Friday, December 21, 2018

Reviewing "Manifesting the Best 2018"

I put out the best intentions for 2018. I had a gameplay and ideas that I wanted to implement. Looking back, some worked out very well, while others never landed. Still there, some challenges arose that I couldn't have predicted. All in all, I spent an hour or so looking back at this year and gaining a full perspective on all that I accomplished as well as the lessons that I learned. I find this an important thing to do before setting sights on a new year. With 2019 looming, I wanted to share my 2018 and hope the you will do the same.

First off, I taught a New Year's Day class on January 1, 2018 with a manifesting ritual at One Yoga Center, my home studio. I was blessed to be surrounded by some teachers and good students who all wanted to start the year right too. That first week of January I also moved the studio around, and basically removed the issue with the pole in the middle of the room. The room opened up and became more spacious and inviting. Students and teachers agree that it feels so much better. I believe that this propelled more positive energy moving forward for the studio throughout the year! In the month of January I also decided to open up my Thai Bodywork offerings more and started to book many more of these amazingly healing sessions. And then there was a little work in Princeton. First I conducted a special class at Princeton University for my Special Olympics family, and then I did my first television interview on Princeton TV. Holy Ivy League, Batman!

In February I announced that my book, The Accidental Yogini, would be released in March. So much support flowed in! The book and its promotion would be a huge project for me throughout 20189, and I will share some of those highlights:

  • 1. March 1 the book comes out on amazon
  • 2. March 31st I hosted a book launch party at One Yoga Center, attended by students, family and friends. I felt the love deeply!
  • 3. July - September held a host of locations for the book tour, to which I am grateful for every venue for having me and helping me to get the word out
  • 4. The Accidental Yogini retreat in Yogaville was a huge success - and the book mark on the bulletin board still remains!
  • 5. Winning Awards: first was the International Book Awards finalist position, then the American Fiction Awards finalist, followed by a Pinnacle award for spiritual fiction and a 5 star Reader's Choice award. Not too bad for a first outing!

Also in February we began work on the Special Olympics yoga program cards by doing our first of two photo shoots with many of the athletes of our unified program. This was so much fun!

In March I started to feel a little burn out and issues with major energy shifts. I dealt with a lot of personal issues for several months, seeking healing treatments from many people who shared their healer gifts with me, helping me move through some of the darkest times of my life with the highest possible energy frequencies. One of the things to come from this work was passing a kidney stone on March 13th - probably one of the most painful experiences in my life - maybe even worse than breaking my back. Three days later I thought I passed another stone and was back in the hospital, although they explained it was merely muscle spasms from the first one. I do not wish kidney stones on anyone. But, when I look up the meaning of the stones I realize that this is releasing much anger that I'd held in for too long of a time. I was happy to see it go, but there was still more healing of my heart work to be done.

In April Gwen R. and I headed to Colorado to share the Yoga4Sobriety program with people form Colorado, Utah, and Canada! Woo-hoo! Such a Rocky Mountain High! I also decided to pursue my Reiki level 3 in April, moving my energy work into higher gear. I felt this was not only appropriate for my own healing, but after 20 years I felt it was time to revisit and complete my Reiki trainings. Having found Michele Granberg, I knew I had the right teacher to take me there!

Then in May I turned 50. I know! I don't look 50 and I don't feel 50. But I AM 50. I am proud to be 50. It was a good month with some needed wellness doctor visits and preparations for June's events.

Which brings me to Greece! Yes, I conducted my first international solo yoga retreat escorting folks to Greece for a fabulous trip. It was better than could be anticipated with one exception - my husband was at home basically dying! Yes, ladies reading you will understand me, he wouldn't listen and go to the hospital. I thought was his appendix, but he said it was something else. OK. I had a plane to catch. Fast forward to him getting gangrene and being hospitalized and alone while I was away. This added some stress, but still, I managed to pull through and ensure that everyone had a fabulous time! Oh yeah, and my book also was at the Book Expo NYC! My mom and I took a trip into the city and came home with a huge bag of books.

July 8th I had the privilege of baptizing an adorable little boy named AJ, one of my student's first children. It was a lovely event that I was so grateful to be a part of. I realized I want to do more with my Ministry services and I put it out there! During July I was booked at 4 different venues to show my book and also attended the Soulsational Festival at the shore. I didn't sell many books anywhere, but I started to get my name out and the book's name out. It was challenging to not feel a little defeated, but at the end of the day if I sold two books, then I reached two more people, and I was humbled and grateful to have done so.

August was the Yogaville trip, an East Windsor park series where I met lots of new local friends, my Cousins reunion, the Stu and the Kids fundraising dinner, and achieving my Reiki Master! What a month!!!

September proved equally busy. I decided to revamp the store at the studio and create a full Metaphysical Shop - chock full of candles, incense, crystals, angel cards, smudging supplies and more. I had so much fun stocking it. For most of my adult life I have honored natural energies and done metaphysical work, personally. So, I thought after 20/30 years it was about time to share it with others. Truth be told, I kept being told my angels and spirits to do so. Having done so much work to heal my heart and raise my vibrations, attuning to ascension energies, I could no longer hold back! I put out a Natural Healer Course and began a four month foray into teaching the natural healer/shaman's ways and it has been a blast! I also attended two very large venues to promote my book: Lovelight Festival and Autumn Goddess Festival. Both were immensely important in furthering my notoriety as an author. One was very costly and headed little benefits, while the other was of little upmost with much reward. It made me think a little bit about how to proceed best in promoting my book moving forward - sometimes bigger is NOT always better.

So after all this outward promoting, I needed to get back to One Yoga Center - where I started my energies in the year. So, I repainted the sign out front. After 3 years it needed it. The Hightstown Annual Harvest Fair was a blast. I was so busy talking to people and giving mini angel card readings that the day flew by! I was asked to do a full day of angel card readings in Lambertville at a spa on the 24th, and did. When I do my readings the day passes so quickly. I felt blessed to be able to offer these and put myself out there more as an angel tarot card reader too.

November's highlights included my fist podcast interview (Hmm, I could do that forever), officiating a very good friend's wedding, and taking a well-needed family trip to our happy place in Mexico. Boy did I need some down time! I spent four days sleeping on a beach chair under an umbrella, happy as ever. Day five I got antsy and met with someone about a yoga retreat - but that's another story.

Bringing me to December, I got clarity on my tattoo situation and got my Hamsa tattoo and figured out a gameplay to integrate the pieces on my back together. We had a successful holiday craft fair at the studio, I finalized plans for yoga teacher trainings and the Thailand yoga retreat January, and took on both of my grandmother's christmas cookies - two with success, and another still in the works. Not everything can work out, after all!

Reading through this it seems quite overwhelming! I accomplished A LOT - and I went through A LOT! I didn't even mention teaching all my regular yoga classes, finishing up a 200 hour training, as well as advanced 100 and 200 (500 hour) teacher trainings modules, conduction numerous reiki and shamanic healing sessions, Thai yoga bodywork sessions, Yoga4Sobriety trainings (we did 5 this year!), writing several articles for Neighbors of East Windsor Magazine, and applying for all the wring contests and other book promotional things that I did.


But I also feel really completely honored. I feel empowered and grateful. I feel humbled and lucky.

It is often said to be careful what you wish for. When you start a year with the mantra "Manifest the Best..." you better get ready to manifest! Well, I did. I'm feeling that my theme for 2019 need to be little different - maybe "Integrate!" I haven't quite nailed that down yet. But I will...I have 11 days to do so.

As for the those of you reading this blog, please do not feel the need to match or compare your year with me. I am me. You are you. But, do take some time to count what you accomplished. Go back through your photos and your calendar and see what happened this year. What was your theme? What did you accomplish? What did you learn through the challenges that arose?

Thank you for listening, and for giving me a place to go to remind myself how much I was able to do on the days when I am not feeling so high.

In Love & Light,

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Only Gift that Keeps On Giving

It's that time of year where we are all in the furry of the holiday energy. Holiday Spirit is, of course, what it is all about. Yet somehow along the lines we've defined it with Santa and presents.

I want to offer a novel idea:

They don't want your Presents.

What they want is your PRESENCE!

We grow out of clothes. Flowers die. Electronics become obsolete. Much of our "stuff" winds up in various donation bins.

Gifts are lovely sentiments, especially when it is an item that someone can really use. And personally, I do love giving gifts. But if you really want to give something special that will last, be fully present with your friend or loved ones.

Turn off your cell phone.

Turn off the TV.

Stop checking your watch or making other plans.

Make eye contact.

Talk to each other.

Listen to each other.

The memory of such an important exchange will last forever...

...something to think about.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Holding Sacred Space

This topic has been on my mind for some time now. Why? Partially because I have been renewed in my own ability to do such a thing. But also because I have watched so many people arrive to the ever-growing world of spirituality with their own agendas and inability to do just this very thing.

Last month I listened to a webinar with renowned speaker, Marianne Williamson. I remember first seeing her on stage present her ideas on A Course in Miracles about twenty years ago or more. Not only is she captivating and a brilliant storyteller, but she has the ability to hold space for people. She talked about this very thing in our coursework, and I was pleased to hear that I held all of the same thoughts about this as she did. Our ideas are the same: you have to be fully present, grounded, and coming from a place of love in order to hold sacred space for others.

This is a deeply important offering for people. People trust you with, as Williamson stated, their soul and their deepest longings and fears. You cannot begin to hold space for people if you are not at the right place to do so.

Yoga teachers, especially, I believe, have an important role in holding scared space because the practice of yoga is a spiritual one at its core. You may be good at achieving postures and showboating them in the front of the room, but that is not teaching yoga - and that is not holding space for others. You social media ranking may be quite high and you have a lot of "followers," but that has nothing to do with holding space. In fact, all of those things really only say that you are in it for yourself and coming from either a very large ego  - or quite a deflated one. The reality of needing to advertise aside, I want to express my deepest, most heartfelt plea to all the numerous amount of yoga teachers, healers, Reiki practitioners, and all others in the spiritual community to do some self inquiry to see if you really are at a place where you should be holding such space for others.

Everyone has the capacity to hold space for others. Very few are good at it. And some may never grasp it.

Not that holding sacred space is a checklist kind of thing, but I will attempt to put it into such a list for those of you who are hosting events, owning studios, or creating space for people to express themselves, grow, and transform.

1. Be Grounded. Sounds simple, but...I see it all the time. Are you connected with the earth element? Grounding in your being? Able to be still, relax, and listen - sometimes intuitively while other times audibly - to others? This is not something everyone is connected to. In fact, those on the spiritual path may at some point find themselves so up in their heads or on a spiritual plane, that their feet never quite touch the ground, rendering themselves unavailable, quite physically, to others. We have to be anchored in our body because, right now, that is our vehicle in which to move about on this 3D, earthly plane. And while moving about in the 5D planes may be exciting work, it isn't going to allow you to help others, if in fact that is your calling. So, plant it. Get rooted and grounded. Be.

2. Listen. People will tell you everything that you need to know in order to help them grow, if you just listen. Listen with your ears, of course. But, listen with your eyes. Listen with your intuition. Listen with everything you've got. People are always telling you a story and sometimes it isn't a blatant form of storytelling. Those who teach spiritual practices are used to talking a lot during classes, sermons, etc. Sometimes we forge to listen. Listening is more important, because when you know what it is that someone needs, you will then be able to give it to them...but not if you're too busy trying to tell them in the first place.

3. Have Your Own Consistent Spiritual Practice. Yup, when was the last time you took a yoga class for yourself, if you are a yoga teacher? When was the last time you opened a new book on your field of study? When was the last time you prayed, meditated, created a ritual, practiced the holidays in the spiritual tradition that you practice? When was the last time that you did a seva - a selfless work for another? Maybe it was yesterday. Good. What about today? If it was last month, last year...not so good. Your spiritual practices will keep you connected to the divine play of the Universe, and truth. It's also good to try new spiritual endeavors and reach beyond your comfort zone form time to time. Challenge yourself so that you remember what it is like to be a student or have that beginner mindset. Then you can relate better to your students too.

4. Come from a Place of Love. Keep that heart center OPEN. When you have your own agenda like, "Today, we are going to learn the Camel pose," and half the people in your class are actually experiencing low back pain, but you push that agenda because it was the are teaching from your 3rd chakra - your ego center. And there are similar examples for other spiritual careers as well. You must always come from your 4th chakra - your heart center - all the time. Even when a student pushes one of your buttons, you must come from a place of love. Never force anyone to do anything. Always offer alternatives in which they may feel more comfortable doing. There is no "right" way to anything - unless it is the way of love.

5. Show Up Early. Very early. You cannot run into a space, slap on some music and get to it. You have to ground yourself and then create the space. Always arrive 30, 60 or more minutes before the event so that you can create the space that is necessary and that you are prepared. And, be prepared.

6. Know How to Create Sacred Space. What is sacred space? It is a place where people feel safe to explore the depths of their own being. A place where they can feel okay crying, laughing, or expressing their true selves. A sacred space often is created with specific energy and intention behind it.. There may be spiritual figures present in the space or Ascended Masters. Often there is some sort of light - a candle, perhaps, to represent the light of Spirit. Sometimes there are greater rituals at hand to remove negative energy or increase positive vibrations, such as smudging or energy clearing. Often you will find an alter, where you focus your spiritual intentions daily for the space.

7. Know When to Step Back. If you aren't in the right place to hold sacred space, then know when to pull back from it. We often have the best intentions in mind, but aren't grounded or able to listen or connected to spirit enough, to do it. Have the integrity to know when you are in over your head and ask for guidance from one of your own teachers. Or, take a sabbatical, or spiritual retreat, to do your own inner work. Nobody will think ill of you for doing such a thing. But resentments can arise when you don't.

Holding Sacred Space for people to release or grow and transform is an art form that takes much effort to do properly. But when you do, people will know. And more people will seek to work with you for it. And then, you can help more. It's a cycle. We don't do it for the rewards, we do it because we are called to. So, I guess we can add that as our last point - know that it is your calling.

I hope that this helps many of you who may have been thinking about starting to teach or hold sacred space for others. And for those who already are but have been feeling a little lost, no worries. Take a breather and ask yourself the above questions. And to everyone, know that I am here for you, to mentor and help guide you along your journey.

In Love & Light

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December's Theme: BE THE LIGHT!

Every Spiritual Tradition talks about the Light:

"I have come into the world as light" - Bible

"Allah is the Light and the heavens and the earth." - Koran

"In the effulgent lotus of the heart dwells Brahman the Light of lights." 
- Hindu Upanishads

"Following the light, the sage takes care of all." - Lao Tsu

If every tradition talks about it, then there must be something to it, right? 

Just as the moon creeps up into the night sky, what was previously unseen is now illuminated. Light is what conquers the darkness. And as many sages have reminded us, "Be the Light." 

So for the month of December, when many festivals and holidays include themes of light (Hanukkah = Festival of Lights, Solstice = rebirth of the light, Bodhi Day = Buddha reaches enlightenment, Advent = lighting candles, and let's not get started with Christmas lights!), let's consider what it means to honor the light within and BE THE LIGHT.

"Gayatri Mantra"
A Prayer to the Divine Light

Om Bhur Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

"The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds."

Chanting this sacred ancient mantra represents both the physical sun and the Divine in all things. Use this mantra to meditate on your form of illuminated consciousness - as divine being of light, having a human experience. 

And then go take a drive and look at some amazing Christmas Light displays!


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Special Message from Tracey for December...
This summer I was able to finally visit Yogaville, a yoga ashram located in Virginia. Ever since I began taking yoga I have heard of this place and wanted to visit. I held a weekend retreat and several of us headed down together to experience this spiritual haven ourselves. 

The ashram, dedicated to the teachings of Sami Satchidananda, has a mantra, "Truth is one, paths are many." And inside the famous LOTUS Shrine there are quotes from each of the major world religions or spiritual traditions - all talking about the light. To be in the shrine is not only an impressive collection of eclectic spiritual poems with the same theme, but also incredibly grounding. 

I found myself drawn to sit, quietly, for some time in this shrine. Having quite an eclectic spiritual background myself, there is a comfort in that knowing - that at the end of the day we are all the same - we are light. 

Since that trip I have found myself more rooted in my own being - body, mind and soul. And all of the disharmony happening these days, how integral to our own individual journeys in life is it to be reminded that at the end of the day we are all one light? I have stepped back into my own light and began to emerge even brighter than before. And I hope that for the month of December, that you will also step into your light, and in the process, possibly be a beacon for others to find their way.

In Love & Light,