Blameless Responsibility

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I am continuously amazed by the mind’s craftiness and ability to create such convincing theatrics and stories. What’s more interesting is how easy it is to get swept into these stories and undoubtedly believe them to be true. Admittedly, it’s easier to be consumed by the mind’s stories because we can justify our reactive behaviors (attacks, gossiping, and judgments), relinquish our responsibility for our own inner peace, and remain the victim. Blaming others is instantly gratifying because we are allowed to cling to our comfort zones and fully convince ourselves that we were wronged.

On the other hand, taking a closer look at the mind’s stories requires taking responsibility and letting go of our justifications and excuses for reactive behaviors. It also requires questioning some of the things we have believed most of our lives, which can be frightening. In a sense, being responsible also means being vulnerable, which is a skill most of us have long forgotten how to do and yet both skills are the very things that set us free. We are bound to the vicious cycle of reactivity as long as we allow false stories to dictate our lives. The good news is that at any point, we can assume responsibility and reclaim our freedom.

Every Moment Matters

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Yesterday, when I snapped the photo above, a driver of a jeep (going about 35 mph) hit a cyclist. After hearing the loud noise, I turned around to see pieces of metal flying. Initially, I thought the jeep’s tire exploded but then I saw the driver and the passenger get out of the vehicle and rush to the front of the car, looking at the ground in shock. Immediately, I knew they had hit someone. My assumptions were confirmed as an ambulance arrived on the scene and the EMT workers put the cyclist on the gurney. The bike was upside down, seemingly stuck under the jeep. In just a flash (literally, a shutter flash), lives were instantly changed.

Witnessing the accident served as a reminder that every moment matters. Our lives can be taken at any time. We are not going to live in human form forever. There will be a day when our lives as we know it will cease to exist. Knowing that our time here is limited makes me incredibly appreciative of the experiences I’ve had and it also makes me more encouraged to take action on the things I want to do before passing. Our time here is precious and I choose to see that as a beautiful blessing and a loving reminder to live fully.

Please keep all those involved in the accident in your thoughts.

Releasing Expectations

“Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.”-Byron Katie

Throughout my life, I have had incredibly high expectations for myself and others. Thoughts like “he should be doing this,””she shouldn’t have done that,” or “I can’t believe I…” used to swarm around in mind like an F-5 tornado, stirring up immense anxiety and anger. It was as though I had a script of how life “should be” and anything or anyone who was not operating consistent with my ideas was harshly judged. Of course, none of the judgments were ever communicated, I was far too quiet to share, but underneath the surface my mind was swarming with judgmental thoughts. It wasn’t until I read Byron Katie’s Loving What Is that I consciously realized just how harsh the thoughts in my head could be. More importantly, I realized that they were simply not true, which was incredibly liberating. It took some time to wrap my mind around the fact that no one could truly betray me but being able to experience and understand that concept is rewarding.

People are free to be whoever they want to be. They are free to have totally opposing views from my own, live a drastically different lifestyle from my own, and even lie, cheat, and steal. They are free to do whatever they want to do and having a running script about what they should and should not be doing does little to prevent such activities from happening. Furthermore, strictly adhering to such a script only leads to frustration and disappointment. The reality is that we are all free. Part of that freedom is that people are going to behave inconsistently with our scripts, which ultimately, is perfectly fine. How boring life would be if our script completely dictated how life flowed? Allowing people to Be is peace.

Just Rice

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Today for lunch I asked my significant other if he would be willing to make me a bowl of rice. His response was “Sure, but just rice?” In that moment, I was flooded with gratitude for the fact that I even had access to a bowl of rice, the human faculties to eat it independently, and the presence of a loving man who eagerly makes lunch for me. While I ate my lunch, I savored the grains of rice, appreciating the texture, the natural sweetness, and its pleasant aroma. I ate as though I had never had rice before and to my surprise, it was, the very best bowl of rice I have ever had. I replied to him “Thank you so much for making just rice for lunch.”

Mahalo for reading. May you all experience infinite peace and blessings!

With love & appreciation,

Candace

Enjoying the Process

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The continuous striving to be something, have something, or to be somewhere other than who and where we are now contributes to our suffering. We become so fixated on the outcome and the results that we rarely enjoy the moment as it is right now nor do we enjoy simply being alive. Each moment we choose to run from where and who we are, we simultaneously miss out on an opportunity to fully embrace our lives. We have so much for which we can be grateful and so much to enjoy right now just as we are, wherever we are. The beauty of being alive is found in the here and now, just as it is.

Mahalo for reading! May you all experience infinite peace and blessings!

With love and appreciation,

Candace

Six Month Anniversary

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Today marks six months since my move to Hawaii! Moving here is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Hawaii is a place for restoration, rejuvenation, and clarity. Here are three powerful life lessons I have learned since moving here:

1. Fear does not have inherent power, we allot its power. The truth is that we can choose how much influence fear has over our actions. Admittedly, I was absolutely terrified to move to Hawaii. I had no idea how I was going to afford it, where I was going to work, what I was going to do, nothing. Instead of allowing fear to make me a slave to my mind, I decided to look fear right in the face and move forward anyways. I also want to add that absolutely none of my fears have come true, not a single one. From this experience, I realized that fear does not have to stop us, ever.

 2. Be present and relax. Living here has taught me to relax. Worrying and running around in a panic are not conducive to our well-being or the well-being of those around us. Worrying is such a consuming activity that typically has no benefit. I see now more than ever that life is always on our side, if only we stop fighting it. I have learned how to embrace uncertainty and I am freely relaxing in the arms of God.  I am finally allowing my life to flow uninterrupted.

3. You can run but you can’t hide. Many people move to Hawaii to escape something whether it’s emotions, experiences, or just life itself. Admittedly, I genuinely believed that coming here would eliminate some of the things I didn’t want to address directly. But, the bottom line is that we can’t run from life. Life will continue to present the very things that we try to run from regardless of a new location. The truth is that peace comes from within us. If we are unhappy on the mainland, we will be unhappy in paradise (Hawaii). The cause of our unhappiness is that we refuse to accept life’s invitation to embrace its full range of experiences. Paradise is wherever you are, as you are right now. 

 This journey is simultaneously beautiful, frightening, and incredible. Mahalo for reading!

With deep love & appreciation,

Candace

3 Ways to Be Mindful, Now

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Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help us live peacefully and experience the joy of living in the present moment. Some of my favorite exercises that help us consciously bring ourselves back to the present moment are listed below.

1. Mindful Breathing: This is one of my favorite things to do. Whenever I realize that I am caught in my thoughts of the past or of the future, it is helpful to use my breath as an anchor to shift my focus back to what is happening now. Our breath is our connection to life in the present. To breathe mindfully, simply shift your attention to your breath. Notice the depth of your breath and its intensity. Continue to simply observe your breath and its patterns.

2. Mindful Eating: A lot of over-eating occurs because we are simply not paying attention during our meals. Mindful eating is an excellent way to bring yourself into the present moment and to be more conscious of how much you’re eating. During your next meal, allow yourself to fully experience the range of sensations that occur when you’re eating. What does the food taste like, what is its texture, what sensations are arising as you eat? Are you chewing on one side of your mouth or relying on certain areas?

3. Mindful Driving: Have you ever driven somewhere and realized that once you ended up at your location that you don’t even remember the drive at all? This experience is very common! During your next drive, be mindful of the way it feels to hold the steering wheel, notice how you hold it, how the seat feels against your back, the music you’re listening to, the cars in front of you, and the scenery around you. You may notice things that you have never noticed before when you begin to drive mindfully.

Have fun with these exercises! I invite you to share your experiences with these exercises.

Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace and blessings!

With deep love & appreciation,

Candace

P.S. If you liked this post, you may like a similar post titled “Acknowledge, Thank, Release.” Also, I hope you can join me and the founder of Happy Black Woman, Rosetta Thurman, for our FREE empowerment call tomorrow titled Radical Self-Love: 5 Ways to Honor Your Greatness! To register: http://happyblackwoman.com/radicalselflove

Loosening Our Grip on Our Plans

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We can setup the most amazing goals and create the most efficient and beautifully outlined plans but at some point we have to acknowledge that life does not work this way. The reality is that our beautiful plans can be blown up at anytime by an unexpected event. We simply do not know the future, nor can we plan for it with certainty. Many of us are scared to death of not having control of the future but when we look closely we see that even planning cannot provide true security. The only security is in this moment which (if you are reading this post right now) is providing us with everything we need right now. Peace and serenity are uncovered when we relinquish our anxieties about the future and live in the here and now. When we are fully aligned with the present moment and open to life, Divine inspiration comes flowing in effortlessly, providing us with astonishingly creative ideas and outcomes, often more miraculous than we could have ever created ourselves.

Let us loosen our grip to our plans and flow like the waterfall above. Adaptability and fluidity are the way of nature. Let us be flexible and adaptable when our plans do not work out in the way we thought was best. Take a moment to fully trust Life (I also use the word Creator/God/Cosmos here but recognize that my beliefs may not be shared). Breathe and allow inspiration to flow through you in the present moment. As you continue to allow inspiration to flow uninterrupted by your plans, you might forget that you ever used to rigidly attach to your plans at all (smile).

With deep appreciation and love,

Candace

*If you liked this post, you may like a similar post titled “Flow.”

Let’s Connect:

 
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Unplug

UnplugImage courtesy of Microsoft Office ClipArt

Take a moment to unplug. Turn off your phone, get off of the internet, silence all notifications, and don’t check your e-mail, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.  I recently started a position as a Crisis Therapist and now more than ever, I recognize the importance of unplugging and relaxing. Being that I am regularly on-call, I find myself continuously plugged in even when I don’t have to be. I laugh when I catch myself repeatedly checking my Facebook page thinking that I have missed something incredibly important. The reality is that we are not going to miss anything by unplugging for a moment but we do miss quality face-to-face interactions and intimate moments with our loved ones when we are plugged in 24/7.

After coming to terms with the fact that I tend to be plugged in more often than not, I have decided to make an agreement to turn my phone completely off when I’m not on call. This has been a challenge but it allows me to relax into the moment. I encourage you to do the same. What do you say?

Mahalo for reading! May we all experience infinite peace and blessings!