Thursday, April 25, 2013


There are a few things that are begging me to be shared. I know, it's not like I have a gazillion readers, but I feel like I need to share these things because someone out there needs to hear them. Maybe I will have a gazillion readers someday and that someone will find exactly what she needed to hear in the Heart Connected archives? You just never know. So, I must follow these urges.

It is really that simple. What I need to share in a nutshell is simply that you must follow your urges
YOU MUST (in my most convincing Mom voice with pursed lips and squinty eyes).

Some people call them heart whispers. Some people call it your gut. They come in many forms with many names but in their simplest form, these urges, or callings even, are little (or big) signs directing you on your path.

The tricky thing is that sometimes when you see these signs, you might think "Hmmm...was that for real? Or, did I just make that up?" In the course of a fully developed practice of not following those urges, all the signs begin to look like this one:

What felt so right that it made you light up inside when you first thought of it begins to look a little risky. And the warning sign goes up: CAUTION! STEEP SLOPE - DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT.

There are lots of reasons for warning signs. Sometimes they are even warranted, and we can be thankful for them, but much of the time the warning signs are a scare tactic. Real signs, the ones that feel right they come from Source - the Universe, God, Goddess, our CREATOR, your divine self...They are the signs that whisper in your ear while you're minding your own business in an art class and say things like, "Anna, you could do this. You could help people to heal and grow with art..."

Then the ego mind starts with its scare tactics and says, "NO WAY! Who do you think you are? DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT."

It scares me to share this because for many years I was all ears when the CAUTION signs went up. Rarely did I go beyond this point. So even in writing this a little caution sign is rearing its ugly head, telling me that I am on a steep slope and there could be a landslide at any time. 

Thank you caution sign. Thank you for protecting me for all these years. 
I am grateful for your service. 
The thing is, someone needs to know that it is okay to follow 
the urge she had to day - the urge she had to quit her soul sucking job,
or to pursue a dream,
or to reach out to a friend,
 or something. 
I'll keep writing...

The honest truth is that when you do decide to listen to what your very own heart is telling you to do, the signs often look like this:


You will need to know that the curves are coming. You might not know how to handle them. It's okay, the important thing is to keep going.

When I first began my Heart Connected journey it was mostly because it felt right. It had very little to do with feeling prepared or equipped or qualified. It just felt like something I had to do. So I did it. I jumped in. I made business cards, a website, a blog, and a whole lot of other things. There have been several moments of sheer doubt where I have decided to just stop with the whole putting myself out there thing already. I don't know what the future holds. The only thing I know for sure is that there will be curves in the road. Things don't always go the way I hoped they would go. There are curves. I am learning to embrace them. And sometimes, the curves aren't so bad. In fact, sometimes what is around the bend in the road is downright DELIGHTFUL!

What I'm learning is that as I keep my commitment to show up, the road rises up to meet me. There are all kinds of new signs popping up in my life. Signs I've never seen before that tell me I am on the right path. And again, in all honesty, when I see these signs I'm not always sure I am worthy - I still think "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!" It feels like magic, really. The more I put myself out there, the more I show up, the more I open to receiving these magical signs, the more they appear as affirmations that I am on the right path.

I was recently invited to participate in a bazaar at my favorite yoga center. As I was getting ready for the event I posted a picture on Facebook of some of the creations I planned to bring to the bazaar. That night I received a message asking me to participate in an incredibly inspiring yoga event on Sunday - YogaLove Detroit. WITH MY ART. YogaLove Detroit is an all-day offering of yoga intended to raise money for Gleaner's Food Bank. This is a dream come true for me - to be involved with helping my community doing something that I love to do! I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am SO grateful that I kept putting myself out there. So, so, SO grateful.

Moral of the story: follow the signs that light you up inside. 

Open to the possibilities that await you. Thank the caution signs - they got you this far, but you don't need to rely on the stories they tell you anymore. Listen closely to your truest, most deeply held stories - the stories in your heart. You've already got your wings baby - it is time to fly!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon and there were bombs. People died and were horribly injured. Most injuries were lower body injuries. Legs. At a marathon. It's sickening, really, and it doesn't make any sense. I only looked at a few photos from yesterday, and honestly from the looks of it, it seems like a miracle that more people weren't injured or killed. I am so sad for the victims and the people who witnessed such a traumatic event. Lots and lots of people are very sad and angry that something so awful could happen right under our noses. In response to one of my friend's Facebook posts about the incident, someone wrote "Wake up America!"

It's true. It is definitely time to wake up. It's time to keep waking up. For some of us, waking up is a process. I think when people say "Wake up!" they are often calling upon us to DO something. And often what a lot of people DO, is turn to our leaders and say, "What are YOU going to do?"

In tragic times it is completely normal to look to others for answers. When a violent crime takes place, we look to others and we wait to see how they will respond to the violence. We turn to others to bring forth justice. We want the perpetrator named and blamed. We want all that. I think that's normal.


Here is what I propose we do:  First, if you are sad and angry because of something that has occurred, sit with that feeling for a bit. Let yourself feel the sadness. Let it fill every cell of your body. Feel the anger. Let it sink it. Simply be with it.

And then, take responsibility for your sadness and your anger. You are not a victim. You are a warrior and it is time to fight back. If you are moved to sadness or anger, you really must do something about it.   None of us can afford to witness the violence we see in our lives each and every day and do nothing. Yes, it's time to fight. It's time to revolutionize the ways in which we do sadness and anger.

What? You have no weapons? Okay. Good.

We are heading into this battle armed with nothing but love. Love. Mmmhmm.

From all I know to be true in this world - from knowledge gained being a painfully shy and overanxious child, from reading countless books, from graduating with an MSW, from attending seminars, volunteering, and becoming a mother; from talking to people, and listening to people, from living, and from experiencing heartbreak and learning how to put the pieces of my heart back together, I know that love is the answer.

If you are awake and ready for action, then love a little more. Give a little more grace to the person who cuts you off on the highway, to the mom who never seems to have it together, AND the one who ALWAYS seems to have it together. Give more grace to your children's teachers and the PTO president, to your neighbors, to the people who take your orders, your boss, and to our leaders. Give more grace to the people who disappoint you and the people you disappoint. Give more grace and love to your partner, your children, and your dog. Give yourself more grace. Just a little to start, see how it feels, then go full throttle when you're ready.

I know that it is true that like attracts like. It is true that what you put out into the world returns to you. You really do reap what you sow. It's all true.

Love more. Those who bask in the glow of your love will follow your lead. Soon the love will go viral. The entire planet will be LIT UP with love sweet love.

Believe me when I say that I know love isn't all lollipops and rainbows. Love mirrors life in that it can be downright dreamy one day and a freakin' nightmare the next. In a second everything can change. It happens all the time.

It hurts to love sometimes. It can be really hard to love. When my dad died a few years ago I kept wondering whey I had to love him so much that I would allow my heart to break in his absence? When I watch my children in their most tender moments, I think "Oh MY GOD! It hurts me to love you this much." Sometimes I watch my husband laugh with our kids and I think, "OUCH. I love you so much that it is downright painful." To love someone so much that I know if anything harms that person, I will die - that is scary.

The awareness that to love something means to open myself right up to the possibility of pain can be so frightening and maybe that is why we often choose not to love so freely. Maybe that is why we will only love with conditions. Maybe that is why we choose anger or sadness - to start from a place that can't get much worse.

What if we made LOVE our rock bottom?

Start with love and where do you go from there? What makes itself known to you? Grace, mercy, freedom, fullness...BLISS?

I'm on a bit of a mission to love like crazy and to open myself up to being loved. We all are really. The mission is OURS should we choose to take it.

Choose love.

Love has EVERYTHING to do with it.