Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate for. I love that the ghosts and jack-o-lanterns and witches can take on a goofy happy outlook or move to the extreme of scary, ominous, daring.
My grandfather always advocated for curiosity. In October, I become curious. I like to look around the corner to see how others have interpreted Halloween in their front yards. I think about what costumes would be fun to wear and which ones I may see at my door.
"Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story." Mason Cooley, American Aphorist
My challenge for you this month is to become curious. To do so, all senses must be on intrigued alert. Look for items on your path you would not have spotted unless you were present. Listen to the sounds around you, loud resonating echoes (of ghosts, perhaps?) and the ever so soft. Touch. Feel textures, identify temperature changes. Taste something new to you. Open candle jars in stores and breathe in. Note all candles are not equal! I have sputtered at many a candle deciphering the smell as an odor rather than aroma. But we won’t know which it is if we don’t open the jar.
Being curious means to be present. And when you are present, you are accepting of all that is however it presents itself to you. You are also in that space where change can occur.
This month, create some manifestation spells, dress up in whatever strikes your fancy, park the car and walk…or ride a broom. Just be CURIOUS.
"Witch parking. All others will be toad." Unknown
I was recently challenged to adopt the mantra "No expectations" for a week. The challenge included writing the mantra on post-it notes and sticking them around the house. I decided to rely on this mantra whenever I felt frustrated or did not get the response from someone that I was hoping for. As soon as I said "no expectations" to myself, I felt relief. I felt lighter. As thought the weight of the expectation had been draped over my shoulders unbeknownst to me.
Releasing expectations is very much like releasing attachments. The consequence to our attachments is suffering. I am attached to my favorite mug. I drop it and it shatters. I am sad because that was my favorite mug. It is my attachment and labeling of the mug that leads to my sadness. If I recognized the mug through gratitude for being a coffee vessel, it is simply that and no more. When it breaks, I thank it for its service and select another mug. Expectations are attachments to outcomes. If I ask someone a question, I may expect an answer. If they do not answer me, some type of emotion is bound to follow as they did not meet my expectations. In the same scenario, if the person doesn't respond and I think "no expectations", I free myself from the suffering.
My challenge to you for the month of September is to embrace "No expectations" as your mantra. You may even choose to keep a journal about your findings:)
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare
“Trade your expectations for appreciation and see how your relationship will transform.”
“Expectation feeds frustration as it’s simply an illusive form of control by attempting to grip the reins that aren’t ours to hold. Breathe. Release. Let go. Allow your life naturally, quietly unfold.” – Victoria Erickson
A monk told Joshu: “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked: “Have you eaten your rice porridge?”
The monk replied: “I have eaten.”
Joshu said: “Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
Leo Babauta: “There is something profound and yet minimalist about this advice. It’s: don’t get your head caught up in all this thinking about the meaning of life … instead, just do. Just wash your bowl. And in the washing, you’ll find all you need.”
This story is about just doing whatever it is that needs to be done. It is not about getting a huge task done; it is about taking the next step. Often, we are overwhelmed by the grandness of our ideas or our to-do lists. Just take the next small step. You can plan and think until you are blue in the face, but the next small step is what keeps you moving forward. When you feel stuck or you are avoiding due to fear of failure or how big an endeavor seems, come back to this Zen story. The monk in the story simply told the student to wash the bowl after eating.
Radical acceptance. It means accepting what is as it is. I ask you, in what way do you have another option? Either you are accepting what is or trying to deny what is. And that doesn't mean you have to like how things are. You have to accept them but not necessarily like them.
Does that make sense?
It's like if I had a box of assorted chocolates and I pick one without knowing its flavor. If I bite in to find a cherry or a rum filling, I am not going to be happy; I am probably going to spit it out.
But I accept that I bit into a chocolate I do not like. That doesn't mean I am happy about it. It doesn't mean I can go back and choose a different one. It is what it is.
And I think where a lot of people get stuck is in thinking this means things cannot change in the future. That's just not true.
What I am actually doing as I write this is radically accepting the fact that I am about to eat an entire jar of lemon curd all by myself! Why lament? It is what it is! I am not going to waste time feeling guilty. I am not going to waste time worrying I may feel sick later. If I do, I will radically accept that. Right now, I commit to being present with a tangy sweetness glopped onto a graham cracker and I am smiling:)
T "There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk."
Guy Gavriel Kay
H "H.O.P.E. = Hold On. Pain Ends." Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate
E “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” Elizabeth Gilbert
M "More important than learning how to recall things is finding ways to forget things that are cluttering the mind." James Waddell Alexander, II
O "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Confucius
N "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! -- Audrey Hepburn
T "Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." -- Les Brown
H "“Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.” – Jim Rohn
O “Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” Brian Tracy
F "Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it." Joseph Conrad
M "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
A “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” —
Y “You cannot save people, you can just love them.” — Anaïs Nin
I lost my sense of smell somewhere along the path of yesterday. It wasn't something I noticed immediately; it became a question in my mind after I realized a candy cane I was crunching on seemed devoid of peppermint flavor. I shoved my nose in candles and dog treats to test this new discovery to find nothing. I found this discovery more entertaining than disappointing. And I thought about how people always ask, "If you knew you had only one more day to live what would you do differently?" I reframed the question and asked myself, had I known yesterday I would lose my sense of smell, what would I taken a big whiff of? And I truly laughed! The answer was nothing. If we are truly present and engaging with life, both of those answers should be nothing. If I long for a whiff of pizza, that's on me for not being truly present with the last slice I ate. It's January; symbolic of new beginnings. Move on down your path with awareness, presence, and curiosity.
As I write this, I am doling out candy to witches, and ghosts, and princesses. I am also handing out candy to costumes I do not understand; costumes that I cannot connect with their TV or movie origin. And, so, I think about that and the passing of time. When you read this, it will be November. Change will be in air as the nights grow darker sooner and the air takes on a frigidity that makes the nose take notice.
I think of gratitude. Not just because that is what you are supposed to do in November when Thanksgiving roles around. But the kind of gratitude that makes each day worthy on its own merit.
Maybe most importantly, gratitude is a practice.
Maureen McCullough wrote, "My socks may not match, but my feet are always warm.”
This quote identifies the perspective shift that needs to occur for us to embrace gratitude. How many times have you said, "This has been a bad day"? Has the whole day really been bad or did one thing occur that set off your mood?
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
Some people are grateful for cookies or chocolate or caramel... as I eat, I mean hand out Halloween candy, I am grateful Twix has all three:)
October challenge...since Halloween is my favorite holiday:)
1. Decorate a pumpkin while somehow adding in a yoga theme
2. Take a picture doing a yoga pose with a Halloween theme
3. Your idea but must combine Halloween and yoga.
Post on my website and send me your picture for next month's newsletter. You have all of October to post. Prize for the first to post and prize for most creative (as chosen by yours truly!)
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
As we head into fall, the sun slowly backs away from us, so slowly in hopes we do not notice until the wind's chill brings our focus to the present. The sunflower locks its gaze on the sun and never turns away from the warmth that embraces its face. This flower has the ability from within to continue to turn as the sun moves through the sky so the two never lose sight of each other. Is that the love Rumi speaks of? Basking so openly in the presence of the other without walls?
Yellow is the color of the solar plexus: the energy center that balances when we relinquish ideas of control and embrace the Self. Assembling barriers to "protect" oneself is a form of control. Knock the sand castle down. Breathe in the September air. Look for semblances of you in each red leaf, in each stored acorn, in each dried up flower. September houses the shortest day of the year so make your moments matter. When you release control, and the barriers your seeking of control allowed you to build, love seeks you.
My Mother's Day present this year from my daughter was a photo shoot of my book with her friend, Jake! I love it!!! So, introducing Jake in photo #1. Be prepared to see him pop up on occasion. Or give him a shout-out:)
Here's your challenge...
Send me your creative photos with my book in the shot (The Horizon is Here is on Amazon), and for extra bonus points, include a caption for me to post!
Copyright June 2020- May 2022
I write to empower people in their lives. Whether it is a mantra, positive intention, sign from the Universe or something altogether different, I just hope you find something inspirational in what I write that seems to be what you needed