Old Soul Eyes

0_24e59_cb7704fb_XLI am a Brown Eyed Girl. In my family, my father and I are the only two out of seven with brown eyes. Everyone else in the family has either Blue or Hazel eyes. I suppose that is why growing up I was always attracted to people with Blue eyes. I always thought Blue eyes were beautiful. You always want what you don’t have and I couldn’t figure out how I got eyes as dark as mine when everyone else in the family has fair eyes.

Then one day a mentor/friend said something to me that changed my perspective and made me truly appreciate the eyes I have. She said “You can see your soul in the depths and beauty of your eyes. You are an old soul. You can see it in your eyes. Old souls give comfort to the younger ones. And, that’s what you do.” I reflected upon this statement for a long time. I wondered “What’s an old soul?” At that time, I was only in my twenties and didn’t really get what she meant. I was still too emotionally immature to really understand or accept the depth of what she spoke. Nor was I willing to accept the responsibility that comes with being an old soul. You see old souls have been around the block a few times. If you believe in reincarnation, an old soul is someone who has lived many lifetimes before this one. If you believe in Buddism, an old soul is here again to achieve Nirvana and live their last lifetime. They are here in this lifetime to get it right.

As I reflect on this lifetime I am living and think of it in terms of being an old soul, I now understand and accept the many tragedies I’ve witnessed. I now know that God has me here on this earth at this time for a purpose. And, that purpose is to LOVE. It’s to offer compassion and comfort to the lost traveler. It’s to give guidance to person who left their soul in the lost and found. It’s to show empathy to the person who no one understands. And, I’ve made a commitment to myself that I am getting it right in this lifetime.

My sister passed away 14 years ago after a long tragic illness. I was one of her caretakers and it was the greatest privilege of my life.  Her death broke me for a long time. I couldn’t figure out how to live my life without her. But, her memory and her legacy now sets me free and has helped me put my heart back together again. By listening to my heart and following my very own instincts instead of listening to the advice or direction of others I was able to rebuild my life. I was able to reclaim my soul.

So, yes. I am an old soul. I’ve witnessed and experienced a great deal of heartache in my life. But, those heartaches have been a wonderful teacher. It was only recently that I finally figured out that my heartaches and disappointments didn’t have to be shields that protect me.  They needed to be the rock that I stand on so I can help someone else up. They were lessons God wanted me to learn so I can help others. They were lessons in love. Through the heartaches and disappointments I’ve learned just how much love my heart can hold. I’ve learned to express my love. I’ve learned how to love unconditionally without expectation.

I have old soul eyes and for that I am grateful.

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Photo Credit:

Bec Winnel

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The Story Of My Life – Bohemian Gypsy Meets Intellect

J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all who wander are lost.” This resonates with me on the deepest level because it that is very much the story of my life. I have a bit of a gypsy soul but was also fortunate enough to have book smarts too. I’ve been this duality of bohemian artist meets intellect my entire life.

My Mother saw the gypsy in me when I was young. My father died when I was seven. My Mom raised five kids on her own and knew life was tough but would be tougher for her wandering gypsy daughter. Being a “Drill Sergeant” type of Mom she insisted I focused on using my intellect, learning “real” life skills, as she said called them, and getting a good education. Because my grades were high and my family’s financial situation, I was lucky enough to get a grant that paid for half of my tuition at local all-girl catholic prep school so I had a great high school education which has left me with some life-long friendships. After high school I wandered from one college to the next. I ended up having to drop out of La Salle University with 90 credits because I couldn’t afford my tuition the last year of school even with having two jobs. After taking many years off from school I finally finished a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 2007 in Business Management with Thomas Edison State College.

My professional journey over the years gave me the opportunity to grow and expand in many different directions and for that I am very grateful. Once again the gypsy can’t help but breaking loose at times it’s like a drunken sailor in port when the mood strikes her. I am working on containing her enthusiasm a bit. It’s getting easier as I get older because I simply don’t have energy to keep up with her. From my early 20s to mid 30s I worked for three different retail companies in the buying and planning departments as an analyst, buyer and merchandise manager and coördinator. Since leaving retail I’ve been a Hostess a local restaurant, a Receptionist for a local realtor, a Driver for a Home Care business that serviced the Senior Citizen population, an Accounts Receivable Representative and I even worked for a summer making Hoagies or should I say Subs for those not from Philly. Oh trust me, I can make a mean Philly Style Italian HOAGIE! I still work for owner making HOAGIES occasionally on holiday weekends. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease last summer I suspect I will not be able to do that anymore because the roll dust could make me sick.

Over the years I’ve volunteered for numerous local non-profit agencies. By a strange twist of fate or divine intervention in February 2002 I ended up taking a part-time job working as the Business Administrator for a small non-profit historical Museum and within six months I was promoted to the full-time Executive Director. I had no idea how much I would love that job or how that job would make a permanent impact on my life and relationships. It changed me and I am forever grateful for the experience. That job allowed me to use my full skill set and challenged me to be better, act better and do better in work and in life. That job gave me invaluable experience and taught the importance of good people skills. In many ways I grew up while working in that job.

While working as the Executive Director for the Museum for four years, I was introduced to a man who changed my life.  He took me from a girl full of unharnessed power and potential and helped to mold me into the woman I am today. His name is Paul and he was the President of the Museum when I worked there. Oh, let me tell you. Paul and I had our go-arounds. We are two head-strong people and when the door closed we often were screaming at each other or at least having a heating discussion:-)   But, we also respected each other and liked each other. And, we ALWAYS had each other’s back. As much as I bucked him and tried to steamroll my way through things and people he showed great patience with me. He slowly nurtured me and guided me like a trainer breaking a wild horse. By example, Paul showed me that I could get what I wanted in life without being a bitch, dick or asshole. He taught me to be strong and express my opinion without being arrogant or full of myself. Paul showed me the importance of compassion, empathy, patience and good people skills. Paul led me and the organization by example. He was never afraid to take on City Hall. He stood up for what he believed in. He was never afraid to take a stand and didn’t care who he pissed off if he believed in something. He was always respectful even when he was kicking your ass. I’ll never forget him saying to me one day, “Linda, you don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk! Walk away. You’re better than that.” Words I live by to this day! Paul and I are still close. I now loving call him “Dad”. As my father died when I was seven, it’s nice to have a father-figure in my life.

Unfortunately, all non-profits struggle for funding. As the budget got tight, the organization asked me to work part-time again. I couldn’t afford to that. Because of budget constraints they eventually laid me off. But, that still remains my favorite job and it gave a solid foundation of experience working in every aspect of the non-profit arena. I now volunteer my services in many capacities for other local non-profits. The part of the job I loved the most was the Public Relations aspect and, actually, I even enjoyed Grant Writing. Call me crazy but I like it.

Well, this brings me to today. I am very grateful for the job I currently have but I feel it is important to keep my blog separate from my current professional identity so I won’t go into any details of what I do for a living now or who I work for. But, all I will say is I am lucky enough to live and work near the beach. I was fortunate enough to have the skills to land a job that affords me a nice lifestyle in a great location. That makes me happy. On my days off during the summer you will usually find me on one of the local beaches enjoying sun and surf.

In my free time, I am a passionate Yogini. I was planning on doing Yoga Teacher Training this year. But, I need to postpone it for another year because I need to tighten the belt a bit this summer. I am an art LOVER. My first trip to an art museum was when I was in high school. I took the train into Center City Philly by myself because no one else would go with me to see a Diego Rivera Exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  I enjoy writing this blog, erotic poetry and am starting to write guest blogs and freelance articles. I hope to write a book one day. I am a Reiki Level I practitioner. I am preparing for my Level II training by practicing and I plan on doing Reiki Master training by next year. I have a VERY active lifestyle. I powerwalk. I do Pilates. I golf. I sail, parasail and want to zip line this summer. I meditate which brings me great peace. I live and breathe the law of attraction. What you think about you bring about! I am spiritual not religious. And, I firmly believe in KARMA. Protecting my Karma is very important to me. This means choosing right actions by taking thoughtful action instead reacting in most situations.

In the last four years, I’ve gone through a series of transitions which changed not only my body but also my relationships and hobbies. The hardest part of transitions is letting go yet it is also the most important step in healing and moving forward. Through these transitions I’ve learned to embrace the duality that lives within me and enjoy the gypsy nature of my soul while using my intellect and intuition to make good solid choices. Mostly I am learning to be grateful for every experience I’ve had in my life as they made me the woman I am today. I am strong, compassion, driven and open to change and growth. While the gypsy that lives within is my true self, I’ve also learned the benefits of stability and the power of dependability in life.

This post is dedicated in loving gratitude to my Mother and all of my teachers, mentors, spiritual counselors and personal heroes along the way. I am who I am because I was lucky enough to have you in my life.

Lastly, one of my favorite books is “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. If you are going through a transition or need some spiritual soul food, check it out. It helped me along the way. I am now reading it again for the third time.

Peace, Love & Happiness to all
Linda

Photo Credit

Midnight Red – C.M. Cooper American Impressionist Painter

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Salvation Lies Within

Somewhere in the middle of your everyday life it is possible to open your eyes to the possibilities that lie before you and want more. Rather than accepting the morsel of bread you were given it is possible for you to believe you are deserving of more and start taking steps, even small steps, towards something bigger.

Waiting for it to be easy is, frankly, lazy. Anything worth having is worth working hard for in this life. Waiting for everything to be perfect is an excuse. Nothing is perfect in life. We live in imperfection but still somehow succeed. Waiting to be absolutely positively sure you are doing the right thing lacks courage and faith. Sometimes we have to just jump and have faith the parachute will open.

I certainly do not have all the answers in life. But, I am not afraid to ask the questions of myself or others. I am not afraid to look at myself, challenge my beliefs, grow and change. I am not afraid to step into my own personal best and demand more of myself. Accepting less than one deserves is settling. I don’t need to settle. Assuming you’ll screw it up, once again, lacks faith. Oh Yee of little faith. Would you please pray a little and find something to believe in?

No, I am not religious. I don’t go to church every Sunday. I don’t claim to have a firm grasp on the Bible and depths of its meaning. But, I am spiritual. I believe in God. I believe Jesus Christ is my savior. I believe there is a power higher and stronger than me that I can trust in times of need. But, I also believe salvation lies within. Each individual person must take responsibility for their past, present and future and hold themselves accountable for their actions and, in some cases, their lack of action.

True salvation lies within and is a choice. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop assuming nothing good ever happens to you. Stop punishing yourself for mistakes you’ve made and forgive yourself once and for all. Choose to be the best version of yourself, whoever that may be. With reflection, courage, fortitude and a good plan anyone can save their own soul and choose salvation.

Salvation lies within…

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The Bikram Yoga Challenge

bikram

I started taking Bikram Yoga four weeks ago. Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises done in the same order in a room heated to 105 degrees. The heat is to help detoxification and it helps to loosen the muscles to make them more flexible.

As I am an experienced yogini and I am pretty flexible, Bikram has come fairly easily to me. But, sometimes the body just doesn’t coöperate. Every day is different in Yoga. Some days I am super flexible while others I am tight. It’s all about self acceptance and awareness. If you fall out of a pose, start over. If you can’t reach your toes, aim for your shins. If you can’t balance on the right leg, maybe you will be able to balance on the left leg. And, if you are really struggling, slow down and only do as much as your body will let you do in that moment. Yoga is very forgiving.

Last night was a tough night on the mat for me. I was tired, cold and my muscles were sore before I even walked into the class. But, I went to class anyway because none of my excuses were good enough for me to skip it. For the first time since starting Bikram, I struggled through my whole practice last night. I just couldn’t get into my body. I wasn’t making the mind body connection. About half way through it I realized I was trying too hard and I just relaxed a bit. I stopped competing with myself and started nurturing myself. I slowed down. I didn’t keep the long holds. I didn’t push myself to my edge. I just allowed myself to be exactly where I was. I stayed in the moment. Instead of getting frustrated with myself or my body I just went with the flow and did what I could. Changing my thinking helped me redirect my energies and get more out of the practice. It also built up some endurance in me. I stuck it out and kept trying. That is a life lesson. We all need to nurture ourselves more. We all need to change our thinking once in a while and give ourselves a break. We all need to stick it out and build up endurance. The key to endurance is really in the mind not the body. The mind can push the body past its self-imposed limits.

The nice thing about Bikram is that it is the same 26 Poses each time so you can see and feel your progress. While practice was challenging for me last night, I did notice major improvements in my Balance and Back Bending poses. That made the 90 minutes in 105 degrees and sore muscles today worth it:-)

While Kripalu Yoga is my favorite style of Yoga, all Yoga is good Yoga. But, I must say I do love the sweat of Bikram and I enjoy Warm/Hot Vinyasa(flow yoga)  as well. I always feel like I sweat something out of me when I leave class. It feels cleansing.

Bikram Yoga is teaching me that even at 45 years old it’s not too late to challenge myself and start over.

Namaste!

In My Life – The Beatles

I’ve been fairly sentimental in recent months. Out of the blue my eyes have welled up with tears as I reflect back on my life.  I’ve thought of the people who have shaped me and the people who hold places in my heart. While it’s a little uncomfortable to have my emotions at the surface level for all to see, it also feels very free to me to finally let it show. Finally, I am being honest in where I stand today, what I want in my life, who I love and how I got here. The word authentic strikes me. I am finally authentic.

While driving home with my Mother on Christmas night I felt filled with gratitude that I finally see and feel clearly. I would rather live this way than the way I did when I filled my time with one party after another or with beer and wine to numb myself.  It was all meaningless chatter and not meaningful interactions. Now that all the meaningless stuff has fallen away I am focusing on the people and things that really matter in my life. I am finally down to what is real in my life. Nothing gives me greater peace and comfort than to take care of those I love.  It makes me feel good. 

This song kept playing in my head over the Christmas Holiday. In some ways this year felt like an ending of something. But, I am also hoping it symbolizes a brand new beginning as well. In any regards, in my life I’ve loved them all.