Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ask and You Shall Receive....

or How I Manifested Two Gin & Tonics.

A few years ago I held a workshop on the movie and book 'The Secret'. Part of the workshop involved creating a Vision Board. Vision Boards are tools to help you manifest things you want in your life. The idea is that if you can see it with your eyes, then energetically you can pull it towards you. Might be bullshit, not sure.

On my board I had photos of the beach, healthy foods and dream homes. It was covered with sayings and quotes of uplifting messages. I pasted words like LOVE, DREAM, MONEY all over my foam board. The last thing I put on it I did so as a whim. I cut out the words 'Yoga Journal' off the cover of an old magazine and then cut out the words 'On the Cover' from the index section. I pasted those two together. I had absolutely no expectation or or even distant, hidden hope of it ever coming true. It was more of a feeling like, "How fun would that be?!?".

So every day I would look at my Vision Board in my office and try to imagine living in one of those wonderful homes on the beach, eating that healthy and delicious food with money to spare. Instead of imagining, I felt wanting. I could feel desperation and grasping. I could feel guilt about not being worthy of these things that I was trying to manifest in my life. It was a hard exercise and felt futile most of the time.

 Well, about 5 months after the 'Secret' workshop, I got a copy of YJ in the mail. (Here's a little known quirky fact about me; I read magazines from the back to front like in Japan) So I open up the magazine and in the back there were a series of advertisements for Kripalu and lo and behold one of those ads featured my name! Holy manifestation, Batman!

This was the first time that I can recall a manifested idea so clearly since I have stepped onto the spiritual path. I'm sure this has happened to me in the past, but none so blatant and exciting as this episode. Even if it wasn't 'on the cover', how many people can ever say their name was in Yoga Journal?

Of course, here is where the exploration piece steps in.....

How does this happen? How do you manifest your dreams?

The obvious key to my example is clear. When there is no longing, grasping or attachment the Universe graciously and gladly provides. When you hold something so tight in your wanting that you break it, the Universe says, "Umm, not quite yet Little Sister."

In Yoga, attachment is referred to as the Yama of 'aparigraha'. Swami Kripalu said that working with the Yamas and Niyamas was like picking a garland of roses; pick up one bud and the rest will follow. When I began Yoga many years ago, I picked up the Yama of aparigraha. I have been working on letting go of my attachments to ideas, things and people for nearly 9 years and as I loosen my grip I'm finding that I'm able to manifest ideas more swiftly and pretty precisely.

Case in point, a few months ago my cohort, KWB, and I were invited to a leadership retreat in Lake George, NY for the green energy company that we work with. Before the trip, our home office emailed us and asked if we would mind sharing a bed as all of the rooms with two beds were taken. I mean, I love this girl, we are often roommates, and there have been a few times when we have had to share a bed on business trips...but this was our first leadership retreat at a beautiful resort, COME ON! So before we left, I resolved that I was going to manifest not only a room with two beds, but a suite none-the-less. In the car on the way up there I told Kat that we were getting a suite and she readily agreed that we could manifest this blessing. When we got to the resort I went to check us in while she caught up with friends. After the front desk clerk gave me my keys, I walked up to her looking like a cat with a bird in my mouth. She looked at me not knowing what to think. I burst out, "I did it!" We ended up with a beautiful, two bedroom suite, right on the lake, with a gorgeous bathroom and kitchen to boot! Boy, did that feel good! I do have to admit that there might have been a little bit of wanting in that wish, but it really wasn't that much. It didn't matter either way and there were no feelings of unworthiness.

These are truly the keys to unlocking the manifestation doors: Do the work. Forgive yourself. Feel worthy. Be grateful for whatever you have. Don't be jealous of those who have more. Keep envisioning your dreams. Be okay with 'not now' for an answer. And spread all the Love you can around.

Last weekend as Kat and I were on our way to yet another business meeting I asked her if we were having drinks afterwards. We both decided it would be too late after the meeting and since she is cleasing (again) she couldn't drink anyway. Well, there ended up being a high school reunion in the room next to our meeting. The reunion folks kept trying to register at the table that we were working and when one guy realized his blunder, he said "Is there anything I can get you?" I replied as a joke, "Yeah, if you have an open bar in there I'll take a Tanqueray and tonic!" When he brought it over, Kat looked at me and said, "You just manifested that, you do realize?"

Ask and you shall receive, X two....

Me with my first T&T, ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'll Get You, My Pretty!

or, 'Surrender, Kristina!"

I had coffee with a possible future business associate a couple of weeks ago. He'd grown up in Connecticut but moved to LA and lived there for quite awhile. When he moved back he was shocked that CT still 'is the way it is'. I said, "Welcome to Puritanville...."

Growing up in New England is like growing up in a different country. There are certain things that we know as if by osmosis. For instance, we know how tobacco is dried. We know why there are spigots attached to trees at the end of winter. We know how cranberries are harvested. We know how basketball was invented. Weird, quirky trivia. Useless unless you live here.

But there are other, darker knowings that are ingrained in our cells. Anyone I know, my age or older, won't go to a circus in a tent. We're fearful of ice storms. We have nightmares of bridges collapsing under us as we drive through the night. But the biggest and darkest fear that's never, ever spoken of is being accused, especially if you are a woman, of practicing witchcraft.

Drama Queen, I know. But when you really examine it, it's true.

In February I received a 'Theta' healing from my friend and gifted healing moderator, John Odlum. He immediately tuned into my debilitating fear of 'being persecuted for standing in my full power'. This struck a cord with me and has stayed with me since.

Women who stand in their full power are called witches and bitches. Women who stand in their power are frequently ostracized from friendships with other women. They get gossiped about. They get persecuted. Sure, we don't literally hang them anymore, but we do torture them in other ways. So what's the difference between 1692 and now?

Marley wearing one of my old t-shirts.

The more I examine my personal power and study the spiritual arts that interest me and guide me towards ascension, the more I'm aware of this fear. Case in point: Most of the healing arts that I practice could lead me to excommunication from the Catholic church. This would break my heart if it were to happen although I know it wouldn't really matter in my relationship with the Big Guy. I am fully aware that ascension is the goal, no matter how I get there. But the fear lingers. I often am mindful when I wear certain jewelry or t-shirts to church that some of it could be considered by those who are still asleep as idol worship or 'heathenistic'.

I saw the following post on Marianne Williamson's face book the other day:
The word "wand" comes from the same root as the word "want." Your wanting is your wand, as long as your want is untainted by fear."

WOW! Think about that for a moment. I have to let go of this fear in order to create my 'want' and stand in my power. What's more associated with witchcraft than a wand? 

Am I practicing some form of witchcraft?

What I practice is not witchcraft, magic or dark arts. What I delve in is Light Arts; co-creating my destiny with my Maker, using my community of other Light Workers to walk hand-in-hand toward enlightenment using whatever spiritual arts we feel will assist the process. This is not witchcraft. This is divine Manifest Destiny. 

So, even though I'm not fully free from fear of persecution, I'll continue to explore my powers. And although I don't literally carry a wand and this is not 1692, I'll still use essences from nature to make healing 'potions'. I'll forever repeat mantras to manifest abundance. I do know how to swim. I even have an antique cauldron in the fire place and a black cat....

Hold that thought for a moment, there's some folks at the door...Oh look, one of them has a pitchfork...and others have torches....

Uh-oh....Gotta fly...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Me and My Big Mouth....

"Honey, Yoga Journal called"....

Oh crap.

I was really hoping that if, and when, I ever announced the following news that it wouldn't be like this.

I've only ever written to a magazine twice. Both times it was YJ, the most well known yoga publication in the US. Both times has been to complain. The first time it was about an article they had on full sized yoga. The model was beautiful but every photo was blurry. Goddess forbid someone should see some flesh! Never heard from them about that one.

This last time was about free yoga.

The author complained that since she was strapped for funds she would take as many free classes in her city as possible to try them all out. There was not one positive thing in the entire article. She complained about the venues, the cost of the subway to get there, yada, yada... At the end of the week of free yoga, she went online and bought a pair of $98 yoga pants that she had seen in one of the studios. Ugh.

Maybe that precious article space could have been used to talk about what a blessing free yoga is or what the teachers of free yoga give up to offer that as seva? Or how about interviewing students of free yoga and ask them why they go and take these classes above bars? Or maybe about shops where you can find those high-end yoga pants on consignment? Something other than spoiled whining?

Well, me and my big mouth. I was cranky that day and apparently in quite a judgemental mood. Ahem... So I emailed YJ about this piece. And guess what? They picked it for print. Yep. I'm getting published. In YJ. Yep, a complaint. Great.

Well, I guess we'll see if I actually make it to print. Hopefully, next time I open my big mouth I'll have something nice to say. Yikes! And next time I have this news for you, it will actually be that I am getting published.

Til then I'm zipping it up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christmas in July

Or The Nightmare Before Christmas....

One of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time, except by me.

I can't remember if it was 4th or 5th grade, but I was selected to sing this song with three other kids at our schools Holiday Concert. We had rehearsed a few times and it sounded good, as far as I can remember. The night of the concert, in front of 300 proud parents and families, when we started singing the kid next to me, out of nowhere, sounded like Screech from 'Saved By The Bell'....

Well, guess who started laughing right in the middle of chestnuts roasting? Yep, yours truly.

I was able to reign some of it in before the end of the song, but it was too late. The music teacher, who I'd had for years and knew me well, was irate. IRATE. After the concert, back in the band room in front of the entire student body, she clenched her fists and started jumping up and down. Her face was contorted and her hair wild. She screamed at me that I had "ruined the entire concert". I tried to explain what started the fits of laughter but she wasn't amused. I didn't mean to laugh but it was one of those moments when you can't help yourself. 

This memory has stayed with me all this time and every Christmas when I hear that song the memory comes back and I beat myself up again that I ruined the concert and let all of those people down.

When we moved to our town about 8 years ago and found a church we liked I noticed this woman who looked like my old music teacher. I had totally convinced myself that it couldn't be her, not after all these years. My childhood hometown is an hour from here. I mean, what are the chances? 

Well, this is me we're talking about. The chances are pretty good.

Sure enough, this past Christmas the priest announced that 'Betty Sue' would be organizing the holiday music. When he said her name out loud and everyone turned to look at her, I knew without doubt.

She doesn't recognize me now that I'm an adult but I'm sure she would recall that eventful disaster of my youth. What she probably doesn't realize is how her adult reaction to my childish behavior has affected me all these years. I have let myself feel like a failure frequently since then. Nothing is ever good enough. My ego feeds on this memory to continue the guilt. 

The funny thing is you can't escape 'The Christmas Song'.

So I am forced to do the work since I can't escape. Let go of this memory. Forgive myself. Heal my inner child who still wants to sing along and find a way to shake hands with this woman, look her in the eye at church and say, "Peace be with you." 

And mean it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Daring Young Girl

or: Now, You Can Do Anything....

Yesterday I took my daughter and her best bud for a trapeze lesson. (Part 1)  It was an amazing experience. This was an event I had promised her for a year and was finally able to coordinate at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

She couldn't sleep the night before and the couple of hours leading up to the lesson seemed to drag on forever.....

I was so excited for her that I didn't know what to do first; take still photos? Take video? Take a video on my phone to text to friends and family? Or watch and breathe?

Well, the videos and still photos won most of my attention.

I mean, how could I not capture this moment forever?

She was blessed to work with some of the most well known, world renowned circus people in the entire world! Including:

'Uncle' Tony Steele, who, nearing 80 years old and having been in the circus since he was 15, is a Guiness World Record Holder:

Chachi, who is 5th generation in a circus family:

And Peter Gold, one of the most beloved trapeze instructors in the world:

I watched as much as I could with my own two eyes but am sooo glad I got it all on video! She and I have watched it over and over and over again...

This one is going in a frame:

The thrill, even from the ground, was absolutely unbelievable! Being able to give this gift to my daughter was an honor. But the highlight for me was when Peter Gold told her, "Marley, now that you have flown on a trapeze, you can do anything."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Worlds Colliding

or Look to the Cookie.....

Within the last week and a half I have had a hardcore reminder that this is a world of dualities, kind of like a 'black & white' cookie.

Nearly two weeks ago I almost lost one of my oldest and dearest friends. This was a girl I met by chance on September 10, 1987, my first day of college. My parents had delivered me to my dorm, The Hospitality Center, on Narragansett Boulevard in Cranston, Rhode Island, lower lobby room 19. We unloaded the car, unpacked it all and waited for at least one of my roommates to show up. We waited and waited. While all of the other kids were making friends right away, I was sitting on my bunk bed all alone. My parents were getting itchy to leave when they walked in; identical twins from Mahwah, NJ. Can you fucking believe my luck.....

Well it was pretty clear within the first five minutes that I was the odd girl out. While they teased their hair and put on more make up, I headed off to discover my dorm and try to find the cafeteria. My first attempt seemed logical; take the elevator to the basement. That basically delivered me to what looked like the gates of hell. Back up I went to try the stairs at the other end of the hall. I opened the door and there were about 5 girls coming down from the second floor who immediately scooped me up. It was a sigh of relief I still feel to this day. These women became my fast friends, roommates, bridesmaids, sisters.

These memories have been flooding back this past week as I have been keeping our college friends up to date with our dear friend who is extremely ill. I have spent quite some time in the hospital with her, just holding space. I can't offer more than my love and hopefully that's enough. I love this woman. We have things in common that I can't quite share with my newer group of friends. We are die hard Yankee fans. We can recite basically any Seinfeld episode, word for word. And we share a 24 year history. It's wonderful. She makes me laugh til I'm in tears, a rare gift. Even yesterday in the hospital we were laughing so hard that we were both crying as she regaled me with stories from the hospital and her midnight male nurse who apparently is Taye Diggs' twin brother.....

Although she is healing and can start to laugh again, the hospital sucks. I hate being there as I know she does too. It's icky and I leave there feeling drained of my prana as if the death and dying surrounds me and tries to hold on to whatever life I've got. I come home and shower. I'll be glad when she's out.

But also twice within the last week I have come home from the hospital, showered changed (into what feels like a completely different person) and gone out with my newer group of friends. We must look like a 'Sex and the City' scene. We're dolled up and dressed to the nines. We're drinking martinis and talking about sex and clothes. It's fun and I feel alive, really alive. We don't have a life long friendship yet, but we're starting one. Building memories, brick by brick.

It's a complete contrast to how I have spent my days recently. There were moments during my nights out where I felt guilty about living as my dear friend lay near death. How can I even think about having cocktails and which dress to wear with what heels while she's in a johnny coat? During one of these girls nights out, as we were listening to a new friend from Helsinki play piano and sing us into a dreamland, I was consumed by the duality of it all. Here, there. Life, death.   

Are my worlds are colliding?

Will hospital Kristina kill Sex and the City Kristina?

I won't let her because I finally understand the truth that there isn't a world at all. Duality is just an insane idea that we like to buy into. It's part of the grand illusion. You can exist in each of your perceived worlds at once and feel alive in all of them. It's all love, just in different forms.

And as usual it always goes back to balance. The trick though is to 'look to the cookie'.

The key is to get a little bit of each world in every bite and all of our problems will be solved.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Party Crasher

or You Can Never Find a Rubber Chicken When You Need One....

My only daughter, Marley, will be turning 9 in a few weeks. She's the Party Crasher. That's what we called her for years after she was born. She was completely unexpected. We had suffered through 7 years of infertility when we finally succeeded with our son Elijah. We were quite content after he was born. We never, ever expected to have another baby after what it took to conceive him and we certainly were not  planning for her. But she decided to show up anyways. Elijah was only 9 months old when Marley decided to 'crash our party'....

We found out I was pregnant with her on the very day we were opening our deli and from that moment on everything about her has been a wonderful surprise, including the first time I held her. As my husband put her in my arms, she immediately latched onto my breast. I gazed down at her delicate features for the first time and I yelled out "She has a tuft of blond hair!".

We thought that blond streak was what made her unique but we were sorely wrong. She is clever, cute and dream-filled. She is what the rest of us in the family are not. Her open and loving heart often puts the rest of us to shame. She sees life in a way that is fanciful, sweet and a never-ending adventure. The rest of us all live in this magical world of hers and it is a blessing from heaven. 

She loves to skateboard and when we take her to the skate park it is fascinating to watch the teenage boys stare at her in wonder. She has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 3 years old and loves animals. In fact, she loves animals so much that when she decided to be an animal doctor she also decided that she was a cat. Since then I have called her 'Kitten', per her request.

She is named after Bob Marley and has t-shirts, hats and posters of him all over her room. We recently learned her name also means 'marshy meadow' and 'of Magdala'. So in one powerful name she embraces beauty, faith and oneness. We couldn't have chosen a better name for her. We knew from the day of her birth that we had chosen correctly though. When they moved me from the delivery room to our recovery room my husband looked out the window on the beautiful summer day. To his surprise, facing our room was a giant air conditioning unit on the hospital roof. The sign on the unit: MARLEY. This could only be seen from the room we were in.

Her adventurous spirit will be most evident this week as we head to Omega with her best friend for her birthday celebration: a trapeze lesson. I have been conscious since she was born to not hold her back. She is not girly. She is a tomboy and we embrace that. I want her to fly and this week she will.

Along with all of this adventure and creativity, she has a distinctive sense of humor. She will frequently send us into fits of giggles with her unusual outlook. One day she told me that she was a 'colorful local character' and she couldn't have been more right.

Her baby book is filled with these kinds of memories. One of my all time favorites, though, is from when she was graduating from pre-school to kindergarten. When I asked her what she wanted for a graduation gift she firmly replied, "A rubber chicken".

And let me tell you, you can never find a rubber chicken when you need one....