Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to Use Universal Laws in Real Life

Post by Nikki Starcat Shields for the Love for Love series.

image courtesy of

Let's get real here. What do you think of when you read the phrases "the Law of Attraction" or "you create your own reality"? Did you roll your eyes, even a little bit? Did you think, "I've tried that, it just doesn't work", like I did not long ago? Do you see it as part of an ancient philosophy about the inner workings of the universe, or a trend that sells lots of books and DVDs? Maybe you wish the Law of Attraction could help you with your problems, but The Secret sounds too good to be true.

The concept has been over-simplified to the point of nonsense. Even to the point of cruelty – some people believe that those who espouse the Law of Attraction have a "blame the victim" mentality and don't care about the suffering of others. Some treat it as another get-rich-quick scheme. Some scoff at the gullible folks who still believe in the power of positive thinking.

Yet these universal laws have worked well for many respected spiritual leaders, like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Christine Kane, and Mike Dooley, and for countless others we read about. Inspiring stories abound, but they can seem out of reach for you and me.

It's easy to dismiss the words of those who have become successful using the Law of Attraction – they seem to have it all together. What about those of us who are down here in the trenches? Which, in some ways, is everyone – people who have realized their biggest dreams can still get sick, or have a family member die, or get divorced. But those of us who really don't have it all together, or even seem to, what about us?

As part of a family of hippie artist self-employed types, I embraced the Law of Attraction several years ago as a great way to solve our financial woes. Or rather, I thought I embraced it. Looking back, I was working with the universal laws on a shallow level: think about what I want, do some visualizing, look around to see if it's there yet, get disappointed because it's not, berate myself for having negative thoughts, feel bad about not doing it right, read something inspiring, and start the cycle all over again.

Have you been there and done that? Often we get so frustrated with the whole Law of Attraction thing that we give up on it entirely, or dismiss it as New Age mumbo-jumbo. That's a shame.

Despite my disappointment, I never quite gave up on the notion that I create my own experience. Instead, I've been studying and practicing it in more depth, using my own life as an experimental lab. What I've discovered is a practice that's helped me become less stressed, kinder to myself, and more joyful.

Let me just say, lest I sound like one of the gurus you've heard so many times before, that right now I still struggle to pay the bills each month. I'm still working on getting my creations out to a wider audience. I have days where I'm not sure that the success I dream of as a writer is attainable. Yet I'm much happier.

What I've learned is that creating your own reality is not about getting rid of negative thoughts and becoming a bodhisattva. It's an ongoing spiritual practice, a way of being in the world. It means consistently returning to your center. The key is to focus more on what you love about life than on what you don't. Thought precedes form. When you dwell more on what you desire than on worries about what you don't want, your physical experience will begin to reflect those thoughts and feelings.

That sounds rather simple, but it's not easy. Creating your reality in a deliberate manner requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Our minds have been trained to focus on our problems, and that's the mindset that surrounds us at work, at home, and in the media. Moving away from that way of thinking can feel like swimming against the tide.

Choosing your thoughts involves retraining your mind. It means falling down over and over again, sometimes within the course of one day, but always getting up and dusting yourself off and trying again. Many of those who have overcome serious challenges, like an addiction to hard drugs, homelessness, or recovery from a nearly fatal accident, will tell you the same. How did they do it? They just kept trying – and not for any promise of reward, but because that's what we humans do.

The promise of wonderful future prizes – money, your true love, an ideal body – can actually distract you and throw you off the trail. When you're living for the future, you're not dwelling in the present moment, which is your point of power. The monkey chatter in your mind is all about past slights and future concerns. Your inner self is timeless, and already knows that right here, right now, all is well.

Life is creative, messy, and chaotic. You don't find that centered home base and then just move in, dwelling there happily ever after. Living the life of your dreams is not about perfection, no matter what images we've been sold in the mass media, but rather about nurturing your personal connection with source energy, with the stuff the universe is made of, with unconditional love. It's an ongoing journey.

Deliberate creation involves learning about what you find meaningful and joyful about life, and following your own lead. The practice, for me, takes a lot of inner work. It encompasses letting go of fears, embracing my shadow, being kind to myself, practicing gratitude, learning the delicate dance between desire and non-attachment, doing yoga, seeking ways to help others, breathing mindfully, and setting daily intentions.

Your path is your own, and the techniques you choose, like your joys and passions, will be individual. Working with universal laws and truths will help you create the life of your dreams. Sometimes it will be like feeling your way along in the dark, but don't panic. Open your heart and let your inner light lead the way.

Embrace love and kindness. Follow your joy. Live in the moment. Use these tools to slowly craft your ideal experience, without expectation, and watch how your life transforms.

Nikki Starcat Shields is a published author, Mom, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. 
She blogs at Starcat's Corner and shares her callings at Feline Dreamers
Her book "Cultivating Self-Love: Your Path to Wholeness" is available on Amazon and Smashwords.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gift of being alive

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.

bronze pendant created by Juhua250 on

Last week one of my clients mentioned that her sister-in-law was in the hospital for obesity related health issues. She was bringing this to me because she wanted to know if I was accepting new coaching clients. I said I would be happy to help her, even if it meant just speaking with her and guiding her in the right direction if I wasn't the right person for her. We left the conversation with the agreement that I would speak with her sister-in-law when she was released from the hospital and could get clearance from her doctors.

Six days later, she died.

This brought me to my knees, this re-knowledge of why I do what I do. It's not to help women lose those last 5 pounds, it's not to have washboard abs, it's not to look or even to feel sexy. These may happen and they are certainly nice benefits if they do. But here's the bottom line...your life is worth so much more than that. Your life is worth fighting for. Everybody fights battles that most others know nothing about. For some of us, those battles either stem from or manifest with excess weight, and when it does, look out.

If you suffer from food addiction or even battle with weight and food, I am writing to you. Don't jump on the latest diet craze, don't subject your body to the latest workouts designed for the Hollywood stars. Simply (and possibly with great difficulty) get the help that you need. Go to counseling, get a coach, pray, meditate, exercise as you can, eat right. Whatever it is, find what is right for you because I promise you, freedom is on the other side. It's not perfect, not even close, but when you stop numbing your pain...with corn chips because you're angry or ice cream because you're sad...when you stop eating to keep people at arms length, then you can begin to heal and live. Then you are able to discover your beauty and love for this physical home that you have chosen for your soul's dwelling.

You have this one glorious and devastating life to live. May you live it with grace and love and joy. Most of all, allow yourself the gift of being alive for each and every moment.

To healthy and happy,

Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Organize your life around peace of mind

photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

Lots of people blogging here about peace of mind lately! We had Katherine with Chit-Chat of the Monkey Mind last week, and Nikki Starcat Shields will be back later this week with some more focus on peace of mind. Because I believe the Universe puts things in our path when we need them, I figured I'd join these amazing women and do my own blogging on the topic.

As I shared last week, this is a period of big change and transition for me. Luckily I've been able to take some time to myself, and what's been coming into focus is my need for peace of mind, and I love the idea of organizing my life around it.

In the past few days, I've been able to cross a bunch of things off my list (car inspection, HVAC maintenance, laundry, etc.), but more than that, I've started examining the list. Like most adults I know, the to-do list is never ending and always growing. Let's face it, we'll never get it all done! This frustrates a lot of people, and often it frustrates me, too.


What if we focused on feeling instead of doing? How do I want to feel? Will the things on my list support that desire or detract from it?

For the rest of my time off, I'm going to keep that question in mind and work to make decisions based on feeling. I do want to feel like I have peace of mind, and for me, this is the first step toward organizing my life around that.

So, as much as I'd like to do a kitchen cabinet clean sweep, I think I'm going to choose Yoga class instead.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.
❤, Lara

CLICK TO TWEET: Organize your life around peace of mind.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


Because I am a woman
Because I am body with no mouth
Because I am breasts without heart
Because I am cunt unallowed to swell with blood


Because open
Because no permission
Because someone has already checked out
Because a woman talking is just a woman talking
Because the word Queen comes unhinged in too many mouths


Because I was 9 years old the first time
9 years old and a C cup
Because I was 11 years old
Because I was 13 years old
Because I was 16 years old
Because 23 years passed before I stepped into my body
Because 4 more came and went before I felt free enough to see it naked
Because this body is still not safe just for being this body
Because this body is still not mine


Because not all men
Because enough men
Because yes, all women
Because I am angry
Because my angry unmakes my story
Because no one wants to hear another woman’s anger
Because too many women are angry
Because we are taught to channel that anger into production
Because we are production with too many willing directors


Because this dam cannot unburst
Because it isn’t just women
Because too many people are unsafe in their bodies
Because intersection is still a quiet room
Because it hurts to be afraid so often
Because afraid hangs in our closets
Because taking it off the hanger can get you killed
Because keys gripped through knuckles
Because the knife my father gave me
Because the comfort it allows
Because I work at night
Because every woman in this room knows
Because I don’t even have to say what it is that they know


Because my value is measured by what my body can give
Because that value must be earned
Because my body
Because woman
Because I have no answers
Because my own mother said I was asking for it
Because wolves
Because predator
Because there is no safe space
Because I am running out of places to hide my trust
Because I am running out of trust
Because I am running


Because this is the only story I know how to tell
Because it is my story
Because it is our story
Because our story is so fucking long
Because I have learned to end before I am ended
Because I am not done
Because yes
Because all women
Because the question has yet to be posed
Because the question is always asked, even in silence
Because the question 


Why so much rage? Why dwell on this? Why not let it go? Why not bloom? Why not pretty? Why not quiet? Why loud? Why scream? Why bandwagon? Why feminist? Why not humanist? Why weep? Why not carry? Why not smile? Why? Why hurt when you could smile? Why too much? Why not enough? Why occupy? Why not slide into possession? Why YOURS? Why not mine? Why not mine? Why not mine???

Because. Because mine. Mine. 

Melissa May is a Youth-In-Crisis worker, ex-preacher, body positivity/body justice activist, cat-call devourer, general unraveler of the patriarchy, and salty feminist sass-mouth. She has been a competitive spoken word artist since 2008, and has been both a multi-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist as well as the 3rd ranked poet in the world at the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2012. Melissa is a reclamation specialist – focused inwardly and outwardly on body and language reclamation. A large portion of her work focuses on the body and the language we use culturally to speak to and about our bodies. Her newly released book, SparkleFat, hones in on and challenges the ways in which we formulate thought and idea around aspects of our body we have been taught to be ashamed of. Melissa is a fierce and dedicated lover of people. She doesn’t mind if you look, really.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Sponsor Love: 30 days of courage!

It takes courage to apologise when you realise you’ve messed up. It takes courage to say no to a request that doesn’t feel right for you. It takes courage to speak up when we hear bigotry or hatred been spread.
It takes courage to choose the path that is right for us, even if no-one else in our life understands that. It takes courage to tell your story. It takes courage to be sick. It takes courage to love.

Every choice that really matters in your life will take courage.

And courage is something you can cultivate. It’s not something that some people get, and the rest of us don’t. Courage is a quality which is innate to your being, but it takes practice to use it and this course offers daily exercises to help cultivate courage, and then begin to take small acts of daily bravery – which will add up to a more courageous, more authentic, more fulfilling life.

I’ve had some great questions about the course that you might also be asking. So here are the answers.

How does it work?
When the course starts, you’ll get access to a course website where one lesson per day will be added as we make our way through the 30 days. Each of those lessons will also be delivered to you by email. Every day you’ll be offered a simple exercise to put your courage into practice, and access to a private Facebook group to share your experiences with the exercises.
The course also comes with a series of audio guides to courage and at the end you’ll receive a beautifully designed courage workbook containing all the lessons and exercises, plus transcripts of each of the audio guides to courage.
At any time during the course, you can email me with your questions, concerns or celebrations. My support team is also available to help with any technical problems.

How do I sign up?
To sign up, just click here and use either the ‘Register’ or the ‘Register with installments’ button in the pink box headed: “Sign up for 30 Days of Courage.”

Do I need to be online at certain times?
No, you don’t. The lessons can be accessed at any time between 4 August and 4 September 2014.

How much time will it take each day?
It might take you 5-10 minutes to read the daily lesson and then the daily exercises in courage can usually be completed in 5-15 minutes. So it could vary between 10-25 minutes per day. If you need to skip a day, you can easily pick up where you left off using either the emails in your inbox or by going to the course website and accessing the lessons there.

How many questions can I ask throughout the course?
As many as you need. My commitment is to give you the support you need to build the daily habits of courage that add up to a courageous life.

I’m not very brave. Is this course right for me?
Yes. Absolutely. This course is designed to help you uncover and recognise the innate courage you already have (even if you don’t see it yet) and to practice small acts of bravery every day – which over time will add up to the courage you need to live the life you want.

How much does it cost?
This course costs US$75 – or you can pay in four weekly installments of US$20.

Do you have more questions?
Hop over here for more information or get in touch at 'support AT marianne-elliott dot com'.

I’d love to you have join me for a month of courage — and build the courage to make the choices that really matter in your life.


Marianne Elliott is a writer, human rights advocate, and yoga teacher. BrenĂ© Brown called her “One of the best teachers I’ve ever experienced … a beautiful writer and a courageous truth teller.” Marianne writes and teaches on creating, developing and sustaining real change in personal life, work and the world.
Trained as a lawyer, Marianne helped develop human rights strategies for the governments of New Zealand and East Timor, was Policy Advisor for Oxfam, and spent two years in the Gaza Strip before going to Afghanistan, where she served in the United Nations. In Afghanistan, she decided stories were her weapon of choice, and yoga was her medicine.
Her next round of 30 Days of Courage, an online guide to bravery in action, starts on 4 August. Find out more about the online course here.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Lies Between Your Thighs

Post by Mazie Bishop for the Love for Love series.


The thigh gap has been the trending fitness goal for women for the past year, but experts are alarmed by the health risks some women are taking to try to change their skeleton structure.

The virtually unobtainable goal is to be able to stand with your feet together and to still have a gap between your thighs and women are going to unreal lengths to achieve it. In 2012, the thigh gap exploded online and found its way into every news feed of every form of social media. But at some point between the kick off of this trend and now, it changed from a fitness phenomenon to a status symbol for teenage girls.

What lengths are these girls going to, you ask? In the past two years there have been reports of starvation, eating disorders and extreme exercise to try to achieve this near impossible body figure. All of this just to be popular and fit in, but these girls fit into their jeans fine before.

Sara Tellier, 40, an Acting for Film and Television student at the Niagara College, knows what these young women are going through. “I first had my eating disorder when I was 12. Mostly it was because I wanted to be skinny like the ‘popular’ and ‘pretty’ girls in school. It was also due to the fact that I was bullied by my step-father and kids at school. I was told I was fat, that I was a cow and that no one liked me because I was so disgusting. So I stopped eating,” says Tellier.

At a young and naturally impressionable age, giving up nourishment that the body needs for the sake of appearance is not a fair trade and could be detrimental to that person’s health and growth and progression.

“We are all built differently, and to set this bar for girls and women to attain this gap, when some of us just will never achieve it, is so very wrong. Who came up with this thing anyway? Someone built us this way for a reason and we need to appreciate our form as it is. If you want to be healthy, great, but to starve ourselves for unattainable motives, not good,” says Tellier. Two weeks in a hospital with regular psychiatric help, kick started Tellier’s recovery and now, 28 years later, she is here to reassure these women that it is alright to love themselves the way they are.

A lot of the women that are posting these “Thigh Gap Thins-poration” photos on their social media say that any goal can be achieved with enough hard work and dedication, but experts say what they don’t realize is that their goal is actually based off an obscure combination of body type, bone structure and connective tissue length.

Kyle Gruarin, 20, is a personal trainer and fitness coach in the Niagara Region and comes across a lot of women trying to achieve their ideal body type without having the proper education about their image goal. “This can lead to destroyed relationships with food and self image and potential eating disorders. Image gets distorted to the point where one is never quite thin enough,” says Gruarin.

“After a certain point it's incredibly unhealthy to maintain a low body fat percentage, as body fat is crucial for many bodily functions,” says Gruarin. Girls looking to diet down will often stop getting their periods and have a whole whack of other issues such as losses in lean mass, lethargy, mood swings, increased hunger - all normal physiological responses to dieting.”

Body image as a social status is not only an unrealistic indicator but also a dangerously unhealthy stigma. Michelle MacIntosh, a social worker from the Niagara College Student Success Center explains that a body image crisis, like the thigh gap can lead to body dysmorphic disorders. “The challenge with something like the Thigh Gap is that it is focused on one part of the body. This type of selective focus creates a sense of dismemberment to our bodies. A healthy body is a whole body. When we target one area we are creating an opportunity for our mind to become stuck and obsessed,” says MacIntosh.

Mazie Bishop is a fiery 22 year-old writer and journalism student from Canada. Self published as well as has several poems and short fiction pieces published in various anthologies and magazines. She is a big dreamer that hopes to be writing with the big guys some day and can not wait for her career to start! 

Currently she is in the process of writing her second novel and is in the outlining stages of a quarter-life memoir. You can read about her little crafty adventures and read her work or gander at her photos on
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