Transformation is a Tough Job

I believe people can change. I know this to be true because of my own personal transformation. 

In the past, no one believed I could change. Many doubted my drive and passion to push myself to higher levels of consciousness. But no matter what anyone said or thought, I was determined to become the best version of myself and live aligned with God’s truth.

In my process of deep change, I learned transformation is tough and it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. It’s painful, slow, exhausting and sometimes lonely.

Transforming oneself is not for the faint hearted or the lazy spirit. It requires an enormous amount of energy and effort requiring you to dig deep into the dark crevices of your soul.

You need to be ready and willing with unwavering commitment for your inner revolution. You must be willing to show up to do the work, take 100% responsibility for your life and be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. 

But after the painful, exhausting and excruciating hard work of years of dedicated effort, its more than worth it. Waking up and being who you really are is one of the best things you could ever do for yourself.

I learned (and still learning) if you want to transform yourself, you must do these four things.

1: You must want to change: You can only change if you have a deep desire and will to transform your life. You can’t ish it or go half asked. You gotta be all in. You need to have a fire in your belly lighting up your soul to burn through everything needed to be healed and released. This passion will trump anyone’s opinion that you don’t need to or can’t change. Allow your strong intuitive sense to guide your decision and resolve this must happen no matter what. 

2: You must do the hard work to change: Transformation is very hard work. There are no shortcuts or life hacking skills to get around it. You must travel through the dark valleys of your soul and face your shadows with courage and honesty. You have to own all of your mistakes and past hurts taking full responsibility for them. You must feel the pain and move through your grief to let go of everything holding you back. This divine work on your mind and soul is a daily practice requiring you to show up again and again.

3: You must have a strong support system to change: Transformation does not happen on your own. You need a support system. Ask your family, friends or find a mentor to help. It’s vital to have someone you trust to point out what needs work and show you what your strengths are. Having a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold through the tough times is key to making your transformation a success.

4: You must have faith in God or a Higher Power: You will not be able to transform on your own power. You’ll burn out way before you make any significant changes. You need the Divine to flow through you to give you strength, courage, energy and the grace to keep moving forward. Surrendering to this power signals to God you are truly ready for change, and He will help you transform way farther than you ever could on your own.

The journey of transformation is a long and arduous process. You must be in it for the long haul because there are no shortcuts to get you there. 

I wish there was a magic wand to change overnight, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s like a marathon running slowly to build your endurance along the way of moving towards your goal.

However, the goal of transformation never ends. It’s an evolving process made to challenge you to keep progressing and growing to higher levels of consciousness. It’s always about the journey, never about the destination.

But if transformation is so hard and never stops, then why do it? 

Because what lies on the other side of the pain, hard work, exhaustion and suffering is joy, love, peace, strength, confidence, trust, belief, compassion and deep healing. The reward is creating a whole and purposeful life being aligned with your truth at the deepest level. 

Transforming yourself into the person you are meant to be allows you to live with intention and walk the steps to fulfill your Divine mission here on this earth. 

The Courage to Be You

Are you afraid you to be who you really are deep down inside? Do you hold back your truth for the sake of others or for saving face? Do you feel more comfortable or safe in the cocoon of your masked persona?

If the answer is yes, don’t feel bad. It takes courage to be you in raw, authentic form. It’s scary to be vulnerable and open the windows for others to see your inner truth.

By exposing ourselves we’re afraid people won’t like us, we’ll be made fun of, we’ll get rejected and treated as an outcast or feel like a stupid no good fool.

But, if you rise above the fear with faith and conviction in who you are, you’ll find peace. You’ll experience great joy in being the person God made you to be. Living in someone else’s version or false self-view creates constriction and anxiety. Living as your true self creates space and serenity.

We all fall prey to other people’s expectations of we are and who they want us to be instead living true to our own expectations and God’s plan for us. It’s a constant battle between our inner truth and what others think our truth is.

You are not who your spouse or partner thinks you are. You are not who your besties think you are. Or your boss, your colleagues, your parents or even your kids. The only ones who know who you really are is you and God.

You are the one who feels the dreams and passions tugging and pulling at your soul. But, it’s your responsibility to know and understand how capable you are to fulfill your dreams.

To unpack and discover your capabilities, you need to investigate what’s deep inside of you. Take the time to learn who you are. Every inch. Every light. Every shadow. With this truth, no one is qualified to tell you how or who to be.

When you get to the point of not needing anyone’s permission to be you, you discover freedom and wholeness.

If you don’t live your truth, it will be a disservice to the world. God gave you a set of unique gifts and talents to make a positive difference in the lives of others. You are not being selfish by being you. You’re being generous and giving by being you.

Don’t hold back. Your family needs the real you. Your friends need the real you. Your community needs the real you. Humanity needs the real you.

Your truth is beautiful and full of light and love waiting for you to wake up and see it. When you become aware of yourself, share it with those who appreciate you and need your light to heal and brighten up their lives.

Knowing yourself requires flexibility. We are in constant change and flux evolving in every moment. We are not the same person we were seven years ago, seven months ago, seven days ago or even seven minutes ago. The key is to know who we are lightly without clinging to any labels or strict notions of who we are.

Our bodies are a process made up of different types of tissues, elements, molecules and cells changing every second. The more we move in harmony with the ebbs and flow of life allowing impermanence to ease into our space, the more we can accept and adapt to how we change.

It takes bravery to be you in raw and authentic form. Stand strong in your faith with your feet planted on the ground of your truth. Be you in every moment in absolute conviction with no apologizes, no expectations and no excuses with unbridled crazy, confident and complete courage.

If you are interested in having me speak at your event, please inquire here.

When Depression Strikes

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
– Psalms 34:17

I am an eternal optimist and positive about life.

Most of the time.

But other times beneath my smile lies an inner struggle. A battle of dealing with depression and anxiety. When it decides to strike my life, it disrupts my entire world.

Many people don’t know about my struggle. I choose not to talk about it (except for my mom) because I want to spread love and light to those around me, not darkness and despair.

Depression and anxiety is something I’ve dealt with since childhood on and off throughout the years. But I make a choice to own it and take responsibility for it instead of wallowing and staying in the dark place. I choose to stay on the path of optimism in the midst walking through the muck.

For me, depression is like giving birth. Going through it is painful and excruciating. I feel exhausted and can barely breathe. I feel like I can’t go on for one more second. But once I embrace it, feel it and go through the emotions, I release it.

A new life is born out of the process of working through my darkest moments. I become more aware of who I am, what I need and what I want. I give birth to more awareness of self.

When depression arrives, it’s like a door swung open letting out a hungry ghost from a hidden, haunted room. I want to keep the ghost locked up forever. But, I know I must let it out to heal old wounds and past hurts pushed down deep inside.

Depression and anxiety hits most of us at some point in our lives. Here are some ways I deal with depression and hopefully these will help you too.

1: Read spiritual text. I read the Bible every day even when I don’t feel like. My go to scripture when I am depressed is Psalm 23. It’s an incredible healing always giving me hope and faith God will carry me through.

2: Pray. Ask God to heal your depression. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and show you the way. Trust that God loves you and wants what’s best for you. Knowing this gives you peace everything will be ok no matter how bad you feel today.

3: Meditate. Focus on your breathing for 10 minutes day. Sit in a comfortable seated position with your back straight, shoulders back, and eyes open or closed. Feel the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Watch your thoughts come and go like waves in the infinite sea.

Drop off all worries, concerns, and stresses. Let every bit of it go. Breathing into this space helps to ease anxiety by relaxing and calming the mind in the present moment.

4: Get creative. Being creative is always healing for me. I am a graphic designer by day so when I work on a creative design project, I feel so much better about myself. For you, it could be painting, sewing, drawing, writing, or crafts. The process of working with your creative spirit is healing nourishment for the hurting soul.

5: Cooking. Trying a new recipe or cooking a favorite meal always makes me feel good. There’s something about cooking your own food in your own kitchen that makes you feel alive. Make sure the food is healthy so your body feels good too!

6: Spend time with family and friends. When I am upset, I don’t want to be around people. But I must. Being around loved ones pulls me out of the trenches into higher ground. I don’t need to tell them what’s going to feel better. Instead, it’s their joyful and loving presence that brings me up.

Don’t be alone. Find someone to spend time with.

7: Allow yourself to feel bad for a bit. It’s a myth we need to be like Pollyannas all the time. It’s a new culture norm you must be wildly and energetically positive 24/7. This is unrealistic and unhealthy. It’s fake positive.

There are times we need to feel the darkness to see the light. To process depression, you must go through it. It’s the only way to get to the other side. You need to keep swimming through the treacherous waters to reach the shore. Not treading water forever by staying in place. You must be committed to keep moving forward or depression will drown you.

8: Get physical. Workout, go for a walk, dance. Just get your body moving. Physical exercise releases feel endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your body. Plus, feeling healthy will help ease depression. I go to the gym and attend martial arts classes no matter how bad I feel emotionally. And I always feel better afterward. It never fails me.

9: Help someone. Being of service is one of the greatest healing elixirs. Seeing someone smile because you helped them will bring you out of the darkness. It makes you feel worthy knowing you can make a difference in another person’s life. It’s a win-win for both. You help them, they help you heal. It’s a beautiful combination.

10: See a therapist. I am not a doctor so I don’t have all the answers. But if you are suffering and can’t find your way out, see a therapist. There’s a stigma in society if we see a therapist, we are weak. But if you are honest with yourself knowing you can’t do this on your own, you are strong for reaching out for help.

During my divorce, I saw a therapist weekly for months. It was vital in my healing journey and wouldn’t be the woman I am today without it. There’ no shame but only healing and strength in getting help from a licensed professional.

If you are dealing with depression and anxiety, please know you are not alone. You are not weak, lame, stupid or crazy. You are still amazing, beautiful, smart and wonderful with lots of gifts and talents to share.

But no matter how hard depression strikes, you have a choice. You can choose to heal your life or you can choose to stay in the darkness. Don’t choose victimhood. Choose to heal your life and be the light with deep, unconditional love for yourself.

Featured Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

How to Build Champion Confidence

I’ve been a martial artist for over 22 years. I’ve won Grand Champion Black Belt twice, earned my 5th Dan master black belt in KiMudo and my 1st Dan black belt in Judo. The awards and accolades are great, but there’s one thing I gained the most on my journey.

Champion confidence.

What is champion confidence?
Champion confidence is knowing who you are, why you are here, and standing strong in your beliefs, talents and abilities. You know have what it takes to win at life and create the life you desire no matter what difficulties or obstacles you face. You own it and rock it in everything you do.

You’re killin’ it.

Champion confidence is hard earned with no easy path to get there. It takes work. Lots of work. It requires commitment and dedication to working on yourself every day. Showing up with consistent practice over time is vital to growing your confidence.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of many accomplishments small and large over time accumulating to building yourself up to a higher level.

I used to be timid, hard on myself and never believed I could accomplish anything I wanted. It took me years of consistent effort and building my self-esteem until I was convinced I was worthy of greatness.

With my martial arts training for two decades and my deepening faith in God and myself, I found a powerful combination and training tool for building my confidence. It’s still a work in progress, but I want to share what I learned with you and hope it will help you too.

There are more ways to build confidence with a free eBook coming soon filled with more ideas and tips. But here’s short list to get you started.

1: Know Who You Are
The more you know who you are, the more faith you will have in yourself and your abilities. If you let others mold into who they want you to be, you’ll lose your identity causing distress and loss of connection to your soul. Knowing who you are and standing in your truth builds confidence helping you stick with your beliefs and values no matter what.

Take a look at Jesus. He knew who he was and never faltered from his truth. He never needed validation from anyone or created a watered-down himself to please anyone. And neither should you. Take the time to discover who you are and be strong in faith knowing your inner truth.

John 14:6 says: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’”

2: Practice, Practice, Practice
Whatever it is you’re involved in, practice as much as you can. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel in your efforts. You’ll get the kinks out, repeated mistakes out of the way, and the repetition needed to allow your greatness shine.

During practice, create a safe place to fail. Failing is necessary to learn, grow and evolve. By creating an environment where it’s ok to fail, you’ll relax and be open to feedback.

Over time, you’ll see positive progress giving you the confidence to keep moving forward. Those little celebrations of achievements small or large gives you the fuel to drive your self-esteem upward.

“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.” 

Ann Voskamp

3: Surround Yourself with Positive People
You become the people you hang out with. Choose people who are confident within themselves. Confident people will inspire you to be confident. They’ll be willing to point out your special gifts and help you see your inner light. Many times, other people believe in us more than ourselves. It’s helpful to have someone open our eyes to see the special uniqueness within each of us.

“Surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself!”

Zig Ziglar

4: Grow Your Faith in God
The stronger relationship you have with God, the more confident you’ll be. God loves you and cares for you deeply. Because of His love and adoration, you’ll have all you need to be confident in who you are. God can make things happen for us, send opportunities our way, and give us strength to follow through on our goals.

It wasn’t until I grew in my faith in God and studied how Christ lived, I realized I had the chops to accomplish my goals. With man, many things are impossible. But God, all things are possible. Once I understood this and God has my back in everything I do, I could relax knowing my life would be ok.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Luke 1:37

Building champion confidence gives you courage to create the life you desire. We all deserve to be confident in who we are, in our faith and beliefs and the special gifts we possess to offer humanity. Take the work on your confidence every day because you are worth it. It transforms what you think appears impossible… possible.

The Power of Words

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
– Proverbs 16:24 24

When we open our mouths to speak, go on the computer to type words, or write on a piece of paper, every letter we communicate matters. Words have energy with the power to unite or polarize. Words can heal or hurt. Words can create peace or disharmony. Words can bring beauty or disturbance. 

The effect we create by the words we communicate with is our choice. Many of us already know the power of words but still respond with a knee-jerk reaction using words that are harmful causing stress or discontent. I admit I do this when I am frustrated or angry.

It feels like we don’t have control. But we do. Throughout the busyness of life, we need constant reminders the words we say or write have a ripple effect on the world. I know for me, I want to create a positive impact with everything I do, say and act. So, I need to work on this all the time.

One way to create awareness of how you speak is to notice how your body feels when you say certain words. For example, when I say things in anger directed towards another person, I feel icky and gross. Like I want to detox from the toxic junk. But when I say something loving towards another person, I feel joyful and vibrant. Like a bucket of light poured down my head filling my body with peace.

Another way to create awareness is to notice how you feel when someone says certain words to you. If someone says something rude or raises their voice, I feel defensive, withdrawn and anxious. Like I am not good enough feeling less than. But if someone says something kind or speaks in a soft, loving tone, I am receptive and willing to be open. It makes me worthy, energized and peaceful. I feel safe.

Think about yourself in these situations. How do they make you feel? What does it feel like in your body? Does it make you want to scream or rejoice? Does it feel painful or healing? Do you feel like you want to run and hide or jump up and down with joy?

Take time to build your awareness of how your thoughts effect your body, how you think and how it drives your actions. The deeper awareness you develop, the easier it will be to catch yourself when your thoughts are negative and not helpful to your well-being.

Not only do our words matter when speaking to the external world, but our words matter when we speak to our internal world. I believe these words matter most. Our thoughts effect our hearts resulting in how we respond to the world and the people we interact with daily.

The more positive thoughts we say about ourselves and our life, the happier and content we are. The happier and content we are, the more peace and harmony we spread to the environment we live in.

“Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
-Philippians 4:8

Over time, we’ll deepen our awareness of the words choose to use and how they affect ourselves and others. We’ll become more confident knowing we can create beautiful music with our voices and thoughts sending positive energy of love, peace and harmony to the world around us.

Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

I Double Dare You

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”
C.S. Lewis

It’s the new year. Another chance to start fresh and anew hitting the reset button. Or maybe you have the burning desire to redeem yourself from last year’s epic mistakes and mishaps.

You probably have goals. Some new. Some redos from last year and the year before. Maybe your goal is to lose weight gained from the festive holidays. Or perhaps you want to devote more family time with your kids, quiet time in meditation and prayer, learning a new hobby or stepping it up a work by acquiring new skills.

These are fantastic goals to create a joyful and peaceful life. Some of these listed are mine as well.

But this year, I dare you.

I double dare you to do that “thing” you’ve always wanted to do more than anything else in the world.

But haven’t.

You stopped at the starting line because you were too scared to get up and go for it. That “thing” freaked you out so bad you ended up in a fetal position rocking back and forth crying for mommy.

No judgement here at all. Many times, I was too afraid to go for my big goal too.

Or maybe your reason for holding back is no time, not enough money, lack of knowledge or experience, no resources available, never-ending obstacles and roadblocks on your path or low self-confidence making you feel unworthy.

But here’s the truth.

These are not reasons. These are excuses pretending to be reasons. We come up with excuses because that “thing” pushes us way beyond our comfort zone. The big doozie goal requires deep change to achieve it. And that’s scary! Our natural response to change is resistance with a knee-jerk reaction saying “No, I can’t to do it because of….!”

We all do this. Including me. It’s difficult to visualize ourselves achieving a breakthrough goal because the result is far from where we are right now. But what matters most is the person we become in the process of achieving the big doozie goal.

The development occurs while you are doing the work day in and day out. Not at the end when you cross the finish line. Reaching the touchdown is the party when you celebrate and thank God for the guidance and opportunity He gave you to build strength and develop your character.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
– Proverbs 3:5-6

Last year my double dare goal was testing for 5th Dan master in KiMudo, the martial art I train in. It was a mountainous goal requiring every ounce of my ability, tenacity, perseverance and energy.

It was one of the hardest things I ever did in one year. It was scary, difficult, painful, exhausting and overwhelming.

But the journey blessed me with great rewards of self-confidence, belief and trust in myself I never would have achieved without this crazy goal.

I challenge you to tell your excuses, “Screw you!” Then kick ’em to the curb. No excuses! (pun intended).

The Bible says, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
– 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Make 2019 the year you finally muster up the courage to do what you want. Even if it’s mustard seed size of courage. It’s a start and will grow each time you show up working towards your goal.

Do something that stretches you. Pulls you. Pushes you. Yanks your limbs. Burns in your heart. Explodes your mind. It’s gotta rock you to your core. This is your breakthrough moment catapulting you to new heights with the vision of seeing life from a wider, broader, deeper perspective.

Whatever goal or thing is daring you… go for it. You will receive blessings and rewards for walking the courageous steps towards achieving your goal.

Don’t put it off for another year. Make a commitment to do it. Start today. Don’t wait until December. Take this opportunity to walk in faith and believe you can make your dreams come true.

I double dare you.

Feature photo by Tyler McRobert on Unsplash

How Martial Arts Transformed Me

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It’s been a few months since my last post. But, for a great reason. On November 3, I tested for 5th Dan Master Black Belt in KiMudo. I’ve been martial arts for over 22 years so this test was a big deal! I needed lots of practice, dedicated focus and a crazy amount of energy to accomplish this goal.

KiMudo is a martial art comprised of Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Hapki-Do, self-defense techniques and various weapons. We lovingly call it the “traditional mixed martial arts.” For my test, it was required I write a resume of my accomplishments. Instead a boring resume, I wrote about how martial arts transformed my life. I wanted to share this with you and hopefully it will inspire you to transform your life too.



Jodi Heisz 5th Dan Resume

For my 5th Dan resume, I could give you a long list of accomplishments, rewards, and certificates earned during my martial arts career. I could tell you about how I achieved all my black belts in KiMudo, my black belt in judo, winning big, shiny trophies at tournament, being a judge, sitting on the testing board for both color and black belt tests, and more.

Yes, all are great accomplishments I’m proud of.

But you know what? At the end of the day, none of these matters.

There’s quote on Facebook I have liked and shared by Kaci Diane describing my biggest accomplishment in martial arts.

“I love the person I have become, because I fought to become her.”

To me, that’s what matters most.

The transformation I’ve experienced throughout my 22 years of martial arts means more than any trophy I’ve won or any belt I’ve earned. Becoming the best version of myself to lead a more positive and peaceful life with compassion for others including myself, is the center of my martial arts career. It’s what keeps me coming back to Dojang day after day, week after week, year after year.

Today, I am sharing with you three personal achievements that changed my life most.

  1. Self-confidence and belief
  2. Cultivating friendships through martial arts
  3. Becoming a leader to inspire others

Self-confidence and Belief
Master Bob Perk reminds me most students who come to martial arts are broken and searching for a better way, a better life. I know this is true because when I started martial arts in 1995, I was very broken. Probably…  the most broken of all.

Students and black belts today see Jodi filled with strength, confidence and smiling all the time. They don’t know the depths of darkness I originally came from. Back then, I was a much different person than I am today. Most don’t know the dark places I came from, and the deep trenches I climbed out of to see the light. I was desperate searching for a better way, a better life. To be whole. Healed. And feel worthy.

My confidence on a scale of 1-10 was off the charts on the low end. Scared to spar, feared falling, afraid to speak or teach in front of a crowd, petrified of throwing or being thrown, etc. I remember Master Perk telling me repeatedly, “Be more aggressive!” I wasn’t aggressive because I didn’t believe I had the chops to be successful, to rock it and be great both in and outside the Dojang. I thought I didn’t deserve it because I felt unworthy.

Slowly over the years, kick by kick, punch by punch, throw by throw, my confidence grew stronger, more powerful. The light always existing inside, but dim, was starting to shine bright. It was beginning to shine, because I believed I could shine. Instead of knowing I could be successful, I believed I was successful.

And now, I am unstoppable, determined, strong, capable, powerful, amazing, fearless, rocking it and … more aggressive. I am whole. Healed. And believe I am worthy.

Cultivating friendships through martial arts
One of my biggest achievements held dear in my heart are the friendships I’ve been blessed with through martial arts. I am honored to have met so many wonderful people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and ages.

But the friends I cherish the most, are my instructors Bob and Audrey Perk and my gals.

Masters Bob and Audrey Perk have been my rock and my foundation through many life’s challenges. They’ve supported and guided me through the good times and the bad. Without their encouragement and belief in me as a person, I wouldn’t be the woman I am standing here today. They taught more than martial arts. They taught me the value of family, friendships and how teamwork really does make your dream work. My hope is for me pay it forward and help someone else one day like they have helped me.

20181104_0635453281.jpg
Then, there’s my gals. We call ourselves, Audrey’s Angels. We’re kinda like martial arts gangsters… so we are.  A true sisterhood running deep, maybe deeper than blood related sisters. Life is better lived with true friends to share it with. Especially when you can kick each other in the head or throw one another on the ground. I don’t know many friends who would stand for that kind of treatment. But we do. Because we love martial arts. And because we love each other.

From that infamous night we’ll never forget, making Pauline walk 42 miles in Woodman’s to get my favorite blue chips,  bonding with my judo buddies during those ridiculous attempts to get “that throw” right, and to all who hugged me during my darkest moments. No words can describe how grateful I am to have their friendship.

Just like form Ka Chi says, “Go Together: Sharing the Journey of Life”.  To the share the journey of life with my martial arts family through the laughs, the cries and everything else in between, is my best award. Supporting and encouraging each other to be strong, powerful, connected, and awesome is a gift of a lifetime.

And I love them all for that.

Becoming a leader to inspire others
Anyone can learn to be a leader. But not anyone can attain a certain level of inspiration and compassion if they haven’t walked the steps themselves from darkness to light. Being an inspiring leader requires a glowing confidence with humility, integrity, joyfulness and little tough love.

After years of working towards building my confidence and restructuring my life, I’ve become a strong leader for my students. Taking what I’ve learned and the transformation occurred within has granted me with a different set of skills in teaching and guiding others. Nothing feels greater than passing down your knowledge to help your students change their lives for the better. The ability to empathize with those who are struggling because you once struggled, makes the difficult times of the past worth it.

20181127_185655[3285]One of my favorite teaching moments is when I won Black Belt Champion twice competing in the spring and fall tournaments. Last summer I set a goal to win that trophy. There were setbacks and challenges. But I never gave up on my goal. I visualized it every day, trained hard and consistently, and had friends to hold me accountable. With the power of goal setting and perseverance, I achieved my goal.

But it the end, winning black belt champion wasn’t about me. It was about teaching my students dreams can come true if you believe and do what it takes to make it happen. Being a leader who’s walked the path and inspires others become the best versions of themselves, is my dream come true.

Sisterhood Rocks…The Female Friendships Rule

20431237_10212243918727296_1571402650913900000_nThe power of female friendships (with the right gals) rocks.

We cry together when we are sad and dying deep in emotional pain.

We cry when seeing the pain on each other’s faces feeling it in our body like it’s our own.

We cry when we talk about the suffering and injustice of the world because we are compassionate, loving beings who believe in the value of humanity, peace and righteousness.

We laugh at one another’s sudden dumb moments (because we know we are smart 99% of the time).

We laugh at ourselves when being insane and ridiculous (we get crazy sometimes but that’s allowed every once in a while).

We laugh at each other’ jokes because we are hilarious (especially the inappropriate jokes for society’s standard for being women but who the hell cares… they are funny).

We laugh at asshole, idiot men (of course we do… because men can be asshole idiots. Not sorry guys).

We hug each other in praises of encouragement and give high-fives when we rock it.

We hug each other when a loving touch is needed to mend a broken heart and when we just…need a hug.

We give advice even when it’s not wanted because we want what’s best for our friends.

We ask for advice because we trust each other’s judgement and know we are smart, wise and honest.

We love each other kid’s like they are our own because we are family. The sisterhood friendships go deep in our blood and veins extending to our real blood family.

We almost went to jail that one, crazy night. If we keep it up…we still might…

The Sex and the City girls don’t hold a candle to who we are and our friendship. Hell, we are martial arts who kick, punch, fight, throw, arm bar and choke. Sorry Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte but we are the bad asses.

You listened to me for hours on end ranting, raving, whining, complaining, etc. Then again on the next day, the next week and so on. Ever since high school you never once you told me to shut up giving me what I needed…a trusted ear.

When I was down on my luck deep into emotional hole, a financial hole…hell I was one big, gaping hole, you treated to dinner making me feel special, loved and important.

If I am wearing an outfit I love but makes me look a stuffed Raggedy Ann doll busting at the seams, you tell me truth and to change clothes. Immediately. Now that’s true love.

You believe in me when I don’t. You tell me not to quit when I want to give up. You tell me the truth on how to improve, be better and to thrive.

You got my back, helping me stand straight and tall to move forward with confidence and grace.

You make me feel beautiful when I feel ugly and when my teeth don’t look right. You make me feel like I have a kick ass body even when I’m bloated looking like I’m six months pregnant.

You never judge, condemn or yell at me. But will tell me the hard-cold truth to save me from my mass destruction.

We stand together locking arms holding each other up to be strong, powerful and connected. We make each other feel safe to be who we truly are and to feel beautiful, sexy, hot, smart and fucking awesome.

And I love you all for that.

True Listening

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“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.”
– Wayne Dyer

Learning to truly listen to yourself is the key to living a spiritual and purposeful life. Cultivating the skill of deep listening with mindfulness will improve the quality of your relationships. But first, you must learn to listen to yourself.

With the spiritual practice of deep inner listening, you’ll develop heightened sensitivity of your body and soul. Over time you will learn and understand how they communicate to you. True, inner listening is a spiritual practice requiring dedication, compassion and awareness helping you move towards maturity and enlightenment.

True listening is hearing your heart and soul speaking to you, not the intellectual mind. This sacred voice are whispers of love and wisdom always knowing the truth about you. You won’t hear a loud booming voice or a neon sign, but instead a gentle, blowing sound.

The voice of your true self is a voice you can trust. Your soul wants what’s best for you and nothing less. It knows every part of your being and the desires of your heart to guide you on the right path. To listen, feel the vibration emanating from your heart and breathe deeply to become intimately connected to it.

When you have a burning question on your heart rolling around in your head, look within instead of the outside world. You’ll feel deep in the bones of your body and soul the answers to the questions you are seeking.

Don’t intellectualize, overthink, overanalyze or disregard what you receive. Feel the gentle nudges tugging at your gut allowing the truth to come forward. Invite your inner wisdom with open arms to embrace the truth being told with awareness, gratitude and compassion.

Listen to what your life is saying to you. When you do, you’ll realize your life has been speaking to you all along. You’ll see a pattern of certain desires that never go away. They keep popping up over and over again like a kid vying for your attention.

Most of the time these desires have been there since your childhood waiting for your undivided attention. The voice of your true self never dies or goes away. You only choose to ignore it or suppress the truth.

Once you start listening to you and become accustomed to it, you’ll learn to trust yourself. You’ll understand you have everything you need right now to be who you are.

To hear your soul speak, you must remove all distractions. Internet, news, social media, and well-meaning family and friends who think they know how you should live your life. It doesn’t matter whether the information or intent is good or bad.

This information is problematic because it distracts you from hearing your inner truth. Why do you need approval or validation from others when you know what’s true? You don’t because your path will be different from someone else’s path. If you don’t listen to you, you’ll end up living someone else’s story.

To listen to you, create a quiet space every day for just a few minutes. It could be a walk outside, turning the radio off in the car, or sitting in silence for five minutes before your family wakes up. The more comfortable you feel being alone in silence, the easier it gets to hear you. But to hear you, you must show up with presence and open awareness every day.

Sometimes when sitting in silence, your ego overpowers your soul speaking to you. If you allow it, the ego can control and dominant your mind preventing inner wisdom from coming through. When this happens, stop and be present. With awareness don’t judge or condemn these thoughts. Allow them to pass through with mindfulness and compassion.

By allowing it to pass, it will dissolve naturally. If you engage in the dialogue, you’ll give it power making it stronger. Acting like a counselor attentively listening to clients speak, give your ego the space to lament so it can be free.

When you start listening to you, you’ll begin to start really living your life creating miracles for yourself. Opportunities, people and events will open as you align with your true self working with the Divine. You’ll receive guidance and direction as you experience the fullness of life being true to yourself. Whether you are on or off track, you’ll see it and feel it giving you the chance to adjust accordingly.

Listen to you and hear the whispers of truth and inner wisdom deep in your core.  Feel it, own it and live it to be one with your mind, body and soul and live a life with purpose, magic and joy.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

The Power of Perseverance

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“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”
– Thomas Foxwell Buxton

Anything worth achieving is going to be hard. No doubt. To accomplish a goal that lights you up inside, requires hard work, dedication, practice, blood, sweat, tears, pain, sacrifice and perseverance. There’s no magic pill or fast track path to reach a significant goal. But the power of perseverance is key to making your dream a living, breathing reality.

It was a challenge earning all my black belts. My martial arts journey has been filled with setbacks, failures and disappointments. But with each setback and every obstacle, I got back on the mat and tried again and again. Every trophy, belt, technique and skill earned was the result of years of hard work, drive, determination and unwavering commitment no matter how hard the journey became.

All the pain, exhausting work and hard training was worth it to make my dreams come true. To keep going when times were tough built courage, optimism and resilience. Imagine if I gave up the first time I failed or come across an obstacle? Had I not persevered, I would not be the black belt I am today.

If you have a dream or a desire you want to achieve, let it inspire you and never give up. Ever. It’s vital to success. There will be times you’ll want to drop everything and say, “Forget it!”. But you must keep going forward and not back down. If you need to take a break, take a break. Go ahead and rest your weary soul. After you recover, get back up and go.

You’ll always regret quitting but never regret trying. Trying leads you somewhere. It may not be what you originally intended or visualized but it will lead you to a new destination. If you quit, you’ll end up nowhere with disappointment and lack of self-worth to gain.

Perseverance builds character to overcome adversity, deepens your integrity, develops humility, empowers your life and creates fierce, inner strength. By staying on your path, you’ll tap into your unlimited potential for greatness you never thought was possible.

When your path becomes challenging, and it will, lean into it. Embrace it. Accept it. Allow the joy and inspiration from your dream fuel your perseverance to carry you through. When you reach the peak of frustration, doubt and discouragement, know your breakthrough is on the other side.

Believe in yourself even when the odds are stacked up against you. The more you believe and trust, the more the odds will fall away. Be strong, diligent and focused on your mission under all conditions. Take it step by step, day by day, moment by moment. With each small step forward, you’ll get closer to your goal while staying in the game.

Perseverance means ignoring the naysayers, toxic people or well-intentioned family and friends who don’t agree with your path. Listen to yourself and no one else. You know what’s best for you and know what’s needs to be done to fulfill your goals and dreams. Don’t succumb to what others think and say but surrender to what you believe following the calling of your heart.

To fulfill a dream that drives you, inspires you and propels you forward with joy and passion requires perseverance. The power of perseverance is the key to success and putting your destiny in your own hands. Keep on keeping on to make all your dreams come true.

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash