me. "
click on "What Forgiveness Feels Like For Me Today"