Monthly Archives: March 2012

How do teachers know what to teach?

I took a class with one of my favorite yoga teachers this morning.  She is so cheerful and just radiates happiness. Every class you take with her feels like she created it just for you. This morning’s class was very slow, holding the poses for a long time. This can be torture! It’s also one of the things I love most about yoga.  Being in a pose that feels like it could kill you and staying there. I no longer fantasize about being the most flexible or the strongest. I just breathe. Repeated exposure slowly makes you realize you can take this skill out into your real life.

I started thinking about great teachers I have had in my life. It seems like the really good ones understand that you can’t go from A to Z without working your way through the whole alphabet.  Getting lectured on something you’re not ready to hear is not going to do anybody any good. Additionally, just being given the answers is nowhere near the same as actually learning the lessons. Great teachers understand all of this. How is it that  a group of people can experience the same thing and yet each person takes away something different? This is what I thought of this morning, while I was intentionally breathing my way through heinously long Warrior Two’s. YOUR lesson is there for you all the time. The teacher most likely is in the form of some one or something you don’t want to deal with. The more you want to run from it the more you need to hear it. What is it today, right now that is staring you in the face. What are you sick of, pissed off about, or desperately missing right now in your life. Did someone say something to you and it just keeps going around and around in your mind. I’m just guessing, but that’s probably the direction you need to look to figure out what you need to figure out!

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Intention

I met up with a good friend today, whom I hit up for some free marketing advice for  the Brighten Your Light seminars. She was so helpful and informative. Two of the things she emphasized were to get very clear about who my market is for the seminars. The other was to have, on paper, an evolving definition of my vision and mission. This sounds a lot like intention to me.

While looking for a quick quote I could post this afternoon, I opened Gary Zukav’s book,  Seat Of The Soul,  and found this on page 106:

“Every experience and change in your experience,

reflects an intention. An intention in not only a desire. It is

the use of your will. If you do not like the relationship that

you have with your husband or wife, for example,

and you would like it to be different, that desire alone

will not change your relationship. If you truly desire

to change your relationship, that change begins with the

intention to change it. How it will change depends upon

the intention that you set.”

My marketing plan may not be  isn’t 100% ironed out just yet, but my intention is clear. I intend for an ever-expanding circle of women to come together and support each other to be brave and celebrate their lives. I intend for the Brighten Your Light seminars to be a place where women come to laugh, learn and grow to be fully present in the lives they create.

April 7Th will be the Vision Board seminar. This will be the  final seminar in the first run of the Brighten Your Light series. We have room for just a few more ladies to join us. We will all be creating our own vision boards and the discussion will be focused on learning to listen to your inner voice, not over thinking and questioning your instincts,  and setting intentions.


Get Connected

Wow! Two big days. Yesterday was the third seminar in the Brighten Your Light series. Helen Deborah Lewis led us through some fun and bonding acting exercises.  It was pretty hilarious and gently pushed us out of our comfort zone. A perfect place to be. We followed that with a discussion on finding ways to raise our happiness levels and find Joy. One element I emphasized was the need for connection. You can be filled with gratitude, speaking positively, and forgiving like crazy, but if you are unconnected I don’t believe you can be happy. We need to connect with each other in deep and nurturing ways to find our path to Joy.

Today was my last official class for the Design Your Life course I have been in. This is sad for me. I have come to care so much for this boiled down group of hard-core, bad trait beating, negative thought busting bunch of brave and dear souls. We’ve come a long way baby! I am not sure exactly how it happened, but they managed to get the whole sordid middle school science teacher “haunting” out of me. Some one mentioned a great video of a TED Talk about vulnerability, we all agreed he could forward it through the email list. It was good to know we still have a connection.

When I got home from class, I was browsing through some of the “Inspiration” posts on WordPress and I came across this post called Listening to Shame. Serendipity strikes again. It is the same woman, Brene Brown, who gave the vulnerability talk at TED. This video is great and I don’t want to blow the ending for you, but she ends with this point, “Empathy is the antidote to shame. If we are going to find the path back to each other, vulnerability is that path.” Brene says the two most powerful words when we are in times of struggle are  “Me Too”.

Be brave. Be vulnerable. Be empathetic. Be happy!

Also, please keep your eye on the Testimonials page. The seminar participants should be posting their comments soon.


Does any of this sound familiar?

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on my script for the Acting and Improvisation seminar today. The conversation will be about ways to live a  happier life and finding Joy. Sounds pretty good, right?

Below are a few of my favorite tips and quotes I found in the process.

The Boldlife.com listed 12 ways to find Joy. My two favorite were:

#2. Live Your Own Life. Forget what others want and expect of you. The beauty of your life is you choose who you want in it and what you do with it. Find your passion and purpose. Look for mentors. Create adventure. Have fun. Be kind. Stay true to yourself.

and

#3. Enjoy your journey. “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” –Hafiz of Persia. Life is precious and doesn’t have to be difficult.

 

The website best-personal-growth.com lists 7 ways to cultivate gratitude. I love #7 on their list:

Forgive yourself and others. By forgiving yourself and others you lay down great burdens and allow yourself to enjoy the present moment.

The website womenspeak.com excerpts a book written by professor Martin Seligman, the author of  Authentic Happiness, Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. They list 11 things that “Happiness High” people do to find joy. These are the two that jumped out at me:

#3. Take time to remember the kid in you. Take time to be fun-loving. Get excited and have fun.

#11. Find your calling. Don’t take up space in the world and give nothing back in return. Share your talents and your skills with the world. Don’t worry, you’ll find many things to share if you just pay attention.

The number one way to be happier and find Joy on all of the lists and articles I found was to be grateful, cultivate gratitude and look for what’s right.

I love the pod casts from Tara Brach who teaches from a Buddhist perspective. She teaches about being focused on one thing and that one thing being all that you see. She says, “If a pickpocket meets a Saint, what does the pickpocket see? A Saint’s pocket.”

Focus on finding what you have in your life to be grateful for. It is easy, free and will probably make you a whole lot happier.


Boo! What’s hiding in your closet?

Holy smokes! I am getting my butt kicked in my Design Your Life class. The homework assignments are so emotionally intense and draining. I fluctuate between feeling on top of the world and totally in charge of my life to being pretty sure I am a total nut ball. It is exhausting, but I can see how this is exactly what I needed. No way would I ever make myself write in detail from the voice of my negative traits about all the wacky things I believe about myself. No way would I write a list of “Hauntings” which are those choke points in your life, like failed relationships or behavior you’re not proud of. It could also be something negative that someone said about you which has stuck with you forever. The writing is on the wall with that one. The next homework will undoubtedly be to call some one off of that list and get some perspective on the whole thing. Who does this?!  The truth is that this is really an action plan for stepping into your power. Speaking the truth about past behavior you have been hiding forever helps loosen it’s grip on your life. Looking honestly at your beliefs about yourself and others gives you the chance to decide if that is how you want to proceed in the world. Having a few friends to support you on the way makes it an adventure. Today I told a few of my girlfriends about a haunting of mine. Something I have never told a single person before IN MY WHOLE LIFE. Okay, okay, I haven’t actually called my middle school science teacher to apologize yet, but I’m sure it’s coming!

Join us this Sunday in Woburn for the Acting and Improvisation class and get reacquainted with fun. Helen Deborah Lewis will lead us in the acting exercises  which will help us to loosen up and stop taking ourselves so seriously. Contact me at heather@lifeandfriendship.com or check out the Brighten Your Light page for more information.


Unexpected Inspiration

I see so much positive in the people around me lately. I am not trying to say that I am the cause, I might just be more open to seeing it these days. I have this feeling that starting the conversation I have started within my circle of friends and in my seminars has gotten something rolling. All around me people seem to be starting new businesses, new jobs, “aha” moments abound. I am hearing new conversations about letting go of limiting beliefs and behaviors. How awesome is that?! I am a big believer that you hold magic inside and you are the only one who can decide to let it out. Go for it. Don’t hold yourself back for another minute.

What does that mean for you? Does that mean starting today you are walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or counting to 10 (or 100) before you yell at the kids. For me it means not beating myself up for not finishing the To Do List. I started those darn lists so I wouldn’t forget about important things, or things I wanted to work on if I ever got the time. These days those lists rules my life with an iron fist. I realized in the last few days that I am truly doing this to myself. It is not that the piece of paper with some words I have scribbled on it has some superhuman power to run my life. Uh, No! That’s me. Today I am taking a stand. Not against lists, but against giving away my precious happiness to errands, chores, fix it’s and appointments. Nothing in my life is more important than my happiness and being present for my family. Image

Here is a quote from the journals I made for the seminars which seems to fit today:

Have patience with everything

unresolved in your heart and try to

love the questions themselves…

Don’t search for the answers, which

could not be given to you now,

because you would not be able to

live them. And the point is,

to live everything. Live the question now.

Perhaps then, someday far out in the future,

you will gradually,

without even noticing it,

live your way into the answer.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

I wish for you a day full of patience and happiness!

If you are interested in the upcoming seminar please contact me. I would love to have a few more ladies come down and join the fun!


Day 14, Counting My Blessings

Sliding into home with my posting every day for two weeks. Technically I am one day behind.  But I am cutting myself a break since my last name is Maguire and yesterday was St Patrick’s Day!

The next seminar is the Acting and Improvisation class, on 3/25, and it’s all about remembering how to have fun. I am working on my part and researching “Joy”. It has been interesting to see what different people have to say. One common theme is that joy is about letting go of our beliefs that we are separate or other.  When we forget our ego, and beliefs about who and what we are, then we have those moments of bliss. The problem is that we are SO attached to those beliefs that we usually only let go of them by accident, and only for short periods of time.

This morning I got an email that my library books are due. I picked up Hugh Prather’s book, Spiritual Notes To Myself, for a quick look before it goes back. This is what I found:

“We say, ‘I love to do this and I love to do that, and I need a friend or partner who can share these things with me.’ Yet there are those who love being with a damaged child, even though that child can do none of the things other children can. Their love for the child makes them happy. We think our needs are our sources of happiness, but they merely limit our sources. We have so few ways we can be free of misery. Yet we alone place limits on where and how we can enjoy ourselves. Practice having no ego and you will be free.”

Perfect timing!

I would love to hear your blessings, moments of serendipity and joy. Please post a comment or email me if you have anything you would like to share. Also, plenty of room on the next seminar. Come on down and give that joy muscle a good workout!


Day 13, Counting My blessings

I must admit it has been a little bit of work to find a blessing worth blogging about every day this week. I am working on building my “integrity muscle” in my Design Your Life class. That’s why I’m here trying to find a blessing to blog about at 10:45 on a Friday night, before I go to bed.

I looked through the Freshly Pressed for a shot of potential inspiration. What did I see? 10 things I learned from my Father. Sob!!

My Dad died suddenly when I was 25, (which was some time ago now). Before I was married. Before I had kids. Before my first gray hairs and wrinkles. Although once in a while it still feels like yesterday. I was really a baby in so many ways. After the shock, anger and disbelief  started to wear off I started to see how lucky I really was. I know my Dad was gone way too soon for my liking, but man he packed a lot into the years he was here. In honor of Dad, here’s 10 of the things I learned from mine:

1. Don’t not try it just because you’re a girl. In my house I am the one who fixes the running toilet, dripping faucet, or squeaky door. I converted the closet downstairs into my sewing area with a reciprocating saw and new drywall. Last summer I even built a 10′ by 10′ shed with shingles and everything. By myself. I couldn’t have done it without my Dad. He is the one who said, “I am teaching you this so you don’t get taken advantage of. I don’t want you paying for something you can do yourself.” He even tried to teach me to change the oil in my car. That one never took, but at least I know I could if I ever wanted to!

2. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He read us kids this book lying in his bed. He was so earnest that it made a huge impression on me. The story of a seagull who doesn’t believe the hype about how he can only fly so high because he is, after all, just a seagull. Seeing how much this meant to my Dad made me believe deep inside that your limits are your beliefs about yourself. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time.

3. Meet life head on. My Dad used to answer the phone with a loud “Animal” or “Wild Man”. This was way before caller ID. He would have absolutely no idea who was calling and just grab that phone pumped up to find out who was on the other end. I can only guess that he was delighted to surprise the caller and brighten their day. This taught me that whatever it is coming down the pike, you might as well greet it with positivity. It can only help the situation.

4. Give it everything you’ve got. Dad used to prepare like crazy for everything. He was a pilot in the Navy after college and then a commercial pilot. He studied hard for all of it. If you were flying, you would have wanted him to be your pilot. But he prepared for so many areas of his life this way. My mother told me, not that long ago, a story about when I was born. Having a girl, after two boys, my father ran through the hospital asking everybody, “How do I be a Father to a girl?” He wanted to know everything he could so he could do the best job possible.  Ask those who have been there before you, sound advice!

5. Reasons or Results. My Dad started saying this phrase probably when I was a teenager and thought I was way smarter than him. The older I get the more it is starting to become a motto for me. Reasons or results. What isn’t working in your life? When something isn’t going your way you can come up with a list of reasons why it wasn’t meant to be, or you can start making it happen. When you realize the power to choose your life lies in your own hands, you start to take a long, hard look at those reasons.

6. Kids are not an excuse to not do things, they are motivation to make them happen. My Dad was a marathon runner. He trained for and ran marathons with my two older brothers when they were still quite young. They were both about 12 when this happened. One brother ran the London marathon and the other in Paris. Who does that? He also tricked out our tiny Datsun pickup truck and took all of us on camping trips all through California. I have a plaque hanging down in my sewing area for being the youngest hiker to climb Mount Whitney  in 1977-1978. That was Dad. He really could have worked for Nike. Just Do It was the theme in his life.

7. Make others shine. Dad was an exceptional athlete, talented public speaker, accomplished pilot, and entrepreneur. Yet you would have to work hard to find all of that out if you met him. He was never one to brag, unless it was about someone else’s accomplishments. I learned from my Father that being great at something brings its own reward. If you are too busy beating your own chest, someone fabulous could pass you by. You might miss the opportunity to learn about what someone else is doing if you are too busy talking about yourself.

8. Enjoy yourself. The last several years of my Dad’s life he really started to relax in so many ways. He would smoke cigars with my older brother. He would drink beers he had tried in Germany on his International flights. He would REALLY get into Halloween. He would hang speakers out the windows of the house and pump out scary music. He even rode the sit down mower and cut the grass in a spooky mask for a few years. He had a collection of rubber animal noses that he would wear, a lot. In fact he would throw on a nose as he would say goodbye to the passengers on his flights. He just embraced what the day would bring and the time he had. Did he sense that his days were numbered? I couldn’t say. But I know that even though they weren’t always perfect, he looked forward to what each day would bring.

9. Love your family. Dad loved us beyond just wanting to see us all grow up and do well. I am not trying to trump anybody here in a Best Dad contest. I just mean if my Dad had his way, he would have been with us all the time. His vacations were family vacations. His financial splurges were helping his kids pay for college, buy houses, and go on vacations. He didn’t want any luxuries if it meant that we all couldn’t be a part. This set such an example for me. I know that more important to me than a beach house or fancy car is my children’s future. The time together is worth more than anything I could wear, drive, or brag about at a party.

10. Integrity. Integrity. Integrity. Do what you say and say what you mean. Pretty simple. this one is not always so easy to live, but man it is it important.

Thanks Dad. For sticking with me even now. I see you still in so many ways. You are not just with me but part of me. You’re the best, Animal!


Day 12, Counting My Blessings

I have been feeling out of sorts this week and I didn’t post yesterday. I feel like my  emotions shot off into space and needed to get reeled back in. I am not sure if this is a side effect of moving the clocks ahead or just my life in general at the moment. If any one missed reading a post from me yesterday, I apologize. I hope to make up for it by counting two separate blessings today.

Today two separate friends told me that my seminars and our conversations  have helped them in their lives. Talk about a BLESSING! That is so what I needed to hear today. One friend was able to comfort her daughter in a way she never would have been able to verbalize before. This made her feel great and that she is changing a generational pattern. Another friend said that simple changes in her mindset allowed her to view so many things in her life differently. She was able to see areas of her life that weren’t working and, (drum roll please), change them. This makes my heart sing, truly. I know that we are holding ourselves in negative patterns not because we are stupid, bad, self punishing, or selfish, but because it is habit. Letting go and fully living your best life is so much about learning new habits that serve us where we are right now in our lives.

It's never too late to change direction.

My other blessing, and this is not just a throw in or back up blessing. This is a full on, Thank God I have this in my life… my husband. He is so supportive and kind. For someone who doesn’t have a huge vocabulary in the nuances of feelings and emotions, he almost always has just the right thing to say. He really does have this talent. He shares it quite freely with people throughout his life. Lucky me. I am married to some one who says, “Don’t stress”,  “Don’t beat yourself up about it” , or “You always do a good job.” I hope you have people in your life who do the same for you! We should all have a fan base of people who know we are great, and will remind us if we forget.


Day 11- Counting My Blessings

You know when something you’ve heard pops back into your head and suddenly it has much more significance? This happens to me a lot. I read this quote yesterday,

“We spend most of our lives cutting down our ambitions

because the world has taught us to think small.

Dreams express what your soul is telling you;

as crazy as your dreams might seem

– even to you –

I don’t care; you have to let that out.”

-Eleni Gabre-Mahdin

It really hit home when I read first read it, but reading it again today gave it deeper meaning to me. It gives me courage and support to carry on with my dream. I know it was sent at the perfect time for me to see it. Another beautiful example of synchronicity. I feel the world caring for me even as it pushes me out of my comfortable nest!

This quote is from a wonderful blog called pathwriter. She has tons of inspirational zingers if you need a shot of love, courage or motivation, you can find it there.

The next seminar will be Finding your Joy with acting and improvisation on 3/25. I would LOVE to have you join us. For more information or to sign up please go to Brighten Your Light and check it out.


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