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Learning to Receive

Breathwork Meditation Healing Circle

As a coach, eldest child, woman, lifelong caretaker of my loved ones, and recovering rescuer, I’m accustomed to attending to everyone else’s needs. It’s easy for me to spot where others are burned out, and offer my assistance, which usually comes in the form of coaching.

While I recognize my own need for self-care, I have a tendency to do just that…give it to myself. If my body says it’s tired, I rest. If it wants to move, I move. If it is hungry, I feed it. If I am overwhelmed in a social setting, I find a quiet space to be alone. If it’s been a busy day, I’ll take a bath. I’m quite self-sufficient.

What I haven’t learned to do well is receive care from others.

It hit me the other day when I attended a Love Bubble breathwork class on the beach led by the amazing Jenna Reiss. She and I had met serendipitously at a Byron Katie event. Then we met again at a Gabby Bernstein event. I knew from her energy that I wanted her in my life. And yet, despite our ongoing efforts, running our individual businesses got in the way of our connecting in person again.

When I saw her social posts about leading a breathwork class, I jumped at the chance to see how we might collaborate on future workshops together. It didn’t even occur to me to attend simply to receive her gifts. So when she asked what “Love Bubble” meant to me, I responded as a coach, not as Jennifer. She invited me to drop my roles and responsibilities…and even suggested I put my body a little further into the love bubble circle of blankets to receive just a bit more.

It was exactly what I needed to shed the societal pressure of being the independent woman that doesn’t need anything from anyone else. To give myself permission to receive someone else’s care, to be myself with all my flaws and baggage in someone else’s safe and sacred space. To heal the parts of me that needed another layer peeled off and released.

Healing and spiritual enlightenment is not a destination; it’s a journey (which I recognize is cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true!). If anyone tells you they have all the answers and everything figured out, they’re unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) incompetent and my advice is to run the other way.

My experience in that love bubble was oh-so-delicious. My hands, lower arm, lower leg, and back of neck wrapping up around my ears were vibrating at such a high frequency that they felt tingly, numb and immobile. At one point I was laughing deeply, and another I was convulsively crying. My heart opened up so fully and my higher self shined through.

Through coaching, I have forgiven myself on the mental and emotional level for some things in my past, yet in that circle, I forgave myself even more deeply at the spiritual and soul level…and forgave others from my past that I’d been harboring judgment toward. It felt so lovely and so loving to let all of that go, peeling it off like a heavy winter jacket.

Aside from the freedom I felt afterward, it was a good reminder that it’s okay to receive from others. It’s okay to be the client and allow other’s gifts to be received.

If you’re like me and feel a strong need to never ask for help, I invite you to try it. Ease into it if there’s strong resistance. Because we all need each other. None of us are meant to figure it all out ourselves. AND by doing so, you’re allowing someone else’s light to shine and that is also a gift.

When we receive, we give…when we give, we receive.

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Memory is Unlimited, but Storage is Costly

Jennifer Bauer taking photos in Yosemite

With the introduction of digital cameras, photo storage changed from space-consuming boxes of film to a computer’s hard drive. All of a sudden, we were not limited by the amount of film cartons we could carry because memory cards were small, lightweight, cheap and could be used repeatedly after downloading.

Rather than conserving shots, we can take as many as our fingers are capable of and now have the ability to experiment more abundantly with camera settings.

I love how this has lent me ample space to learn and grow my photographic skills. Yet, because I take so many photos now, storage is costly.

On my first trip to Africa, between my husband and I, we had 20,000 photos. It took us more than six months to go through them all, select ones we liked, post-process and then de-select so that we didn’t overwhelm our poor family members who had to endure the picture show and tell of our honeymoon.

That’s just one trip. And we travel – a lot.

You know what we don’t spend time doing? Deleting the terrible pictures. Like somehow, someday we’ll need them or regret not having them.

This got me thinking how this relates to our own mental state…our own personal memories that we hold onto.

Making memories is easy and unlimited. Storage is costly when it’s mostly made up of junk.

As a life coach, it’s my business to help clients release stored up junk. We do this by recognizing that they have a choice in whether to keep their painful stories or not.

The first step is questioning its truth. Then, I ask them probing questions to uncover the large cost of the thought on their mental and emotional health, behavior, relationships, and even the relationship they have with themselves.

Once they feel and understand the true cost, we explore what might be different without it. If they were to delete the junk photos of their past and future fears that are emblazoned on their mind, how would their behavior, emotions and interactions be different?

Oh the freedom found here!

Then we look for alternate truths…alternate photos that they hadn’t looked at before.

And like a reverse Polaroid, the belief dissolves. The memory has been released from storage.

It’s a beautiful process, if you’re open to exploring it. If not, there’s always storage in the cloud. How much are you willing to pay to keep the junk photos?

If you’re curious about how Byron Katie’s The Work™ can help you dissolve your limiting beliefs, let’s talk!

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An Evening with Byron Katie…And New Friends

Byron Katie A Mind At Home With Itself

I was first introduced to Byron Katie’s work in 2009, when I read Martha Beck’s Steering By Starlight. In that book, Martha shared background on Katie, who in 1986 woke up from utter depression to complete enlightenment. Katie has since written books sharing about The Work and helped (quite literally) millions of people find peace from suffering. Reading Loving What Is changed my life.

The foundation of The Work is quite simple, yet has a depth so inconceivable that even Katie finds it impossible to find language that would do it justice. I’m not exaggerating. For months after her awakening, language was completely lost to her. She had to re-learn how to speak and even now, 30 years later, her husband Steven Mitchell translates “Katie speak” through her books that they co-author together and at her live speaking events.

As a Life Coach, we use The Work of Byron Katie to help our clients dissolve their painful thoughts. I hope to attend her 9-Day School for The Work at some point in the future. For now, I use self-inquiry about my own thoughts on a daily basis. When I saw that she was on a book tour for A Mind at Home with Itself and speaking in LA, I jumped at the chance to buy a ticket and experience her energy live.

You may recognize that I share fairly frequently about synchronicity. If you’re not familiar with the term, Carl Jung introduced it as a perceived meaningful coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe there is a meaning behind everything and that all interactions between people and events is part of a greater, higher purpose. And where intention meets attention, synchronicity happens. As I personally become more awakened spiritually, I see more and more synchronicity happening in my life.

Given Southern California traffic, I decided to leave Huntington Beach at about 1:30 p.m. to be in LA by 3 p.m. and then explore the area around the Writers’ Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills until the event start at 7 p.m. I walked to Rodeo Drive and observed the tourists taking photos of the upscale, luxury brand retail stores that line the sparkling street that is Rodeo and Wilshire. I was fascinated by all the languages and expressions of awe and amazement at these grandiose buildings and window displays.

When my tummy started to gurgle, I stopped at a cafe where I was seated on the patio to eat an early dinner. No sooner did my spicy ahi tuna over crispy risotto arrive than two elder men sat down at the table next to me. The engaged in a very passionate conversation about organized religion and the pyramid of power struggle happening not only currently across the world, but how that has been the way throughout history. I almost dropped my fork. I have been showing people the following Martha Beck video about the Pool and the Pyramid for weeks…and here these gentlemen were expressing (almost word for word) how Martha has been describing the Pyramid.

Every cell in my body felt electric and I jumped into the conversation without even thinking. We then began a philosophical and spiritual discussion that lasted more than an hour. It was so energizing…and here were these two strangers who were completely open to engaging on that level, which probably doesn’t happen very frequently in LA-LA-Land. (That is a judgment on my part that I will do The Work on when this is done.)

Still buzzing from this conversation, I walked back to the Writers’ Guild Theatre lighter and floating. I reached the entry doors to the theatre at 5:30 and they wouldn’t let guests in to the sold-out event until 6 p.m. So I sat myself down on the steps in front of the doors and watched the bustle of people walking by. I noticed three women who were also early and looking for where to get into the theatre, so I chimed in with letting them know what I had learned from one of the staff members. They decided to join me on the steps and the line formed around us.

“So how were you introduced to Byron Katie?” I asked them.

“From a friend,” one woman (I’m forgetting her name, please forgive me)said.

“I was introduced through Martha Beck,” said the second woman (Leigha).

I gave her a high five and said, “Me too!”

“Oh really?” Leigha asked. “How so?”

“I’m in her Life Coach Training course,” I said.

“Me too!” she responded. (If you want to check her out: Leigha May Coaching )

We then began excitedly sharing our own stories on how we’d come to pursue Life Coaching, which co-horts we were in, etc. I was so pumped to be experiencing this with another tribe member!

With my three newfound friends, we sat together and continued sharing about other books and authors…various forms of meditation…and then the first woman shared how she loves doing new things. How she describes herself as an explorer and always wants to go and do something new. She added that it doesn’t have to be big and profound, that even the small things are impactful and exciting and a way to continue to grow as a person.

Once again, I’m fairly sure my jaw dropped before I shared:

“Me too! I have challenged myself to do one new thing per day that I have never done before. I started on August 21 and I am thankfully still going.”

“You should blog about it,” Leigha said.

“I do! Elation Explorer dot com,” I said.

Then we all shared about the new experiences we’ve had lately due to this philosophy of saying yes and being willing to put ourselves out there.

I cannot make this kind of stuff up. I promise you, this was too surreal. And we hadn’t even experienced Katie speak yet!

Katie is as advertised. You can feel even as an audience member that she is warm, compassionate, loving and completely out of her mind (in the best way possible). She absolutely is challenged in finding words and is so completely in the present moment that what was shared even a second ago has left her. So much so that her husband is “herding a cat” (his own words) when they do these events. She begins one task and then goes somewhere else and he’ll redirect it back to the agenda.

“This is our second night of the book tour,” Mitchell began. “We had planned for her to read the whole chapter 12, and she only got through half. Tonight we got about one third of the way through. By the end, we may be down to a few words.”

Mitchell opened the event with sharing background on why and how this latest book was created. He, and other students of Buddhism, have been challenged in translating the Diamond Sutra because all other languages don’t have the words to express the meaning behind it. It is so abstract and heavy that most give up after a few chapters. Mitchell took on the challenge by getting Katie’s unique perspective on it in her own translation of it from her enlightened mind. From these “Katie-isms” of nuggets, Mitchell would then translate them and the end result is A Mind at Home with Itself.

Most of the two-hour long event was Katie answering questions from the audience, of which many were associated with the hosting organization Insight LA. Some brilliant questions were asked and Katie opened my mind up even more to the meaning behind asking “Is it true?”

When she explains how even when we are replaying moments from a millisecond ago, we are separate from ourselves and the present, you “get it.” How her husband is the person in front of her now, not the man he was this morning or yesterday or even 10 years ago. She is so present and you can see from observing her that whoever is speaking, she is completely focused on that person and present. There is nothing happening in her mind, no distraction. Complete centeredness and presence.

She is extraordinary and there is no faking how real her enlightenment is and how purely she loves and feels she is everyone and everyone is her. I’m even more determined to go to the 9-Day School for The Work and continue this awakening and existence in the present.