When the Earth Slept: A Quarantine Fairy Tale

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Picture Created by Melissa Wooten Art

*Due to the overwhelming response I have received from this story, it is currently in the process of raising funds to be published.  If you’d like to support this journey by pre-ordering a copy, please do so HERE.  You can also share this story with others who may benefit from it!  Thank you SO much for your help!

Once upon a time the Earth got VERY sick. Her temperature rose and rose and rose until it erupted into a slew of wildfires that ravaged the land. She shook with chills, causing massive earthquakes and every time she sneezed, torrential winds kicked up. The people called them tornadoes and hurricanes. She cried because she felt so awful and her tears created floods that washed over the soil.  Try as she might, the Earth could not get her sickness to go away. There was simply too much that she had to do to support all of the living organisms walking along her surface and she was not able to get the rest that she needed to heal and thrive again.  She thought and she thought, and she thought, until finally she came up with a solution. She would look to the people to help her.

So, she came to the people and she asked them to go their homes.

She asked them to spend time with their loved ones and to close their doors and to stay inside for a while so that she might get the rest that she needed without having to worry about them and take care of them.  So that she could rest her weary spirit, just for just a while.

At first, the people felt wary and afraid. They had never been asked to close their doors and stay inside. How would they keep themselves busy? How would they work and make money? How would they entertain themselves if the stores and the movie theaters and the bowling alleys and the playgrounds were all closed? They crossed their arms and shook their heads no and the Earth wept harder and the floodwaters rose. She shook with despair and the grounds cracked beneath the people’s feet.

Eventually, after watching the Earth continue to struggle and realizing the damage that her struggles were doing to her, the people began to talk to one another.

“We would not allow our own kind to suffer this way without rest,” some of them exclaimed. “We must give her the chance to sleep and heal as she carries so much responsibility on her strong shoulders,” they said.

And so, it was decided. The people shut down their shops and their movie theaters and their bowling alleys and their schools. They cancelled their plans to fly away for vacations and they agreed to postpone their meetings and their get-togethers and their parties. They went into their homes with their loved ones and they closed their doors.

Then a heavy silence fell over the Earth. Gone was the din of cars swooshing past one another on the roadways. Gone were the sounds of jet engines roaring overhead. Gone was the clanging of hammers and the growl of power tools as construction came to a halt.

The Earth took a deep breath in and let a giant exhale out as she settled in to nap.  She was lulled to sleep by only the sounds of the birds chirping, and the crickets playing lovely tunes; the wind whispering through the trees, and the gentle crash of the waves upon empty shores.

Many suns rose and set, and the moon cycled from new to full and back again. Meanwhile, behind their closed doors, many of the people became restless. They had not yet learned to appreciate the stillness and the quiet.  They were afraid of the unknown; afraid of how long the Earth might sleep. They wondered if they should wake her. They talked together and decided that they should try to.

And so, on a beautiful, early morning, just as the sun was peaking over the horizon, the people went outside and they began to dance. They started slowly at first, hoping that the gentle rhythm of their feet drumming against the Earth would tenderly wake her from her slumber. Still, she slept. The people began to dance faster. Still, she slept. And so, the people began to jump and yell and shake their bodies, twirling in circles and prancing across the Earth.

Still, she slept.

Yet somehow, as the people danced, they forgot that they were trying to wake the Earth from her slumber. They realized, as they moved and shook and allowed joyful sounds to burst from their mouths, that they were reviving an old song together. One that had not been sung for many, many years but that they felt rise up from deep within them.  They felt cheerful and connected to one another, some of them for the first time in ages. They smiled and laughed. They felt appreciation for one another and for their strong bodies and capable hearts.

As this shift happened in the minds of the people, the Earth finally began to stir. She stretched her long limbs and blinked her eyes opened. She looked about and saw beautiful things happening all around her. Animals that she had not seen in long passages of time crept slowly out of hiding to drink from her rivers and streams. Thick smog that had hung heavy over the mountaintops began to dissipate and she was able to see snow-capped peaks that had been hidden from her view for ages. She took a big, deep breath in and noticed that the air tasted sweeter and cleaner. She saw the now crystal-clear oceans shimmering in the distance.

And then, she saw the people. All of them dancing together, creating beautiful music, rejoicing in each other and massaging her skin with their rhythmic steps.

She felt the sickness slowly leaving her body. Deep within her core, a stirring began, like a small flame flickering in the breeze. As she continued to watch the people, the flame began to grow and grow and grow. The more that the people danced and sang and rejoiced, the more powerful this warm buzzing in her center became. She realized that their joy and love and connectedness were her medicine and she felt stronger and stronger still as she observed them.

The people, lost in their exhilaration, had stopped thinking about their stores and their bowling alleys and their money and their vacations. She noticed that they were remembering, instead, their deep connection to each other, to her, and to all the ways that she supported them. As she healed, they began to heal and as they began to heal, so continued her healing. They were part of the same and were learning to work together in new ways. However, the people knew they could not dance forever. So, one day, they stopped dancing.

When they did, they took the time to look around them and they too began to notice the animals coming out of hiding, the icy mountain tops in the distance, the crystal cleanliness of the air and the beautiful blues and greens of the oceans.  As Earth once again allowed her people to come back outside and enjoy her many natural playgrounds, she noticed that they did so with a new respect and sense of wonder.  They took greater care to keep the beautiful Earth clean and to honor her wildlife. They took the time to learn more about her plants and the natural medicines they could provide.

They devoted their energy to finding solutions to heal the very things that had been making their beautiful Earth sick in the first place.

As the people took better care of the Earth, the Earth responded with great love. She offered up new resources for the people to use to keep her soil and waters and air clean.  She granted their wish for more knowledge and taught them the ancient ways that they had become so disconnected from. She continued to show them the beauty of simplicity and encouraged them to take the time to dance whenever they felt called to do so.  Together, the people and the Earth created a new way of being.

And so, they all lived happily ever after.

Learn more about this story by clicking HERE.

Open to Grace

17In Yoga Teacher Training, we are taught that opening up to grace is an integral part of our practice.  It’s that moment in a yoga class where your teacher is instructing you to settle into the space around you, let go of thoughts, worries and to-do lists that might be sabotaging your relaxation, and let yourself become present and aware so that you can receive your yoga practice.  In a dimly lit studio, sprawled out on your mat, with no disturbances other than the gentle sound of you and your neighbors breathing, soft music playing in the background of your thoughts, this can be a relatively easy and safe space to do just that…to completely let go.  After all, that’s why you are there in the first place, right?  What happens, though, when you’re not on your mat?  Opening to grace feels a lot more difficult to do when you are in the throes of your day to day activities, children arguing in the background, a pile of bills arriving in the mail, stacks of paperwork to get through at the office, a lawn to mow, and the mountain of laundry spilling out of your clothes hamper staring at you every time you enter your room.  However, these are the times when opening to grace is absolutely the most important.

Grace is defined by dictionary.com as “simple elegance or refinement of movement”, but to me, it is so much more than that.  It is a willingness to surrender to the truth that we are each going through exactly the things that will help us to become the best versions of ourselves, even (especially) in the moments where it feels completely the opposite.  It is the ability to find strength in our struggles and to participate fully and completely in all aspects of our lives, good, bad, scary, exciting, or otherwise.  It is the knowledge that our perception of what is happening in our lives is so much more important than the situations themselves, because the situations are impermanent.  It is the power to stand strong through the storms, holding firm to the knowledge that calmer waters are ahead of us and that there is an important lesson for our soul within each and every moment.  How amazing would it feel to bring the same peace, calm and quiet that you find on your mat, or out in nature, or in your bath (or whatever it is that you do to connect to this space) into the daily situations that are a natural part of life?  Well, you can, which is pretty good news.

Take a minute to inventory what’s going on in your life that’s stressing you out or causing worry or fear.  Write it all down.  Read it back to yourself without any judgement.  Instead, maybe you can find a little curiosity.  What is your soul trying to help you to learn by these difficult situations?  For most of us, our difficulties often become repeating patterns, causing us to feel like something is wrong with us or that we are just destined to always have this particular issue in our lives, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  These moments that challenge us are opportunities for us to get know ourselves better.  For example, if you are somebody who is constantly struggling financially and worried about how to pay the bills, this might be your soul telling you that your job is not in alignment with what you really want.  It may also be an indication that you have some limiting beliefs around money that need to be acknowledged and explored so that prosperous energy feels welcome to flow into your life.  If you find yourself struggling with relationship after relationship, perhaps it is your soul trying to urge you to look in a different place, or to learn to love yourself first so that you can openly receive true love back.  Maybe it is an indication that you subconsciously don’t feel worthy of love and so you are inadvertently pushing it away.

Remember, we attract the energy that we put out…like attracts like.  Therefore, it’s not what we WISH we believed or what we WANT to believe, but the actual beliefs stored deep, down within us, that are shaping our realities.  It can be scary to dig down and unearth them, but consider for a moment, a diamond.  My dear friend and colleague, Amy Lombardo, put this in such great perspective for me.  Diamonds are formed way down in the Earth’s mantle (about 100 miles deep), and start as chunks of coal.  It takes a tremendous amount of heat and pressure to create this sparkly gem, but once the work has occurred, the diamond is pushed to the surface naturally for all to enjoy.  Your thoughts are like these diamonds.  YOU have that same sparkly gem deep within in you, just waiting to be exposed to the heat so that it can emerge and shine brightly out to the world.  When you can accept that knowledge and open to grace, knowing that you have a deep well of untapped potential within you and the power to change your reality, the world opens back to you.  Your sparkly gems are naturally pushed to the surface and the Universe responds by shining back.

Where in this very moment can you open yourself to grace?  Where can you replace fear with curiosity, and hopefully learn something about yourself through the process?  Start right now.  The more that you practice this the easier it becomes.  Opening to grace is not something that needs to be confined to your yoga mat.  It is accessible in each and every moment to help you come back to center, find your calm and elevate yourself towards all of the possibility just waiting to be discovered within you!

If you need some help unearthing your spark, please visit my website HERE to learn more about transitional life coaching and my 12-week program, Ascend to New Heights.

 

Ripping Off the Band-aid

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Jim Morrison…you’ve got to love him.  Not only was he excruciatingly gorgeous with a voice and stage presence that could melt the polar ice caps, but he said some pretty brilliant shit as well.  We may never know if it was the many hits of acid speaking or if it really was his Indian spirit guide, but whatever the source of his words, they were undeniably insightful and still hold impact and validity today.  How many times have you caught yourself gripped in the ruthless hands of fear?

We live in a society that is largely ruled by fear.  From the time that we are born we are conditioned to be afraid of things.  Some of it is necessary to our survival, such as not touching the stove or sticking a fork in the electrical socket, but many of the other things that we are taught to be afraid of can thwart our growth in so many ways.  We are taught largely to listen to others which causes fear of our own inner voice.  We are taught to follow the norms of society which can lead us to fear the decision to carve out our own authentic paths and follow our dreams.  We are taught to compare ourselves to others, which births the fear of never being enough within ourselves.  We are taught to fear being without material possessions, which causes feelings of greed within us.  We are taught to fear the things/people/places which we do not fully understand, which can prevent us from educating ourselves about the different cultures, religions, races, sexual orientations and physical landscapes that surround us in this amazingly diverse world.  In short, our fear begins to shape us from our initial breaths on this Earth and continues to shape shift as we experience the world.  But what if we could change that?  What if we could look closely at our fears…stare them straight in the face, stand up boldly and move bravely into them?  What is the worst that would actually happen?

Take a moment to think back on all of the things you have been afraid of in your life and write them down.  We’re going to use them in a minute.  Yeah, I know, it’s a big list, right?  When I think back on my fears what I notice is a progression.  When I was in my early 20’s I had been through some terrible relationships (I mean like surrrrrrrrrrriously, abusively bad) and I swore I was done dating.  Then I met Josh.  I was terrified of him because I knew I really liked him.  Then he asked me to marry him and I became afraid of that.  What if it didn’t work out?  Then we got married and decided to get pregnant…new biggest fear as my belly expanded and my whole world threatened to change.  Eight and a half months pregnant, we found our first home, closing ten days prior to the birth of our son…#freakingout.  Here comes Jacob…motherhood became the thing I feared the most because I had no idea how to do it.  Then Josh lost his job.  New mortgage, new baby, no job…does it get more terrifying?  I swore we were doomed…until Josh decided to start his own business (which of course scared the crap out of us both as well).  Suddenly, another baby was on the way.  Jocelyn was born and I quit my job to stay at home with them…this became the scariest decision of my life, but I did it anyway.  This progression continued on and on, presenting me with new fears along the way, until finally one day, I realized that it wasn’t the situations themselves that were terrifying me, but my reaction to them.  I started to look back at this long laundry list of fear I had been carrying around with me and realized that as each new fear had arisen and I had moved through it, the fear for that particular event had dissipated and morphed into a new fear.  It dawned on me that there will always be things to be afraid of, but it is up to me whether or not I let the fear have control.  I have a choice in each situation to square up against my fear and challenge it, and so do you.

I am happy to report that moving through my personal fear has led me to a 10-year (this July) marriage to my best friend and the most amazing guy I know, 2 kick-ass little kids who challenge me to grow, expand and be a better person each day, a beautiful home that is my sanctuary, my husband and I each owning our own business and the fortitude to keep moving through fear as it shows up.  That’s important to acknowledge by the way…I still get afraid.  All the time actually.  Life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies.  My husband and I argue, my kids can act like little shits, my home needs repairs and our businesses fluctuate through good and bad times (and the bad times can be REALLY scary), but we keep on keeping on anyway, moving forward with the knowledge that this too shall pass and that we can look our fears in the face and move on anyway.

So where does fear show up for you?  Go back to your list.  If you didn’t write it, do it now.  Take a close look at all of these places that fear has popped up in your life from as early as you can think of.  First off, see if you notice any patterns.  Are your fears largely based around one particular area?  Money?  Relationships? Your Career?  Self-esteem?  Now, notice any of these situations where you faced your fear and moved forward anyway?  What was the outcome?  If you haven’t had the opportunity to face any of these fears, guess what today is?  That’s right, your opportunity.  You don’t have to dive in headfirst, but think of a way that you can start to move into your fear slowly.  If your fear is primarily surrounding relationships, maybe today is the day you finally make that online dating profile (don’t worry…you don’t have to go live until tomorrow).  If your self-esteem is taking the hit, maybe today is the day to buy the dress you’ve always wanted, even though your head screams that you’re not feminine enough to pull it off.  Tomorrow, rock it.  Each day take baby steps to move into your fear.  You will likely find that the further you go, the less powerful it becomes.

Interested in life coaching with me? Visit my website HERE, or join me on FACEBOOK to keep up with classes and events I have coming up.  Learn about my 12-week coaching program, “Ascend to New Heights” by watching THIS VIDEO INTERVIEW

 

Can I Tell You Just How Powerful You Are?

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I’m part of this amazing group of people on Facebook whose sole purpose is to light each other up as they pursue the manifestation of their hearts desires in this crazy thing we call life.  Some people post in there about their desire to find their true love, some about being financially free, some wanting optimum health, others of their dreams to start a family or a successful business, etc. and so many others in the group offer words of love and encouragement.  It’s pretty inspiring, and I find myself wandering into this group whenever I might have a moment where I forget just how much love there is in the world (because let’s face it…it isn’t always sunshine and puppy dogs…there’s a whole lot of mud puddles and shit piles along the way).

Recently, as I perused the feed on this sight, something I hadn’t noticed before caught my eye.  Scattered among the stories of successful manifestations and requests for well-wishes, healing thoughts and uplifting comments, was an underlying current of sadness and a feeling of lack.  So many of these people posting, weren’t posting about success, but about their failures…an inability to change the things that have been showing up in their lives.  Things weren’t happening as fast as they were “supposed to” or they weren’t any “good” at manifesting.  They didn’t feel that they had what it takes to get the job done.  I sat with this for a few minutes, and I found myself getting increasingly agitated.  It took me a while to pinpoint it, but then, there it was.  Wow…we are force fed a LOT of bullshit when it comes to the idea of manifesting!!!

Although there are many incredible teachers out there on the subject, somewhere along the line it seems that we started to believe that all we have to do is close our eyes and picture an endless wad of money (or whatever your desire is) filling our back pocket and suddenly, there it will be.  Now if that works for you, more power to you (and please call me after you read this so we can chat…I have a few questions to ask you…for a friend) but for the vast majority of us, it’s going to take a little more work than just envisioning what we want in order to actually cultivate it to fruition.  It’s going to take an alteration in our relationship to what we are trying to manifest, and than, constant motion in a new direction.  Sounds a little more difficult, right?  Well, not really.  I mean, have you had much luck the other way?  If you are still reading this, my guess is that you haven’t, and that’s a little frustrating, right?

“Okay genius…” you may be saying, “so tell me then, how DO I manifest my hearts desires?”  My response?  Well, now that really depends on YOU.  Like I said, manifesting is truly all about changing your relationship to that which you feel like you do not have enough of.  The feeling of not having enough is a feeling of lack, and the feeling of lack, in any capacity, is what is limiting your ability to manifest.  So then naturally, the first step is to identify what the limiting belief is before you can start to change it.  What do you feel like you are lacking, and perhaps more importantly, why do you feel like you are lacking it?  Next, set a goal…what do you WISH you could believe about this?  Now, it’s time to start making small, tangible steps towards what you would like your new belief to be.

You can’t just say one day “I don’t have enough money” and decide the next day that you will change your thought process to, “I’m a millionaire”.  It’s not going to feel real to you….in fact it’s going to feel like complete bullshit, am I right? The key is about baby steps that CAN feel real to you. For example, perhaps the first step is just saying ,”I may not have had enough money in the past, but I know that I have the ability to change that for my future…and here is one way I can start to change that now”.  After that it’s just about progressing the thought process until it becomes a more natural way of thinking…a conditioned response if you will. Perhaps after a week of repeating this new possibility to yourself and accomplishing that first step, it feels okay to compound on it. Maybe it becomes, “I have taken the first step towards manifesting my financial freedom and I feel proud of myself for following through.  Now I know that I am capable of making changes and the next step towards my ultimate goal will be (insert here).”  Once this feels okay, you build on it a little more, each time adding a new goal or task (that’s the constant motion I mentioned)  that leads you one step closer to your brand new, shiny belief that you are indeed financially stable and secure (if we are continuing to use the above example).  Does this sound familiar at all?  In one of my previous blogs I talked about turnarounds…a staple in the coaching business.  Well, this is the outline in a nutshell.

Unfortunately, we can’t change (for now) the fact that we DO live in a society that is all about immediate gratification.  Doubly unfortunate is that this need for instant gratification is what leads us to feel like we aren’t doing enough, fast enough, in the first place.  BUT…as I just gave an example of, the key to undoing the belief systems that have led you to where you find yourself now…a place of lack…IS on your keychain, which means you definitely have the power to unlock a new possibility.  Does it suck that it might take a little more work than just closing your eyes and creating a clear picture of the new convertible or the perfect relationship or yourself 40 pounds lighter?  Not really!  In fact, it’s pretty empowering to know that you can ALWAYS take at least one step away from the things that are weighing you down now in the direction of something else that will make you happier, healthier, more vibrant and whole.  You literally never have to stop!  If you get somewhere that makes you happy for a while and suddenly one day, you wake up yearning for change…you can start the process all over again!  Not to mention, think of how amazing you will feel when you’ve achieved the new belief and you can look back knowing that you did it yourself…not just with the power of your mind, but with the fierceness and devotion of a warrior.  Kind of incredible, right?  Believe it or not, this journey isn’t about hardships…it’s about what you do with them.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the pen is in your hands.  Write something worth telling.

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The Three Words That Changed My Life

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We were a few weeks into my Yoga Teacher Training, the whole lot of us shimmying around periodically on mats and blankets and bolsters in an effort to bring feeling back into our asses. It felt like the 10-hour long Saturdays, most of them spent sitting on the studio floor, were starting to wear my sit bones down to bloody stumps, but there was literally NOWHERE I would have rather been. I loved reading, listening and writing about this amazing, potentially 10,000 year old tradition. I loved deciphering the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras. I loved bending my body into shapes I didn’t know existed and challenging it in ways I never would have thought to do so. Most of all, I loved experimenting with all of the exercises that forced me to experience the mind, body, breath connection ingrained within us all. Learning about the ways that our bodies hold our past experiences and how this energy gets trapped within us…I was hooked. It was this night, sitting in this cozy studio among my fellow seekers, fully engrossed in listening to my teacher, Scott Feinberg, that he said the three words that I have revisited time and time again since, that truly changed my life. “Own Your Bigness!”

I had spent the past 15 years or so struggling to find my place, dealing with divorced parents, a tragic accident at a young age, a move to Florida, several abusive relationships, a bumpy ride with recreational drugs, and then the transitions into adulthood as I got married, bought a home and had two children. I struggled with motherhood, constantly questioning my right to these two amazing souls who had come to me.  I found myself quieter, more withdrawn and really fighting to maintain my self esteem.  I battled with depression on and off, and only began to remedy it when I found yoga. For whatever reason, as I sat here this Saturday, these three words struck a nerve in me like nothing else ever had. My bigness? Shit, did I have any of that left? I know I used to have bigness. I used to own the crap out of it! Where did it go and was it really, as he was suggesting, possible to get it back just by owning it? How does one go about owning their bigness and if there’s a course on it…where the hell do I sign up?

I began to use these words as my mantra, repeating them to myself over and over and over again every single time I was faced with a challenge. “Own it, Jillian. Own your bigness. Nobody else is going to own it for you.” At first it felt a little fake and forced, but the more I said it, the more it grew inside of me. It continued to blossom through the rest of my training until it was REALLY put to the test the day I taught my first real yoga class. I must have said that phrase in my head 400 million times as I stood outside the studio door trying to catch my breath and not faint in front of my students. I thought for certain I would throw up or lose my words or die of embarrassment as I crossed the threshold and took my place at the front of the class. Go figure, I actually survived that day and have gone on to enjoy teaching. Can you believe it? I couldn’t even fathom it at the time.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, these three words started a new pattern in my head…a new way of thinking, which has led to a whole new way of life for me. These three words have allowed me to continue on my path and have moved me in the direction I’m pointed now, life coaching with others to teach them how to break down their own thought patterns and create something new and fresh and beautiful, beyond their past experiences. These three words have taught me that being our own biggest cheerleader is the most important and heartfelt gift we can give, not only to ourselves, but to those around us. When we can learn to allow ourselves to own our own bigness…no, not just allow…INSIST that we do it, we are offering our best self to those around us as well. Suddenly our limitations start to fall away as we connect to this powerhouse of energy, love, possibility and bravery within us. The coolest part is that we ALL have it. It’s not limited to the super rich or mega popular or the extremely good looking. It’s only limited to us if we allow it to be.

The best part about all of this for me? Well, I’ve gotten to pair up my love of inspiring this excitement and truth in others with my love for the mind, body, breath connection. Working with the Chakra system (the main energy centers in the body where we store emotions and experiences), I have been able to use a 12-week program written by my teacher, Amy Lombardo, to help my clients navigate the areas in their own lives where they may not be owning their bigness.  I have watched transformation after beautiful transformation. I have witnessed intense releases of past hurts and that moment where something becomes fully clear within you. I have seen my clients grow beyond their own limitations and far exceed their own assumptions of what they were capable of. It has been beautiful, liberating, humbling and eye opening for me, and keeps me a student even as I progress on my path as a teacher. It seems that just at that moment where I’m starting to doubt my own bigness again, I watch something amazing happen and I am reminded of all that is possible when we believe in ourselves.  If you had asked me once what I thought I would be doing for a living, I never could have foreseen this, and I couldn’t ask for more.

So teach the class, stand up and tell that idea you think is too stupid to share, apply for the job you want, take a leap of faith, ask him/her out on a date…and BELIEVE in yourself. Own your bigness, because nobody else can do it for you.

 

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