Life Through My Eyes

...a Blog about REAL Life.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Well hello there! It's been quite a while since I've posted here and I have big news to share with you! 

As some of you may remember, I declared myself on official hiatus from retreats for 2017. After 20+ years of producing and facilitating 6-8 healing retreat intensives per year, it took a few life-changing events to nudge me out of that particular nest, but this past 7 months have confirmed that it was indeed, the right time! I love, love, love my work, but sometimes we have to STOP before we can BEGIN the next thing. I didn't know what that next thing was until it recently crystallized right in front of me.

To give you a bit of the back-story, when my husband Jim and I began our courtship, we both had a sense that we were called to do something together; something bigger than a relationship and life partnership. We had no idea what that was or how we would combine our gifts and talents...mine in the healing field for over 25 years and his as a headhunter/recruiter for nearly 30...but we trusted we'd be shown the way when the time came. It did and we were. It was like bouncing around in a bubble-suit for a while, which was both exhilarating and terrifying, but we have resilience if we have anything, and here we are! (more on that later)

Jim's super-power is his true heart of service. For as long as I've known him, he has dreamed of a place where Veterans and Families could receive the support and healing they truly need and deserve. As a Marine Corp veteran himself, he is fully aware of the challenges our service members have with reintegration and recovery of Self. For the past 4 years, has worked as a Certified Peer Specialist in the Williamson County Veterans' court and Travis State Jail Veteran Re-entry dorm, as he's continued in various levels of training, coaching and certification programs to broaden his base of knowledge and experience. He was also involved in several Veteran based non-profits during this time, which helped him hone in on his own vision of the type of organization he wanted to create; a place that would provide support and assistance to Veterans and their loved ones through integrative therapies, healing/wellness modalities and most importantly, peer-to-peer community.

All this was happening while I was healing and recovering from breast cancer, winding down my retreat schedule, getting my Soul Realignment, Nia, and HealthRhythms Drumming certifications as new offerings in my Soul Integration work...you know, those things I never had time for before. Something happens when you've been in a battle for your life (or your partners' life). Everything shifts and mortality is suddenly a very real thing. No time to waste “deciding” to live. You ARE living and time is precious. 

That's when it happened, I think. 

We emerged victorious from 2016, alive, well and very grateful. In February, Jim took a courageous leap of faith and applied for (and received) 501c3 non-profit status. Just like that, Code VI Veteran Integration Center was born!

Since then, it's been a whirlwind of learning, experience and growth as we've navigated the waters of the non-profit world, keeping our truest intention constant, which is to Ignite the Spark of Hope and Resilience in Veterans & Families. It was obvious early on that not only is Jim stepping into his Divine purpose that he's been called to his whole life, but this is the “what” we sensed we would do together. The unfolding and marrying of our best gifts, talents and experiences in service to others has been as organic as our courtship was. We “knew”; even if we didn't know we knew.

Oh, but that's not all! As if this wasn't a huge enough endeavor, when he founded Code VI, we simultaneously started a private-label coffee company, www.codevicoffee.com, with the intent to donate 50% of coffee profits to Code VI Veterans! We LOVE coffee (and it's GOOD coffee!) and it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but it didn't take long to realize this too, is a full time prospect and our energy to do both started dwindling. So, we did what we know to do: we stepped back, remembered our “why” and asked for guidance. Guidance came, the decision was made, and we are currently in the process of merging the two (which seems like a no-brainer now). This not only enables us to focus on what's most important, but will allow us to now offer 100% of our coffee profits to Code VI Veterans...a win all the way around!

What it gives YOU is
  1. A place to receive support and assistance if you are a Veteran, active service, or family member.
  2. An impactful, tax deductible way to give back to our service members, and/or
  3. Some really, REALLY good coffee (that 100% supports Veterans' healing and integration).

So, why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to KNOW! Not just about our mission, but to inspire and encourage you to find your own! I had no idea we'd be doing this a year ago! It happened because we were willing. We didn't know the how or the when, but by listening and trusting guidance, engaging in the process, and exploring what we felt drawn to (instead of holding tight to what we already knew), we were directed and aligned with the right people, places and things that brought Code VI to fruition.

Whatever it is you're dreaming of, let it have it's way with you. It can and will happen the moment you STOP and let it BEGIN. Don't let go of your nudge or your feel good; just let go of how it happens. Step back, remember your “why” and ask for Guidance. Don't ever give up on that! Explore. Listen. Ask questions. Immerse yourself in those things and with those people who are doing what you want to do, or something like it. Ask for help from a coach or mentors, but remember...only YOU can do it YOUR way ! Let us know if we can help. We're cheering you on and can't wait to see what you create!

While you're letting that percolate, (pun intended!) go check out what we're up to, give if you feel moved to, and/or get yourself some delicious Code VI Resilience Blend Coffee! 
www.integratedveteran.org and www.codevicoffee.com (soon to be one and the same!)



















Friday, May 29, 2015

You're GORGEOUS INSIDE!


On a walk one morning, I saw this real-estate sign posted in front of a house and thought, "I WANT A SIGN LIKE THAT!" A bumper sticker...a name-tag...SOMETHING! It sounds silly, but I swear that house actually stood a little straighter; a little more confident. It was a beautiful house on the outside as well, but that didn't stop the seller from inviting the world to look on the inside, where the real living happens.  Where they would be comfortable and safe; where they would love and be loved; where they would be vulnerable, and creative, and cleansed and fed. Where they would be real and messy and at "home" with their families. It was an invitation to go past what we saw on the outside and step inside, where the good stuff is! 

I thought it was a brilliant metaphor for how we present ourselves in the world. How many of us would be bold enough to boast a "I'M GORGEOUS INSIDE" sign? It requires a great deal of humility to invite others to see us on the inside; to be that real and willing to be seen in ALL of it. The truth is, we ARE gorgeous inside, in all of our humanness and messiness, but the "signs" we tend to drag around more often say things like, "NEEDS WORK", or "REDUCED TO SELL", shouting our Self-judgments rather than celebrating our true beauty!

I promised myself that day to replace my "FIXER UPPER" sign with a brand-spanking new "I'M GORGEOUS INSIDE" sign and I remind myself daily that I'm always growing, changing, evolving, becoming, but WHO I AM, is and always will be, beautifully made. And so is everyone else! 

I do believe I've walked a little taller, been a little kinder, and smiled a whole lot more ever since.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

STAYING PRESENT!

My husband and I just returned from a get-away excursion to Tulum, Mexico...it was heavenly! Turquoise water, white sand, and a quaint little cottage we found on-line. A quaint little cottage with no AC, a rattly old ceiling fan, and barely running water. I'm definitely spoiled to my creature comforts! But we acclimated fairly quickly to what “was” (or wasn't) and remembered our foremost intention in going was to recoup, regroup, and unplug from the world.
Sounds easy enough, and considering Tulum is off the grid for the most part...solar powered, with only generator back-up...it should have been a cinch. Yet, we figured out exactly where to stand in the room and how far to lean over the balcony to get a WiFi signal, depending on the time of day. We laughed at ourselves at how far we'd go to “plug back in”. It was just silly. It took effort to resist the temptation to stay “tethered” to technology and get all the way present, but we did it! And it made me acutely aware of how unconsciously "plugged in" we are in every day life. Note to Self.
It was so automatic to reach for our phones and I kept wondering, “What would we do if we didn't have the option?” What if we couldn't pick up a phone for directions, or pesos conversion, or the meaning of a word? We'd have to rely on our senses, our communication skills, and definitely on other people. Another note to Self.
No judgment, just noted observation of how often our dependencies and habits prevent us from being completely present, even when we're exactly where we want to be, doing exactly what we want to do, with exactly the people we want to be with. And then we saw it...
Driving along that beautiful coast, windows down, sun on our face, completely content in the moment; when out of nowhere there was a big, bright orange, diamond-shaped, very-official traffic sign on the edge of the road that simply read: “STAY PRESENT”. It didn't say “Slow Down” or “Narrow Shoulder”, it literally said, “STAY PRESENT”. That was it! Just STAY PRESENT.
Um...okay. Wow! Doesn't get much clearer than that.
Noted. Noted. And noted!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BEHOLD The Uncorked Soul!

I love my work in this world. I love witnessing the unfolding and awakening of a Soul...the transformation that remembering ignites. I live to see the light come back in the eyes, filling from that deep, down place where Self-worth has been uncorked!

It makes my feet hit the floor in a happy dance when someone wants to dive deep. Not to be pushed from the cliff, but to hold hands and jump! I’ve been at that ledge a gazillion times myself, and each time is always just as scary as the first. Right up until the moment my feet leave the edge, and I’m free-falling into me…and all that I’ve forgotten I Am.
Exploring beneath the surface of Self – the underbelly of the ego – isn’t everybody’s cup of Chi. Not everyone’s ready. I know that. Some have gotten too used to dying to really live. Although it’s hard to watch them struggle, I honor it. God knows I’ve been it. I understand how unsettling the unknown can be, but now I know how unliveable the settling can be.
So I keep stepping to the edge, and I’ll keep diving in, again and again, because living Who I Am is the purest joy I’ve ever known. You can always find me there, I’m sure of it. And I will always, always offer my hand when you’re ready to jump, too. ~kbc

Monday, February 23, 2015

SHOW UP AND SHINE!

It's really okay to be happy...really. Better than okay, actually...it's a game changer! Being afraid to SHOW UP AND SHINE is like the sun being afraid to come up. It's our most authentic NATURE to be joyful and free...to celebrate LIFE...and (contrary to popular belief), it doesn't make others who are less content feel better when we hide our happiness. JOY is contagious! Peace of mind and Soul is calming. Being in love is INSPIRING! It opens hearts to hope and possibilities, which is as loving and needed as our compassion and empathy for the pain in this world. Where did we get the idea that being successful, happy, or completely content could possibly invalidate ANYONE? Quite an arrogant concept, if you think about it. Truth is, if we've moved through, moved on, healed, grown, and done what it takes to create the life we choose, others can too! So, rather than dummy-down your joy, why not CELEBRATE the goodness of your blessings and be the spark that ignites an outbreak of BLISS!  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let Go and Hang On!


Sometimes, we need help. Sometimes we need to ask for guidance or another perspective to reveal blind-spots about ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes we just need someone to hold the rope while we pull ourselves up. We need help getting out of a spiritual or emotional hole, but our spiritual or emotional damage won’t allow us to ask for the help we need. It's a vicious cycle...and it’s exhausting.

Every one of us gets caught up, and sometimes stuck, in our negative beliefs or faulty paradigms from time to time. That's our humanness. These untrue stories we tell from the inside out are molded from the extremities of our life experiences; some we were taught and some we made up ourselves, to make sense and survive the pains of life. We have these survival instincts on all levels...emotional, physical and spiritual...which is good thing. Except when we get stuck in surviving rather than thriving, and continue to recreate pain over and over for ourselves.

It goes something like this: The coping mechanisms we learned early on in life have become knee-jerk survival behaviors and reactions to normal life experiences today. They're no longer necessary, but it's all we know, so we just keep doing it. It doesn't feel right on some level, but we're rarely able to access that level...not on our own. Eventually, (if we're lucky) the pain we're inflicting on ourselves outweighs the pain we've been avoiding and we finally, courageously wave the white flag and grab the rope. We're tired. We want to heal, we don't know how, and we ask for help. I say “lucky” because this is when relief can truly come.

And it will. We can heal. We CAN! We just have to be willing to GRAB THE ROPE and hang on! When we feel like we're going under, we're stuck, or there's a gaping hole of something missing; or we don't understand why things are happening to us; or we DO understand, but we don't know how to change it or stop the cycle; or we feel angry, scared, depressed, lost, hurt, or confused; or we feel unloved, unworthy, not good enough, unmotivated, uninspired, out of balance, or just generally "not in our skin", then perhaps it's time to let go of what we know and grab the rope. It's time to help ourselves to help.

Sometimes we need support and guidance to find our way back to ourSelves. Fortunately, there's always help, there's always hope, there's always a choice...and we’re never alone!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Life in the Holy Fire

I knew coming into this year that it would be BIG, but I had no idea HOW big! Learning and living smack in the center of my being through every single bit of it has been the most Divine experience. Be it joyful or painful,
the blessings have shifted, shaped, and completely transformed most every aspect of my life! More on that later, but here are just a few of the gifts that came through my experiences this year:

On Forgiveness:

"Forgiveness is more of a quiet, private journey one takes...deep down, where the pain and hurt wreck us the most. It's not on the outside, spoken with the pretense of proving we're bigger or more evolved, or more kind or loving; it's not a competition, but a personal walk to the core of our being where we forgive ourSelf for forgetting who we are, even for a moment. To forgive Self is to forgive all humanity at once, for forgetting we are the same." ~ April 2013

"The path to forgiveness is the same path of grief... they both lead to acceptance. First there is denial (shock), then anger (protection), then bargaining (attempting to make sense of the violation/loss), then deep sadness (surrendering to the pain of the violation/loss) and finally, acceptance (awakening in the reality of NOW). We may bounce around them all, until we're finally ready and able to accept the reality of a situation or a person. Acceptance is not resignation, but rather, REALization. We awaken to the reality of what IS and are now empowered to choose how we engage, with others or with life, accordingly. Acceptance is NEUTRAL. We finally just "get" that things are what they are, and people do what they do, and gently, our attachment/resistance morphs into peace. Be it thru grief or forgiveness, or both...acceptance frees us to let go and live again"
~ November 2013
 
On Personal Responsibility:
"Some people are far more committed to being right about what's wrong than to what they claim they WANT. Relationships are an energy exchange...a give and receive...a two-way experience. You're not responsible for how others feel, but you ARE responsible for the energy you bring to the table and the mess you (help) make with it. "Scout rule: Leave things better than you found them!" If you're IN a conflict, you have a part. Period. Find it, clean it up, and carry on!"
~ October 2013
 
"Ahhh, life offers up so many opportunities to BE who I am...right here, right now. Not that person I envision I am or that I'm "growing" into, but who I ALREADY am, on the inside. That woman who lives in my mind's eye, moving through life with grace and strength, compassion and unshakable "knowing"; who is not removed from herSelf by the harshness of life or the disapproval of others, but steadfast in her Truth. She is undeniably REAL and unflinchingly unapologetic. She protects and nurtures, be it a sword or a soft place to land...she knows. Tender in heart, strong in vulnerability, deep in wisdom, and fierce in love, she is ever present in the fire of life. YES! That Holy fire of life, burning away the veils until all that remains is who I ALREADY am...right here, right now."
~ September 2013
 
On trust and gratitude:
"Think with your own mind; feel with your own heart; listen to your own knowing. What the ego hides from the eyes, the Soul already knows. Trust that."
~ August 2013
 
"I do love how Spirit works thru us, usually in ways we least expect. As we listened to the rain fall the night before the wedding and watched it come and go the day of, we were tempted to stress about it, (ok, mostly me), but more than that, we both felt a sense of serenity and "rightness" about it all, even though our outdoor picnic /reception was a wash...literally. We just knew we were in good hands, and it even felt strangely "baptismal", as if the rain was washing away all that had been before THAT very day, making us new, and readying us to begin our life together in NOW. (Which explains why we got so much of it!) There were even a couple of potentially painful situations that were beyond our control the week of, (unrelated to the wedding), yet thru it all, we kept being brought back to the awareness of how Divinely TRUE that really is...that it is ALL beyond our control. We made a choice then, to trust God (even more!) to guide us on our way, standing firmly and freely in the light we create TOGETHER, and let it shine, shine, SHINE! Wherever it takes us, stepping into our marriage surrendered in the absolute peace and knowing that we are in the best hands of all, made it a truly Heavenly day!" ~ October 2013 

My hope for you this holiday and beyond, is that you are at peace in the knowing that each moment has been full with purpose and more potent than you can hold in your own two hands; that you will trust Spirit to guide you and to unfold you in the magnificence you ARE...right here, right now. I look forward to another year with you, on this incredible journey we share. Many blessings for a joyful, wondrous holiday, dear friends. All my love! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can You Dig It?

I've learned a few things on my way to this age...some came easy, some the hard way...and I wouldn't trade not one experience, one heartache, or one moment of bliss for anything in the world! I'm an experiential learner, as well as a hard-headed-do-it-mySelfer, so digging in the dirt comes natural, albeit, a bit messy. I've done many, many things in my life the exact wrong way, so I could apparently discover the RIGHT way...for me. It's not always been pretty, and for a good bit of my life I felt awful, even guilty for screwing up or making mistakes, because I thought I should "know better". What I finally understand is, I was on my way to not only "knowing better", but knowing ME all the time!

Through all the excavating, it occurred to me along the way that the way I see myself and my world is my choice, and that the only evidence of anything being true or false lives in my own perspective, which is completely dependent on how I choose to translate the evidence I find. So, I decided to change my perspective! Yep. I just decided...just like that. I made the choice to perceive life as more of an adventure than a test; to stop questioning why things are happening TO me and consider how they are happening FOR Me, and viola! Everything changed.

I stopped feeling responsible for things that weren't mine. I stop apologizing for being human. I stopped wasting time regretting my choices and looked for the gifts instead. I learned how to leave others' opinions and judgments to them. I risked being disliked, misunderstood, and ridiculed to honor mySelf and live according to my own values. I learned to let go, get out of my own way, and listen to higher guidance, first. I learned that forgiveness from others is not required, but forgiveness for Self is as vital as air. I stopped wondering what "happy, joyful and free" felt like and started LIVING it! And the digging continues...

Today, I can honestly say that when I make choices that are not in alignment with my highest good, I simply choose again! I shake off the humanness of shame and regret, make amends if needed, get up, and dig some more, because that's where the goodies are...down deep in the Soul, where God hangs out. Yes, every single experience of life has brought me home to mySelf, and there's just no sweeter place to live. 

Can YOU dig it?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Uncorked!

I love my work in this world. I love witnessing the unfolding and awakening of a Soul...the transformation that remembering ignites. I live to see the light come back in the eyes, filling from that deep, down place where Self-worth has been uncorked!
It makes my feet hit the floor in a happy dance when someone wants to dive deep. Not to be pushed from the cliff, but to hold hands and jump! I’ve been at that ledge a gazillion times myself, and each time is always just as scary as the first. Right up until the moment my feet leave the edge, and I’m free-falling into me…and all that I’ve forgotten I Am.
Exploring beneath the surface of Self – the underbelly of the ego – isn’t everybody’s cup of Chi. Not everyone’s ready. I know that. Some have gotten too used to dying to really live. Although it’s hard to watch them struggle, I honor it. God knows I’ve been it. I understand how unsettling the unknown can be, but now I know how unliveable the settling can be.
So I keep stepping to the edge, and I’ll keep diving in, again and again, because living Who I Am is the purest joy I’ve ever known. You can always find me there, I’m sure of it. And I will always, always offer my hand when you’re ready to jump, too. ~kbj


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Would you treat your child that way?

If you think about it, a relationship is like a child. A child is born from two people who (ideally) love each other and commit to the care and feeding of a third person. They love and want it with all their heart, and are willing to do whatever it takes to be the best they can be. That’s what a partnership is: a third BETTER thing we love into being, and choose with all our heart. And, like a child, this relationship requires attention and nurturing. We have to feed it and give it affection, protection and guidance. If we neglect it, it withers. Starve it, it dies. When we choose partnership…TRUE partnership…we are agreeing to be responsible for growing and maintaining its health and well being, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, which is a commitment not to be taken lightly. And, it changes us, if we’re lucky…just as a child does.

It strengthens our resolve to do what it takes, especially when we don’t feel like it. We feed it when it's hungry, warm it when it's cold, and hold it when it's hurt or scared. Even when we’re struggling, if we’re committed to the highest good of the “child”, we set aside our differences and pay attention to what it needs. It moves us beyond our separateness and opens us to something greater than ourselves, individually and together. We learn that honoring and caring for ourSelf is vital to our ability to be present and patient, and we find the capacity to honor and support our partner in doing the same. We become a team for the greater good. We build a strong foundation for it grow and mature; we listen and guide, and create healthy boundaries to keep it safe. We consider it in our every-day choices and include it in our big life plans, not because we have to, but because it matters. It matters most. We protect it, respect it, and hold it accountable. We play when we're too busy, we laugh even though we don't get the joke, and sometimes it breaks our heart. But we keep loving it and choosing it, again and again, and it makes us better people...every day.

Yep, true partnerships are like children that way. They give us reason to be better than ourselves…if we let them. ~kbj