Awakening the Christ Within

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On December 2, my pastor, Sean Walker, graciously let me preach the sermon at my church at Chapel on the Hill in Lake Geneva.

I had a message on my heart I wanted to say and grateful for the experience to share it with others. Through my study and exploration, I discovered Christ lives in our hearts every day. All we need to do is awaken to the Christ within us.

Here’s the link to listen to my audio sermon of the message on Awakening the Christ Within.

http://chapelonthehill.net/media/649074-2682289-1634447/untitled

Below is the manuscript even though I didn’t say it word for word in the live version. Either way, my hope is this will inspire your faith in a way that’s best for you.



Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I have a confession to make. Last April I was struggling. Struggling to feel Christ. Struggling to see Christ. Struggling to connect with Christ.

I kept looking this way. Searching that way. But I came across… nothing. Christ continued to elude me.

I asked myself “Why can’t I feel him?” I needed to know if he was with me so, I asked him. “Jesus, please let me know you are here and in my life.”

I waited. Nothing. Until a couple weeks later. I had a dream. I dreamt I heard a knock on my bedroom door. When I opened the door, I saw the words “Revelation 3:20”.

Suddenly I woke up. Curious, I reached for my Bible on my nightstand and turned to Revelation 3:20.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

What??? Crazy!!!

However, it’s my nature to doubt myself even when the writing is on the wall… or in my case… a dream. So, I dismissed it. It’s common God needs to send a million messages before I believe He’s talking to me.

I could’ve driven by a big billboard with large black text and bright flashing lights saying “TO JODI: THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS …. FROM GOD.” And I still would say, “Naaahhh…I’m imagining things. That’s not for me!”

Two weeks later a group of us girls drove to Green Bay for the Beth Moore conference. I had no idea what Beth Moore was going to say or what the theme was. On Friday opening night, Beth arrived on stage and began to speak. And guess what the message theme was?

Doors.

What??? Crazy!!

The doors God opens and closes. The doors to walk through or not to walk through. The doors He know what’s best or what’s not best. Then, a list of scriptures with door metaphors scrolled down the screen. The first scripture on the list was… Revelation 3:20.

What??? Crazy!!

Now I believed Christ answered me with a message from God I needed to hear.

But I didn’t understand the entire message until two weeks later. I had another dream. It was a vision of a heart with a pink door and a white cross on it.

I prayed about, read scripture… and then… I got it.

The Bible says, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”—Galatians 2:20

Jesus lives within me. And you. And all of us. He’s alive in our hearts. All. The Time. The doors to open to Jesus are on our hearts. All we need is to wake up and be open to receive him.

With the few scriptures I found on how Christ lives in us, I realized I was looking outside myself for Christ instead of within. So, if Christ already lives in our hearts, the question is what are we doing that’s disturbing that or what do we need to do to see it.

Remember the movie ET at the end when the spaceship waits for ET to get on board to go back home? Elliot was crying because the friend he loved was moving far away.

Elliot pleaded him to stay. ET looked at Elliot’s tear-filled eyes, lit up his finger and points to Elliot’s heart and said, “I will be right here.”

That’s what Jesus tells us.” I am right here.”

Even though Jesus is not with us physically, he’s right here living in our hearts every day in every moment waiting for us to wake up to his presence.

Since April, I’ve continued to study, pray and develop spiritually to help me awaken the Christ within me. It’s a work in progress, but I want to share these steps with you and hope they will help you too.

1: Know you are worthy. Jesus Christ is in as much awe in us and we are in him, if not more. We are amazed by his miracles, his wisdom, his capacity to love and how he lived a perfect, Godly life.

But he’s amazed at us too.

Christ sees our ability to love deeply and serve God to create a positive difference in the world. He’s amazed by our humble humanity, our perfection in being imperfectly human and the miracle of life God has created here on earth.

Christ proves we are worthy by how he connected with everyone regardless of who they were, what they did or where they came from. He shared meals with a tax collector. He stood up for an adulteress to save her life. He didn’t follow the “rules” of who he should talk to or not talk to. He acted as a humble servant and friend to his disciples.

He welcomed everyone and anyone because he loved everyone. If Christ didn’t believe we are worthy, he wouldn’t have obeyed God’s will to die on the cross and pay for our sins.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life..” John 3:16

The company I work for, Signalfire, had a photoshoot for our team. It was a day filled with laughs ending with a yummy lunch. We couldn’t wait to see the photos.

The next day, our photographer emailed the link for the photo gallery. As we looked at each other’s photos, we were amazed by how wonderful our co-workers looked.

But then we looked at our own photos.

Lisa: “Look at the scar on my face!”
Me: “I don’t see your scar. I see your bright smile!”

Sarah: “My hair looks bad!”
Me: “I see how your hair beautifully frames your face.”

Bryan: “My expression makes me look weird!”
Me: “Your joyous spirit shines right through.”

Heather: “The photos zoom in too close to my face. Who wants to see my face that close!”
Me: “I see your vibrant, youthful energy!”

Ian: “Looks good.”
Me: “Ian your ruining my momentum! Not fair lol!”

Me…out loud: “My teeth look weird. Look at all my wrinkles. And those bags under my eyes!”
Me ranting a checklist of internal criticisms in my head: “I am an idiot with no creative ideas. I am a bad mom for yelling at my son today. I am failure because I can’t pay off my debts. I overslept and missed my workout again this week. My house is a mess. I never finished that project I started 10 years ago. My hair hurts. And I burnt my breakfast this morning.
Lisa: “Jodi, I am drawn to your compassionate eyes.”

Don’t we all do this? We’re so hard on ourselves. It’s exhausting! We beat up ourselves so much we don’t see the beauty of who we are. Instead being our own bully, we should be our own cheerleader praising the unique attributes making us special.

Us: “I feel so unworthy.”
Jesus: “You are worthy because I love you.”

Jesus loves us because he sees us. The real us. He cuts through our flaws, imperfections, issues and sins to see right through into our hearts and souls to who we really are.

The Bible says in Genesis 1:27: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;

Christ sees the loving, gifted, and talented people we are made in God’s image. He wants us to see this in ourselves too. Because we are all worthy.

2: Develop a Spiritual Practice. Since God created us in his image, we were made with the power of Christ’s love deep in our hearts. Yes, we are sinful creatures, but we are also Christlike by nature. The sun is hidden beneath dark clouds in strong thunderstorms. But the sun is always there. Our Christlike nature is hidden beneath our deepest sins. But our Christlike nature is always there. It’s not something to achieve or attain, but something we always have given by the grace of God.

The seed of Christ was planted in our lives when we accepted him as our Savior. But for the seed to grow and thrive, we must water it daily with spiritual practice. Our development from a small, planted seed to deep rooted spiritual maturity requires patience, perseverance and consistency.

This spiritual practice is outlined in the 7 marks of discipleship. Pray daily, worship weekly, study the Bible, service, fellowship, sharing our faith with others, and giving our time, talents and resources. Through this spiritual practice we become confident in our faith changing our hearts bit by bit to see the light of Christ within.

After salvation, learning to be like Christ is an ongoing process. There’s no magic wand to tap on our heads and poof! We’re transformed into grand spiritual beings. It doesn’t happen that way! We must work at it. All. The. Time.

Spiritual maturity requires change from the inside out with a radical shift in our mindset. We all have bad habits to break, people to forgive, issues to deal with and learning to love more deeply. But all is possible if we walk in the Holy Spirit learning more about God and how Christ works through us.

3: Be Aware: Being aware of what’s happening as it’s happening opens our senses to see Christ working in our lives. If our minds are elsewhere ruminating about the past, fussing about the present or fantasizing about the future, it’s too difficult to hear God’s voice.

The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

This means we need quiet our minds. We can’t hear Him with all that noise going on between our ears. It’s like when we are on the phone with static and bad reception. We can’t hear the other person on the line!

But if we slow down, be quiet and listen, God will give us the wisdom we need to hear.

With increased awareness, we’ll peel layers off the masks we wear reaching the center of who we are. The true self God created us to be and what Christ sees instead of the persona we present. We’ll appreciate the small things making every moment Holy moments. Seeing the beauty and feeling the texture of life is like creating Heaven here on Earth.

4: Commit to Christ: Commit to Christ with all your heart, mind and soul in complete faith and trust. When you sacrifice and surrender, you’ll be filled deeply with the Holy Spirit.

I’ve been in martial arts and Judo for many years. Judo is the art of throwing another person. Total commitment with ultimate sacrifice and surrender to Jesus reminds of a judo sacrifice throw.

A sacrifice throw is when the Tori (in Japanese means the person throwing) allows himself to fall or drop in the process of performing the throw. One throw called tomoe-nagi, is a great example how important commitment is to make things work.

When learning tomoe-nagi, it requires commitment from the person throwing (Tori) and the person being thrown, the Uki (in Japanese means person being thrown). If you don’t commit, the throw won’t work or you’ll get hurt.

When the Tori performs the throw, they grip onto the Uki’s uniform lapel, puts one foot on the Uki’s hip and swings their entire body through the Uki’s legs landing on the floor while throwing the them over the top. Both land on their backs head to head. You commit using your bodyweight to execute the throw. Scary!

For the Tori to learn the throw, it’s vital to have a good Uki who’s willing to take the fall. When the Tori throws, a good Uki moves their bodyweight forward with a slight jump to fly over the top. The Uki helps to make the throw feel effortless and smooth.

When I was learning tomoe-nagi, I didn’t want to do it! It was scary! During class, I would pray, “Please let’s not do tomoe-nagi”. And of course, my instructor would say…” Let’s do tomoe-nagi!” “No!!!! I don’t want to do it!” But since it was required, I did it anyway.

One of the students I worked with, Pat, was a great Uki for me. When I gripped up ready to do the throw, Pat looked at me straight in the eye chanting “Commit, commit, commit”. With weak and not so confident smile I said, “Ok, Pat!”. And away I went. My throw was clunky and clumsy at first, but I did my best.

With consistent practice, I became more confident, more aware of the technique and felt worthy of performing the throw. I went from the weak and unconfident “Ok, Pat” to the strong and confident “Yes! I got this!”

Practicing Tomoe-Nagi reminds me of our relationship with Jesus. To connect with Christ and receive God’s full blessings, we must be 100% committed surrendering our lives to Christ.

There’s no ishing it. No half-asked attempts. No “under only these conditions will I commit.” No “Well, today I will follow you, but not over the weekend.” Either you’re in or you’re not. It’s a yes or no. That simple.

When you begin your relationship with Christ, it’s scary. God will ask you to do things in the name of Christ you may not want to do. You’ll say “No!!! I don’t want to do it! But it requires change at every level moving us out of our comfort zone to grow in Christ.

If you trust Jesus, you’ll have the best Uki you’ll ever have. When you’re brave and ready to walk with him, He’ll look in your eyes chanting, “Commit, commit, commit.”

Your relationship will be clunky and clumsy at first. You might respond with a weak and unconfident, “Ok, Jesus.” But that’s ok… because you’ll do your best.

Over time with consistent spiritual practice, you’ll become more confident in your faith, more aware of Christ working in your life and know you are worthy because he loves you.

When you commit, sacrifice and surrender to Christ, you’ll go from the weak and unconfident, “Ok, Jesus” to the strong and confident, “Yes, Jesus. We got this!” When you get that level of deep commitment and trust, he will fly, jump, and take any fall for you.

If you’re the one falling from life’s struggles whether it’s divorce, illness, job loss, depression, loss of a loved one or just from a no good bad day, he’ll catch you in his strong, loving arms.

He’ll look in your tear-filled eyes, light up his finger and touch your heart saying, “Have no fear…I’ll be right here.”

It’s this hope of Christ, the one who saved us and continues to save us, we can count on more than anything else in the world. He will always be here, knocking on door, waiting to be let in.

Let’s open the door to awaken the Christ within our hearts and glorify God shining His light into our souls and to the world around us.

Blessings to you all,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

15 Ways To Develop Intuition

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“Intuition is seeing with the soul.”
Dean Koontz

I love developing my intuition. I love it because it helps us communicate to one another at a deep and profound level. It creates a strong connection to our highest selves while opening the channels to hear and feel the Divine. Everyone is born intuitive because we are souls living in a physical body having a human experience. Intuition is the language of the soul and because we are souls, we all have intuition.

But what if you feel disconnected to your intuition? Or maybe you’ve been working on your intuition but want to develop it further. Or you’re in the beginning stages on your intuitive journey and don’t know where to start.

If you want to develop and grow your intuition, you need to practice by using it. It’s like a muscle. To make it grow stronger, you must train and exercise it every day. With consistent daily use of your intuition, you’ll understand how it works and how it works for you. You’ll see how it’s been working all this time but never realized it until you became conscious of it.

Here’s a list of 15 ways to develop your intuition. You don’t have to do all of them. Pick the ones you resonate with the most and ones to challenge you.

  1. Before you check your email in the morning, see if you know how many are in your inbox.
  2. See if you know who’s calling or texting you before you check to see who it is.
  3. Meditate daily. Five minutes minimum.
  4. Before meeting with a friend, try to “see” what color clothes they are wearing.
  5. When standing at an elevator, feel which doors will open first. Or if you are at the grocery store, feel which line is the fastest.
  6. Before going to work, try to feel what emotions your boss is having.
  7. Ask God a question. Grab a pen and paper. Write. Feel the answers coming from the top of your head through your hands on to the paper. Don’t edit. Just write. Allow the words and the answers to flow through you.
  8. Practice acting on your intuitive feelings and nudges you receive versus what your intellect tells you. The more you listen and act on your intuition, the stronger it gets and the more you trust.
  9. When choosing what to eat at a new restaurant, feel what meal is right for you. Order it and nothing else.
  10. Use your imagination to visualize your heart’s desire as already achieved. Be as detailed as you can using all your senses.
  11. Go for a walk outside and feel the energy of nature surrounding you. Try this at different times of the day to experience the natural flow of earth’s magic. Listen to the birds chirping and cars driving by. Look and see every detail of the trees, the clouds in the sky and the flowers along your path. Feel the breeze and the wind on your face.
  12. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Being too hard on yourself and negative thinking kills intuition. Self-love is the nectar feeding your intuition to grow and expand reaching a new level of consciousness.
  13. Eat whole foods on a plant-based diet. Fueling your body with nature’s goodness increases your vibration to receive guidance from the Divine.
  14. Before you meet someone new, try to see what they look like in your mind’s eye. Try to know their hair and eye color, facial features, body type and style of clothing.
  15. Open waking in the morning, take a few deep breaths. Visualize three things you want to accomplish in detail as if already accomplished. State each of your goals out loud with confidence.

These tips to charge your intuition are simple to integrate into your daily life. No need to mediate alone in a cave for thirty days, or spend lots of money on training to develop your intuition. Intuition is simple to add in your life because it’s a part of your soul. Your soul wants to connect deeper to your mind, body and the world around you. Using your intuition will always guide you in the right direction to help choose what’s in your highest good and create the best life filled with joy, magic, love and peace.

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

New Year Resolution… More You

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“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”
– Charles R. Swindoll

New year. New beginnings. New resolutions. New and better me. At least that’s what I have tried year after year after year. And year and after year after year, I failed on my resolutions. The only result was me being way too hard on myself. “Bad Jodi!”

Well… not this year. I am trying something new. A gentler, more loving approach to personal development. Instead of new resolutions to be a new me, I am going to be more of the real me.

How about you join me in this challenge to be more you instead of a new you?

We always want to make more money, lose weight, pay debt, get a new wardrobe, etc. All of those are positive and it’s good to have goals to improve your life. I have new goals set for this year too.

But what if in 2018, your focus is on becoming more you in everything you do? How would your life improve if you were unapologetically you? Always being your authentic, genuine self under all circumstances is a challenging but worthy effort. If you stopped trying to change your true self and stopped being a watered-down version, you would be happier and more at peace. I know I will be.

Being yourself takes the stress off trying to be someone you’re not. It requires less effort because you’re simply just being with no agenda, acting out a fake persona, or trying to keep up with the status quo. Things will flow gracefully when you tap into the true nature of who you are deep down inside.

To be yourself requires three key things I am working on: Courage, Clear the Clutter and Say Yes to the Best. Hopefully, these will help you too.

Courage
It takes a courageous heart to be yourself in a critical and judgmental world. Especially when this world exists in your mind. The more you are yourself, the more confident and independent you will become to stand strong in your beliefs, talents and gifts.

Every day, be brave to take off the masks you wear, stop playing the roles you play and choose to be present instead of going through the motions. When you have the courage to show the scars, the rawness underneath, magic starts to happen. This magic is the real you. Being brave showing all of yourself helps you connect with others in a deep and powerful way. Including connecting with yourself.

Clear the Clutter
To be more you, clear the clutter from your life. Physically and emotionally. When you clear what no longer serves you, you clear the space for you to see the light within. Clutter is distracting keeping you away from true joy and happiness.

In your physical space, donate old clothes from your closet you never wear, get rid of those old pots and pans taking up room in your cupboard and clear your table from papers and unnecessary items to leave room for a mindful meal.

In your emotional life, let go of self-doubt, judgements, fear, anger, worry, resentment or any negative thoughts about yourself. Imagine throwing these thoughts and feelings into a big, yellow dump truck in front of your house. One by one throw these negative thoughts away. When you are done dumping everything, see the dump truck driving away from your house. How do you feel? Do you feel more clear, peaceful and at ease?

The more clutter you remove, the more you can see the real you. Just like when you remove clutter from a room, everything looks clear with light shining into the open space.

Say Yes to the Best
Make a commitment to yes to the best and no to the good. When you say yes to what’s best for you, you give your true self permission to shine and take center stage. You deserve to do what’s in your best interest to live aligned with your vision, goals and beliefs.

Never back down from your gifts to please others. Do what you feel is right in your heart. Remember, you are the one who was to live with you the most. When you do things to fulfill you in the deepest way, your life will be peaceful and full of wonder. This will make your loved ones happy too because they will feel your positive energy emanating from your soul.

Your experiences will be vivid and vibrant by committing to the best things. You will have less stress and resentment and will stop feeling overwhelmed by choosing to say no to the good. You enter a sacred space connecting to your true self, God and the energies surrounding you. Living and being the real you and doing things honoring your true self allows you to live in the moment going with the flow of life. You are free to just be.

Join me in 2018 to be more you. It won’t be easy and it will be scary. But you will be energized, happy and peaceful living true to yourself. God wants us to be who we are, nothing less and nothing different. He created us for a reason with a purpose for being here. Let’s honor His will for us and honor ourselves deep in our hearts and souls.

Commit to this resolution with me to be more you.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Time to Rise

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“Rise above the storm, and you will find the sunshine.”
– Mario Fernandez

In times of intense struggle as the world whizzes past your head, you’re granted permission to take a rest, pause and slow down. For our sanity and well-being, all of us need a break to catch our breath, ground our energy and center ourselves.

But there are times we need to suck it up and rise. Above the ashes. Out of the rubbles. Over the brick wall. In these moments, we rise and awaken to see our inner truth creating a new reality manifesting our heart’s desire.

If want it, you gotta go for it. Even when you’re feeling sick, rejected, worthless, depressed, scared and exhausted. Get up and go. Push through it. Punch your obstacles in the face. Throw negativity to the ground. Charge forward. Fast or slow. Doesn’t matter. Momentum builds over time. If you feel like shit, that’s ok. Yes, it will hurt. It will be hard. It will suck. You might even cry.

But the more you move, the less it will suck and the better you’ll feel. Action is natural medicine healing your stress, anxieties and ailments bringing positivity and light to the surface. Stagnation creates pain and suffering, action creates fluidity, clarity and peace of mind. Choose action.

Rise because you want to. Not because someone else wants you to. This is your time to accelerate your personal development and expand your level of consciousness. Your character will build. You’ll create deeper integrity rooted in your values and beliefs. You’ll become the superhero of your own life with strength, commitment and perseverance.

Don’t let that thing, big or small, stop you. Challenges and obstacles are to be expected. It’s a part of the process. Use them as fuel giving you energy to drive your dreams closer to the destination.

Prove it to yourself that you are capable and you can do it. When you feel like you’ll never make it or get through, remind yourself you are stronger than you know. Think about how awesome you will feel in the end. And trust me… you will feel fucking awesome.

Wake up. Get up. Rise. Take one small step forward. Then another. Crawl. Walk. Jog. Push. Punch. Kick. Keep going. Don’t stop. You got this.

This is your time.

Right. Now.

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

The Gratitude List

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Be grateful for:

  1. The pain, the struggles, the trauma and all of life’s challenges. You are a brave warrior ready to face anything on your path. Deep compassion and boundless empathy for others is now engrained in your soul.
  2. Everyone who helped you during your darkest times while hitting rock bottom. Without them, you wouldn’t be here today alive and kicking ready to take on the world.
  3. People who inspired you. Dead or alive. Doesn’t matter. Their inspiration motivated you to act on your dreams and goals. They lit a fire under your belly igniting your passion with courage to accomplish what you desire most.
  4. Your parents. Without them you wouldn’t be here. Plain and simple. Even if you don’t have a good relationship with them, be grateful because they gave you life. If you do have a good relationship, honor it, cherish it and listen to their wise advice followed by action. And always tell them “I love you.”
  5. Your kids. They love you no matter what you look like, what you feel like or if you had bad day at work. The bond between parent and child is greatest thing anyone could ever experience. Hands down. Again, always tell them “I love you.”
  6. Your BFF. They listen to you during your breakups, your complaints about feeling fat, how depressed you are and that your world is going to end. You create memories together filled with once in a lifetime experiences and wild and crazy adventures you both will never forget. The laughs until your tummies hurt, and the inside jokes only you two could understand are second to none.
  7. Your breath. Breathing is life, energy and your source. Focusing on your breathing is natural medicine. It calms and centers the mind, body and spirit creating spaciousness and relaxation. Listening and following your breath is the pathway to peace.
  8. Your body. No matter what your body shape is, the state of your health, your hair color, or the size of your nose… love it anyway. Treat your body as a temple by exercising, feeding it with healthy, wholesome foods and giving it unconditional love.
  9. God, the Universe, Divine Source or whatever you call it gives you grace, healing, mercy and peace. God/Universe/Divine always has your back. You can count on Him to take care of you through the good times and the bad.
  10. Mother Earth. She gives us all gifts of life providing everything we need. Thank you, Mother Earth, for the deep waters, green grass, food sources from plants and fruits, herbs to heal, the trees for cool shades, the blooming beautiful flowers, the chirping and crawling insects and all birds and animals roaming the earth. Most of all, thank you for showing humanity how to live in peace and harmony between nature and the world.

The list goes on further to be thankful for many other things. No matter where you are, what place in life you’re at or what challenges you face, there is always something to be grateful for.

Try creating your own gratitude list that’s personal and unique to you. If you are willing, please share your gratitude list in the comments below. I would love to hear!

In token of my gratitude and appreciation for being a part of my blog, feel free to download my e-book, 31 Days to Soul-Fueled Living.

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Be Brave

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“Fortune and love favor the brave.”
– Ovid

Do you want to be brave? Be courageous? Be stronger and more powerful? If you answered yes, then it’s going to take work. You’ll need to throw yourself into the fire and swim in the deep waters. Facing your fears head on whether you believe in yourself or not is a must. To be brave, just do it.

Being brave is hard, scary and sometimes paralyzing. But the rewards are amazing creating a better, stronger and more powerful you. You’ll learn new skills and abilities. You’ll discover talents you never knew you were blessed with. And you’ll realize, maybe even surprised, by how strong and brave you already are.

Being courageous comes in many forms. It doesn’t mean you should do crazy feats like skydiving or bungee jumping. It’s about facing your fears with faith and belief you have it within yourself to overcome challenges and adversities. You’ll learn to live strong in your beliefs and do what your heart desires no matter what anyone thinks. Many times, it requires you to do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it.

True acts of courage are built on the foundation of your heart and spirit. It’s easier to be brave when you’re passionate about a goal you want to achieve. It’s easier to have courage when you stand up for someone you love. When your heart and spirit is filled with faith and optimism, you can face the fear of being yourself out in the world.

What can you do to become the brave warrior you’ve always wanted to be? Or I should say… already are. Try these nine things to push yourself out of your comfort zone forcing you to build courage and confidence.

  1. Public Speaking: Yes, public speaking is frightening. But it teaches you how to deliver effective communication with charisma and energy to keep your audience engaged.
  2. Speak Your Truth: When you are talking with someone who has an opposing view, tell them your beliefs. Don’t argue. Respect their position. But respect your position too. By doing so, this helps you stay true to what you feel is right no matter what.
  3. Open Your Heart: SCARY! You might get hurt. Or rejected. In fact, you will get hurt and rejected. But… you will feel love and deep connection. Getting hurt and feeling love are life’s greatest teachers making your soul grow and evolve.
  4. Sit Still in the Silence: Sitting in silence is challenging because we can hear our thoughts and feel our emotions deeper. We are addicted to background noise and distractions to muffle our minds and bury our feelings. Turn off the TV, turn down the music and pause the podcast. Learn to sit still in the silence. Be brave to see the truth of what’s going on within.
  5. Perform in Front of an Audience: Do something you enjoy in front of people. Illicit feedback from qualified people. Maybe it’s a dance routine, singing a song, reading poetry you wrote or a comedy act. Choose something you are passionate about with a desire to share it with others.
  6. Be a Leader: Be adventurous and take the lead on a project, a class or a team of people. Do it even if you don’t have leadership experience. Let of worries of being wrong. You will learn along the way and gain confidence over time.
  7. Do Something You Have Always Wanted to Do: even if you it’s your first time knowing you will suck in the beginning. The more you do your thing, the less you will suck. If you stick with it, you will become awesome!
  8. Do Less and Say No: Simplifying your life and saying no to what doesn’t serve you takes courage. We fear what others think if we say no. We fear we’ll lose out on something if we downsize our life. Saying no to wrong thing and yes to the right thing empowers you to do what matters most and live your life with intention and focus.
  9. Tell Yourself “I Love You”: One of the hardest things to do is to love ourselves. To honor ourselves with unconditional love no matter how much we have failed or let ourselves down takes an enormous amount of courage.

Being brave creates deep inner growth and helps you learn more about yourself and what you are capable of. Stepping out in courage with faith and optimism builds character, strength and integrity. Be brave, be courageous and be the best you.

Photo by Jordan Sanchez on Unsplash

Sacred Space

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“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
– Joseph Campbell

We go around and around in circles day in and day out. Never stopping nor waning. This spinning around makes us feel unbalanced and off kilter. We become anxious, stressed, overwhelmed and out of touch with our true selves. For our own happiness, health and sanity, we need a remedy.

I call it… Sacred Space.

We all need Sacred Space. Moms, dads, kids, colleagues, your boss, BFFs, your spouse or partner and hell… even YOU. To center ourselves and cultivate inner peace, you need to create space. This space allows you to fuel your spirit and nourish your soul. The key to living a peaceful life filled with joy, starts by creating a special devotional time just for you.

During your Sacred Space, choose any activity you want. The only rules are: 1. It’s uplifting. 2. It’s good for the soul. 3. You do this activity alone.

  • If you are creative, try painting, drawing, journaling or photography.
  • For nature lovers, spend time outside gardening or take a walk on a scenic trail.
  • What if you want to meditate but can’t sit still? Movement meditations like yoga or Tai Chi would be perfect for you.
  • For book worm folks like me, read Bible scriptures or a spiritual book aligned with your beliefs. Then write your reflections in a journal.
  • Maybe you want something simple. Try sitting in silent prayer or breath meditation.

Being in your Sacred Space of solitude builds the foundation for a strong mind and a compassionate heart. It develops focus for better concentration and mindfulness. It enhances your ability to remain calm during life’s challenges and to let go of negative thoughts. Your mind gets to rest and reset to recharge your energy. Your creativity will boost doing activities you enjoy and inspire you.

Spend time in your Sacred Space every day. Choose whatever time works best for you. However, I recommend to schedule this before your obligations get in the way. Otherwise, you may never get to it.

Start small. Only five minutes a day. Then build upon each day adding a little more each time. Think quality versus quantity. Over time, the duration will increase allowing you more time to flourish, evolve and be creative.

Fill your Sacred Space with special objects and using things you love. If it’s journaling, write with your favorite pen and journal. If you meditate or pray, create an altar and decorate it with high energy objects such as flowers, crystals or the Bible. If you like yoga, use a quality mat with some incense burning. Maybe you prefer something clean and simple by using one meditation cushion. And that’s totally fine! This your space so there’s no wrong way. All that matters is you love it, it’s safe and it’s sacred to you.

When you’re in your Sacred Space, allow God to work through you. Feel the energy flow. Use this Universal energy to enhance your creativity, connect deeper to God and to heal your heart and mind. Feel the oneness between you and everything in the Universe around you.

This Sacred Space helps create a positive mindset for the day and the next to come. And don’t feel guilty for giving yourself this time. It helps others as much as it helps you. When you feel whole, centered and at peace, everyone around you will feel this high vibration emanating from you. This makes others feel loved, at ease and comfortable in your presence.

Take the time and create space for a little bit of solitude, joy and healing every day. Your mind begs for it, your soul needs it and your heart desires it… this Sacred Space.

Photo by Chris Ensey on Unsplash

A Letter from Mother Earth

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“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
– Cree Indian Prophecy

Dear Human,

I need your help. Now. This seething, gut-wrenching pain is tearing me up inside. The darkness, heaviness, sickness, and the diseased hearts and souls of humanity is hurting me deeply. I’m scared. Scared of what’s happened in the past. Scared of what’s happening now. Scared of what’s going to happen in the future.

You’ve torn me down by your human hands leaving me barren, dry and desperate. You pollute my air, water and soil. You knock down my trees, throw litter on the ground and create landfills. You exploit my natural resources, create toxic chemicals and build weapons for warfare.
It breaks my heart when I see you hurting each other, the animals and the planet. In the human world, you fight, judge, condemn, blame, kill, verbally abuse each other, and even worse… ignore each other. In the animal world, you kill, slaughter, abuse and mistreat animals without a second thought of how much pain it causes. Don’t animals have a right to live like you do?

This toxic, negative energy makes me feel unbalanced and out of harmony. My whole system is way off track. I can’t help but to respond with disastrous hurricanes, forest fires and earthquakes. When your human mother feels overwhelmed, exhausted and unappreciated, what does she do? Doesn’t she respond with a whirlwind of emotions creating a tornado of anguish and frustration?

The problem is you’re missing the real reason for being here with me.

And that’s LOVE.

You’re meant to love each other, not hate each other. You are here to love me, all animals both domestic and wild, the plants and trees,  and the air and water. You are here to love one another through the good and bad. To love God even when things don’t make sense. To love yourself even when you can’t look at your face in the mirror.

I was created to provide you a school to learn life lessons for your soul to grow and expand into a greater consciousness. You were created to honor life in all forms while taking great care of me. To build a strong and thriving planet, let’s work together to support and serve our mission for the benefit of all beings.

To create a positive effect for building a better world, I ask you try these things. Even just for one day.

  • Instead of anger respond with compassion
  • Show mercy for someone who upset you
  • Listen to someone’s perspective instead of judgement
  • Pick up the trash as you walk down the street
  • Smile and say hello to a stranger
  • Give someone you love a hug
  • Go outside and breath the fresh air. Feel my energy around yours.
  • Instead of buying meat and produce at the grocery store, shop at a local farmer’s market
  • Volunteer your time for a cause or charity you find meaningful
  • Sit still and be aware of the connection between heaven and earth and the world around you
  • PRAY. Pray for your loved ones, people suffering from recent and future disasters, animals of all kinds, those on the Other Side, for the hungry and living in poverty and pray for me, Mother Earth.

If you do these things for one day, maybe it will go on to the next. Every moment, every minute and every second counts. That’s all you need to heal and make a difference.

Please help me by planting the seeds of love into my soil. Water these seeds every day to build strong roots of kindness and to grow compassion, joy and forgiveness. We can work together to create beautiful, peaceful and loving planet to honor humanity and all life existing within it. A little bit of love will go a long way to heal our aching hearts and soothe our precious souls.

Even if it’s just for one day.

Love,
Mother Earth

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash