Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

3 Reasons to Not Point Fingers

Recently, a generous person with a lot of money, offered a considerable donation to rebuild Notre Dame. Quickly, all kinds of controversy started about where they should donate their money and how it should be used. I do not watch the news, because I do not want all the negativity and fear that is broadcast there, to seep into my life. What I know about this situation is simply what I have heard others talking about and it got me thinking about finger-pointing.

When you point your finger at others (whether they see it or not) 3 fingers are pointed back at you. I see this as an invitation to look at myself. In regards to a donation, where am I putting my resources and time? In response to others behavior, how am I behaving? If something really gets my goat, why is it that it is pushing my buttons so?

It is not my job to judge how others are living their lives, nor is it up to me to decide where others should or shouldn’t put their money. It is my job to just love my neighbor, be grateful for the blessings in my life, and to notice all, that others, have to offer to this crazy voyage we call life. Like with the rule of threes, if I am going to have three fingers pointed back at myself, I want to be sure they are pointed with the highest vibrational energy possible.

Notice the good that people do, see the creativity that other posses, observe the wisdom shared by those around you. Raising our vibration to one of love and appreciation will have a magical effect in our own life and likely others around you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be full of appreciation for others, as if by magic.

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Introspection: 5 possible approaches

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict and you’re not really sure how you got there? This has happened with me this week. I find myself in a conflict I would have never predicted and I don’t really know how we got here. It hurts my heart. I do not like conflict and typically work very hard to avoid it. All the same, here I am. I have been trying to use an introspective approach to determine what steps I can take in the future to avoid this same situation. After all, life is about moving forward.

The Oxford Dictionary defines introspection as: “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional process.”  This seems like a good approach to heal this situation and avoid future ones. What could I have done differently? What within me caused me to react in the manner in which I did? What parts of myself do I need to heal in order to move forward without a similar future situation, like this,  rearing its ugly head? Introspection is about looking deeply within yourself. We can only control our own reactions and responses to situations.

There are many ways to approach introspection. Here are 5 of my favorites.

1. Journaling – journaling is a great way to let the words just flow. It is a safe space to say everything you want to say, and you never know what wisdom may flow onto the pages. There can be many “ah ha” moments while journaling.

2. Meditation – mediation allows you to step away from the circling thoughts and find a few moments of peace. This is a great space to set an intention of having clear guidance and insight flow to you. I find this a powerful process.

3. Therapy – Meeting with a good psychotherapist is a great way to have someone hold space for you to get beyond any issues at hand. This person can often help you identify blind spots or actions you do see, that can cause pain.

4. Exercise – Going for a walk, running, or yoga can also be a great way to go inside. There is something about this process that is not only healing but helpful in gaining insight into who we are and the type of actions we take.

5. Tarot – This one may seem weird to you but I find, working with either tarot cards or oracle cards, is a great way to dig into the subconscious. Our subconscious often has a different agenda than our thinking mind. Even if you do not know what a card means, looking at the symbolism you notice and thinking deeply about its message for you, can be a great source of insight.

Introspection is a great tool. Whether you are currently within a situation that brings a need to look at your own actions and intentions, or you are just on a journey to be the best version of yourself. We all have shadowy areas within ourselves. It never hurts to go in and clear out the cobwebs.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have introspective insight when you need it, as if by magic.

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10 Techniques to Raise Your Vibration

Keeping your vibration high is important for a number of reasons. It feels good, it attracts happier things into your life, and it makes you a light for others. These are just a few of the reasons to keep your vibration high. However, life happens and sometimes we just don’t feel great and our vibration dips. When these times happen, is there anything we can do to raise our vibration again? Luckily, there are many things we can do. Here are just a few.

1. Focus on the good – like in the song from the musical: Sound of Music, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad”. Focusing on the good will raise your vibration to match it.

2. Music – turn on some upbeat tunes and dance around or sing loudly in the car on your commute into work. Put in the earbuds while going for a stroll and just let the tunes erase your worries.

3. Exercises – when we move our bodies, it gets all those little happy, healthy endorphins flowing. This flow of hormones can really help you vibrate at a higher frequency.

4. Gratitude – make a list of what you are grateful for, call a friend or family member and thank them for the wonderful impact they have on your life. There are always so many things to be grateful for and changing your focus will help ramp up your vibration.

5. Yoga – yoga helps us feel aligned and centered. It can be a great game changer on a low vibrational day. Yoga also involves breath work. The Yogic breathing is also wonderful for increasing your vibrational frequency.

6. Energy Healing – there are a number of different types of energy healing but Reiki, Chi-gong and Hands on Healing are a few. They all help bring your vibrations up.

7. Meditation – take a mental break with a short meditation. Before starting, set the intention that you will bring in white light and raise your energy level.

8. Chants – In the Kundalini yoga I love, there is often chanting. The chants, or Mantras, are ancient spiritual seed sounds that carry higher vibrations. You can listen to these or chant along. Gregorian monks also chant.  I think either of these are beautiful to listen to and both can ramp up you vibrational speed.

9. Sound healing – the gong is the sound of creation but there are many other sound healing modalities out there. Drum showers, didgeridoo, and singing bowls are just a few of them. Look for a local sound healing concert, practitioner or pull up videos on the internet.

10. Visualize – picture in your mind’s eye something that makes you happy. Running through a grassy meadow on a sunny warm day, walking along the shoreline, driving on a country road, or playing with puppies; are some simple, happy things to visualize. Our brains are incredibly powerful and science has proven that the brain doesn’t know the difference between strong visualizations and actual events.

There are so many other things we can do to raise our vibrations but this list is a few to start with. You have the power within you to improve your life. Take the first step today by raising your vibration and then, using some of these various techniques, keep it up. No one is happy all of the time but happiness is a choice that you can make.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find your vibration remains high, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken along the MN/WI boarder.

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Letting Go of Darkness

The full moon is in a transformative time that comes every 28 days. It is all about letting go of the old, while the new moon is about manifesting or bringing in the new. These energies of the moon start about 4 days prior to the actual event and last for about four days after, according the Susan Miller: Astrologer. This transformative time gives us wonderful opportunities to think about what no longer serves us and what we would like to see come into our lives.

Last night was the full moon. My husband and I attended a Kirtan. These are becoming the favorite feel good events of ours to go to. This full moon Kirtan was a beautiful event and attended by many sweet souls. This, once again, made our souls sing along with our voices; as the call and response of the mantras progressed throughout the night.

When attending an event like this or starting a meditation, going to a yoga class or retreat; it is always a great idea to set the intention for what you hope to achieve or experience. I learned this many years ago from a wise teacher and have found it to powerfully enhance my experiences as well as help me along my path of healing and health. Knowing that there was a full moon shining overhead, I set an intention to let go of any darkness in my heart. To let any anger, fear, jealousy, hate, distrust, sadness, or need to complain flow gently out of my heart and into the earth. There it could become fertilizer to grow something beautiful. I intended for all darkness to leave my heart so only love would reside there. My great grandmother said, “Those who sing, pray twice”. Singing or chanting is a beautiful form of prayer.

As Chi Johnson lead us skillfully through the various chants. We came to the one that was so very perfect for a full moon Kirtan: “Nataraj, Nataraja, Jai Shiva Shankara Nataraja”. (One part of this powerful mantra) Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. He is also called Lord of the Dance. This is basically asking Shiva to dance through our lives and destroy what no longer serves us, so that we can transform into who we truly are. As we sang this chant I asked Shiva to remove any darkness from my heart. No, not just remove, but destroy anything other than the love that was residing there. “Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe”, Lao Tzu.

When we are hurt, darkness can take hold in our heart center and it can come out in a variety of ways. It has a purpose though; it is trying to protect us. There is purpose is all things, even when we cannot see it or know what it is. The complication is, that sometimes we hold onto these things much longer than we need too. My heart’s fear of being hurt, served me well, as I was healing from the acute pain of a broken relationship. It no longer serves me though. I have held onto it much longer than I needed too. Now is the time to release any darkness in my heart to make room for unending love. Love for all people and things. Love and respect so that I can more fully live in the flow of life. By doing this I can open up to appreciation and gratitude for all the beauty around me.

I am grateful for the Full Moon Kirtan. I am grateful for Shiva dancing through my heart, so that I can release that which no longer serves it. I appreciate all of you who walk your journeys along side mine. When you are ready, know that you are safe to release those things that once protected you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you easily let go of the darkness that has taken up residence in your heart, as if by magic.

* Photo was taken on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.

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Silliness is Always a Good Idea: 7+ Ways I Have Added it to My Life

Do you like to be silly? It can feel very vulnerable to be playful and silly but it can also feed your soul and support your inner child. Let’s face it, there is a little kid hidden deep inside all of us. Here are some examples of how I have added some more play to my life. Trust me, even if it feels awkward at first, before long you will be laughing and not giving a darn what others think when they see you being goofy.

1. A friend and I recently drove up Mt Baker in Washington State. Along the way there was a big silhouette of Sasquatch. I excitedly ran up to him to shake his hand. My friend was not there to judge me but did manage to grab a shot for Facebook. Perhaps the cars driving by thought my behavior was a bit odd, but what they think of me does not impact me in the least. It was fun and we had some much needed laughs.

2. I invited a friend over for supper and decided to make it a theme meal. We had an inner child party; complete with sticky alien party favors, corndogs, and dreamsickles for dessert. It was a fun way to spend time with a friend while letting our inner children play and feel nourished.

3. Yet another friend and I went to a theme park together. It was busy time of year, when there seemed to be more work than hours in the day. There were big tubes for the kids to crawl through, on, and over. We got down on our hands and knees and crawled around in the play area like children; giggling and released a lot of the stress that had built up.

4. We try to have a family dinner once a week. For a recent family dinner we decided to have a tea party, complete with crustless sandwiches and fancy china. The kids had a great time but so did the three grown men around the table. They sipped their tea, held their pinky out, and laughed big belly laughs. They were a great example to the teenaged boy and younger children at the table that it is okay to be vulnerable and yourself.

5. When going for a walk, if I happen across a child chalk hopscotch game on the side walk, I cannot pass by with out hop, skipping, and jumping my way through it. It’s just plain and simple, feels great to be a kid at heart.

6. When my kids were teenagers we lived in a small rural community. There was not a lot to do. One night we just decided to crank up the music and dance the night away in the basement. Dance is a wonderful way to release pent up energy and be as silly as you want too. Those around you may get a good laugh and you will have some disco disco fun!

7. When Emy and I go the the BWCA, we bring kid’s blowup tubes. We push them down around our middles like pink and blue tutus and float in the clean cool lakes. We chat and play in the water like carefree little girls. It feels great to be so free for a little while.

The amount of silliness you can allow into your life is only hampered by your imagination and bravery. Play Clue by candle light, wear something fun like a big floppy hat, pop silly poses with statues, go to the park and swing as high as you dare, finger paint, or anything else your imagination suggests. It is a great way to have fun, release stress, and get some great big belly laughs going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with laughter, as if by magic!

*photo was taken at our kitchen table

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Who Inspires You?

I was with a friend yesterday and she was talking about something her dad used to say. “A friend or a partner should make you a better person” ~ Don Ortmann. That struck me as some very wise advise. Do the people you surround yourself with make you a better person? Do you help your friends and lovers be better people?

We all touch other’s lives. Although no one can make us behave a certain way, we all have those friends who challenge us to be a better version of ourselves. These magical people inspire us, not by telling us how to be, but by just talking the talk and walking the walk. My husband is one such person. His kind and generous soul inspires me to be the best person that I can be. He never criticizes my behavior or says I need to step it up. He inspires me just by being himself. I am also blessed with other friends who, simply by living their lives, have inspired me to be and do better.

My elementary school had a secretary who had reinvented herself with the name, Henrietta Peach. She was a peach! This was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. She would make copies for the teachers to use as worksheets in the classrooms. The “Ditto Machine” had a round drum where the original was placed. As the drum circled it would copy the content of the original, in purple, onto the waiting papers. As the drum circled it made a rhythmic “chuchunk, chuchunk” noise. Henrietta Peace would do deep knee bends to this, saying she was “exercising”. This woman would not have said she was a role model. She was just living her life and having fun at work. She played the organ in the balcony of the church. She climbed those stairs, often multiple times in one day, even into her 80’s when cancer was sucking the life out of her. She was an inspiration to others. She would sing out loud in the school office and even had a song just for me. Sometimes at the end of mass I would hear that song being played on the big church organ. A little secret sign between the two of us. When I left that school at the end of the 6th grade, I named her as the person I looked up to. I am sure I was not alone. Ethel Mohn aka Henrietta Peach, was an inspiration. Knowing her made me a better person. She taught me to have fun at work. She taught me to share my talents with others. She showed me how making a difference in the life of a child leaves a mark on this world that grows and grows. I am a better person for having known her.

Think about the people in your life. Who are the ones whose actions pull you up to better yourself? Do you think you do this for others in your life? I am sure in many ways you do. Perhaps you would be surprised to realize how your actions inspire those around you. Whether you realize it or not, people are looking to you to inspire them.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you inspire others to be the best version of themselves, as if by magic.

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Feeling Great, Improved Health, and Being Proud – That’s what doing “it” can do for you!

I have done it with lovers, I have done it with co-workers and friends, I have done it by myself, I have done it in a group, I have even done it with family members. My husband told me of his plans to do it today. It made me reflect on times in the past when I would do it on a somewhat regular pattern. What is it? Donating blood! After I would make my donation, I always felt like a hero! Have you ever felt like a hero? When my husband told me what he was doing today, it reminded me of times in my life when I felt like a lifesaving hero! I congratulated him on his hero status but he just smiled and laughed it off.

Blood donation is not just good for those receiving your blood but it is also good for you. According to OrganicFacts.net; blood donations improve your health by reducing your risk of cancer, decreasing risks of diseases cause by iron stores (building up in the body) and decrease risk of some heart and liver diseases. It also stimulates your body to burn calories and can help support weight loss efforts. Additionally it stimulates your body to make nice fresh blood. I would also add the “good feeling” you get in your heart for making a donation is the best benefit of all!

Another type of this kind of donation is Plasma. Connectusfund.org has an article that lists the pros and cons of plasma donation. Many look down on this practical because of the financial reimbursement for the donors time. This has health impact for the donor as well and many lifesaving medications can be created from the plasma. It is used for patients who have suffered burns, are fighting leukemia as well as a number of other illnesses.

Plasma donations can be made up to twice a week, where blood donations are limited to once every 8 weeks. I personally have no issue with the reimbursement for these donors. If they are giving up some of their precious time and a part of themselves to help others, why not allow them some help too.

Whether you donate blood or plasma, I think you are a hero! I don’t judge. I currently cannot donate either one. My veins are too tiny for the plasma donations and my iron to low to donate blood. My hat is off to those of you who give of your time as well as of yourself, to save the lives of others this way!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have the opportunity to feel like a hero in your life, as if by magic.

I love you!

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Improving the World – Starting Right Here

I want to make the world a better place. I want to do my part to raise the vibration. Bring peace and healing to the planet and to promote kinship, hope, and love amongst all people. These seem like quite lofty goals. So how does one even get started on a journey to make the world a better place?

This morning in my meditation it became clear to me. The best way for me to improve the planet is to start right here, deep inside of myself. I cannot promote love unless I am love. I cannot promote peace, unless I am peace. I cannot promote healing, unless I am healing. I cannot promote high vibrational energy, unless I am high vibrational energy.

Far to often as I go about my day stressed, disappointed and frustrated as part of my experience. I am human and having human emotions is a normal experience. I must not “shame” myself for these emotions but I also must not get “stuck” in these emotions. When we experience these lower vibrational energies, it is important to acknowledge them. Allow them to move through us. What we resist, persists! By trying to deny our experience of these human emotions, they cling to us. When we notice them and feel them, then we can let them move through us.

Here are some steps to help process and move past these times when we are not feeling our vibrations are at their highest possible levels.

1 Become aware of it: Notice that a lower vibrational energy such as anger, grief, jealousy, sorrow, judgement, fear, etc. has entered your experience.

2 Feel it: Really feel it. Do not judge it.

3 Allow it: Take a moment to allow it. Just sit with it. Don’t shame yourself. This is a part of the human experience.

4 Reflect on it:  If it is possible step back from it and look at it. Think about why you are feeling like you do? Why has this situation affected your emotions in this way?

5 Bless it: Those emotions have purposes. Thank them for being a part of your human experience.

6 Release it: It is not necessary to hold on to it. There are many different techniques for release of stubborn emotions. The Sedona Method is one. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or tapping is another. Some emotions will release easily. Others you may need a technique and still others you may need the help of a therapist or healer.

7 Replace it with Gratitude: Gratitude, which is born from Love, is powerful. We ALL have things to be grateful for. Allow that gratitude to flow into you and through you to replace the space the lower vibrational energy has vacated.

Today as I journey through my day I will focus on Love, Gratitude, and Hope. I will feel blessed and share blessing with my fellow voyagers. When I observe an emotion that does not seem to be in alignment with these intentions I will work the 7 steps above to maneuver past it. I hope you will do the same. Together we will make the world a better place!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you effortlessly move past emotions that do not serve your greatest and highest good, as if by magic. I love you.

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Speak from the Heart

Have you heard of the Chakras? How you can use these ancient energy centers to help your message, be not only heard but also felt? This simple technique can help you send the purest intentions to those you are communicating with.

The Chakras are energy centers within the body. There are 7 of them.  They start at the base of the spine and move to the top of the head. Some traditions even teach of an 8th center above the head. They are all represented by different colors. The colors of a couple of them vary, a little, depending on the tradition in which you learned of them. I first learned about the Chakras when I was trained in Reiki Energy Healing. So, starting at the base of the spine, I will list the Chakras for you. At the bottom of the spine is the Base Chakra. It is represented by the color red and is related to safety and security. In the lower abdomen is the Sacral Chakra, which is represented by the color orange. It affects passion, creativity, and sexuality. Next we have the Solar Plexus Chakra. Yellow is its color and it has to do with self-esteem and personal power. As we move up to mid-chest we have the Heart Chakra. It is green and rules the emotions. In the neck is the Throat Chakra. It has to do with your voice and making yourself heard. It is blue. Between the eyebrows is the third eye or Brow Chakra. It is purple. (in my Reiki tradition but Indigo in other traditions) It has to do with interpreting information and intuition. At the top of the head is the Crown. It can be represented by clear or by the color purple. It has to do with your spiritual connection.

Now that you know a little about the Chakras; I feel I should be encouraging you to speak from the Throat? It is true that our Throat Chakra helps us be heard and it is an important part of the equation. If you speak from the Heart your words will be stronger, more meaningful, and spoken with the purest of intent. It is easy to see how this might make sense in a speech about an emotional topic, like children, or healthcare. But there may be a topic that just doesn’t seem like it has room for emotions. Let’s say you are giving a speech on accounting. This may seem to be a very cut and dry type of speech, about numbers and procedures. There doesn’t seem to be room for emotions in this speech. If you speak from the Heart, however, your truest intentions will come through. Those hearing your speech will also feel your intention to help them or call them into action.

So how do you speak from the Heart? I feel visualization is a powerful tool to use. Picture the words coming down through your Throat and projecting out of your Chest, right through the green revolving energy center there. See your words entering the audience in the same place. A Heart to Heart connection. Feel the warmth of your words spreading throughout their being with the best intentions to help them. Practice it and watch the difference in how people respond to you when they not only hear your words but also feel your words.

Speaking from the Heart can be a powerful tool to help you make you message known and get your intentions communicated. Using this simple visualization, you could find that you are more easily able to affect not only those around you but also the world.

May your life be full of communication, that is not only heard, but also (having those good intentions) felt. Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you!

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