Thursday, December 31, 2009

To me, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are about New Beginnings. It reminds me of a quote from my amazing Mom, "The woman you were meant to be will be born again, again, and again." What a hopeful interpretation of a Spirit-filled life.

Not everyone sees this Holiday in the same way. I was perusing through my "crack" as I call it, (i.e. Celebrity Gossip Magazines), and I came across this quote by Robert Downey Jr. "I've actually run out of things to give up. I don't know what to do."

Realizing that he knows first hand what it means to have a multitude of addictions, I found myself laughing out loud. Then, I stopped to think. Hmmmm....What will I give up for the New Year 2010? What are my addictions? Here is my list:

In 2010, I Cora Poage, will let go of...

1. Guilt that I am not "doing" enough, being enough, or making enough progress in my life.

2. Self-judgment around the way I look or don't look.

3. Playing Small. (Watch Out World!)

4. Waiting to feel happy, content and blessed....if not now, WHEN?

5. Taking life so seriously. (I'm going to play, take risks, and laugh more!)

6. Taking other people's actions and words so personally. (It's NEVER about me anyways!)

7. Putting my dreams on hold.

8. People-Pleasing

9. The illusion that I am in control. (Let Go, Let the Divine)

10. The past...I am honoring my Story, and the amazing, beautiful characters who have blessed my life in so many ways. AND, I am facing forward with hope, joy, enthusiasm, and immense GRATITUDE.

Next year, maybe it will be me announcing that I have run out things to Let Go. However, as my amazing teachers at USM remind me, "Growth is an ongoing process, NOT an event."

Here's to the Year 2010, and to New Year's Eve, the Holiday that represents New Beginnings, Letting Go of the Past, and the realization that that the Person, the People, we were meant to Be, will be born again, again, and again.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Food poisoning unleashed it's wrath on my unsuspecting body last night, ALL night. Shivering in a winter coat and pajamas, I sat at the dining room table fending off waves of nausea until I was forced to sprint into the bathroom, tripping over kittens and unwrapped Christmas gifts, getting to know the toilet seat VERY well.

That being said, Ben and I made the decision to stay in Manhattan this Christmas, the two of us. We decided it was not a smart idea to drive to Buffalo to be with family, as is our usual tradition. Normally we are surrounded by family, parents, church outings, trees, games, children, and music. Most holidays we are on the plains of Kansas or the rolling hills of up-state New York. This Christmas we are surrounded by sky scrapers and yellow taxis.

At first, I wondered how this was going to work. Would Christmas still take place? Would Baby Jesus still be born? No stockings? No lights? No tree? No family...No Nativity Scene with the Shepard, Wise Men, Mary, Joseph, and and empty manger waiting for the King.

One of my favorite games as a child (and okay, still to this day) is searching for the Baby Jesus on Christmas Day. The adults would hide him somewhere in the house. There was so much excitement when I found him, placing him in the manger, feeling the power, the magic, the beauty of this tiny baby and the LOVE that he brought to the world. How could we celebrate Christmas without all these traditions?

But wait, I am warm and cozy in my little Manhattan abode. My amazing husband is in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies as I write. We have presents for each other stacked around our apartment. Christmas music is dancing through the rooms. AND, if we look out our bedroom window, there is an INCREDIBLE Christmas tree across the street in the lounge of another apartment complex. Christmas Spirit is everywhere.

Maybe we are missing some of the usual characteristics of this holiday. However, we have Love for each other and for our lives. We are full of Gratitude for the incredible blessings we receive each and every day. We ARE with family: Ben, Cora, Finn, and Sawyer (our kittens)

Finally, we don't have a model manger scene that we are both accustomed to seeing in our parent's homes. I don't get to search for the baby Jesus in the same way as past Christmases. So I close my eyes, and search for Him, just like I did as a child. I don't even have to get up out of my chair to find Him this time. His beautiful spirit, hiding where I can always find him, within my Heart.

Yes, the King of Kings is in our Hearts, where the story of Christmas, of Birth, Hope, Faith, and Unconditional Love lives on and on. Reminding us that we are never alone, there is always hope, the reason for the season is always a breath, a prayer, a wish away. (with or without a tree)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yesterday, at Grand Central, I was approached by a 60-something year old man in a business suit. He looked harmless, however, after some interesting pick up lines,(model scout? Sure Buddy, and I'm Santa Claus) asked for my number. When I answered, "Um, I'm married", he didn't flinch and responded, "Yes, but are you HAPPY?"

Whoah! At first, I was flabbergasted. How could he ask that? I mean, of course my marriage is HAPPY. The nerve!

And then, Tiger Woods flashed into my brain...and Leanne Rimes, Brittany Spears, Okay so most of Hollywood. To be honest, I even thought of some of my own acquaintance, friends, and family members, and MYSELF. Is everyone ALWAYS HAPPY in their marriage? No, no we are not.

I think that one of the differences between marriages that last and those that don't is the MOTIVATION for getting hitched. If one is searching for wholeness, to be complete, to be given happiness from a partner, then sorry to say, but failure is imminent. If a person is looking at marriage to MAKE them happy, then I truly believe a disaster awaits.

My grandparents, Tutu and Grandad were married for over 50 years. They have since passed on, but in a conversation with them a few years back, my grandfather said, "Cora, the only way you know you are ready to be married, fully committed to another, is when you know you would be COMPLETELY great on your own." Then he turned to my Grandmother and said, "Liz, I know you would have been Great on your own." She took his hand, and said, "Only HALF as great."

It was a beautiful moment, and I love the sentiment. However, my grandmother WOULD have been great on her own. My Grandfather too. And that, friends, is the key. (in my humblest of opinion) To be Great on your own. To be HAPPY on your own. And then, to SHARE that amazing wholeness, Divine love, and internal Joy with another Soul. How beautiful! What a gift!

"You complete me." The line from Jerry McGuire literally makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Tiger Woods, Hollywood, friends, family, let's all complete ourselves...find our own sense of Wholeness. Be our own Soulmates. Let's be HAPPY inside ourselves FIRST, and watch our relationships with others flourish.

So Mr. Grand Central, YES! I am happy, but not BECAUSE of my marriage, I am JOYFUL to be alive, to be ME, in love with life, and my marriage is stronger and more fulfilling because of it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"So do it. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you win."-from the movie "Raging Bull"


Today, I showed up at a cafe, ready to do a Vision Boarding workshop with 7 other women (took a risk). I was there by myself for 30 minutes and no one else came. At first, I felt a bit awkward sitting there with my pile of magazines, scissors, glue, and just me.

Then I noticed the paintings in the cafe and how beautiful they were. A young woman wandering by stopped, and lovingly asked me to tell her more about Vision Boarding. The East West Books Cafe was filled with amazing sacred music and the energy from the other customers was vibrating at a beautiful level that made me feel like dancing. My Moon Cycle tea was incredibly comforting and empowering. A woman, who was a Medium, and I struck up a beautiful conversation and we are getting together soon. Oh, and the man behind the counter gave me my Vegan cornbread for free.

I took a Risk to host this get-together, to show up, be vulnerable, and let go of the outcome. At first the outcome seemed "wrong". Where was everyone? Should I take this personally? I felt a bit rejected. Then, with an energetic shift, I realized that I was EXACTLY where I needed to be.

Letting go of "expecations" and "outcomes". Taking the Risk of surrendering to the Divine Timeline. Remaining open to the Blessings of the Universe. Realizing that what I truly needed this afternoon was time to connect with my soul, an alone moment to just "Be".

I looked down at the "fortune" on my tea tag. "Honor yourself and your beautiful soul", it read.

So munching on my cornbread, sipping my tea, and relishing in the love and light of the cafe, that is EXACTLY what I did.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The morning of my Awakening, I decided to do a Tarot Reading for myself. My decision was to draw just one card. As I closed my eyes and allowed my left hand to brush over the shiny surfaces, I turned off the chatter of my brain and just Listened. I touched the card that spoke to me, turned it over, and read the title, "Soulmates".

Whoah. Intense. SOULMATES? What did that mean? I was in the midst of a transformational trip to Costa Rica with classmates from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Was someone on the trip my Soulmate? I had recently met and interacted with an incredibly wise spiritual guide. Was he my Soulmate? And what about my beautiful husband at home? Of course, he HAD to be my soulmate, right? This card HAD to be telling me that I had met my SOULMATE. Oh, my goodness, was I confused!

I took a few deep breaths and decided to head to the place where tension is released, my heart warmed, and my dreams realized...a Fitness Facility.:) I walked across the road to the one gym I had found in Nosarra, Costa Rica, and began to get my sweat on.

As we all know, the Universe works in beautiful ways, and I opened up a book that my good friend and angel Christy had felt moved to lend me, "Soul Psychology", by Joshua David Stone. The chapter was on Self Love and Acceptance. "Oh, I totally understand this," I thought to myself. Self-love and acceptance is something I've practiced forever! Heck, I TEACH clients about these concepts. However, I was moved to read more.

The words touched me in a way that is difficult to describe. They crawled under my skin and into my Heart. The author talked of Self-Love as UNCONDITIONAL Divine Love. Hmmmm...I knew how to love myself, when I was being "Good". When I was receiving promotions at work, affirmation from others, or staying busy with "doing it all". However, UNCONDITIONAL Self-Love was a whole new concept for me. I wondered if I could love myself if I stopped playing all the "Good Girl" roles, if I was just Me, just BEING. Could I love myself separately from the opinions of others and the Outside World? That sounded amazing and freeing to me...and a little scary.

Suddenly I felt a warm, yellow/white light all around my head, gushing into my body, literally infusing every one of my cells with this Unconditional Love and Acceptance.

I listened, and the words came..."YOU ARE YOUR OWN SOULMATE."

I cried. I bawled in that tiny little gym in Costa Rica.

The Prodigal Daughter learning to love herself for the FIRST TIME.

"You are your own soulmate."

I cried, healing so many hurts, so many feelings of inadequacy or lack of worth. I cried, and I let go of playing Small, and other Martyrdom acts that do not serve me.

I cried and then I came Home to me, My Soulmate.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lice Lessons

I caught lice. Really. Just when I thought I knew how to be centered and calm in the face of chaotic circumstances, creepy crawly cooties took over my noggin. FOR TWO WEEKS.

I would LOVE to tell you that I handled this well, that my beautifully wise inner voice said, "This too will pass. Things could be so much worse. At least your family is healthy and you have a roof over your head and an amazing life...blah blah.." Well, that inner voice may have been speaking, but it was drowned out by my wailing, cursing, sobbing, and ruing the day I ever felt called to work with children.

Seriously folks, I let this circumstance throw me for a MAJOR LOOP. I am glad I am still married, as I insisted on keeping my husband awake as I spent 1.5 hours at night combing out my hair with baking soda and conditioner. (usually around 10:30pm) My cleaning of the apartment, especially clothes and bedding took on an obsessive compulsive like quality, and for those of you who know me, this is NOT NORMAL! I am now VIP of the Cho's Laundry Mat. My combing was so intense and enthusiastic that I definitely lost half my hair and in the darkest of hours, I had quarantined myself to the apartment maniacally watching You Tube videos about lice, louse, nits, and eggs. Trust me, there are A LOT of these videos. I am as surprised as you.

Viktor Frankyl, Holocaust survivor, renowned author, and INCREDIBLE man stated,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Sigh. Didn't QUITE take his advice in this situation. Not even close, actually. Yet, next time, I deal with more "life lessons", I would like to think that I will do a better job at staying hopeful, calm, and steady. I know that this is part of the reason I caught lice in the first place. To teach me more about letting go, surrendering, and knowing that "this too will pass." And to help me remember that in the face of seemingly "major" life challenges, I have the strength of spirit to remain grounded, loving, and WHOLE. To choose my own way, a positive path towards healing and renewal.

Ah, more life lessons for Cora.

Or shall I say LICE lessons.:)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Blame Game

Ten minutes ago I was walking home on this beautiful fall day in NYC in a rather common state of utter bliss and appreciation for the fact that I, Cora Poage, live in friggin Manhattan!!! I was practically skipping because I had just experienced a fabulous work out, was drinking a beet/carrot/apple/ and ginger juice, and had been reading the most awesome book ever, The Way of Being by Carl Rogers. I was on Cloud Nine.

When I reached my door, a gentleman was sitting on the stairs, directly in my path. As I walked closer, I noticed that there was plenty of room for me to get by. No problem. So I sidestepped around this "roadblock", and shifted my two self-help books, large juice, wallet, cell phone, and two Lara Bars into my right hand so I could scramble for my keys with my left...and I dropped them...(Imagine

Cora's first thought: "Why is this guy sitting here?? If he wasn't sitting here I wouldn't have dropped my keys and had to bend down and pick them up, risking losing EVERYTHING I was carrying. The nerve of him!"

Cora's Next Thought: "OMG! How easy it is for us to blame someone else! Here I am trying to carry more objects than a Hertz Moving Van, and I blame it on this poor bloke sitting on one stair, who even scooted of my way. (sorta)"

I like taking responsibility for things I perceive as good. For example, today, I take full responsibility for remembering to feed the kittens, returning client calls and emails, writing my Morning Pages, and remembering self-care through an awesome work-out. I even did homework for University of Santa Monica.

However, taking responsibility for the more "negative" parts of life are a bit harder. Let me try it.

I take responsibility for dropping my keys because I was trying to carry WAY to many objects at one time. I didn't have a bag with me because I chose not to grab one when I was running out of the apartment. Hmmmm....I already feel better.

Now, I shift into radical self-forgiveness...

I forgive myself for CHOOSING to rush out and for trying to carry to much at once. I also forgive myself for blaming stair sitting John Doe who was just trying to listen to a little music.

I feel much better. Taking responsibility for where I am in life feels scary AND really good.

What I know for sure, is that the minute I started blaming someone else for my life circumstance, I felt really heavy and kinda crummy. I forgot how much I appreciate and adore my life, and started shifting into a negative place so quickly. When I practiced the acts of "taking responsibility" and "self-forgiveness" my energy pumped right back up and I felt like me again. It is a CHOICE of blame or responsibility!

No one wins the Blame Game....But I can choose not to participate!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"You must not watch the clock or the calendar. You must watch your heart, know the truth, and be patient with your unfolding process."-Iyanla Vanznt

Each New Year's, I gravitate towards a similar Resolution: "This year, I will not be late...ever again." I can already here the laughter from my friends and family as they read this. I know, I know, last time we met up, I was at least ten minutes late...I get it.

So I am here to claim, to own, the fact that sometimes authenticity ISN'T pretty, and friends, my AUTHENTIC SELF does not give a CRAP about time. There I said it. Judge me as you will. I would rather float around on intuition and feelings instead of "time frames" and an annoying Blackberry clock. (I gave up watches YEARS ago when I kept wearing them in the shower)

However, as long as I live on this planet, am employed by someone else, have dates with friends, planes to catch, etc...I am aware that I need to have some grasp on the concept of time.

This weekend, I learned a MAJOR lesson in this area of my life. Picture me in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, on Wilshire Boulevard alone. Something truly endearing about me, (not sure my husband would agree) is that I FULLY believe I CAN do it all. Consequently, I had woken up after a full night's sleep (7-8 hours), spent some awesome friend time with Em, stopped at Starbucks for my morning Soy Doppio Machiatto, Bank of America for my daily cash allowance from the ATM, AND finished a 30 minute elliptical workout at the gym. Whew!

My Grad School class at University of Santa Monica began at 10am. It was 9:35am. I had NO IDEA how I was getting to school. Damn my "wandering spirit" ways...where was my Type A personality when I needed it??

My blackberry gave me directions to a bus stop. Local bus, unfortunately, and not the one I needed. My heart started beating faster. Taxi? This wasn't New York City. Hitchhiking? Too many horror movies about that very topic. I called a couple Cali friends in tears, but to no avail.

Running through my head were the words, "I'm going to be late. I'm going to be late." I saw my grandmother's face, "The only roadblock to your ultimate sucess in life Cora, is your "issue" with puncutality." Stress, anxiety, fear, my ego, they were all having a PARTY inside of this body of mine.

Suddenly, I nearly fell over with Divine Inspiration (the Angelic kind). I kid you not. In an instant, I switched gears energetically, and I began to repeat the words, "I am going to be on time. I am going to be on time." Thank you City of Angels...

Just then, I noticed a woman walking down the street in my direction (Angel #1). I asked her what bus and bus stop I needed. She pointed me in the right direction. In my heels, skinny, jeans, and HUGE bag that is only necessary for a woman who TRULY believes she can do it all, I went sprinting down the street. Two blocks and four bleeding toes later, I made it to the bus stop, JUST as the bus was pulling away. But the driver (Angel #2), stopped the bus and let me hurtle myself onto it. Deep breath, deep breath...I was going to make it.

At 9:50, I was dropped off 10-15 minutes from my school on foot. Oh man, this was cutting it close. I picked up speed, my feet screaming at me with every step. Just then I heard a honk. I stopped, turned, wondering if I have to give some creepy UCLA guys a dirty look, when I saw Anita (Angel #3), one of my fellow students at USM! "Hop in", she says. "I can drop you off right in front!"

Friends, I did make it on time. I even had a moment to run to the bathroom before class to put bandaids on my feet and comb my disheveled excuse for hair.

Was it chance? Oh no, no it was not. Somehow, someway, my Soul wasn't going to let me be late this time. I chose to focus on being on time, instead of being late, and the Universe sent me Angel after Angel to manifest this Blessing.

So yes, I tend to be on the late side of most events and engagements, but I am beginning to realize the power of Postive thoughts, trust, and faith in the process of the Universe. Oh, and of course in the presence of Angels, yet this I have always known to be true.

Forget watches and clocks, I am on Angel time.:)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cat Wings and Babicat's Soul

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was called Cat Wings. I don't remember much about it, but I do know that the main characters were felines who were born with wings. The main characters always felt "different" and put up with much teasing. However, their mother tried to remind them that they were beautiful, wonderful, just the way they were meant to be. This book has been on my mind quite often, these past few days.

On Thursday, Ben and I made the decision to put Babicat, our 15 year old shelter cat, to sleep. We were caught off guard with her Cancer diagnosis. We had witnessed her physical deteriation in the last week or so, but told ourselves it was the flu.

I would like to say that I was brave and strong for her in the Veterinarian's Office, that I held her as they gave gave her the lethal dose of whatever it is they give her. Instead, I was useless, and bawling, and trying so hard to escape from my own pain.

I DID have one hand on her beautiful body and one hand holding onto Ben's when she passed. Babicat was the brave one. She laid down on the examination table and looked up at me with this peaceful acceptance. Babicat purred all the way to the end...

With reflection, I do live in a place of utter gratitude for the time in my life that included Babicat. She was an amazing feline who truly connected with humans on a soul level. She ran to the door whenever one of us walked into the apartment, eager to give and receive love. (or Purina)

Babicat also taught me a lesson that probably saved my life. She taught me, the perpetual people-pleaser/doer/performer how to RELAX. I learned that it was perfectly fine to spend hours staring out the window, batting at pigeons. (The neighbors thought it slightly strange) To rest when needed, eat when hungry, and when LOVE appeared, to absolutely melt into it.

She showed me how to breathe in rhythm with my heart. Babicat told me, through her own behavior, that I AM ENOUGH. (even without the rushing, doing, achieving) Babicat helped give me a kind of peace I knew existed, but had not yet embraced.

And what else could I do when my darling Babicat needed my support more than ever? What else could I do to show gratitude to my friend, my teacher than give her the Peace that she needed. To give her body permission to let go.

Her Soul permission to fly?

So Cat Wings, the book, is on my mind right now. In my heart, whenever I remember Babicat, she definitely has wings, two beautiful, white, angelic wings. She paws at the pigeons, purrs when she loves, and tells me every day that I am enough.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"You can't fail blogging...You can however, blog about failing." These were the words that my dear friend Matt shared with me through the "intimacy" of a Facebook comment on my page. Little did he know that his advice would inspire me to do something that has frightened me for over a year: Write my first blog post.

So just as the clock strikes Midnight on this Halloween 2009, I am facing my Fear. No, not the witches that fly on broomsticks, the monsters under my bed, or domestic duties that may or may not need my attention this weekend (Gag!)...I am facing my fear of FAILING...And Lord knows I have BIG, LOUD, HAIRY fear of failing at blogging.

What if no one reads my writing? What if you all think I SUCK! What if my family reads my posts and gets really embarrassed? What if I write words that bring up emotions inside of me that I don't want to face? What if I have one follower for my entire blogging venture whose name is spelled with three letters. M-O-M.

Where does this fear of failing come from? Maybe the feeling goes all the way back to getting rejected from Pop Singers in high-school (failure to live up to my musical potential), or bringing home a low grade in Home Ec (failure to succeed in any task that involves an oven or sewing machines), or maybe even that Saturday morning when I had to explain to my mom why my car was parked in the neighbor's front yard. (failure that needs no explanation)

However, I have a sinking suspicion that my Fear of Failing has to do with something much deeper. (Uh-Oh, hear goes Cora on the spiritual, soul-filled rant) I think, up until now, I have been safe in my fear. SAFE IN MY FEAR??? What does that mean? I think it means that my fear has been my companion for a long time. Whenever a dream seems too big or impossible, I join up with my friend Fear and we kick back in our lawn chairs, sip lemonade, and observe OTHER people taking action in the directions of THEIR dreams. Or we just chill with the vast majority of people in the world who are sitting on the sidelines with us. It is SO easy, almost comfortable to hang out with Fear, to keep playing small, to live my life in "What If" Land.

Yet, I don't even like lemonade. And this lawn chair is starting to seriously hurt my booty. I think I am ready to accept that Fear is going to want to hang out with me once in awhile, but I have the power to say NO.

Maybe I WILL suck. Maybe you WON'T like my writing. Maybe my parents will be my only fans. However, on this Halloween, I am going to say, that like me or not, I AM blogging. It may not be the "safe" choice, but at least I am taking action towards my dreams. To quote from someone else's Facebook account (thank you Jonathon Wilson), "If you are facing in the right direction, all you have to do is take one step forward." Let the blogging begin...