molly, the cup song and my singing debut

 

I had no idea an online course called “Start a Foolish Project” would have me doing something so scary – or that it could possibly be the best thing I did all year.

 

start a foolish project

 

Who knew that foolishness could cultivate courage, creativity, clarity and in my case, all kinds of a-ha’s ala an 11-year old named Molly?

 

The idea of this 4-week course, led by Andrea Scher of SuperHero Life, was to do something out of your ordinary, something whimsical, joyful, maybe even a little scary… then share it with the group (about 50 people, from all around the world.)

 

The hardest part was coming up with the project. You know the saying, “how you are anywhere is how you are everywhere?  Well, I showed up in all my over-complicated-ness with a long list of “let’s make this a big, make the world a better place type”  project. exhausting!

Fortunately, one of Andrea’s super-powers is how she gets to the heart of the project that’s perfect for you, right now. She gently suggested that my project have nothing to do with making the world a better place. It needed to be something for me, for the sheer delight of doing it.

Then Molly, a friend’s daughter came over. She had taught herself The Cup Song (from the audition scene of the movie Pitch Perfect).  Would I like to hear it?

 

Molly is an accomplished singer, with lots of big performances under her little belt. Her passion is music … and superfoods… this is a special soul.

molly singing

(To see just how special, watch this video on Tucson Girls Chorus – scroll down to the bottom of the page, it’s the video from Arizona Public Media – watch the entire 7 minutes, it’s inspiring on many levels. The end features an interview with Molly and her impromptu a cappella version of “What the World Needs Now” that will make your heart melt.)

 

Of course, Molly performed The Cup Song perfectly.

 

A couple of nights later, I woke up with my project clear as a bell – I’ll have Molly teach me The Cup Song! It was summer. She was bored. It will give her something to do and it will be a big, butterfly in my belly step toward getting over my fear of singing in front of people. I would be sheerly delighted and full of joy if I could pull this off.

 

I could hardly wait to call her…. but me being me, I did wait. I wanted to figure out exactly how we’d practice together before I called. I had a schedule in mind, maybe 3-4 days a week, I’d pick her up, she’d give me my lesson, I’d make her a smoothie, we’d swim a little, bond a lot.

 

Molly had other plans. She was leaving for camp tomorrow. She’d be gone for 10 days.

 

me: hhhmm…(nonchalant panic) ok, well, we’ll only have a day or two to practice before the course is over, but we’ll make it work.

 

molly: while I’m gone, learn the cup part so well you can do it even while talking, then start humming along with it.

 

a-ha ala Molly #1: don’t over-think it. take it step by step. 

 

I did as she said. I practiced the cup part over and over. I sang the song on walks with Bisbee everyday. Then it dawned on me…

What was I thinking?

 

I’m going to have to sing this thing. Molly can’t help me with the practice part. I’m going to do have to that on my own.

 

I didn’t want to let Molly down, so I kept going.

 

When she came home from camp, I took her to my singing lesson where we got some coaching on harmonizing from my lovely teacher Laura, then we went home to practice.

 

After a couple of hours, I wanted another day (or 30 or so) to practice. Molly wanted to go for a swim. As she floated and flipped around the pool, she talked me through our process.

 

She reminded me, that we had accomplished what we were going for… we were able to do The Cup Song… not perfectly, but for the sake of the project, mission was accomplished. Yes, with practice, it could be a lot better, but it was good enough, and we had fun doing it, so let’s just film where we are with it today.

 

a-ha ala molly #2: perfection isn’t necessary here. 

 

a-ha ala molly #3: a float and a few flips in the pool can work wonders when you’re tired of practicing.

 

such wisdom. (she probably didn’t want to spend her last days of summer practicing with that Denese lady!)

 

with that, we went inside and filmed it – with my boyfriend and her mom behind the camera.


molly and me cup song

 

Molly was right.  mission was definitely accomplished. and then some. I sang… in front of them… for the entire Foolish Project group and now for you.

 

Click here for my singing debut :)

 

Is there something you’d love to do, but think it’s too foolish? I dare you to do it, then share it… start by telling me what you would like to do in the comments and check out Andrea’s Start a Foolish Project course, it starts Monday!

 

 

 

it’s back to school for the babies… what about you?

Whether you’re craving community, connection, creativity… or simply need a reason to buy a cool notebook, why not go back to school … for a bit?

pima id

The beauty of not having to be in school, is that you can choose something that truly interests or inspires you.

Whatever your intention, opening yourself up to learning – especially things you’ve always wanted to do, the things that delighted you as a child – has the power to cultivate courage, confidence, even clarity, “yes, I want to continue that…” or, “no, it’s definitely time to let go of that…”

Lately I’m loving courses designed to spark creativity, to find your groove, to try that thing you’ve always wanted to try, to serve others in some sweet way.

And I’m amazed at the power of the classroom…

It’s funny how a group of complete strangers, in a matter of a few days can know more about your heart that anyone in your world. It’s good to talk about your dreams. It’s even better to be inspired to go for them. It’s crazy how brave we can be when we think no one we know is watching.

And, it doesn’t seem to matter which class it is… courage and epiphanies come amidst yogis, business owners, knitters, writers, bakers and piano players… online or down the street.

It’s the spirit behind the student that inspires us to try and to encourage others to try…

Think of your babies, would you ever want to squash their willingness to learn? their open-hearted spirit? Why in the world are we not encouraging each other to do the things that would make our heart sing?

What is sparking your curiosity? What would you like to learn?
If you’re not sure, check out my newsletter for a list of courses I’m loving... ones that might get the creative juices flowing.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out your community college… that affordable course mecca that’s probably right down the street!

I just enrolled in piano and voice lessons. Talk about back-to-school-jitters. I am definitely stepping outside my comfort zone with this one.

Here’s to back to school and rocking your best self!

Denese

p.s. I totally forgot about the student ID thing. I would’ve worn a more photo-appropriate top :) Oh well, it’s not about the clothes anyway, right? It’s about the music ;)

a-ha’s from A New Earth Chapter 10

If you were part of our A New Earth tele-chat but weren’t able to finish the book. No worries. In the midst of shopping, doing, giving to others, give yourself some space (10 minute spurts will do) to watch or read Chapter 10.  It captures the essence of the book and all you need to do become “A New You.”

Here are a few of my favorite a-ha’s. I’d love to hear what resonated with you…

Each night, without knowing it, you return to the unmanifested Source of all life when you enter the stage of deep, dreamless sleep, and then reemerge again in the morning, replenished.

I know sleep is important, but putting it in this way gave it a depth I needed to hear. I might be able to skip the ice cream before bed now. Do I really want to give my body something that’s going to interrupt this magical process ? Wouldn’t it be great to wake up not just physically, but spiritually replenished ???

Each person’s life represents a world, a unique way in which the universe experiences itself…

This makes the responsibility of delivering our gifts and encouraging others to do the same, in their own way, even more important.

The closer we get to the end of our present evolutionary stage, the more dysfunctional the ego becomes… in the same way that a caterpillar becomes dysfunctional just before it transforms into a butterfly.”

Great. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I could let that bum me out, or I can watch for it when it happens and know that, it is going to get better. My ego is going to do all it can to stay stuck. Not because I don’t deserve peace or happiness, but because that’s just how it is structured. Its job is to keep me separate from my purpose. It’s my choice to evolve. All I have to do is stay aware, accept and embrace the process.

 If you’re not in a state of  Acceptance, Enjoyment or Enthusiasm about what you’re doing, stop doing it.

What a comforting gauge for change! If we apply what we’ve learned about not resisting, blaming or resenting situations we’re not “happy” about, answers will come. We will know how to accept it, how to start enjoying it, or how to change it.

Enjoyment will replace wanting as the motivating power behind people’s actions…

Wouldn’t that be awesome?? To strive for what we enjoy instead of what we think we should achieve? And, just when you might be thinking that Enjoyment is about blowing off responsibility, ponder this:

“If you can neither enjoy or bring acceptance to what you do – stop. Otherwise, you are not taking responsibility for the only thing you can really take responsibility for, which also happens to be the one thing that matters; your state of consciousness. And if you are not taking responsibility for your state of consciousness, you are not taking responsibility for your life.”

I can’t think of a better a-ha to end our A New You with A New Earth tele-chat experience. For more encouragement and reminders about how to take responsibility … check out the chapter-by-chapter a-ha’s.

Thank you for sharing your A New Earth experience with me. I am excited to practice all we’ve learned and can’t wait to watch the year unfold.

Take especially good care of yourself,

Denese

a-ha’s from A New Earth Chapter 9

Sometimes I shake my head and wonder, “What in the world…”

Like when I was wondering what to make for dinner and my neighbor knocks on the door with a veggie lasagna, fresh from the oven. What in the world.

 

Or, when a friend from high school, re-introduced through Facebook, introduces me to someone who is so aligned with my path, with an opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do. What in the world. (more on that later)

This is the type of thing that happens when you practice presence and all of the things Eckhart and Oprah have been teaching us throughout our A New You with A New Earth experience.

It’s also the key to finding Your Life’s Purpose. Here are a few more a-ha’s from Chapter 9:

Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose.

All of us have the same inner purpose – to align life with the present. But, everyone has a different outer purpose, and it changes over time.

When you realize this, there’s no worry about finding the perfect job, relationship or situation. All you have to do is accept what is in your life now. Learn from it. Love it. Or take action to leave it.

 When you can live with uncertainty, with having faith in this process, opportunities open.

This is the hardest part. Letting go of the struggle to get out of an unsatisfying situation. When you practice presence, especially acceptance, life delivers opportunity, ideas, inspiration to show you the way. Life flows.

You determine what kind of future you’ll have, because whatever energy you put into the now, creates your future.

There is only now. If you are always frustrated, annoyed by doing what you have to do to achieve your “future purpose,” you will always be frustrated and annoyed… along with everyone around you. Life can not help you when you’re in this state, because you are consumed by thought, totally unaware, closed off. You’re not even capable of noticing life’s gentle nudges.

 

Like, being asked to contribute to a program that will change people’s lives… essentially helping them Age-less.

At the root of all this was Facebook (which, I avoided for awhile, letting others convince me it was silly), writing (which I didn’t do for a long time, wondering who would read what I write) and going to Nutrition School to become a health counselor (I mean, is that even a real career…??) But, by going with them anyway, because I was interested and genuinely happy doing them…without any attachment to an outcome … (that’s the big one!) … life delivered opportunity. a gentle nudge. a next step.

Keep an eye on Ageless. We’re up to something big! Like us on Facebook.

a-ha’s from A New Earth chapter 8 tele-chat

 

peace isn’t about passivity or waiting on a woo-woo moment…
it’s not (necessarily) living from a mountain top or avoiding responsibilities…
it’s not living a life “of service” when all you want to be is a rock star…

peace is about acceptance and action…
it’s about finding ways to bring more space into your mind, body, day…

because with space, there’s breathing room…
there’s time to take a step back before reacting, to ponder possibility, to consider compassion…
with space you’re a better listener, both inward and outward…

creating space takes practice…
like taking time for one mindful breath when you’re agitated,
or noticing the pause between an inhale and exhale, or the gaps between thoughts and to-do’s…

when you give yourself more space, everything flows…
stars seem to align, you feel supported, your true gifts emerge…
the right people appear, the right job comes along, with the right amount of money, for you in this moment…

you’re no longer stressed about money because you’re no longer living beyond your means…
you don’t worry about next steps because you have faith in the small steps, the ones that are possible, in front of you today…

when you live from spaciousness, you have room for non-judgment, non-reactiveness, non-attachment…

you’re able to recognize our same-ness while encouraging our unique-ness…
you know that whether you’re a doctor or a rock star, as long as you’re living in line with your soul, you will inspire others to do the same…
you will connect, love, experience life with more depth and abundance than you could ever imagine…

 

Join us for our Chapter 9 chat, Tuesday at 8 pm Arizona, 7 pm PST, 10 pm EST.

practicing presence. 21-day meditation challenge. @deepakchopra

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Eckhart and Oprah, it’s the power of presence… or, acceptance, stillness, peace, awareness… Eckhart gives it a variety of names, hoping one will connect. All of them call for going within and meditation is our guide to getting there.

There are many ways to meditate. Eckhart says one deep breath can be a meditation. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

What’s most important is cultivating a practice. The more often you practice calming your mind, noticing your thoughts, not judging them, breathing into them, creating space around them, detaching your “self” from them… the more space you create in your life…the more good-ness will flow into that space… the easier your life will become…

What’s really cool and absolutely perfect timing… is Deepak Chopra’s 21-day Meditation Challenge. It’s free, it only takes 15 minutes a day, and it’s a great way to try a meditation practice. (It started November 5th, but you can still join here.)

I know you’re crazy busy with the holidays…  but I’d like to challenge you to try it anyway.  Meditation will help you gracefully get through the holidays, feeling better than ever before. Just try it and see…

a-ha’s from A New Earth chapter 7 tele-chat

 

Eckhart kicks off Chapter 7, “Finding Who You Truly Are” with this …

 “Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.”

The a-ha for me was when he used a cross as a way to portray this. (It also made me think of the wall of crosses my friend has in her home.)

Eckhart says most of us live life along the horizontal – in the past, the future, focused on point a and point b. However, our true power comes when we incorporate a vertical dimension along that horizontal line.

When we firmly root ourselves in being, or acceptance, a depth occurs that’s missing in so many lives. Ego dissolves at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical. That’s where presence lives and we know that’s where the magic happens.

That’s also where you’ll find who you truly are. The truth is, no one can tell you who you are. It’s more of an essence to be experienced, not able to be explained.

We cultivate this essence in life’s little things, during traffic and sick days with your daughter.

It takes practice to cultivate this experience. Try it with life’s little things. You’re worth the effort.

 

 

 

 

a-ha’s from A New Earth chapter 6 tele-chat

 

In Chapter 6, Eckhart says we can lessen the pain-body’s hold on us through “vigilant observation.”

photo via Pinterest

Or, turn on your power-eyes, as my niece’s kindergarten teacher used to say when the kids couldn’t find something.

Awareness is kryptonite to ego and the pain-body. Developing your ability to recognize it in action is going to make life a whole lot easier.

If you’re not sure what to look for, workshop participants are noticing these physical sensations when their pain-body is triggered:

“a pit in my stomach…

tension in my shoulders…

tightness in my chest…

a lump in my throat….”

Next time that physical sensation or urge to create drama comes over you, try to breathe into it, give yourself some space to realize that what this really is, is a chance to feel a deeply embedded emotion that wasn’t acknowledged or experienced when it should have been.

Rather than trying to avoid it by medicating, over-eating, over-working, or denying it… know that this feeling, or unhappy story, has nothing to do with who you really are….

Use these opportunities as triggers to get present. Then notice what happens when you do…

“When I’m going, going, going, it’s harder to be present.”

“The more my mind races, the more tired I feel.”

“The slower I go, the more present I am, the more energy I have.”

“I’ve always resisted slowing down because I worry about what I’ll miss. But, the less commitments I make, the more I realize I’m not missing out on anything.”

“When I was compassionate and deeply listened, the other person changed how they felt or how they were acting.”

“When I felt my husband bait me into an argument, I slowed down, got present and didn’t react. I could tell he wondered why I wasn’t participating. I wasn’t feeling righteous, just disinterest in the pattern we’d created. The argument didn’t grow into the animal it usually does. It diminished much quicker than if we would have had the argument.”

Be vigilant about observing, without judgment what’s going on inside you.

Ask yourself regularly, especially when you’re not agitated, “What am I feeling? What am I thinking?”

Be vigilant about removing the obstacles preventing you from living your best life.

Chapter 7 tele-chat starts Tuesday, 10/30 at 8:00 pm PST. It’s going to be a good one, “Finding Who You Truly Are… ”   Even if you haven’t read the chapter, sign up here for the call-in info and join us!

practice presence. replenish yourself.

My friend Rachel (of The Organic Kitchen and Body… check out this article on her here! ) taking a swimming break during a hike…something I would never have done on my own.

We’re learning that to become more present, we’re going to have to slow down a bit. But, what if we love everything we’re doing… What if we genuinely want to participate in all we’ve put on our plate.

Slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean doing less or missing out. It just means tuning in to what your body, mind and spirit need to keep you functioning at your most productive, creative, compassionate, loving state… the way you were designed to live.

I found this passage from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart particularly helpful this week. I hope it helps you re-learn what you need to replenish yourself so you can continue all the goodness you’ve got planned for your world:

“Some of us don’t know how tired we are until we try to relax. Then we realize we’re exhausted.

We may have lived with exhaustion and stress for so long it’s become habitual. That doesn’t mean we’re bad or wrong, or even off track. Many of us are deeply involved in activities, work, projects and relationships we enjoy. We like our lives and the things we’re doing. But sometimes we’ve pushed too hard or too long. Sometimes we haven’t given our bodies adequate time to relax, to rest, to really let go.

It’s all right to take time out. Relax. Refresh. Regroup. It’s all right to rest even if we’re busy, rest often enough to keep ourselves replenished. Get in touch with your body, then stay in touch with yourself.”

 

Rachel looked so peaceful, I had to try it for myself. It’s amazing the happiness that can come when you least expect it and are open to jumping in, trying something new.

a-ha’s from A New Earth chapter 5 tele-chat

Everyone has a phrase.

One that captures all our mental and emotional baggage that’s accumulated over the years, maybe even passed on from generation to generation.  This accumulation of old emotional pain,  or “the pain-body” as Eckhart calls it, is always there, lying dormant, waiting to be provoked.

How do you know what your phrase is? 

It’s the button we don’t want pushed.
It’s the one those closest to us know exactly how to push.
It’s the one that causes a reaction that’s very “unlike” us…
We become withdrawn, defensive, angry, sad, hopeless…

Do any of these resonate with you?

People can’t be trusted…
I don’t deserve abundance…
I don’t deserve love…
Life is supposed to be hard…
Life always lets you down…

It’s not as important to know what your phrase is, as it is to recognize when it’s awakened. 

Like anything ego-driven, it searches for ways to feed.  Pain-bodies are clever and conniving,  operating like a wild animal with survival on its mind. They feed on past stories, deeply embedded beliefs, that go way back… which is why they thrive in family settings… where there’s one big room full of pain-bodies to feed upon, slyly, without our even being aware of it.

If we don’t recognize it, what happens? 

The longer these pain-bodies live, the more miserable our life remains, keeping us totally unaware, disconnected, separate from the peace within us – our truest, best self.

Practicing presence is the only way to keep the pain-body dormant.

If this doesn’t encourage you to give presence a try, here’s another a-ha that might:

While our body is incredibly intelligent, it can not tell the difference between an actual situation and a thought.

If you’re walking around making mental movies about what she said, what he did, what you would say next time and how wrong they are… which describes the normal state of mind for most of us …energetically, your body is in a constant state of panic.

Most of us live in fight or flight mode…

where all of our systems are compromised affecting immunity, circulation, digestion, hormones, our ability to manage stress…

So, how do we tame the wild animal within? 

I thought this chapter called for some extra enlightened guidance.  So, I scrolled through my saved episodes of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and got some major a-ha’s from the master of mindfulness, Thich Naht Han, Zen Buddhist monk (the one Martin Luther King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.)

Check out his recommendations in “practicing presence. with Thich Naht Han.”

 

photo via Northern Sun (it’s a t-shirt!)

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