sintra
January 16, 2018

YOU ARE THE SAGE

When I was in Lisbon with Mooji, I remember wandering into the bookstore during one of the Satsang breaks. There was a display with a collection of Mooji’s books and I casually opened a few to get a feel for the content. I opened one of the books and read one of the most powerful statements I have ever seen:

You are the Sage that you have been waiting for.

After seeing that, I didn’t feel like I had to read anymore of that book. I felt like that was what I was supposed to see.

This morning, I was thinking about some of my past speaking events. I have been so lucky to have an amazing group of people at every event I’ve had! The energy vibration has been high and I’ve found the resulting discussions to be rich.

Perhaps I get this trait from my grandmother — a prolific public speaker — but I never prepare remarks beforehand. I usually have a general idea of a topic to start with, but I let the energy take me where it wants to go.

It has been my experience that I never quite know if I’m connecting with the audience haha But I keep going anyway! And I have the feeling that something I say — even if it’s one thing — will connect with someone in the audience and possibly inspire them.

But really, I believe Mooji. We are the Sage that we have been waiting for and we have the key to unlock any answer that we need. However, when we feel overwhelmed or confused, we feel like we need help. But in reality, we know what the next right move is. We’ve just gotten accustomed to ignoring that small voice that comes to us in silence.

The beauty of meditation…of taking a moment to bring ourselves back into the present…is that it helps us silence the other noise so we can hear the voice telling us what we need to do next — our inner Sage.

I pray that you will have the patience to listen for this voice and the courage to follow it. The answers you are seeking are within.

Namaste.

Bonus content: In this very moment, you can access that voice. Here are 5 simple steps:

1. Close your eyes

2. Breathe deeply in through your nose

3. Hold your breath for as long as you can

4.Exhale rapidly when you can’t hold your breath any longer

5. Repeat 3-5 times

This process will stop your spiral of stressful thinking and bring you silence. In those silent moments, listen ;)

Photo source: Sintra, Portugal (my mobile phone)

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January 7, 2018

LOLA

This is a post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

On Christmas Day, here in Cabo Verde, children made my holiday special. From the smiling faces of children who happily unwrapped small presents I was able to find for them here on the island….to the children who unexpectedly joined me for dinner, it was a happy day.

At the end of my dinner, I let a lovely family from Wales. Over the course of our conversation, somehow an invitation was made to come to my house to see the books I had published haha The daughter, Lola, was an aspiring writer and her bright eyes, brilliant smile, and excitement about writing made me want to share anything I could!

The next day, Lola and her family came by my home and it was a lovely visit. Her spirited brother made me laugh and her parents were so amazingly kind that the time passed quickly. But then, time seemed to stand still when Lola presented me with a book she had made for me the night before! She literally wrote a book and bound it with tape in less than twelve hours! I should mention that Lola is nine years old. I am still amazed by this.

After she showed me the book (The Lost Father), she read it aloud, and it was really good! Even though she says that I inspired the book, it was she who inspired me! In fact, I saw clear parallels between her book and my own, which further amazed me. The magic of Lola’s visit is that her kindness, innocence, and sheer excitement re-energized me. Her beautiful soul shines bright. And the excitement that she and her brother had for my books (Meditative Questions and unbreakable) was also a gift!

I’ve found that sometimes creative projects can drag on…and the spark that provided the original inspiration can be lost. In those moments, it can be tempting to stop and start on something else, but completion is its own form of magic. I’ve learned that any project I’ve started, which contained that initial spark, must be completed.

And so, as I continue to go through my second edit of Seven Lives, I remain thankful for the visit from Lola’s family and the gift of her book…and her joy. She continues to serve as an inspiration as I  move forward. And Lola gives me hope about the next generation.

May we all encourage and fan the flames of creativity and joy in all of those around us…especially the beautiful children of the world. They are, indeed, the future. But I find it especially marvelous that Lola is not waiting for the future…she is already a writer and I hope that she continues to write. The world can never have too much beautiful art and I am confident that she will supply a lot. I expect great things from her brother, Charlie, too! ;)

Namaste.

 

Photo: Cover of The Lost Father  by Lola (age 9)

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January 6, 2018

DOOR NUMBER 7

It sometimes happens that I get so caught up with writing projects that I forget about my longest standing writing project, this blog ;)  So, I’m thankful to friends who share old posts and new pictures that inspire me to come back again ;)

One of my dear friends here in Cabo Verde, Joli, is an amazing photographer and she has a thing for taking pictures of doors. I always enjoy them, but this one stopped me in my tracks. Upon a little reflection, I think it is because it has so many layers. And those layers give it special meaning to me.

In so many ways, it reminds me of my latest (in progress) book, Seven Lives. The number 7 on the door is the first connection, but I think it is the way the door seems a bit cobbled together that really hits home haha! To me, the different materials represent different ideas that have somehow come together to make something new. The random bricks and planks form a door…and even though it’s not quite clear if the door is usable (haha!), it is beautiful. And the added painting of the girl’s face at the bottom makes it whimsical. The door is somehow old and new at the same time.

I also think that our lives are a bit like this door. The collection of old and new memories come together to form what can be a wall or a door. Do we allow what has happened to prevent us from moving forward? Or do we combine all of those experiences to create a functional door through which we can start anew? Are we being held back by our history? Or do we use it to propel us forward?

I love the new year because it carries with it the significance of a new start. But the truth is every moment has that same potential. Even still, I wish you a happy new year that is full of good luck, beauty, and charm. I also hope that it is interspersed with unexpected whimsical moments of fun that keep you smiling ;)

 

Love,

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Photo source: Joli Moniz | A Vontade Tours, Cabo Verde

 

full-moon
November 4, 2017

PERSONHOOD

One of the greatest revelations I learned from being around a Zen master is the concept of being stuck in personhood. That is the drama of everyday life we feel when we become attached.

Spiritual freedom, to me, is the understanding that we are beyond this personhood. The paradox is that we are also at the root of it.

When I feel myself getting emotionally attached to things, I sometimes have difficulty resisting the urge to run away from it all. I feel that it’s not real and too real…why is that?

There are times that I want to be in the mountains all alone…and others that I want to be in the middle of a busy city surrounded by thousands. My affinity for these extremes is maddening.

In the end of all of my contemplations, I am left with the feeling that I am everywhere and nowhere. Perhaps this is what the journey to freedom is supposed to feel like…

Namaste.

 

Photo source: An appropriate night for anything

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November 3, 2017

RESTART

In the past six months, I have traveled through as many time zones. I started with a lovely trip to Lisbon to visit friends and meet Mooji, and from there, I went on to visit New Jersey, NYC, LA, Austin, and Houston before returning back to Africa.

During that whirlwind of a trip, I was able to work with my incredible graphic designer, Dillon, to bring my second book (unbreakable) to print! Thanks Dillon! But during that time, I was also writing my third book. As I think about it now, I am amazed that I was able to do both somehow. In the midst of enjoying time with family in friends during my travel, I actually finished writing my third book — a novel that is so long that it will probably have to be released as a series haha! And because I am old school, it took me an additional two months to type the book I had handwritten in 27 notebooks.

I am now editing the book, and actively measuring the progress of my edits by the number of pages edited. It’s a crude calculation, but somehow it inspires me to do a little more each day. When I updated my chart today, I inched my way to 16%. This number felt inconsequential to me…like I should have gotten more done over the past month. And that’s when I had to stop myself.

You see…one thing I’ve learned on this very long road to finish my book is that I’m not very good at incremental celebrations. Fortunately, I had family and friends who encouraged me to celebrate when I finished writing my book by hand…and again when I finished typing the pages. (I had a root beer float with vegan ice cream after I finished writing my book in LA…and then I got a manicure/pedicure and a message in Austin after I finished typing — my body needed it!) But even before I finished, my cheerleader mother excitedly celebrated as a finished typing each notebook. Sometimes I’m too much of a realist and can only focus on what’s left to do…but her consistent cheers did filter through and I remain appreciative.

Because my second and third books took over my life, I did not update my website as consistently as I wanted to. And I couldn’t even remember when I’d made my last post when sharing my business card with a lovely family from Vienna and a world famous Cape Verdean artist, Tchale, that I met here in Africa this week. It’s been so long that I wasn’t sure what to even talk about on the blog. I wasn’t sure how to start again. It’s possible that I’ve been too deep in the creative process of making new art…and, possibly more painful, editing that art.

I say painful because editing makes you look for flaws in your own work…typos, incoherent jumps in the story, and confusing elements that no one would probably understand but you. I have found that editing causes me to question if what I’m writing is any good. When I have those moments, I stop editing and go take a walk outside or watch a movie. I let the doubts pass by like clouds in the sky. I don’t let myself get attached to them. Instead, I try every day to do a little more of what I know I must do to complete my art. And more and more, I try to congratulate myself for small milestones completed.

I share all of this because I think we all go through challenges. Many of those challenges are multi-layered and require many steps to complete. I have been spoiled because my previous books came to me in a matter of days or weeks. Now that I’m working on this novel, I measure the time in months. In the same way, your previous challenges might have had clear action and resolution. But when things are more complex, I believe the process of resolution is similar to my own — we must simply do what we can each day to make progress toward completion. If we can, it’s great to celebrate small successes and even measure progress to help us recognize that progress is being made.

Not every road is straight, and not every solution is obvious. But I believe that we must do what we can with the information we have to keep going. A determined person can climb a mountain, but the mountain can only be climbed on step at a time :)

My prayer for you is that you will be gentle with yourself as you climb and find it within yourself to celebrate what you may now consider to be insignificant wins. The journey is the adventure. It is where the growth and excitement happens. If we don’t find ways to celebrate during the process, I think it is possible to be so overcome with stress and a false feeling of defeat that we might not have the energy to go on. So in this moment, I celebrate you and send my cheers for all that you are doing…and will continue to do. You got this! ;)

 

love,

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Photo source: My camera from a recent hike here in Cabo Verde :)

Author note: Because I have had enough editing for today, I have made the decision not to edit this post haha If you find a typo, please use it as your chance to smile at how I didn’t let a silly error stop me from posting this ;) Namaste.

unbreakable
September 9, 2017

UNBREAKABLE

I am thrilled to announce the release of my second book, unbreakable!

After spending a month in Thailand, living on Muay Thai camp, poetry came to me when I returned to Africa.

During the time that I was writing the poetry, I was reflecting on life, relationship, and changes that had led up to me being where I was. Like a Phoenix, I felt that I was burning my old self up in the fires of the present, and arising from the ashes stripped of the emotional weight that had been subconsciously holding me back.

I stripped myself of societal thoughts…like the need to be married and a mother by a certain age…and I basked in the realization of my beautiful freedom. Humorous poetry flowed through me as I reflected on situations I would have once considered painful. It was a beautiful experience, and I wrote this poetry for practically two days straight.

unbreakable is the result! I am thankful to numerous friends who encouraged me to publish this book…at first, I was not planning to. It was difficult for me to consider laying some of my trials bare for all to see (especially my family!). But I moved passed that as I realized that this was part of my growth and my journey to ultimate freedom.

I hope that others might be inspired by reading unbreakable and know that they are not alone in various situations that they may consider struggles. May all who suffer know that there is an end to that too. That end begins with a decision. And that decision is always yours. Peace and freedom are our birthright. I wish you an infinite amount of both. And love too ;)

Namaste and love!

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Note: I am offering unbreakable in ebook and paperback versions. Here are the relevant links for both.

unbreakable eBook: ZenTao Books

unbreakable paperback: Amazon Prime

As an independent author and publisher, I’ve added details here to provide insight into the cost structure behind each book.

 

Thank you for your support! <3!

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August 28, 2017

THANK YOU LA!

I am so very thankful for the beautiful beams of light in LA who came out to support the official launch of my second book, unbreakable! The event was incredible because of the amazing energy and good vibes shared by all. Thank you for making the day, and the launch, so special!

I was inspired to give a talk about freedom. What does freedom mean to you? What does freedom feel like? What stories about yourself do you need to give up? Whose voice is telling you that something is not possible? Is it your voice? What is holding you back? Have you discovered what you truly are?

As always, the questions are what move us. I believe that living the questions is what sets us free. And I wish you the greatest freedom!

 

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love,

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Author note: Thank you to my dear friend, Linda, for hosting the incredible event! <3

Photo note: Thanks to Fred for capturing these amazing photos! ;) 

July 14, 2017

THE WAY OF WAKING UP

This video from Alan Watts is profound and deserving of its own post <3

Namaste.

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