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.

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

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

Focus to Achieve Your Heart’s Desire

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“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
— Bruce Lee

One of the things I struggle with and need to work on most is focus. With all the different responsibilities, obligations and expectations, it’s easy to lose focus on my goals to create my heart’s desire. It feels like everything gets in the way and distractions overwhelm me the minute I go for my dream.

The desire I hold deep in my heart is to be a great writer. One of my goals to achieve this is to write 500 words a day. I start with the best intentions to follow through no matter what. But the next morning I get a nasty cold. I step on a pile of laundry needing to be done. I get trapped in the Facebook time warp. I say yes to commitments not serving my higher purpose. With these distractions guess what happens? Nothing! My 500 words… not written (sad face).

If you have a heart’s desire burning inside to create the life you want, you need focus to achieve it. It’s a requirement for success. If I want to be a great writer, I must focus on making writing a daily habit. Or I will never be the writer I dream to be. Your goal will be different depending your dreams. Doing what it takes to achieve your heart’s desire is a daily effort using your attention and intention to make it happen.

So how do you focus when life gets in the way? Here are some things I am trying and hopefully they will help you.

  1. Start Small: Work on your goal with focused attention for 5 minutes a day. That’s it! Just 5 minutes. But make it the best 5 minutes you can to get the most out of it. Once you build your focus muscle, add 5 more. Then another 5. Over time, you will increase your duration giving you lots of focus time on your heart’s desire.
  2. Remove Distractions: When you are working on your heart’s desire, remove all distractions as possible. This helps to focus on the task at hand. Silence your phone and put it away. Turn off the TV. Close unnecessary browsers. Get off Facebook or other social media sites. Close your email inbox. For the time dedicated to focusing on your goal, cut yourself off from the world. Don’t worry… the world will still be there when you return. You need this quiet time to bring your best effort, attention and creativity to your work.
  3. Soft Focus: You want laser-like focus but balance it with softness. Like a soft gaze of the eyes. This allows you to relax while working on your project instead of being tense, rigid and stressed. It creates flexibility to roll with the changes and take challenges in stride. When you are relaxed, your creativity will increase and flow through you with a sense of joy and playfulness.
  4. Practice Mindfulness: To develop your focus muscle, practice mindfulness throughout your day. Be mindful of the different activities you do, the places you go and the people you talk to. When you are doing the dishes, only do the dishes. When you are in a conversation, be fully present and listen attentively. When you visit a new place, use all your senses to notice the details of the environment. Practice focusing doing one thing at a time.
  5. Prioritize Your Life: Make your heart’s desire a priority. Learn to say no to the good and yes to the best. By making your heart’s desire top priority, you set the intention for manifesting success to create the life you want. Try to work on this first before anything else. Your confidence will boost making you feel good about yourself. This will motivate you to keep going. If possible, delegate things to give yourself more time to focus on your passion. Don’t let anyone talk you into something taking you away from your dream or if it’s not aligned with your beliefs, vision and goals.

You want to fulfill your heart’s desire and see your vision come true. But to do so, you must focus on that one thing. It’s ok to start small and build up over time. Take it step by step in a comfortable pace that’s right for you.

Your momentum will build. Your focus will grow. Your work will evolve. You’ll see results on your progress inspiring you to keep going. With consistent and daily effort with focused attention and intention, your heart’s desire will breathe and come to life.

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin 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

Fall Down 7, Get Up 8

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“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
– Vince Lombardi

I’ve lost dozens of sparring matches. The first time I sparred, I got beat so bad. It was embarrassing…. I hated it. But I got back up into the ring again, again and again. And I lost again, again and again. But over time, I won. And then I won again, again and again. Now I love it!

I’ve been thrown what seems like a million times. I’ve been slammed, choked, arm barred and pinned more times I can count. I’ve failed over and over attempting to get my self-defense techniques, throws, falls, kicks, and punches to even being remotely acceptable. But did I let my failures stop me? Hell no. I kept going and going until my techniques were strong, powerful, effective and correct.

One of the biggest lessons I learned as a martial artist, is to get back up every time I fall. In 2018, I am testing for 5th Dan Master. A milestone I’d never achieve had I quit after falling, failing and making thousands of mistakes along the way.

If you are passionate about a goal you want to achieve, you will fall down. Not once, but LOTS. It’s a part of the process required for learning, growing and becoming a greater more powerful you.

Will it hurt if you fall? Yes. Will you feel stupid? Most likely. Will you improve? Definitely. Will you master it? Only if you stick with it.

Toddlers are miniature masters at this. Their hands climb up the couch so they can stand on their wobbly legs and little feet. With a swift brush of bravery and a sense of wonder, they take their first few steps. Bam! Falling right on their butts. But do they give up? NO! They giggle, get up and try again, again and again. I mean seriously… have you ever heard of a toddler quitting to walk because they fell? They get up and do it again. Some cry, some giggle. But either way, they keep going. Next thing you know, they’re running and off to the races (while driving their parents mad!)

Falling is a gift. It shows you what improvements need to be made to achieve your goals. It gives you a window to peek into your strengths and weakness to know more about yourself and how to reach excellence.

Here are 8 things I learned from getting up after falling time and time again. Maybe they will help you.

  1. The first time you try something, you will fail. Accept it. Understand it. Embrace it. You will fall. But that’s totally ok and completely normal. Learning how to fail develops humility and to respond to failures with grace and dignity.
  2. If you want to be great, you need to make mistakes. It helps you learn and to discover where your holes are. Mistakes are your greatest teachers.
  3. Falling and getting back up again develops perseverance. You learn to stick to your goals no matter what obstacles you face or what challenges fall on your path. There will always be something standing in your way. Never giving up builds tenacity and deep inner strength to accomplish anything you put your heart and mind to. If your goal was easy to achieve, it would be meaningless.
  4. You will cultivate courage. When you fall, it hurts. Mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically. It takes courage to get back up and face your pain again.
  5. You take 100% responsibility for your own life. By taking ownership of yourself, you never let anything or anyone get in your way. It’s all up to you. It’s your choice to get this thing done no matter what.
  6. You learn it gets easier with practice. The first time you do something, you will suck. The more you do it, the less you will suck. Over time, it feels a little smoother, a little easier. One day, it will feel effortless. Easy, peasy. You will wonder why it was so hard in the first place! With this consistent effort and practice, you will improve becoming proficient.
  7. You will move forward. Even if it’s small steps. Whether progress is slow or fast, you will get somewhere. If you quit, you will get nowhere.
  8. Your confidence will grow. By getting up every time you fall and facing your fear of failure, your self-confidence will build. Seeing improvements in your progress creates momentum giving you the inspiration to keep going.

To become great requires years of perseverance, determination and commitment even in the face of adversity. Getting back up each time you fall creates mental endurance and deeply rooted integrity with unwavering strength.

Failing is a part of the process from beginner to master. If you fail but still trying your best, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace the reality you will make mistakes along the way. Your failures don’t define you but it’s your responses to them that defines you.

What matters most is the journey, not the destination. Enjoy every moment…even when you fall. By getting up each time you fall, you will become a better, powerful, stronger and more empowered you.

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