Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Journaling and It's Benefits

For many years I've had the intention to journal daily. Just like other good habits, it took me many times of starting to journal, stopping journaling, because I forgot or it was a hassle, or I just wasn't in the mood.

I tried buying really nice notebooks, I even got one as a present from one of my bosses. Nope....first few pages were written on, and then nothing.

But now, it's not like that anymore. I've learned the habit of journaling...and what a great experience it is.

It helps me focus, I feel I have a friend in my journal. I can write anything I'm feeling, really feeling, and it's ok. Journaling has become a very significant tool I use to get in touch with my core feelings.

You know how you sometimes are feeling something "ugly" or that you've been taught you "shouldn't feel"? Yes, I know you know what I mean. Well, your journal can take it. What a relief to let it out with no judgments or condemnations. You realize it's ok, that's just you.

I'm experiencing another wonderful journaling experience now...and that's journaling on line...it's like the gourmet of journaling!!! I belong to this wonderful community. Its members are from all over the world: US, Asia, Australia, Africa....wow, all continents. Here, I feel safe to take a step further in my journaling, and that is to share my experiences and feelings with like-minded people. Like minded because we're all focused on self development and Truth. Here too I find nurturing and no judgment. It feels safe, and I receive so much positive feedback and encouragement....likewise, I have the honor to read others' life experiences, learn from them and also comment, sharing whatever inspiring wisdom I may receive to assist them on their journey.

Journaling now has become a part of my life, more than a habit...it's natural to me.

What Inspires Me?

A few days ago I was interviewed by Toni Reece for an online project, The Get Inspired Project.
One of the questions asked was, what inspires me? So, I’d like to share my answer here.
I find inspiration through my walks in Nature; there I find peace in its surroundings, sounds and scents.
I find inspiration in my time of silence in God’s presence. I open my heart to Him and allow my spirit to be nourished and renewed.
I’m inspired by the women I choose as friends and allow into my inner circle. Briefly, I want to mention four of these women….they are ever present even though they reside at thousands of miles away. We are connected by something stronger than physical closeness.
These women are Maia Berens, Crystal Church, Adrienne Johnson and Heather Williams. They are my friends, business partners in You University and also my support system.
Each of these women has experienced their share of hardship in their lives. Divorce, abuse, abandonment, addiction, and each has overcome these struggles. Today they are women who serve others to overcome their own blocks. Today, they are strong, courageous, inspiring, wise women. They once made a choice…..the choice to heal, to grow, to release, and to forgive.
They inspire me to be the very best Me I can be. Being in their company awakens all sorts of inspiring ideas and desires to make the world a better place. We share each others present joys and difficulties. We nurture and motivate each other to continue on.
They inspire me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Gratitude Game

Going through You University, there's a very fun and interesting exercise called THE GRATITUDE GAME.
It's really not something new nor rocket science. I've heard of something similar to this before and I've actually done it with a friend, one of my children some time in the past. I can't remember when was the last time. And, that's precisely the problem. I don't practice this often in my relationships and that's where the You University assignment comes in handy: it's a reminder.
This exercise is a way to PRACTICE LOVE.
So, as my mind shifts day to day from feeling frustrated and victimized to grateful, at peace and more appreciative, I got inspired to buy my father (92 years old) a thank-you card. I wrote a list of all the things I'm grateful for that he does and is. I left the card in its envelope set at a place where I knew he'd find it while I went out.
When I came back later that evening, my dad didn't say anything...neither did I. On my bed I found a sweet little white envelope and inside was a handwritten note from my father. This is what he said:

Dear Savi: Thank you for your card. What you say in it touches me deeply. I want you to know that all I want is for you to be happy. I will help you all I can. You can be sure that all I do I do it with love. Thank you, dear Daughter, for helping me the way you're doing. It is greatly appreciated and I will never forget it. With love, your father, Savino

I can only guess, but I'm pretty certain my father felt love when he read my card. I felt his love when I read his note. These practices break down barriers we build around us. My father and I grow closer and more appreciative of each other with these practices. They seem like a game, but they work. Isn't that what we all want? To be loved? I'm learning to give it out, with little actions such as these....yet, they reach straight into the heart.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Perceiving Life as a School

During one of my recent coaching sessions, I asked my client (which I'll call Jacob) for his perception of life.
Jacob's response was: life seems meaningless, a cycle of repetitive events. You're born, you grow up, go to school, get a career, you work all your life, get married, have kids, make money to give your family a better life, you grow old and you die. What's the point, he asks?
Yet, Jacob is a believer in God. He prays each day and is grateful for his blessings. So, what's happening here?
Oh, did he remind me of my own way of experiencing life until a few years ago.
I remember in my younger years, even though I believed in God, God felt very separate from me, very far away, very unfair, very responsible for all that was happening to me and in the world in general. I felt I had no say in what was happening TO me.
Until I had a spiritual awakening. I was searching for something more, for meaning. I was at a place similar to where Jacob is right now.
As I've walked my own path through the years, I've learned and experienced that God has been within me all along. I have stopped blaming God for all that happens.
There's a very deep and healing exercise in You University that has been key in changing my perception. This is Magic Secret # 1. Life is a school. The effectiveness of this exercise is it took me to my past, all of my life, and assisted me in finding a lesson in each life situation. This is not a lite, superficial exercise. It's more of a self-discovery one. There was a shift in my awareness of my life. That aha moment Oprah talks about, you know. The deep questions I was to ask myself: What did each event teach me? How did I grow from them? How was it important in my overall journey?
When I listened to Jacob's perception of life, I knew then and there that one of my goals as his life coach is to point him in that direction of looking for what he's learned in each situation and how it has helped to form who he is today. This knowledge will empower him to realize he is not a victim, but a creator of his own life.
Life coaching is a purposeful and growth-provoking vocation. I heal as I teach others to heal.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tools for Releasing Worry

My mood is very affected by my thoughts and beliefs. Worry is a bad habit I've had all my life. I inherited it, from my parents, the news, coworkers, etc.
I know now these thought patterns led me right into anxiety, panic attacks, and then depression.
Today, it's a different story. A shift happened within me. I learned that worry is about control and control is about fear. What I was most afraid of, what caused me the most anxiety, you know what it was? Myself. I have been afraid of trusting myself. If I can't trust myself, which is where I AM, then I live in constant fear. I would search outside myself for validation and security, and I wanted others to tell me what I should do. I had such a hard time making decisions for myself.
Worry is a hard habit to break. The shift has been a process. First and most important was knowing, really knowing, that God is always with me, within me. I shifted from seeing God as condemning and aloof, to God within me, accepting me just as I am.
Second, accepting myself JUST AS I AM. I faced shame-based beliefs I had about myself and worked with them instead of suppressing them. I understood that I am unique and important to the greater whole (purpose). I have given myself permission to feel feelings that were lost inside of me for years. I have faced my fears and seen them as just a part of me that I need to work with and not against.
Third, give myself permission to walk my own path. I asked myself, what do I want? What makes me feel whole and alive?
This shift did not happen automatically, nor on its own. I was willing to do the work. No more excuses. I wanted once and for all to feel alive and be Me. I did the work, and am still going strong at it. This is a moment to moment event. Life. It's always changing, I'm always learning, and this results in my growth and expansion.
There is no one thing that got me to this place. A combination of life tools I've learned and applied. These have been the most life changing:
--My relationship with God
--Religion (the Bible) then spirituality (A Course in Miracles, Zen, Reiki), yes, there's a difference
--Many, many, many self-help books and using the tools in them
--Prayer, affirmations, meditation
--Ongoing exercise
--Very good friends, the kind that support you and love you for who you are, and tell you the frieking truth (I have a few of these, plus my coaching support group)
--A life coach, one that is committed to your growth and is honest and that I relate to. I cannot relate to someone who just sits and listens. I need relationship. I need to know that the coach has been there, done that. For me this is important.
--I did and am doing the healing work. I have taken the challenge to resolve my past issues and move forward. (You University Program)
As a result of the above, a shift in perception has resulted. I see everything as an opportunity to learn about myself. I realize I'm not a victim. I've always had the power to choose. I am responsible.
It feels soooo good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What You University Represents to Me

You University Life Coach Training Program. It’s a self-development and coach training program created by Maia Berens, my life coach for the past 3 years.

I met her on the web while searching for info on life coaching. I wanted to hire a life coach and at the same time become one. I was so confused with so many certification schools, and different costs….it was a bit overwhelming.

I found and read Maia’s site. It was as if she and I were having a friendly yet deep conversation. Do you call that connection? I guess. I felt I had to contact this lady. Well, we connected by email, by phone, and I hired her as my coach.

I’ve grown to love, respect, admire and trust Maia. Just a few months ago I took on the challenge to become a life coach. I trained with Maia using her You University program. This is much more than a training course to acquire a certification. It’s a school. It’s a healing and self discovery tool. I can say many things about it.

To realize that this material is Maia’s life experience poured into words and assignments and anecdotes and teachings is awing. There is so much wisdom and care and yes, love, in each section of the program. It’s an in- depth and healing material. It gently guides you to work through your deepest wounds and feelings, healing guilt, shame, and resentment, all the time supported by Maia and her intuitive mentoring. I truly feel transformed. I’m not exaggerating nor trying to promote here. I’m sharing a truly transforming experience for me.

Today I am a You University Life Coach ready to guide others through this transformational journey of their own.

Connecting With Those We Serve

A few days ago I took my dad (you probably already know he's 92 from my other post) to the podiatrist for his regular foot hygiene check up, you know, grooming his toe nails, and so forth. When my father's turn came, he was escorted to one of the many rooms in the office by an assistant...I went with him. She didn't say much to him, just prepared his feet, cut his toe nails and left.
After a short waiting period, the doctor came in, didn't even look at my father in the face, didn't say hello, just cut to the chase, I mean to the feet, to work on his callus. There was no connection, no conversation, nothing. The doctor didn't say a word to me either. He came in, did his stuff, and left.
What's up with that? I sat there observing the whole scenario a bit surprised, I must say. I made a note right there to blog about this.
Is this what this guy went who knows how many years to college for? To treat people like they're invisible? Maybe he was having a rough day, I don't know. But the impression and feeling I got from him was not a good one. This is a doctor I would not go back to.
I think people who deal with people as a profession definitely need people skills. Right? This doctor maybe needs a life coach to help him get in touch with his inner child, or uncover his true feelings so he learns to relate and connect with those he chose to serve.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lessons from my Aging Father

There's a lesson to be learned in every experience.

I've been living with my father for the past 4 years. He's 92 right now. My mom passed away just 2 months after I came to Miami to recuperate from a separation (and later divorce).

It was really hard for me because first, after losing my mom, he went into a very deep depression. He stopped watching tv and no radio. All his relatives of his generation have passed away.

My dad has 3 big dogs, which he loves and lets them do whatever they want around the house. Here I was, wanting to care for my dad while he was concentrated on his three kids, I mean dogs. There was no way I could keep a loop on the house, keeping it clean and good smelling. He is an organized man, so, he keeps things in place, but please, 3 dogs 24/7 in the house?

I became resentful and angry towards him. I felt he cared more for those dogs than he did for me. I'd complain all the time to anybody who would listen.

As time went by, well, I'm still here. When push comes to shove, he is my father....he's been a good one at that. This time together has helped me know him and myself better and understand aspects of aging that I never knew before.

My Dad has taught me:
  • You slow down with age. I watch him sometimes and he pitter patters around the house, doesn't walk briskly anymore like he used to. Slowing down means he observes more what's in front of him. He absorbs life more, there is no more "future"....it's all about today. That's all he has at this stage in life. LIVE IN THE NOW.
  • Another lesson.....at this end stage, you must learn to release control and trust God and those around you. It can be scary, but it's a relief also....and God's wise way of preparing us for departure. RELEASE AND TRUST.
  • Keep things in their place and don't move them around. One needs a certain security and familiarity with their surroundings. Your senses are weak and dull by this time. You need to get around knowing where everything is. FAMILIARITY.
  • After caring for someone for so long (my mother), he needs these dogs to feel needed and useful. They give him purpose and they don't argue back. They just love him. PURPOSE.
  • Don't make him feel disabled or useless. I don't try to help him when he still can do things for himself. CAPABLE AND USEFUL.
I honestly am trying to put myself in my father's place, but I've never experienced his level of loneliness and disability. I am understanding God's loving purpose for this experience. For both of us. We have grown closer and I am more compassionate towards him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Embrace Life

-->This morning I wake up and embrace Life. I know God is always with me.
I am a great Life Coach.
I have abundance of all good.
My coaching practice flourishes and overflows.
Our coaching practice flourishes and overflows.
We are a strong, loving, energetic, positive force in the world
We are healing and as we heal, we heal those around us.
I know what to say, when to say it because I am guided.
In our group, we complement each other because our talents and skills are so vast when joined together. The sum of the all is greater that is separate parts.
People with the financial capacity and willingness to commit are coming into our program.
We have, each of us, as individuals and also as a group, an infinite flow of clients being coached, helped, healed, trained. Our organization is growing. It is organized. Our vision remains.
And so it is!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Universe is Always Communicating

More and more I notice how alive and personal the Universe is. It communicates with me, if I'm aware and paying attention.

This morning as I was getting my coffee in the kitchen I was meditating on my situation. Is it time to job hunt? This "voice" inside me is an old voice, it's the voice of logic, of security, and yes, maybe reality.

As I played with this thought, I saw the Miami Herald headline for today: Florida Sees Independent on the Rise.....when I read that, I "felt" in my gut that this message was for me and a response to that logical question. I can't prove it, I just felt it.

In order to be open to these "messages", I must quiet the "logical" voice within me and listen more with my spiritual self AND TRUST IT. There is peace when I abide by the Spirit. I don't feel fear or anxiety....but, I maintain a balance between the two voices...not shut either of them out. There is a certain logic to the "logic" voice.

So, today, I continue focusing on moving forward with my purposeful goal:
  • create great income working from home
  • I am my own boss, independent
  • I am a successful You University Life Coach
  • I am part of an organization that exists to help people and better the world, You University
  • I work with like-minded people
  • I grow and learn new skills and have new experiences
I understand this is my answer today to this morning's question.

Thank you God!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Self Acceptance

My love has always been tainted with guilt, shame and low self esteem. I've heard for ever that in order to love others, I first need to love and accept myself. I almost seems like a cliche.
We live in a shame-based society. I was compared to better grade students @ school. At home my brother was a better son than I was a daughter, and my mom was not shy to frequently repeat this to me. That was her perception, but I believed it. Advertisements were constantly telling me I should be this tall, that skinny, this type of hair, and so forth. Too much stress. How can I meet up to all these illusory standards?
I didn't grow thinking I was ok just as I was. My parents didn't feel that way about themselves either, so they had no way to provide me with acceptance and unconditional love. I learned I was defected and that love had to be earned. That was the message.
This is what I brought to my relationships throughout my life. I was ashamed of who I was, so I created a false self. I tried so hard to be the best I could be.
Of course I've had intimacy issues for fear of revealing my true self, which I believed was insufficient.
There's a good side to this story. Actually, it's all good, because it's all served as a growth process.
Along the way, I've met some wonderful people. I have really good friends that have mirrored back to me love and acceptance. I've developed a deep love relationship with God as my Creator based on trust and surrender through my spiritual studies. Today I belong to a caring and open journaling community where I can share my feelings freely without fear of condemnation. I interact with other like minded people.
I've also taken up a coach training program called You University. It's a coach training program but also a self-development program. The tools in this program have really turned my life around....my inner life. This change is affecting my outer life too. I am finally learning self love and self acceptance.

Know me Better

Helping, motivating and teaching are natural to me. Even as a little girl, I’d play with my dolls sitting them as my audience and I in front teaching them (something). Psychology was the profession of my dreams; but I chose business and have worked as an Administrative Professional in the corporate world for more than 25 years.

I have been successful in my own terms as an Admin. This career has permitted me to use many of my talents and gifts as support staff. I’ve created opportunities during my work experience to act as a Human Resources Coordinator, a supervisor for a Sales staff in a pharmaceutical, an office manager for an immunologist. I thank many of my supervisors who saw my potential and gave me the opportunity. I did not disappoint them, or myself. Always, the desire to support, to help to motivate was webbed into every task, every responsibility I was met with.

I was born and grew up in NYC during the 1960s and 70s. I would not change this for the world. But, by the time I was 18 and fresh out of high school, my parents and I moved to Dominican Republic. They wanted to be close to their family. This change was painfully difficult for me to adapt to. It was almost like being born into a whole new environment and culture.

I’ve had my own issues with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, which were a motivator for me to read hundreds of books and material on human behavior and self help. I was always learning new and better tools to cope with my own negative habits and fears which I learned in my family of origin. Suffice to say my childhood was difficult and traumatic.

I got married to a macho Dominican (didn’t want to see the red flags). The difference in our ways of seeing a woman’s role clashed. I was full of insecurities and fears and became codependent to my husband, trying to fit into that culture. He turned into an abuser, and I let him. I exposed my children to a traumatic childhood, just as I had experienced….even though I swore I wanted the best for them.

Being a full time working mother of three and married to an abusive husband only intensified my fears and I desperately needed to find inner peace and outer stability. I then found religion which filled my life with certain peace and a closer relationship to God. As the years went by, I have progressed to a broader understanding of God and myself through the study and practice of spirituality.

After my children became adults, I took the courageous step of divorcing my second husband and moved back to the US to start a new life. I continued on my healing path, away from abuse and self loathing. I’ve had many wonderful teachers and angels along the way. But when I finally met Maia Berens, we immediately connected and she’s been vital to helping me discover my own truth within myself. Through her expert coaching and wise support, I understood this is THE time for me to follow my dream.

Even though I have been using my coaching talents most of my life, training with Maia through You University has provided me with tools that allow me to experience life from a place of empowerment vs. victimhood.

It all falls into place now. My experience in the School of Life coupled with the You University training and inner healing tools, has empowered me to grow and share these lessons with others, helping them find the strength and truth within themselves.