Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vow Breakers

The fifth chakra also is the center of the energy of honor.
It resonates when you "give your word" to someone.
When you make a commitment,
you agree to use the power of yoru will
to hold within you a part of another person's spirit,
to be psychologically supportive.
"Giving your word," or making a social vow
 is a ritual of personal revelation.
When a person breaks his word, 
that action reverberates for years
within the psyche of the betrayed.
It cuts to the soul.
- Caroline Myss in Sacred Contracts

In the past I've written about the temptation to play the victim. Being right or self-righteous is intoxicating. We feel superior. We feel in control and therefore we feel safe.

Having someone break a promise they've made to us provides similar self-righteousness. One can blog and blog and blog about how wrong the promise-breaker is and how terrible it feels to be lied to. One can wave accusing fingers about how "good" people don't break their vows and how "best friends" stick around no matter what.

I get like that. I get into how-could-you mode. Better yet is how-dare-you mode. Then there's the tried and true after-all-I've-done-for-you mode. These modes are intoxicating. All providing the self-righteousness that our egos crave.

It does hurt. Being lied to hurts. Catching someone in a lie and having them show no remorse hurts. Broken promises hurt like hell. Broken vows can break a heart so badly it never beats right again.

We might be tempted to put up our defenses and refuse to ever trust again. We can rock back and forth hugging our knees babbling "you said you'd never leave me, you said you'd never abandon me..." over and over till our eyes cross. But...and everyone loves a big BUTT...if we stay too long in that mode, it's a cop out. It's on us. Our pain becomes something we're responsible for. The pain is only painful if we stay stuck in how-could-you mode. The pain is prolonged if we keep running the painful events over and over in our heads.

As I taught today in Buddhism class, the pains we suffer at the hands of others always have a kernel of self-revelation in them. Well, maybe more than a kernel, probably a giant hill made of kernels.

When we notice a pattern -
not something that happens once, not twice, but a pattern -
of people in our lives breaking big important promises to us, we should ask ourselves what it is about us that's making this pattern possible. What is this pattern trying to tell me about me?

Maybe we need to be more/less trusting
or maybe we need to learn about setting boundaries.
Maybe we are so deathly afraid of a real relationship we keep attracting painful ones so we'll have damn good reasons to never trust or to never allow real closeness.

Maybe friends are betraying us because we've never learned to value ourselves. Maybe we never learned to be a flying carpet because we've been too busy being a doormat.

Maybe the pattern of broken promises is an arrow pointing at our own broken promises. It could be time to ask how much integrity we've had when we've given our word.

Perhaps we seek out the promise-breakers so we'll never have to keep the promises we make. We'll always have an excuse for our lack of integrity if we align ourselves with untrustworthy people. We can always say, "See, they broke their word. Now I get to break mine."

Continually attracting promise-breakers means we'll always get to feel "wronged" so we'll always get to be right. We don't have to hold ourselves accountable to our promises because we've made promises to hard-core promise breakers. Promise breakers break. Vow breakers break. Everybody wins by losing.

It's an ego game that will never end unless we consciously end it.
The only way to end it is to be golden with our word no matter what the other person is doing. No matter how badly we've been hurt we can do the right thing, not to be superior, but because the cycle of breaking can end if we end it.

But who will end it?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Special

Vitruvius: The reason I made up the prophecy 
was because I knew that whoever found the piece
 could become The Special. 
Because the only thing anyone needs to be special 
is to believe that you can be. 

Emmet: But how could I just decide to believe 
that I'm special when I'm not? 

Vitruvius: Because the world depends on it.  

Emmet: The prophecy is made up, 
but it's also true. 
It's about all of us. 
Right now, it's about you. 
And you... still... can change everything. 

Emmet was average,
yet the whole Lego city depended on him to save them.

Ms. Wyldstyle tries to convince
him that he's the most special person in the universe!
He's not. He's just an average Lego guy. She's terribly disappointed when she discovers this. Emmet loses confidence in himself.

But...and everyone loves a big BUTT...the wise Vitruvius informs Emmet that he doesn't have to be special to be The Special. Vitruvius had faith that whoever was given the task of saving the Lego city would rise to the occasion. They didn't need special powers, they just needed to be willing. Their willingness would allow them to be guided. It sounded like Vitruvius had faith in divine intervention.

His faith paid off. Emmet did indeed rise to the occasion with the help of Finn, the 8 year old human who's "playing with" (operating, controlling) the Legos thereby giving them their personalities and actions. Think about it; when humans are playing with action figures we're the ones who control the storyline. We can pick any toy to be the hero. That's what happened for Emmet. Finn chose him to be The Special and he indeed was able to rise to the occasion because of how Finn was "operating" him.

That could be a metaphor for how God operates us. When God chooses a prophet, hero, or calls someone to holy orders, no matter how non-special the person is, the divine spark from within can be fanned into a special flame. The non-special can do special things. The humble Lego person can save the world.

Everyone has the potential to be The Special, even if there is nothing special about them.

I love finding truths in children's movies. I find those Life Lessons wherever I go!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lego wisdom

Because the only thing 
anyone needs to be special 
is to believe that you can be. 
I know that sounds like a cat poster 
but it's true. 
Look at what you did 
when you believed 
you were special. 
You just need to believe it 
some more. 
 - Vitruvius in The Lego Movie

Magical thinking
can lead to
magical actions
and miraculous events.

Think magic.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Professor takes the Ice Bucket Challenge - Don't just dump - Raise Awareness and Funds

Do the Ice Bucket Challenge right!

Raise awareness and money!

I DO dump ice water on my head in this video

after a brief how-to on the #icebucketchallenge

You're dumping ice water on yourself to raise awareness of the fight against ALS, great!

Buuuuttt make sure you're doing it right!

Use the hashtags #icebucketchallenge #alsicebucketchallenge #strikeoutals

Tell people to send whatever they can afford to

The ALS Association 1275 K Street NW - Suite 250 

Washington, DC 20005.

Put a link in the description of your IceBucket video to als.org

Make your ice bucket challenge count!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Lavender and the Dinosaur

We celebrated my birthday at the awesome Field Station Dinosaurs in Secaucus, NJ where 32 animatronic dinosaurs are positioned around a walk-through styled like Jurassic Park. I was happy beyond belief. Along the tour they had interactive exhibits and games one of which was Dinosaur Family Feud. My friends and I were the only ones in the air conditioned tent for this iteration of the game as it was nearing the end of the day.

Our tour guide who was acting as MC started to explain the game rules but kept choking and coughing. She motioned to her assistant and asked him to please tell the grounds keeper to stop weed whacking. She was having a reaction to the fresh cut grasses outside the tent and couldn't take a breath without coughing. She sipped water but it didn't help. I reached into my bag and got my Lavender essential oil. I waved the bottle under her nose at first and said, "Here, this might make you feel better." She immediately had a reaction. She stopped coughing and calmed down. "What is that?" she asked, looking a little woozy.

I said it was essential oil of Lavender. I told her to hold out her left hand. I dripped a few drops into her palm. I instructed her to rub her palms together with the right hand on top going clockwise, then cup her hands over her nose and take three deep inhales. She did. Then she sank down into her chair moaning and sighing about how wonderful it felt. She took more than the three inhales. She kept saying how amazing it was. "Wow, what did you do to me? That stuff is powerful!" she said between inhales. She could breathe easily now.

She got herself together and we played the Dinosaur Feud. As we played I reached into my bag and fetched a sample bottle and filled it with Lavender oil. When the game was over I gave it to her with my business card, telling her that she should contact me. She looked at my card and gasped. Professor of religion and women's studies? She couldn't believe it.

She explained that the message kept coming to her and my business card sealed the deal. What message? That she should become a teacher. Little hints and coincide-ances kept coming up in her life telling her that teaching was her natural talent. I agreed. I told her that I assumed she was a grade school teacher who was working the Dinosaur park as summer work. She was a natural!

Now her eyes filled with tears. She hugged me and thanked me. I told her she was blessed. I said she was anointed. I told her that she was called to become an educator and she needed to answer her call. She held me, looked into my eyes, and thanked me profusely with tear-filled eyes.

As we left the tent my bff's girlfriend Heather said, "When I grow up I want to be Lisa and make strangers cry!" My life is full of ecstatic experiences.

When it was time to leave the theme park we had to exit through the gift shop. We were waiting on line to pay for the above photograph and in walks my anointed teacher-tour-guide with a big smile. She put a pink plastic lei around my neck and gave me a special dinosaur pencil. I told her I'd never forget her.

We're not permitted to say that Young Living essential oils cure or treat ailments. I don't claim that they cure or treat anything. I just tell stories about cause and effect. Something happened, an oil got involved, something changed.

Spirit put me in this woman's path to help her see where her talents belonged. As an added benefit inhaling Lavender oil was followed by her being able to breathe. No claims, just a story.

A really good story.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Casey Conrad Oiler and Black Belt

"Being the daughter of a surgeon, 
I grew up running around an emergency room 
and using pharmaceuticals without question; 
I initially snickered at such a laundry list 
of applications that one simple little bottle 
of Peppermint oil could aid. 
But, as chance would have it this guy said 
the magic word that just so happened to resonate
 with me in that moment - pain...
It wasn't until I finished up my 90-minute lecture 
that I really had the time to stop 
and realize that I hadn't had any back pain 
while speaking. 
- Casey Conrad in 

It's always a pleasure to hear a really talented public speaker. Friends and I went to an essential oils seminar tonight in Saddle Brook, NJ. The great Casey Conrad spoke for about 90 minutes. She was funny informative and as always, captivating.

After the talk we went to the back of the room where she was selling her book for only $10! We of course bought books and insisted on getting them autographed. I chatted her up briefly, asking her about her career as a business consultant who specializes in health and fitness. I asked if she had ever worked with a martial arts studio. She said, not only had she worked with martial arts studios, but she had three studios of her own back in the day. I asked her what style. She says she practiced Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do.


During her lecture she said she was certified in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). Could she be any cooler?

Oils, martial arts, dynamic public speaking, and NLP. Very, very cool.

Come to think of it, if I'M into all those things, that makes me pretty cool, too.

But the tear bringer of the evening
was when Casey recited a poem that she and her grandmother used to recite out loud during her grandmother's last years on earth. Her grandmother said reciting poetry from memory kept her sharp. It was a sweet, child's poem, but it got to me. It sums up how I feel about my new daring venture into martial arts. I'm starting at a very low level of flexibility and cardio endurance. Memorizing forms doesn't come easily to me. In short I don't think I'm very good. I ask myself every day why I'm studying something from square one. Casey's poem gave me hope and the inspiration to train for one...more...day...

Be the Best of Whatever You Are
by Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley-but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the moon be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail
Be the best of whatever you are!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Master

"A good teacher guides their students 
to be able to stand on their own two feet 
and go out into the world to continue teaching; 
such a wonderful thing. 
The martial arts, as I always say,
 is a tool used to teach the greater lessons of life itself. 
That's what we teach, life. 
I am, whether I like it or not-- 
and whether he likes it or not -- 
a legacy to my first master as I continue to do what I do,
 and make my own. 
That is what any good master would want; 
for their students to be better than themselves
 and go on their own, 
standing on their own two feet...
When a student of mine goes on their own
 to teach on their own,
 it is the highest form of flattery. 
A part of me is in each of my students, 
especially the ones who make it to Black Belt 
and pass on the knowledge professed by me. 
Just as my first master with me, 
I will always be a part of them. 
I will always be in their hearts and their mind,
 in every technique they perform, 
every move they show, every lesson they provide..."

When a student leaves,
whether it's an amicable parting of the ways, a harsh cutting off at the helm, or they simply graduate, mentors and teachers have to say goodbye. I'm one of the lucky ones. I hear back from them. I get emails, messages, and visits from former students letting me know that my lessons had an impact on them. This is why I feel called to do what I do in the way that I do it. I teach life lessons in class, my blog, and in other areas of my life.

Tonight when one of my martial arts friends told me that a former student of mine had begun a YouTube channel I was so very happy. Master Trento is such an excellent martial artist and dedicated instructor. It is a blessing that many more people will benefit from his teaching via the world of online video. I couldn't be happier, truly.

I study Tang Soo Do under one of Master's black belts. Kyosa trained in traditional Tae Kwon Do under Master Trento for the better part of a decade. It is true what Master says about legacy. There is always a spark of the teacher in the student, one that can never be extinguished. I am fortunate to be part of a sacred lineage.

Now the martial arts world is fortunate to have video instruction from the Master, one he promises to share weekly. Master's video on the basic foundation of self defense is easy to understand and important to know (click here). I was so excited to see the fruition of this project.

He may never see what I've typed here but I hope in Spirit he'll know that I am delighted that he's expanded his online presence, that he's passing on his teaching in this "modern" way, and that he's succeeding in the world that he cares for so deeply.

祝好运 Zhù hǎo yùn to you, Master.

For other charming and informative videos from the Master click here

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