The People Flow

In January, I was able to get author Scott Stabile of “Big Love” and “Just Love” to come to my town and host one of his Writing Yourself workshops. If you don’t know about Scott and haven’t read his book, I highly encourage you to start following him on social media (FB and IG) and to read “Big Love”!! I fell in love with Scott and his ginormous heart before meeting him in person, but wow, that man’s energy is so grounding and healing that it feels like he could calm the whole world. Scott’s message of forgiveness and unconditional love is extra powerful, because all that he has been through. But I’ll let you read his book to find out why.

Scott posted this over on IG, and it’s a side shoot to a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: relationships we have with other people. As I have become more aligned with my true self, I find the flow of people into and out of my life more fascinating than upsetting. My mantra with everything is: I cannot lose anything that is meant for me. This works for people, situations, jobs, and opportunities etc. Anymore, as something or someone leaves my life, I find myself excitedly wondering what is going to come in to fill the space. There is always something. It might not be a person for a person or a job for a job, but rest assured that there is indeed a divine flow to this life we’re living. As we clear things no longer serving us, or as things are cleared FOR us, new doors open. Every time. As you love yourself and remove yourself from relationships and situations no longer serving you, new, beautiful things will flow to you. New people will flow to you.

I have gone through a lot of loss of people in my life, not just from people I know dying, though that’s happened more than I’d choose, but from the ebb and flow of people out and into my life. I think what I have learned from it, the perspective I have gained, makes it all worth it at this point. After all, isn’t everything in the past worth it once you’ve attained the ability to see the world with lenses that opens you to the magic all around you?! When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend starting when I was 15, so maybe around my junior year or so. He became my best friend and his family became my family. I think that family is what I was needing most at that time. My family felt stressful to me, so I often spent time at friend’s houses. It was my way to escape the tension and turmoil. His family treated me like part of the family. We stayed together for almost 8 years even though a decent amount of that time was spent long-distance as we traveled to college and then jobs. In that time, his Mom would call me to see how my job interviews went. She’d check in on me when she knew I was sick. She was like another Mom who, at the time, was more involved in my life than my own Mom. I loved her and the rest of their family a lot. I had become interested in my now ex-husband at the end of that relationship. We had been going through the motions for a while. As that relationship came to an end, and I began hanging out with someone else, I felt like I had to cut ties with his whole family. And it hurt. Bad. It was especially painful when I realized that without his Mom calling me, I didn’t really have family calling me to see how I was doing. I felt utterly alone and it was painful. I look back and see how I had developed a pattern of dependence on other people in order to feel loved, and so it wasn’t often that I was single. I went from one long-term relationship and wound up in another. I didn’t do the work to heal, instead, I chose to continue to fill the void that I felt. I didn’t do any of it consciously, it was all subconscious. How often do we do this though? Get afraid to feel the pain of our childhood and end up filling that void by clinging to people? I am sure it happens a lot. I think that that’s a big reason why humans generally find it so difficult to let go of people. We wrongly place measure of our value on the people in our lives, which means that when they leave, we often feel a bit kicked in the stomach. We fight, we scream, we cry, and sometimes we beg them not to go, or we prevent ourselves from leaving them.

A different way to look at this is that while we do genuinely miss people when they leave our lives, I think it’s more about what we perceive that they take with them that hurts the most. Like their love. I grew up in a family affected by alcoholism. I don’t say that to hurt anyone or place blame for how I am somewhere else, but I say it because it’s an important piece of my puzzle, part of what makes me, me. Suffice it to say that it’s a pattern that ran through many generations of men in my family, on both sides. I see it as fairly inevitable that it would continue to play out until someone came along that was strong enough to feel the pain and heal it. I am that person in my family. At any rate, I remember really struggling with my emotions and what was going on around me as a kid. I coped by holding in my emotions, by stuffing them as deep as I could, so I wouldn’t have to actually feel them. My feelings of sadness and anger overwhelmed me, and as a child, I didn’t really know what else to do with them. At times, they’d come out in fits of rage when my Dad would pick fights with me after my Mom had left the house. But mostly, I internalized them to keep the peace, or in a naive attempt to create peace. Through all of this, I internalized the feelings of abandonment and neglect I felt. At some point, I decided I must not be enough, I must not be lovable. And I carried those beliefs with me for most of the last 39 years of my life. I didn’t feel lovable, so I didn’t love myself. The only love I experienced then, came from other people. Without consciously knowing it, I operated from this place. I sought to fill that void. I sought the love I really needed to be giving to myself. I did things to feel love. I found friends. I found relationships. I found other families. It took a lot of healing and reflection to realize these things about myself. I share them now, because our common connection is our human nature. Perhaps my words will help someone else not feel alone. I hope that you realize that you are not alone in your struggles. Ever. For every struggle we experience, there are likely thousands, maybe millions, maybe billions of others who have gone through something similar.

My lifestyle has lent itself to the flow of people into and out of my life. I left my hometown for college a 17 hour drive away in Florida, then transferred to a different college in South Carolina, before settling at yet a third college in North Carolina. For the record, I still managed to graduate with my undergraduate degrees in 4 years. Does that really even matter though? I then did internships in various places. When I graduated, I traveled to Alaska. In total right now, I’ve lived in 10 states, and my full resume with all of my now 3 different careers is quite possibly 12 pages long! Yes, that’s real. So as you can imagine, I have met and worked with LOTS of different people in my life! When I left for college, I left friends I grew up with behind. When I left every college, I left friends and sometimes boyfriends behind. When I left jobs, I left coworkers/friends behind. I was with my high school boyfriend for almost 8 years, I was then with my ex-husband for nearly 10 years total. When my boyfriend and I broke up, I lost family, including a baby I lovingly referred to as my pseudo niece. When I got a divorce, I lost family, including a baby nephew. I also ‘lost’ friends in the divorce though I put it in quotes, because friends lost in divorce were never really friends, so nothing was truly lost. Friends, after all, are people who are there when we need them. I lost a community of people I had worked with. I later fell in love with my best friend of 20 years and so when that ended, I lost a best friend and a lover. At the time, losing my best friend who knew me better than anyone was excruciating. After that, I lost my dog of nearly 14 years that had been through every major life transition I experienced after college. When we lose a pet, we lose someone who only ever added positive things to our lives, so that too hurt very badly. But you know what? I survived all of it. My nomadic existence gave me a unique perspective on life, and on people in my life.

I have come to find that we always meet the people we are meant to meet when we’re meant to meet them. And we always have the people around us that we need while we need them. But the flow of people is meant to be free and flowing. At least, that’s what I think. I used to be sad when friendships faded, but now I just see it as the natural flow of life. We are all meant to teach each other and help each other grow, and when we’ve outgrown the relationship, it ends. Back in the day, handwritten letters connected me with fellow field biologists who were also in faraway places removed from technology. With the invention of social media, I have managed to stay in touch with lots of people, all over the world at this point. But the relationships changed and landed where they are meant to be now. I have lots of people I could pick up with where we left off, and I hope to with many of them someday. But even if that never happens, I am so very grateful for the connections we shared when we were hanging out in person. That importance in my life is there regardless of if I ever see them again. Every interaction and connection has added to who I am as a person.

My family lives across the country from me, and there was a time here even 6 years ago that I felt utterly alone in the town where I live. I was newly out of marriage and a new nurse who had been through the ringer as far as my health was concerned, plus I was a Mom, so I wasn’t really out meeting new people. Over time, I began to make friends and connect. As I became more comfortable as a nurse and healthier, I had more energy on my days off to do fun things and meet new people. I even formed friendships with people I was able to trust with my son’s care. It took time, but I built a community of people I could count on. Then, in 2018, I got in total alignment with my soul by listening to my intuition about everything. My tribe started showing up in full force! Now, I have so many people I know I could count on if I ever needed anything. It’s like night and day, and I am so grateful and proud of the family I have created here.

In my opinion, if you are struggling with feeling alone and isolated, the best thing you can do for yourself every day, and every time you feel overwhelmed by life, is to meditate. Start using it as your coping mechanism. Set a timer and start with 2 minutes at first, move up from there to find your personal sweet spot of time. Mine is 25 minute increments. Meditating will align you with your higher self, and your alignment is one thing that will help draw your tribe to you. Your tribe meaning the people who accept you completely.

Also, start showing up in life as your 100% authentic and vulnerable self with everyone you meet. When you get a good energy from someone, open up and talk about the things that really matter to you and really interest you, regardless of how strange those things may sound to some people. It was when I started accepting and loving myself as exactly as I am, and not caring what other people thought of me that I really became free and light! That light is what attracts people to me. It must be, because I don’t wear makeup or fancy clothes. I don’t dye my graying hair. I don’t get botox for my wrinkles. I don’t hide my true self. This is a big reason why I am now living my best life! I get loved for being me! I get paid for being me! There was a time when I was younger, that I would be suspicious of people who said they liked or loved me, because I didn’t feel like they really knew me. These days, I am sure that anyone who likes or loves me is seeing the real me, because I now only have one version of me in the world. Like me, love me, or not, and I am OK with it. I don’t need your love anymore, because I found my own. I don’t need your acceptance, because I accept myself. What I wish for you is that you find your own love and acceptance too, and that you realize that you are far more valuable to this world exactly as you are, without the mask society tells you to wear. Get really comfortable with yourself and being alone, like really live it up in your solitude, and you won’t have to do anything to find your people! They will come to you! In fact, you might even have to turn people down, because you’ll start to enjoy your solitude so much! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

In my experience, when you get to this place of acceptance of the natural flow of people, you won’t cling to anyone anymore, because you’ll trust that you won’t lose anything meant for you. When you have your own love and acceptance, you stop needing anyone to be any certain way or do any certain things. You can love people to love them. You don’t need their love in return. You let them come, and you let them go, and you still remain in peace about it all. You learn your worth, and want to only spend time with people who want to be around, make time to be around. It is the best feeling to love this way! It feels so free, and empowering, and TRULY loving.

Please follow me on Facebook (/peacefuljellyfish) and IG (peaceful.jellyfish) for more content and impromptu Live videos. If my words resonate with you and you’re struggling with the flow of people out of your own life, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com for the opportunity to work with me. I’d be happy to offer a free consult to see if we’d be a good fit.

Thanks for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Much love!

Blogging for a Year!

I have been officially writing on this blog for 1 year today!  It is said that a lot can change in a year.  My life is living proof!  Over the year that I have blogging, so much has happened.  Just from a blogging perspective, a lot changed once I made the decision to start sharing more of myself and my story with other people this way.  I think the biggest thing I learned is that my story is a powerful one that can inspire others on their own journeys.  The other thing I learned is that we can truly rewrite our stories if the old version is causing us strife or disempowering us.

It is a very humbling thing to have someone read your first blog post and reach out to you saying that your post gave them hope on a day when they were feeling suicidal.  I decided then that if my writing did no more than give that one person hope on their own journey, it would be enough.  Through this blog, I have reconnected with old friends, reconnected with family, and made new friends.

Prior to starting this blog, only those closest to me really knew my story.  Because of my depression, struggles in my marriage, and illness, I kept a lot to myself.  I now see that I was sort of holding myself captive by staying so closed in.  I am a Gemini and a communicator by nature, and to be otherwise makes me feel a discord with myself at the soul level.  Writing here has opened me up in ways that I had really been craving, both with myself and with other people.  I have found that opening myself up to this level of vulnerability and authenticity here has also opened me up in the same way in real life.  There’s a lot of power in sharing, because you no longer feel like you have anything to hide.  You realize that more often than not, people reach out to you commiserating and saying they’ve felt the same way.  You realize that all you have kept inside was nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, by sharing all of it, you can help a lot of other people navigate their own lives.

I thank all of you who have been reading along on this journey of mine!  I now have 50 subscribers to this blog who receive a notification every time I publish a new post.  Thank you all for subscribing!  It lets me know that my words are resonating and not just falling silent once I press the publish button.  In 1 year, I have had 1,047 visitors to my site.  I have had 2,214 blog views.  In 1 year, my blog has been viewed from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Philippines, Sweden, Ireland, Serbia, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Botswana, Japan, Russia, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Croatia, Brunei, South Africa, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Austria, Monaco, Nigeria, Ukraine, Thailand, and Switzerland!!  The internet has really connected us all more than we normally even consider in our day to day lives.  How amazing that my words can be read in so many different places all over the world?!  Thank you to everyone who has read my words near and far, I hope that they inspire you in some way.

If you would have told me last year this time what my life would look like a year from then, I would not have believed you at all!  Absolutely everything has shifted for the positive in my life!  At the beginning of the year, as I had been dealing with negative health effects of the stress of my job for a while, I had an inspired idea that left me unable to sleep.  On thinking of what would make 2018 my best year ever, I thought that it would be epic to quit my job, start my own healing business, and travel to Australia (my life-long dream destination) and Hawaii all in the same summer!!

Friends, since May, I have done all of those things!  I am amazed at the unfolding of my life!  I couldn’t be more grateful for all that I have experienced this year, and for the fact that I still have 5 MORE MONTHS of this year still to go!  I see the divine hand that has led me on this path and it has been even better than I could have imagined because of the added bonus of growth and insight that has come from my experiences.

We usually walk around feeling very stuck in our lives.  We think we can’t leave jobs because we’re worried our business won’t work out, so we usually don’t even try.  We say we can’t travel because we don’t have the money.  We give ourselves one good vacation a year, because it’s like a weird, general social norm in the US to work more than we play.  Everything is still evolving for me on this new path, but just the feeling I have to be so connected with my higher self on a daily basis has been worth it.  Let alone the amazing places I’ve seen and the people I have met.  Australia you guys.  Wow.  I am in real love with that place!  I plan to post more about it, including a slideshow of my pictures, but so far, I’m mostly still at a loss for words for that experience.  My sister and I were able to have our first family vacation together with our families in Hawaii.  I spent much-needed time meeting, and then snuggling with my baby niece.  Plus, tons of snorkeling!  My son got to snorkel in the ocean for the first time.  I saw a few sea turtles, an eel, dolphins plus thousands of tropical fish!  Ah, I could get used to having at least two epic vacations a year!

I’m in a place of trust and it’s causing me to release all of my old doubts about myself, my old beliefs about what is possible in life, and my old beliefs about lack just to name a few.  I’ve gotten more committed to meditating and checking in with my higher self about every decision from what I eat to what I do.  I have had so many inspired ideas come to me in the time since returning from Hawaii.  Following through on those ideas is connecting me with more amazing people and opportunities.  I’m looking at life in a whole new way that has given me a sort of freedom that I have never experienced before.

Life is truly is what we make it.  If we want more adventure, we’ve got to look for ways to incorporate more adventure.  If we want more travel, we need to travel.  If we want better health, we need to start meditating daily and connecting with our higher selves, so that we can follow the guidance from within needed to heal ourselves.  Drown out the outside influences of your life that make you neglect to listen to your own intuition.  Turn off your TV, stop listening to people who haven’t been living their dreams, stop letting outside people and things influence you more than your own heart. When you connect with yourself in this way, you will find amazing ideas, people, situations, and opportunities begin to appear in your life in perfect timing!  I have had so many things happen in the last week and a half that I can’t keep up with it all as far as writing it all down to share.  I see how every seemingly little thing is by design and it’s really beautiful!

I’ll share an example.  One of the things I have written and read aloud every day since a workshop hosted by Jake Ducey that I attended in November as part of my larger Chief Aim is “I am a part of a thriving community of healers and artists.”  Earlier this week, I got the inspired idea to create a gift basket focused around “Healing Arts” for the Center for Spiritual Living’s annual fundraiser this year.  My idea is that the basket will showcase the work of various healers and artists in my town, so that people will realize what is available to them right here.  I am donating a Distance Reiki session to the basket, and after several contacts, I have secured multiple gift certificates for various forms of healing including Reiki, Sound Healing, and a How to Create Sacred Space & Crystal Grid Manifesting session, a painting, and a cool pyramid made of shungite that is a very healing stone.  In two days, I reached out, connected with, and met several new people, and learned about new healing modalities offered in my area.  This is how life can work when we are in the flow.  Our inspired ideas (the ones where you get excited to your core) happen on purpose!!  When you start following them like I have been doing, they lead to amazing things for you and others around you!  They even help you manifest your desires!  In my experience, inspired ideas lead to all that I am seeking to manifest in my life and more!  Whoever wins this basket is in for a serious treat!!

On this journey I am on, I would get nowhere if I compared myself or my journey to others, because they are not me.  Even when our journeys look similar, they are not the same, and they are not meant to be the same.  We are all here to shine the light that WE have, not dim our lights, or try to blend our lights in with everyone else’s.  I understand that conformity was once an act of survival, but at this level of the game, conformity is killing us all slowly.  The key to this game is to live our joy, so that we can match the frequency of all that we wish to manifest.  I know that life can discourage us, especially when the energy is such that is bringing our old patterns and beliefs and anxieties back to the surface for healing.  Even in such time, we are all being taken care of completely.  You will know that you are aligned with your higher self when your thoughts and words start showing up as things and people in your reality.

Once you find a way to tap into that magic, life glows like it’s radioactive.

I’m living it right now! We each have something we came here to do.  What did you come here to do?  Are you doing it? Are you working towards doing it?  What is stopping you?

I am starting a meeting group locally centered around the book “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer.  My idea is that everyone who comes to the meetings will have read the book and are willing to surrender to the flow of life more.  I will share my story and ways that I have surrendered and what that has created in my life.  After that, we will meet on a weekly basis to discuss what has shown up for us in our lives and how we have flowed with it and what doors that has opened for us.

I just had the idea that it could be really fun to coach people in this way!  It could take place via phone and I would share more details about how I do this and what has shown up for me, and I could provide individualized support for you as you begin to allow more flow in your life.  You don’t have to change every area of your life to live this way.  Even focusing on one area where you’re currently dissatisfied would make a huge impact.  My coaching would mean 1:1 support, as well as all of my intuitive insights about you and your journey that I receive during the time that we work together.  If this resonates with you, please read the book, and reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  I’d also love to hear from people who are currently living this way!  Please leave comments down below!

Thank you for reading!  If you liked this post please like and share it.  Much love!

Seize the Day!

I had this weekend off, and my son was with his Dad.  On Friday, I had a busy and stressful day at work, and I was exhausted that night.  I had wanted to figure out something fun to do for the weekend, but when I went to bed Friday night, I was thinking that I would maybe stay home, take a yoga and massage class, and clean my house.  I had mentioned to a few people that I was trying to plan a hike or something fun for my weekend, so when I woke up, I had a text from my sister saying “I hope you get to do something fun today!”  And that was all it took.  I snapped myself out of the tired haze, and was reminded of my choice to use my days off to the fullest.  So, I started looking at weather in various places in California. At home, where I was possibly going to hike, there was a chance of rain.  But on the coast, the weather was expected to be sunny with high temps ranging from 70-75 degrees F, depending on location.  I held the thought of going to the coast in my head, and began to get excited.  Then, I started to think of the various places.  Then it dawned on me that I had seen that there was going to be a band playing at a place I’ve been to and liked in Santa Cruz, so I looked it up.  A funk band!  Perfect!  I decided I might as well go to Santa Cruz, my favorite, if I was going to the coast!  I got even more excited!  So, I looked up an airbnb in the area and booked it.  Then I thought about how I have been saying that I wanted to take a surfing lesson for at least a few years, but that I hadn’t done it.  I had even researched places that offer lessons in Santa Cruz before, so I looked them up and called a place.  When I asked if this was a good time of year for a lesson, the guy said “we give lessons all year-long here, after all, the water is always wet,” which made sense.  With Saturday and Sunday off and my son having a game Sunday (today), I ended up deciding that it might be better to take an afternoon surf lesson on Saturday once I arrived in Santa Cruz, so that I didn’t have to feel rushed today.  I gave the guy a call again when I was getting close to see if they’d have a lesson at the time soon after I arrived, and he said they were!  So it was set.  Just like that, I went from having NO plans, to having a super amazing plan!

I got to Santa Cruz around 2:30 pm, and had my lesson from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  I showed up and paid at the little covered table on the beach, got sized for a wet suit and then waited for our instructor to come out of the water from the previous class.  There were three of us in the lesson, me and a father-teenage son pair.  We were given surf boards that were HUGE (10 feet long, so almost double my height!), because the instructor said that big boards were easier for beginners.  The instructor was really great with Club Ed Surf School (website HERE)!  In true Jammie fashion, I was led to the instructor whose wife has spent a lot of time as a patient in various hospitals.  We connected through it, and held a really great conversation about our experience with hospitals and various medications that his wife and I both had in common at one time.  I should mention that when I go on one of these solo trips, I always set my intentions for the trip out loud on my way to wherever I am going.  For this trip, I asked to be guided to live in joy and to have so much fun.  I also asked to have connections with people along the way.  I see this conversation with the instructor as that connection.  It was about 70 degrees and sunny.  The instruction for how to get to a standing position on the surf board while we were still on the beach reminded me a lot of various yoga poses!  Then we headed into the water, and we started paddling.  And paddling.  And paddling.  And I wished that I had been doing more yoga in recent times to strengthen my arms and shoulders!  Paddling at first felt easy of course, but towards the end of the two hours, my arms were toast, and my instructor so kindly towed me behind him to give me a rest, but help get me a few more waves.  I was able to stand up and ride multiple waves!  Being out in the water was so awesome on its own, but riding the waves in felt so exhilarating!  Other than when my arms entered noodle status in the water, I don’t think I stopped smiling for most of the two-hour lesson!  I didn’t mind falling off my board or bailing so I didn’t run into other surfers in the slightest!  I had zero fear in the water.  Even with tired arms, I kept paddling, still intent on catching the last waves of the lesson.  As we exited the water at the end of the lesson, I was laughing and just feeling so alive!  Surfing was one of the most fun things that I have EVER done!  It’s up there with white water rafting!  I am so happy that I finally made it happen!  It makes me want to build my upper body strength, so that I can surf more easily and more often.  I think it’s good when the things we love push us to want to better ourselves in some way.  Do you have something that you’ve been wanting to try that you keep putting off?  Could you make a plan to do it soon?  What is stopping you?  For me, I kept waiting for the right time.  A day to myself at the beach when I had the spare money to spend on a lesson.  One or both of those things seemed to always be missing, so I just kept putting it off.  But I am so happy that I finally did it!  And I now have another thing to add to my list of fun things to do that make me feel most alive!

Speaking of yoga, I was just saying that I want to start making three things in my life priorities because of how good they make me feel, and of how good they are for me.  I know that I should be treating the three things as NEEDS vs. wants.  For me, when I call something a “need”, it places that thing ahead of other things that require my money or my time and effort.  It puts them up there with food and water.  One of them is yoga.  Yoga makes me stronger and more flexible, and it also calms and relaxes me and leaves me with an overall sense of peace.  I was going every week for a while, but my practice dropped off when the studio I go to changed hands and my favorite instructor stopped teaching there.  I have yet to go consistently since then.  I thought I’d practice at home, but you know how that goes.  For me, it doesn’t happen.  I know that a more consistent yoga practice would give me the upper body strength that I need for surfing.  My surfing would also benefit from becoming stronger in the yoga poses that are similar to the way I need to move and balance my body to be able to stand on the surf board.

Another need I listed is drumming.  I’ve been taking an African drumming class in the town where I live off and on since early 2016.  In class, we learn to play the djembe, and also the sangban, dundun, and kinkinee drums.  The latter three drums require you to play two different rhythms at the same time, which felt impossible when I was first learning.  I likened it to the exercise where you pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.  But with time, I learned, and now it feels like riding a bike, even if I don’t play the drums for a few months, I can go back and am still able to play.  You can see a video of my instructor, Wadaba, HERE.  In this video, he’s playing two djembes at the same time.  More commonly, one djembe is played at a time.  He is from Guinea in West Africa.  He grew up playing drums, and is a world-renowned master drummer.  I am very lucky to have him teaching in my town.  If you’re local and interested in playing the drums, reach out to me, and I can give you the details for our weekly class.  First class is free and you can rent a drum from Wadaba if you plan in advance.  I especially like playing the larger of the latter three drums, the dundun.  It has such a big, deep, powerful sound.  There is an annual workshop held in the mountains here in California every August called Camp Fareta.  I have been so happy to get to go for part of it the last two summers.  The best African drummers and dancers from all over the world come here to teach!  And students also travel from all over the world to learn! It’s really incredible to gather with such a welcoming community of people for the common goal of experiencing the singing, dancing, and drumming of Africa.  One of my favorite classes that I took this past August was a sangban dance class.  I found this fun video HERE of a flash mob group in Australia doing a dundun dance with moves similar to those I learned in class with the sangban.  I recognize the lead woman on this video from Camp Fareta.  As a kid, I was always tapping and drumming on things, which annoyed my parents.  In college, I was always fascinated by the African drum group on campus that would perform locally.  We also had several drummers from various places visit campus to perform.  I always loved seeing the performances, but never got involved.  When I learned of the drumming class here, I immediately wanted to try it, but at first, I tried to get friends to go with me.  That wasn’t happening, so eventually my urge to go got stronger, and my need to have someone go with me got weaker, so I went.  I figured that with the level of urging that I was feeling, I was either going to go and meet someone significant to my life in the class, or I was going to already know how to play drums.  In part, both were true.  The group of people in that class has added so much value to my life, and has ultimately connected me to the much larger community of drummers throughout the world.  I also picked up drumming rather easily.  In my first class, I remember Wadaba and his wife, Keio, being surprised that I had never played a musical instrument before.  Wadaba noticed that mine and his hands are very similar in size and shape.  I think that I must have played the drum in a past life.  At any rate, drumming feels good.  And when you have a group of 10 or 12 people drumming together, it creates a  powerful energy unlike anything else.

The last thing that I want to promote to a need in my life is meditation.  I started meditating back in the summer of 2015.  It was the thing that I committed to during a Simple Shift course that I took which was based on the premise that making small, simple changes to our lives could lead to big results.  During a rough patch in the summer of 2015, I used meditation as my main coping mechanism.  When I felt anxious or overwhelmed, I would meditate.  During one week, I was meditating for various lengths of time several times a day.  The effects of meditation are easier experienced than explained, but I will try.  Now mind you, for me, meditation did not offer me an immediate change, but over time, I noticed a few things shift in my life.  First, my anxiety and stress decreased.  And when I did get stressed, I found that meditating, even if only for 5 minutes, would be enough to quiet the hamsters in my head and bring me back to a place of peace.  It gave me a sense of inner peace.  After consistently meditating for a few months, I noticed that I was able to see how things were connected and the lessons that could be gleaned from my trials.  I could see the benefit to the challenges in my life, and could sense that they were leading me to something bigger and better.  I also come out of meditation sometimes clearly knowing what my next step should be, or what I should do that day.  I notice that doing a long solo hike gives way to a kind of meditative state for me.  When I am hiking for 10 or 12 miles, at first, I may be thinking about things in my life and singing songs to myself, but then there comes a point when I am just in the moment, focused on my steps, and feeling my breath.  I get in a groove and just flow.  The cares of other areas of my life vanish, and I am left alone, with my own body, and my own breath.  But, like drumming and yoga, I haven’t always made meditation a priority.  If you feel so inclined, meditation can be a great way to tune into your own intuition and calm your mind’s chatter.  It can be as simple as getting comfortable and closing your eyes for a few minutes, even 5 minutes helps, and focusing on your breath.  If thoughts move in, acknowledge them and then let them go and return to focusing on your breath.  Meditation can be that simple.  Don’t get discouraged if you try it and then don’t notice anything different.  Keep it up.  It takes time and changes may be small at first.  We have gotten to be so accustomed to instant gratification that we sometimes lose sight that most things worthwhile in this world cannot be gained in an instant.  What are some things that fill you with a lot of joy or make you feel really good that you could move to your “needs” list?

As far as doing the things that have been on your to-do list or bucket list for a while now, in general, I think we usually put our dreams on the back-burner while we work to pay our bills, or while we do what other people tell us we should be doing instead.  But do we really want other people, or society to dictate the course of our one, short life?  For me, it took almost dying to realize the preciousness of today, of each moment.  We all get to decide when we will take the step to live our life the way that we want to.  You can wait until your life is almost taken from you to realize how amazing it is that you woke up and got to live another day today, or you can realize it right now.  It’s up to you.  I, too, still put things off, like surfing.  I, too, get sucked into a daily routine that doesn’t always feel satisfying.  Change takes time, especially if you’re used to going along with status quo and ignoring your inner urges and passions in lieu of those that the world around you tells you are important.  When I get overwhelmed with anything new, I like to remind myself that I don’t need to have everything figured out, I just need to take a step in the direction that I want to go.  You don’t need to be able to see the whole staircase in order to take the next step.  Join me in working to trust that the next steps, after that first one, will appear in due time.

It is also helpful when I remind myself that I will never get different results in life by doing the things that I have always done.  If I do the things I have always done, I can expect more of the same.  That’s fine as long as I am happy with where I am.  But, it’s  when I go out on a limb and try new things that I can discover new passions that can then lead me to new people, places, and things.  I have heard insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.  This weekend, by finally getting out and trying surfing, and by lining up a night with live music that I could dance to, I created one of the best days I have EVER had!!  I actually screamed in excitement as I was driving from my surf lesson to the airbnb so that I could get ready to go out and see the band!  Yes, I loved surfing THAT much!!  After 2 hours in the water paddling and surfing, and another almost 4 hours of dancing to the music of an awesome funk band called Katdelic, I went to bed last night with a happily tired body, a very grateful heart, and a soul that was beaming with pure, absolute joy!  (check out Katdelic if you ever have the chance!  They put on one of the best shows I have ever seen!)  What are you waiting for?  What activities could you plan for your next day off that would leave you feeling like you just had the best day of your life?  What is it that you enjoy so much that you smile the whole time you’re doing it?  What makes you feel like a kid again?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

If you’re waiting for a time when you’ll have an extended amount of days off to do things, you may never get anything done.  Let me assure you that you can do a lot in one or two days.  With two days off, I drove to the coast (just over 3 hours) for the night, surfed, and saw live music all in one day.  With three days off, I drove 8 hours to Zion National Park and did a hike on each of the three days before driving back on the third day.  I have friends who consistently go on epic hikes on their two weekend days off.  Sometimes living life to the fullest will require that you treat your day off and your fun activities like a job.  Get up before the sun rises and get moving!  Get out there and seize the day!

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Listen to Brett Dennen’s song “Blessed” HERE