Why loving YOURSELF isn’t that easy!

Me at the beach…before the storm!

With the storm raging out my window, it seems fitting to write about self-love.

Huh?

Doesn’t loving oneself bring about images of whiskers on kittens, cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel?

Listen, I think it’s great that so many people are acknowledging the value of self-love this week (really, I do!). But, I have worked with enough clients to know that while a whole lot of you like yourself, might even be proud of yourself, and are generally happy, most of us do not consistently Unconditionally Love ourselves.

The evidence is overwhelming. Just look around. If we all absolutely, positively, totally and completely loved ourselves that world out there, it would look (and feel) very different (oh, and we would look and feel a lot different, too!).

It’s great to encourage people to love themselves but actually DOING it?

That’s another story.

The journey to unconditional self-love can a bit turbulent and unpredictable (just like the storm that is raging outside my window).

Why isn’t loving yourself simple? you might ask. It sounds easy enough. If I can love my dog, love the beach, and love chocolate cake, then can’t I just as easily love myself?

Nope.

The desire to love yourself is necessary, but not sufficient.

You must have something else, first…

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness not just for others, but for yourself. This is a step most people skip, ignore, or gloss over.

How do you know if you have some forgiving to do?

Think about a past regret you may have had. When you think about it, do you FEEL any negative emotion, like shame, guilt, sadness or anger? Think about people who have done things “to you”; when you think about them right now do you feel any negative emotion? Do you? Well, if you do, then…

This post needs to end soon (I know you’re busy) so I won’t get into details here, but I CAN give you a very simple suggestion, that if you are willing to give it a try, will bring you results. I’m not promising you will fall madly in love with yourself overnight, but if you do this you will start to wake up and heal your heart and, with time, you may very well be the love of your life.

It’s called Ho’oponopono.

It is a powerful technique with incredible healing powers (google it and be amazed). I was introduced to it 8 years ago and at that time, mostly just played with it. Recently I am doing it more and more and love the results I see when my clients use it.

It is simple and it works.

You say to yourself (in your head or out loud):

  1. I am sorry (For what? You will know. Listen for the answer).
  2. Please forgive me (For what? You will know. Listen for the answer)
  3. I love you (Do your best to mean it)
  4. Thank you (Yep, you know the drill: For what? You will know. Listen for the answer)

No need to memorize the order–you will get results regardless. Say it over and over until you feel ready to stop. Sometimes I say it once; sometimes 100 times (or it seems like that–in truth I’m not counting and I don’t suggest you do either).

Here it is again:

  1. I am sorry

  2. Please forgive me

  3. I love you

  4. Thank you

Start this practice on YOU (meaning – you are telling yourself you are sorry, you are asking yourself for forgiveness, you are telling yourself you love you, and you are expressing gratitude to you for you). Sure you can do it at random times, but for me, whenever I feel any hint of anxiety or overwhelm creeping in, that is my signal to stop and do this quick routine. With clients struggling with certain things like addictions or health challenges, I suggest they do it every time they feel guilty or hopeless.

You can also use this when thinking of someone who causes you to feel any negative feeling. Super fun to play with while in the middle of a challenging situation (take, for example, an argument with your kid or partner) or while watching the evening news or reading certain Facebook posts. I find it works best in these situations if you actually say the phrases out loud. Yeah, you might get some looks, but who cares? When you love yourself, you don’t care when people look at you funny.

 it might seem far-fetched, but you are changing your reality.

Want to be part of a movement that is experimenting with this? Do it with me, let’s “get our love on” and watch things change. I mean REALLY CHANGE.

 

 

 

Love your NOW

I found myself at the beach again today.

I suppose clear skis, sunshine and nearly 70-degree weather in February has something to do with it.

While walking the beach, barefoot and flanked by my daughters, my heart almost exploded with pure joy.

I couldn’t help but think about how important it is to love your Now.

Yeah, yeah, easier said than done.

I get it.

I used to say the same thing.

How do you enjoy your now when your mind is cluttered with “mistakes” from the past you keep reliving, or worries about tomorrow (like how you will pay the bills or make headway on that growing To Do list).

Here is what Eckhart Tolle (Power of Now) has to say about it, and I think his perspective is worth a read:

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

Lately, I have been consciously choosing to enjoy my now. I can hear you say: “Uh-huh, sure Heather. Easy for you to do while the Pacific ocean is kissing your toes.”

Seriously, though, I have lived places that I found hard to love. Try: Boston in winter (um, I call it “cold” when it dips below 70) and summer in Phoenix (I call it “hot” when it tops 90). I have been in situations that were beyond stressful, exhausting, and heart-wrenching. Who hasn’t?

But I do believe there is something to love about every place and every situation.

Yes, Virginia, you can love your NOW.

Before you think “Well, she doesn’t know MY situation.” Why not try it? I mean, what do you have to lose?

How to get started:

  • Look around and call out things you love (even when I am in traffic I can love that I live in a place with a paved road or that the car in the lane next to me is staying in it’s lane)
  • Ask yourself: What am I learning here? (and wait for the answer – don’t think the answer – wait for it…it WILL come)
  • When you find yourself with a thought that isn’t bringing you love and light, say: “delete,” “cancel,” or “next thought, please”

Let me know how it goes. And never stop Living Love.

Broken Seashells – Love for the past

Broken seashells

Today after my morning meditation I clearly heard: Go to the beach.

And believe it or not, I don’t hear that a lot.

I envisioned a fairly strenuous hike I enjoy, thinking, “Maybe today the Universe really wants me to sweat.” The kids have been homebodies lately, so when I asked if they wanted to go with me I was shocked when I heard: “Yeah.” I actually had to ask again to make sure I wasn’t hearing things.

Well. Hmmm. They don’t like the extreme hike, so I knew my plan wasn’t going to happen. We hopped in the car and I headed west not sure where we would end up. As we got closer, Ella suggested a walk we haven’t done for awhile.

This is a walk on a paved bike path, and although you can get down to the beach, we usually stay on the path. Today, I said, “Let’s go down to the sand.” My kids aren’t big fans of sand in their shoes, so again I was happily surprised when they said, “OK Mom.”

We plopped down on the warm sand and quietly took in the view. I love to hunt rocks and shells, so after awhile, I got up, took off my shoes and wandered down to the rocky shoreline. It’s not often I find shells at this particular beach. Perhaps it was the recent storms, or perhaps I just had my eyes open today, but there we so many beautiful ones nestled in the piles of rocks.

The kids joined me and we spent about an hour dodging the waves and picking out treasures. When we sat on the sand to decide what was going home with us, I realized how drawn I was to the broken shells.

I remember being a kid, and passing up the broken ones, in search of the perfect, whole shell.

The breaks in the shells reveal their geometry, the golden spiral. So amazing. Turning them over in my hand, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a dear friend. She shared a poem by Rumi (although English is her native language, she can listen to his works in the original text and I so appreciate her translation).

The poem was about a reed flute. The flute tells the story of being separated from the reed bed and what that separation felt like. It goes on to tell what the reed had to go through to be able to make the beautiful sounds it can now make. It was a story of the journey to become empty; to be able to play the sounds that are played through you.

I thought about all the ways I have been broken. I reflected on my journey to become empty.

I held those shells in my hand and prayed that beautiful sounds would be played through me.

Today, I feel love for my past. I hope you can find love for yours…and let the music play!

Love – As a Way of BEING

 

Me with my Mom and Dad, circa 1977ish?

I am not a fan of commercial holidays, and yet today, like everyone else, I will write about love. But not as an emotion – not that feeling that makes your palms sweat, your stomach do flips, and your head spin – but LOVE as a way of being.

My Mom and Dad raised me on camping, the beach, and good old-fashioned fun. They encouraged me to explore my hobbies of rock collecting and roller-skating. My Dad modeled what grace under pressure should look like and my Mom gave me the belief I could do anything. They paid my way through college (and I know this was not easy – we weren’t wealthy) and supported my decision to get a PhD (even though they never went to college themselves and I am sure they were thinking “What, 4 years isn’t enough?”).

When I married young (to a man with long, green hair), my Mom prayed for perfect weather and my Dad walked me down the aisle. When I divorced (twice!) there was no judgment. When I left my 6-figure income job to follow my passion of “Transforming the World” they both said they were proud of me. When I made the decision to “unschool” their grandkids because I wanted them to have a chance of following their dreams, too, they thought it was cool. Over the 46 years they have parented me, I’m sure there were many moments of frustration, stress, and worry. But they never second-guessed me, knowing I am capable of directing this magical adventure we call life, on my own. Whatever decision I make they are there on the sidelines, my biggest fans.

Now THAT is love…as a way of being.

So today I express my love for the two people who have instilled in me that I am love, I am loved, and I am loving. Thanks for being such rad parents!

Week of Love – Love what you do

Today is Monday. Tuesday is Valentine’s day, and it seems this week is all about love (for me everyday is all about love, but that’s another story). And, while I’ve never been big on a holiday that seems to suggest there is only one day a year where we share our heart-felt thoughts with others…I’m going to use it as a springboard for some posts about the one thing that I think can truly change the world: LOVE. Here is a photo I love, of people who know what they love and who share that love with us. The beautifully perfect little girl is Morgan (the daughter of my cousin Andrew -does that make her my second cousin or something? – never could get those straight. She is family). Little Morgan loves to dance and when she does your heart just sings. The man playing the cello is Zuill Bailey. An incredible musician (and all around super cool guy) who ceates sounds that can wake up your spirit (if it happens to be asleep) and send it dancing straight out of your physical form (if your spirit is awake and ready to play). This photo was snapped in my Aunt Mary and Uncle Roger’s home last summer when Morgan and Zuill blessed us with this unscripted performance. Time stood still as these two entered their respective zones of flow. Last night Zuill was awarded 3 Grammys for his achievement as a musician. Can’t wait to see what Morgan does with her gifts…What will you do this week to share your unique talents with the world and make someone smile?

Why So Silent?

Hello Loyal Fans,

I realized today my blog is not very “bloggy.”

Turns out I am feeling like there is just SO much information out there and I am feeling compelled to not add to it right now.

However, I am really working hard to maintain a presence on my professional Facebook page that is short & sweet, just perfect for the busy person who needs a shot of encouragement but doesn’t have time for much more.

I encourage you to visit that page (Dr. Heather Renee), and if you are so inclined, like it and follow me. I share encouraging quotes, tips, tricks, and videos hand-picked for people on a transformative journey.

Hope to see you there!

 

Love, Loss, and LuLu

LuLu

This will be a repeat for some of you…but today is the one year anniversary of losing our little LuLu and I am reposting my writing on Love, Loss, and LuLu…
Those of you who know me, and I mean really know me, know I was never a dog person. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the very first words my children uttered were “Dog.”

Not Mom.

Not Da.

Dog.

Truth be told, I was actually thrilled because my twins spoke a twin language until they were nearly three, so when they finally spoke a word I understood I was ecstatic.

Even if it was “dog.”

Their obsession with dogs started the moment they could walk and their favorite place was the dog park, not on a swing or a slide, or in a pool or a sandbox. They loved chasing dogs at the dog park.

When they were old enough to string together a sentence they began asking for one. I would explain that it wouldn’t be fair to get a dog and have them home all alone all day while I was at work and they were at school. I attempted to appease them with all sorts of pets through the years: fish, guinea pigs, even a cat. But these kids, they wanted a dog. They were relentless with the begging and pleading as was I with my solemn and consistent “no.”

Then something happened.

I had to tell my 8-year-old girls that their Dad had died a sudden and unexpected death. It was the worst day of my life. To see your children in what I can only describe as primal pain is something I will never forget. Shortly after George’s death I made some major decisions. These included moving back home to California and working only virtual jobs. It was my attempt to ensure I was making more memories than money.

To my surprise, the kids did not want to leave Arizona. Knowing I would be working from home, I made them a deal: Move to California and you will get that dog you have been asking for since you were three! Yes, I was terrified of owning a dog, but felt like it would be a good experience for all of us and since they had lost their father, perhaps it would be a nice outlet for all that love they had to give.

We moved to SoCal, got settled and began the search. The kids discovered petfinder.com and would present me with literally hundreds of choices daily. In an effort to narrow down the options, I asked them to do some research and give me what they thought would be the three best breeds for our family. After a few days, Rebecca reported we didn’t need to look at three breeds as she had found the one and only breed for us: a Saint Bernard!!!

Um…No.

I took the search over and crafted a detailed email to all the local animal shelters. I explained I was not a dog person and knew little about dogs. I wanted a small adult dog, preferably one that would not piss off my neighbors with incessant barking and bonus points if it didn’t shed. Within hours the Laguna Beach animal shelter emailed me back stating simply: “We have your dog.”

Lulu was such an incredible little being. I used to joke that she was the only thing I have ever really manifested. She was a cat in a min-pin body and oh how she loved the kids! When they would get home from school each day she would jump so high out of pure joy, that she would nearly flip over in a complete air-born somersault. You would swear she was a circus dog.

And the girls…their love for this little 8-pound ball of fur was fierce. If they were ever away for more than a day the first “person” they hugged and told they missed when they got home was LuLu, not me.

LuLu brought our little family closer together. She reminded us how totally cool unconditional love is. She also taught me the importance of taking lots of breaks, long walks, and smelling flowers (no small feat!). That little dog had such a special place in my heart that I referred to her as Ella and Rebecca’s little sister!

We had LuLu for a short 2 ½ years. One year ago today, January 25, 2016, we took her to the park and after a nice run she whimpered, lay sideways and just went totally limp. I rushed her to the pet hospital and although they were able to get her heart started again, after 5 hours of heroic measures, it was clear she was not going to make it.

That night my children had something irreplaceable taken away from them, and at 11-years old, had their hearts completely shattered for the second time in their short lives.

At least this time they got to say goodbye.

That day was the second hardest day of my life, watching them sob and tell our little LuLu to find Daddy in heaven so she could play on the beach while he surfed.

But, it was also the proudest day of my life. As we drove home from the hospital, the car silent but for the sobbing, I spoke the only words I could think of: “I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.” I didn’t explain what I was sorry for: That I couldn’t fix this, that life wasn’t fair, that I could not make them miss her less or take their pain away, that I had said “yes” to a dog knowing one day it would die and cause them great heartache…..

In response I heard one whisper: “Thank you.” I didn’t respond. I was blinking hard, trying to see the road through my tears, when the other said: “Thank you, Mommy. Thank you for giving us LuLu.”

So while I second-guessed my decision to bring home a pet that would one day die, my children thanked me for giving them the opportunity to love little LuLu and reminded me that as cliche as it is, it is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.

We will miss you, you silly little dog who loved gluten and raw fish, who worshiped the sun and hated mornings….and who loved us unconditionally.

Imagination is More Important than Knowledge – Albert Einstein

imagine great things

This morning I had the opportunity to sit down with Elizabeth Lukacs, author of the children’s book series: Lizzy Wants to Know. The first book (Lizzy Wants to Know, Book I) just launched this week (http://deeplywell.com/kids-adventures/) and I am so excited to share it with you!

Lizzy Wants to Know is a series that bridges the gap between feelings and emotional expression. Let’s be real here: At some point, we all experience pain inside, and whether you are a kid or not, these feelings can be tough to handle. This series lets children know it’s ok to have these feelings – it’s a part of who we are. Through the books, kids come to know that love prevails in all things. When I asked Elizabeth to bottom line for me what these books were all about, she said that the underlining theme for all the Lizzy Books are built on two simple rules to follow when we express our feelings; if we follow these simple rule we when we honor others, ourselves, and thus our journey here in life.

These rules are:

  1. Do not judge – ourselves or others
  2. Do not hurt – ourselves or others

When I asked Elizabeth to tell me what inspired her to write this series, she fondly reminisced about the days of raising her own four children and about how she was known as the “Mama Bear” of her small community. The neighborhood kids would always choose her house as the place to hang out. And no wonder! Elizabeth’s home was a place where one’s imagination could run wild. Watching children heal because they could express their emotions in a safe and supported way showed her the gap she was here to fill.

She went on to create dramatic interactive and experiential programs that are presented in schools, hospitals, community, and summer programs. These programs, for kids 3-18, include secret spy adventures; tea parties of kings and queens; teaching the Tree of Responsibility, a program called “The Train of Destiny”; high school plays dealing with drug, alcohol and violence prevention; and programs that address bullying. Decades of these experiences inspired her to write books that would present life as an adventure, as something to explore as her stories encourage imagination with reckless abandon. They address uncomfortable situations and open up dialogue between adults and kids. The series reinforces the idea that we will be here for our children and will help them figure out how to navigate emotions in times of challenge or adversity.

During our interview, Elizabeth shared that Albert Einstein was her hero and shared her favorite quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Because anything in our life first has to be imagined before it IS, imagination must be fostered and that is where Lizzy comes in. Lizzy Wants to Know helps adults create a safe place where kids can use their imagination to find solutions. The books are designed to help build the imaginary process of our minds. We all desire to experience great things, but first we must imagine great things.

Also available with the first book is a guided meditation, because, as Elizabeth puts it:

“It’s never too early to train children how to meditate, relax and imagine great things!”

The Lizzy books help us explore, express our feelings, learn how to share what we feel with others, and invite us all to play in our imaginations so that light, freedom, and fun can live through us.

Elizabeth believes there is no greater mission that we are called to contribute and she recited Gandhi when he spoke of world peace: “If we are to reach real peace in this world we shall have to begin with the children” -Gandhi

As our interview was coming to a close she said to me: “You have but one life here – what are you doing with it? This is not a dress rehearsal so it’s important to pay attention…to do what fills your heart full of love. Try not to find yourself in a place where you want a “do over.” Live your life without regrets, especially when it comes to your responsibility to children and your commitment to your child within!”

I have had the privilege of reading the first book and agree that it is for people 0 -100! After all, children mimic us. As role models, isn’t it time we play a bit more?

I have had the privilege of reading the first book and agree that it is for people 0 -100! After all, children mimic us. As role models,

About the Author: Elizabeth is the owner of Deeply Well (www.deeplywell.com) a company that focuses on balancing body, mind, spirit, and emotions; Elizabeth has been doing this kind of work for over 30 years. While she does work with adults assisting them with their personal healing journey, she has always contributed to a personal mission in working with children. From schools, hospitals, children centers, Boy & Girl Scouts, summer programs for kids, and kid’s private adventure parties she has delivered dynamic programs that are based in play and adventure and are interwoven with teachings that include core values, self esteem, decision-making skills, team-building, problem-solving and yes, creative imagination and emotional balance.

For more information about Elizabeth and to check out her book series, visit: http://deeplywell.com/kids-adventures

Where are you pissing?

A friend said it this way: When you have one foot in the past (regrets, negative memories, traumas) and one foot in the future (anxiety/fear about what “might” or “might not” happen) then your only choice is to piss on your now.

Are you pissing on YOUR NOW?

I did.

For decades.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it: “Enjoy the Journey”, “Relax and enjoy life”, “Be present”, and “Just breathe”…..

But, come on; would you agree that is easier said than done?

Do you know why your daily affirmations and your desire to maintain that steadfast positive mindset does not always work? In a nutshell it is because we need to be set free from things holding us back…things we might not even me able to articulate or really understand. Your “Other Than Conscious Mind” is running programs you aren’t even aware of; programs GIVEN to you from birth to about age 7. These programs tether you to your past and the unknown future, stealing YOUR NOW.

While there are probably as many ways to energetically balance yourself as there are human beings, I want to thank Gary Sinclair for Soul Link and your remarkable and truly unique Restoration workshop that gave me the tools to energetically heal myself allowing me to fall in love with me. When you truly understand Life as Energy and how to be Love Living rather than allowing Life to Live you, staying in the now becomes fun, exciting, and, yes, even natural.

My Restoration so drastically changed my life, I went on to become a Certified Restoration Therapist. Perhaps Restoration is going to be part of your story….

If you would like to learn more, check out my FB page (Dr. Heather Renee) and visit my website (DrHeatherRenee.com) where you can join the growing community of people seeking to Transform the World by first healing themselves to they can be free to live out their life purpose.

 

 

 

Heaven on Earth?

 

Dr Heather Renee

The last few years I found myself loathing the question “So, what do you do?”

As much as I adore teaching and had all but become addicted to the constant challenges administrative positions afforded, there came a day when it was clear I had fallen out of love with education as a system.

Most of you know my life changed significantly when I left my academic position late last year. Now, 8 months later, my life purpose has gone from this murky grey idea to: THIS IS WHY I AM HERE – and I think I finally have my “verbal business card” to share with you.

“So, what do you do?”

“I help people find heaven here on earth (seriously, why WAIT??) by giving them the tools to break free from physical and mental discomfort.”

It all goes back to understanding life as energy. The Universe has laid in my path some really cool things that I am beyond excited about (and really, these were all PLACED right in my lap….I did not seek out any one of the awesome and unique pieces that now make up the mosaic that is my new life).

I am currently living heaven on earth in beautiful Sitka, Alaska, and over the next few weeks I will write on how YOU can heal your mind (from negative memories and maladaptive thought patterns) and your body from physical discomforts. If everyone was free of negative memories and thought patterns AND physical pain – oh what a world we could create!!

If anything I write perks your interest or “resonates” with your mind, body or soul, check out my FB page (Dr. Heather Renee) and visit my website (www.DrHeatherRenee.com) where you can join a community of others interested in living a heavenly life here on earth.