I Believe in You. Never Give Up.

If you found the past year to be an ass kicker and at times you lost your bearings, this video is for you. This is the story of a 47 year old man, who for 15 years had given up on living a vibrant life. He cried for help and was told repeatedly by doctors he would never walk unassisted and he believed them until the day when one person saw the possibilities and believed in him.

Belief and possibility were born. The portal of awareness opened and he courageously took the step through to the other side.

I was struck by his unwavering determination and his willingness to take a step, fall, get up, and immediately take another step.

And he didn't do it alone. His yoga teacher provided the scaffolding and he did the work. Step by step he found himself inside the layers of pain.

The side-by-side photos at the end say it all. His image on the right radiates right through the screen.  He found his way home.

We all have experiences and circumstances that stop us in our tracks and for some, hold us captive in our own inner prison for long periods of time. I've been there. It can get very dark.

What I've learned by asking for help and taking step after step is that you are never alone. You always belong and when you feel lost and like you've gone off the rails, never give up. Help is waiting for you to ask.

I share this video with you because it inspires me to never give up, to believe, to ask for help, to show up and be seen, to take the next step and be willing to fall and get up again.  It is in these moments of honest expression of self where we connect and see each other.  And for me, this feels like home.

I see you.

I believe in you.

Take Time to Listen and Return to Love

Image Sitting in a chair, gazing out the window, I contemplate the affect stress has on our bodies and our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

I set the intention to quiet my mind and be present in the moment. I focus my vision on the oak tress outside and they begin to move together as a whole as if they were breathing in a much slower rhythm than my own breath.

As I observed this, I noticed my breath slowed down.  My body completely relaxed, all tension dropped.  The words and thoughts flowed through my mind and didn’t stick. I just sat, noticing the trees breathing to the rhythm of nature.

Return To Love

The message I hear over and over is "Return to love. Love heals." I notice the pulse of my blood moving through my body with an ebb and flow, the in and out. My chest rises and falls as my body is breathed, expansion and contraction.

No control required. Only noticing.

Then comes the familiar hum in my ears, the vibration of sensation. I hear the beautiful sounds of my boy’s voices below. Ian’s “vowel songs” and Lane’s voice in play.

The vibration of love permeates my body.

This is such a peaceful state, where breathing slows down, goes deeper, feeds oxygen-rich blood to all parts of my body. The stories swirling in my mind quiet down and in this moment, all is well. I am home.

Take Time to Listen

It doesn’t always feel like this though, which is why I took the time to sit in the chair. My body was talking to me, letting me know it was time to stop and listen. I’ve been feeling exhausted, afraid and ungrounded. The stress I was feeling was the result of me disconnecting from love and I had some debris to clean out.

Stress is a toxin that eats away at love; sometimes a nibble at a time and sometimes in giant devouring bites that create visible destruction in it’s path. But most often it acts like a slow growing crack in your water pipes, causing damage not visible to the eye until the floor starts to buckle from the warping wood underneath.

At this point, mold infiltrates the wood structure, water saturates the insulation and the entire subfloor needs replacement. The entire support system continues to deteriorate beneath the surface every day until it’s dangerously close to collapse.

So how do you find the leaks before the damage reaches the point of a break down?

Explore Under the Surface

Pull open the door to the crawl space, turn on the flashlight and look inside.  Become a detective. Get super curious and find the pipe that’s leaking all the love and joy out of your life.

What are your symptoms trying to tell you? Yes, this can be super scary to think about looking within yourself to find your cracks underneath. It takes courage and may get messy and feel like you're trapped in a dark crawl space for a while but what happens if you don’t and you continue to avoid the scary stuff?

The body just gets louder until you listen. It gets tired, rejects foods you used to be able to eat, gets migraines, colds, digestive problems, pelvic pain, chronic fatigue, auto-immune syndromes and diseases, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, vision problems, memory problems and the list goes on and on. The body breaks down under the pressure of continual stress.

You’ll feel depleted with nothing left to give either yourself or others. You’ll be left curled up in bed asking yourself how did I get here.

And if you find yourself curled up in bed feeling like it’s the end, that’s okay. It is the end. The end of that moment….now the end of that moment….and now the end of that moment. Then somewhere down the line of moments, the next becomes the one you say to yourself “this is the end of suffering and a place to start.”

There’s always a place to start.

And when you decide you're ready to shine the light under the surface, I believe in you.  I believe you have all the courage and strength you need to find the cracks, clean out the debris and return to love.

Sitting in my chair, gazing out the window, the sun has now set and the dark blue sky creates a silhouette for the trees that continue to breathe  just as I do.

If all you do is breathe, that’s a darn good place to start.

Love, Diane

P.S.  If you feel inspired to share a moment when you returned to love, I invite you to share in the comments below.  I always love to hear from you.

Enjoy this post? Subscribe here so you don't miss the next one. Follow Diane on Facebook Follow Diane on Twitter

Guest Post: Too Small to Fail

Too small to failI have spoken to our director and other therapists at the clinic, and we would like to make you an offer for the position,” I read aloud to my roommate with excitement as I opened the e-mail from my first potential employer. One job application, one interview, and the career I have worked for will finally begin. I turned on the music and began to prep for my daily workout- something new since being unemployed for a month. I decided to begin a new regimen today, one that I had been putting off because I knew it was going to kick my ass, and that I may not be able to finish it.

During the sixth interval of pushups I got to the point where I had to stop. I shook it off and proceeded. My cool down included a walk through the stunning hills outside my San Francisco home, with views of the city that often lead me to reflection with their beauty. Towards the top as I was thinking about that set up pushups, I heard the words- “why do I rarely fail?”

I have lived under the belief that failure is bad, and means that I am unworthy.

I look back on my short life of 24 years and on paper, I’ll admit it is impressive. I have paid my way through undergraduate and graduate school,  completed a Master’s Degree, am beginning a profitable career, have maintained incredibly meaningful relationships, and have waded my way through (what I think were) some pretty terrible situations both personally and in my family.

I have been an athlete, a musician, a student, an employee, and a friend. Other people may look at my accolades and life accomplishments and think, “wow, she’s really got her shit together!” And, you know, I often believe that to be true.

But today, on that walk up the hill, I realized- I have never really failed.

Now I know what you may be thinking. “Really?  How could that be true.” Absolutely. 100% agree. I fail every day in little ways I am sure- as a good roommate, a good friend, a good human being.

But in the big things, the things by which I and others measure my worth as a human, I have not failed.

I have never been turned down for a job.  Never.

Every job I applied for I have gotten. I have never been turned down in a school application. I always got straight A’s. I always made the team. I always finish the workout. “I have spoken to our director and other therapists at the clinic, and we would like to make you an offer for the position.” First try.

Today- that 6th interval of pushups- was one of those few times I didn’t make it. It may seem silly and simple, but to me it opened up a profound message about my life.

I rarely put myself in situations which I think I may not succeed.

Why?  Because I have been blessed with intelligence and talent, of which I honestly do not take credit for (thanks to the good ol’ Weeks parents).  I can pass by as an impressive human being.

But really, I function at a level in which I push myself just hard enough to be a cut above the rest, but not far enough to have potential to fail. I chose a career and graduate school that I knew would be easy (for me) and applied for a job that I knew I could get. I work out at a level at which others may not be able to achieve, but I rarely push myself to the point of failure.

I succeed, but I don’t necessarily excel.

I look at the pictures of models in magazines and think, “I work out, why don’t I look like that?” Perhaps it is because those individuals have pushed themselves to the point of failure, over and over, every day, until their body adapts and they finally succeed.

Some may say my lack of failures mean I am responsible and talented. I say it is a life without risk.

I am not too big to fail, but rather am too small. I hide under my God-given talents and abilities, but never push myself past them to the point where I won’t succeed- to the point of true growth. If I never failed, does it mean that I never tried something hard enough?

I believed that failure indicates an inadequacy within me, and looked at others who fail as weak. But today I realized something completely different. Failure- after everything has been left on the floor- is an indicator of a courage. An act of bravery. It means I have pushed myself past the point of my abilities, and can learn where my limitations are and grow from them. Without failure, how will I ever know what it takes to truly succeed?

So I challenge myself today- don’t be too small to fail. Be too big to succeed.

Shoot high, take risks, do something where you will probably completely fail.  Laugh. Cry. Move on. Grow.

Brenna is a young woman who has just finished her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and is embarking on a career working with children with special needs. Her goal is to facilitate opportunities for them to function at their highest level, while taking moments to learn from each brave teacher she encounters.

Spring - Time for Planting New Seeds

Planting seedsDisaster struck when my first son, Ian received his diagnosis of autism.  So I thought.  That disaster seven years ago in 2004 turned into a beautiful unfolding of love, compassion, acceptance and renewal.  But when I first heard the news it felt like a fire ripped through my garden and ravaged my soil.  Life within me died.  I felt desolate, empty, broken. In 2005, I read the book, "Expecting Adam" by Martha Beck and felt a tug of hope but the soil in my garden remained dry, undernourished and neglected.  It took nearly three years for the soil to recover and reach a state of acceptance where it was ready for nutrients. Early 2008 I began to listen to Wayne Dyer CDs on my iPod during my runs.  I named these times my “mental health breaks”.  The sun began to peek through and warm the soil. Next came the seeds and much needed water! Early 2009 I attended a one-day workshop in San Jose with Martha Beck, best-selling author, monthly columnists for “O” magazine and life coach.

Half way through the day I experienced an overall body vibration, like I was sitting in a massage chair.  At one point I saw a yellow hue around Martha and thought I may possibly be hallucinating from lack of sleep or perhaps I was going temporarily insane.  None of that mattered though because the openness I felt was unmistakable.  My path lay clearly before me and it felt truer than anything I’d felt in many years.

I promptly purchased her book "Steering by Starlight", signed up to train with her as a life coach and attended a three-day workshop with horses, Martha and Koelle Simpson (another one of my great teachers.)  Time to receive the lessons.  The seeds burrowed themselves in the soil, desiring nutrients, water and sunlight.

At the three-day horse workshop, I went from feeling trapped by my son’s autism to seeing that the only place I was trapped was in my mind! I sat there in Scottsdale, Arizona while my son remained safely back at home in California.

I was free! It was my thoughts about my son’s autism that created my suffering and I was ready to let that go of those painful thoughts.  My garden began to sprout and took in exactly what it needed to produce the most delicious, fulfilling harvest imaginable. I love my garden!

So, now in 2011, here I am, exactly where I'm supposed to be; taking it all in, open to the possibilities and trusting that I will know exactly where to go when I follow my inner compass.  It's all there waiting for me to show up and lead my life.  I'm no longer stuck, my excitement is boundless.  Now I learn about tending my garden and what it takes to keep it filled with love and abundance.

I’m profoundly grateful to my son, Ian for being my greatest teacher and for leading me to this moment.  His body and brain continue to be affected by autism and he shows me every day how incredibly brave and courageous he is.  He still has many challenges and his body works hard to heal itself.  I’m in awe of what he puts up with and I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t handle it with as much grace and patience.

I’m deeply grateful for every small step forward on his healing journey.  He’s taught me to celebrate the small things. And the big things?  I imagine a day when he no longer has seizures and no longer requires diapers.  I believe those huge steps are absolutely possible because he’s shown me in so many other ways how he’s capable of healing.

Ian’s message is powerful.

He’s here to show us the importance of finding our way back to balance, to bring our earth back to balance, to make it a safe environment for him and others like him to live peacefully and safely in their bodies.

The longer we remain out of balance the louder the message will become and more children and families will suffer.  I’m hopeful that the “voices” of our pre-verbal children have become loud enough for our society to hear.  The time for finding our way back as a human race to a state of balance, love and peace has arrived. I believe it’s possible and I will never give up hope.

If you want to create a new perspective in your life I invite you to make one small change to a pattern that creates suffering and pain and see what happens.  What is one thing you can do for yourself today to plant one small seed?

With love and healing.

Click Here if you'd like to share a comment on the blog.