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Let It Begin With Me

I’m a prayer. And with all that is crazy in the world right now I know that the one little bit I can control is me. So I pray. I pray for peace within me. I pray that I have the strength to love my enemies, because man that’s really hard sometimes. To have compassion and love for people that are purposefully hurting other people is hard. And so I pray. Because I really want to keep peace and love in my heart always.

I love to do lovingkindness meditations. Have you heard of it? It’s a Buddhist meditation that calls for love close in, with yourself, and then as you go on it extends further and further out to the world. Here’s an abbreviated sample of what one would look like. I’ll put a resource at the end that will give you a broader view.

Maybe put on some relaxing music, get comfortable and take some time to breathe and do this meditation.

You begin with yourself and this mantra:

May I be safe from inner and outer harm. May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I take care of myself joyfully.

Then you think of someone who has been really good to you; a spiritual mentor or good friend.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

The next person you’re going to think of is a dearly beloved person, someone you feel very warmly toward.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Watch them in your mind’s eye and see them receiving your well-wishes. If strong emotions of love come up, take a moment and feel them.

The next person that we are going to extend our circle of lovingkindness to is a neutral person. This is someone that you neither particularly like or dislike. Someone like the your next door neighbor’s gardener or a waitress at your favorite eatery. Holding a picture of that person in your mind, we say:

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

See if you can picture that person receiving this lovingkindness from you.

We next choose to open our hearts and extend lovingkindness to the difficult person. It is suggested that you don’t pick THE most difficult person in your life or the person that has hurt you the most. For now, just choose someone that is difficult or annoying to you. This also isn’t condoning someone’s bad behavior – you’re not saying that what they’ve done to you is okay. What you are saying is that you are a human being with the same desires for safety and happiness as everyone else. That we are all connected and as such, you are worthy of love. If you find that you’re having negative feelings, push through them and continue your feelings of lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Next we send lovingkindness to all sentient beings everywhere without exception or exclusion. Maybe begin by thinking about people in places that you’ve traveled or places that you want to travel. People that you’ve heard about on the news, good and bad.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Now the meditation is finished. Try to keep the positive feelings of lovingkindness with you. If someone angers you during your day you can say, May I be happy and peaceful a few times and then extend that to the other person, may you be happy and peaceful.

If you’d like an extended, guided version of a lovingkindness meditation, I’m offering it right now  to people who sign up to my coaching email list. Click here to do that and after you’re signed up you’ll be taken to a page on my website to listen to the meditation – it’s got beautiful music and my voice! What could be better?

P.S. I love that I began this post with the sentence, “I am a prayer,” by which I meant pray-er, but I also believe that I’m a prayer. Love that.

I would really love to know how you felt after doing the meditation!

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Guest Blog Post by Kimberly Kalil

Today we have the blessing of hearing from my very close friend, (whom I met at a retreat several years ago!) Kimberly Kalil. I’ve asked her some questions about retreating and what it’s meant to her life and also about Grace. Please read on to find out more about Kimberly and to read the interview.

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Kimberly Kalil is a mom to two precious kiddos; wife to one cool dude; busy newspaper consultant; artist; crafter; digital memory keeper; and seeker of all things creative. She and her family make their home in Southern Arizona amid the cacti and javalinas. She’s all about the hot, dry weather of the desert – the hotter the better.

Kimberly blogs regularly about her life, memory keeping endeavors, and creative projects at www.kimberlykalil.com.

Question: When did you begin attending retreats and why?

Answer: My first retreat was back in 2011. My first retreat was at the Oregon Coast, somewhere I’d never been, but I was looking for community and friendship. I had moved to a new town, a whole new state, in 2007 and worked from home, both of which were super isolating. I was struggling to make connections and thought going to a retreat would help me connect with some like-minded people. Really, I was just super lonely and going through hard stuff … really, really hard stuff. And I wanted to find people who would love me and cheer me on through life.

Question: How many have you been on?

Answer: As of this year, I’ve been to six … six really awesome adventures.

Question: Why did you keep going to retreats?

Answer: The people … it’s always been about the people. I would get this warm, fuzzy feeling as I sat in a circle with some of the most amazing and interesting new friends.

Question: What benefits have you received from attending retreats?

Answer: Benefits? Oh yes, so many benefits. Retreats have given me strength. Retreats have given me hope. Retreats have taught me to be bold. Retreats have shown me the importance of self-care. It’s actually kind of mind-blowing all the “things” retreats have given me. I’ve made some of best friends I’ll ever have thanks to retreats. I’ve met people who shifted my perspective — for the better — on life. Retreating helped me find my voice and has really helped me understand what it is I want to share with this world. I could go on and on and on … that’s how awesome retreats are.

Question: What is your single best and most important takeaway from a retreat?

Answer: It’s so easy to feel like you’re alone in this world and no one can understand your struggles. But that’s not true. There are so many brave and kind people at there and they can offer love, compassion and understanding if you’re just willing to let them in. Tell your story. Open your heart. And connection will come.

Question: What are your thoughts on Grace and how does it manifest in your life?

Answer: Aah, grace. Such a tricky thing. Or is it? I’m really not that great when it comes to offering myself grace. I spend a lot of time beating myself up rather than offering myself grace. Grace to me is kind. Grace to me is understanding. Grace says I’m enough.

Thank you so much Kimberly for your very honest and personal answers! I’m sure there are many people out there who are intrigued by the idea of retreating, but aren’t certain it’s for them and I believe that you’ve made it feel like a very safe, fun, and life changing-in-the-best-possible-way thing to do!

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Gabrielle Bernstein – Become The Happiest Person You Know

For today’s Share The Love Sunday, I’m sharing someone who has really changed the way I see the world, Gabrielle Bernstein. From Gabby’s site:

Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a next-generation thought leader” by Oprah Winfrey. She appears regularly as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show and has been named “a new role model” by The New York Times. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Miracles Now, and May Cause Miracles. Her two additional bestsellers include of Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie. Gabrielle is also the founder of HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

She has a new book coming out called The Universe Has Your Back. If you pre-order the book (keep your receipt info!), you will get free access to her workshop called How to Manifest Your Dreams Click here for all of the details.

I hope you’ll take the time to peruse her website and become familiar with Gabby. She’s truly an inspiration to me.

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Brave Girl University

Share The Love Sunday

Today’s Share the Love Sunday is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Brave Girl University. I was asked over a year ago to contribute content to this online classroom and I submitted my class Everyday Grace about how to offer Grace to yourself and others.

Grace is interconnected–noticing it, finding it, offering it and receiving it were presented with such loving kindness that I felt grace drew me here. Being a part of this class and learning that “In every situation, there is grace” has changed me. Accept the gift of grace, make time to honor yourself with this class. ~ Renée Norris 2015

There are almost 100 teachers and the list of classes is enormous. Everything from art, crafting, to soul work, to art and soul work. Watch this brief video to see what it’s all about.

Now, CLICK HERE to sign up. The best part is you get ONE MONTH totally FREE!!!  And you can cancel at any time.

You’re going to love it!!!  I do!

 

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Notes From The Herd Part 3

Today’s Note is about something that happened during my first hour with the horses. It’s all about LOVEMELOVEMELOVEMEPLEASELOVEME.

I don’t know if any of you have ever felt that way, where you feel a little desperate for people to love you or include you, but I sure have.

Have a listen.

Notes From The Herd Part 3 from Laurie Jacobsen on Vimeo.

If you missed the other two Notes From The Herd posts, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the video!

Also, I’d love to have you come to my Everyday Grace Retreat. Click here for the details!

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Tell a Good Story

Stories. Stories are so fascinating. The stories people tells us. The stories we tell others. And most interesting, the stories we tell ourselves.  This week’s “Share the Love Sunday” is a blog post over at Zen Habits: To Create a Habit, Tell a Good Story, written by Leo Babauta. Just like when we offer ourselves grace, when we make an effort to tell ourselves a good — new — story we have the opportunity to change a moment, our day or even our lives. From the article:

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself how you feel about the habit you’re creating. Are you psyched about it? Are you discouraged? Looking forward to it or dreading it? Feel strong about it or feel like you’re doing lousy? Is it a wonderful experience for you or are you ploughing through the suckiness? This is all an indicator of what story you’re telling yourself.
  2. Start creating a better story by focusing on the things you love about the habit. You could focus on how much you hate the habit, or you could focus on what you love. It’s your choice. Find things to appreciate about the habit. Look at your successes and think, “Man, that’s awesome that I’ve done those things.”

This is not to say that you should only think positive thoughts, or that you should ignore the negative. But if your story is on the balance more positive than negative, you’ll be more resilient. You’ll be able to handle the negative stuff with grace, because you have a positive feeling about the habit.

Read the whole blog post here! It’s well worth it.

Have a blessed Sunday!

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Notes From The Herd Part 2

Welcome back to the second installment of Notes From The Herd!

When we last left off, our heroine had gotten her finger bitten by Tonto – a mini horse with a penchant for biting and a spunky personality.

Today’s story is a bit tamer and will hopefully show what MAGIC is truly possible doing this work. And the video is quite a bit shorter!!!

Notes From The Herd Part 2 from Laurie Jacobsen on Vimeo.

Lesson Learned

This is so key for me really, because it is something with which I’ve struggled my whole life starting when I was a kid. Feeling like people were taking advantage of me or using me for one thing or another. Treating me like a doormat.

What the horses so magically illustrated for me was the idea that I can give and give and give and as long as it doesn’t TAKE anything away from me, then it’s all good. As soon as I get to the point where I feel like I’m giving too much or someone is taking without permission, then it’s a problem. Then it’s being used.

Listen to the Wisdom from Within

“What does this feel like in my body?” is the question that I ask and I now know EXACTLY what feeling used feels like in my body. And I always have that moment with Cochise to remind me. It’s much easier to access that now in situations that arise on a daily basis. I can easily do a quick body check and decide if a situation in heading into Userville or not.

I really hope that this helped you to see the magic that is possible working with horses!!!

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