What’s your WHY?

Wine Out Of Water Summer One of the things I’ve had to think about lately is my why.

Why do I blog? 

I love to write. I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve known myself and I think my family members consider me a scribe by default. Early on in my career, I would supplement my work- whatever it was, whether I was a retail sales associate, or a financial recovery specialist, or employment support specialist, or more recently as a case manager- with writing. I always found journaling my thoughts about my day to day understanding of the world around me to be an exercise in catharsis. Though I may not be as disciplined about it as I would like, I still enjoy wrangling the thoughts that run wild in my head and putting them in order on a page, or online. I’ve been immersed in creative writing and poetry since I was six years old; I have a “bunion” (is it a “bunion” if it’s on your finger? A callous? Not sure what the terminology is here but my finger is permanently deformed…let me know in the comments if you know what it’s called!) on the middle finger of my left hand from grasping my pencil tightly during early attempts to turn out rough drafts. I also drew a bit and colored a lot, but writing was always my drug of choice.

During the several iterations of this blog, my why has changed significantly.

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When I first started, it was to heal a broken heart. I needed to scream. Screaming into cyberspace was all I could do so I wouldn’t turn my pain and anger at the thought of losing what I thought was love inward on myself. So I wrote and wrote until I felt like I could move forward.

I archived some of my old writing here, too, which is why some of my older work waxes religious; at the time I worked at a faith-based organization where I blogged for the organization’s website, a weekly spot we called e-Motivational Weekend Words. I blogged for posterity.

Now, I blog for my health.

On my worst days, I find it difficult to recall easy words. Sometimes I know I understand a concept but have a very hard time articulating what I am thinking, much to my embarrassment. My children often help me to remember things that I know I know- names of people and things, being able to accurately describe what I am doing or would like them to do. They are usually good at poking humor at my inability to recall, or the way the words fall out all jumbled and nonsensical, my frustration at myself always apparent. I blog now to keep my mind functioning. I record things for posterity, but not out of a sense of admiration. There is always a looming sense that these are things I will want to remember, things I will want to recall but will not be able to, someday in a not-so-far-off future. I blog for my health. On my foggiest days I continue to write even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. On clearer days, I look back and realize it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was. I’m not looking for perfection, or for some crazy idea that will shift all of mankind into a new paradigm of existence. I simply wish to record the thoughts that make sense to me. In the event that I can no longer find myself on command, I hope that I would have left a trail for someone else- my children, their children, a curious lover or student- to find.

For those of you who enjoy reading these thoughts, or who share similar experiences, feel free to leave comments, or to reblog- I’d love to hear from you! What’s your why?

What Is Your Definition Of Love?

As seen on a tee shirt on the Uptown 2 train today.

I think most people would argue that this is a pretty pedestrian definition of love…that love in and of itself cannot be defined. I say love can be defined and should be defined by everyone, individually. There are 7 billion people on this planet. 7 billion different definitions should suffice.

I’m curious. What’s your definition of love?

Post in the comments below, and I just may use your definition in an upcoming article! ❤

Love

You can do it. Start doing it now.

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Whatever is calling, drawing, leading you forward right now into the New is doing so for your absolute Highest Good, and that of everyone else in your life.

You absolutely have the capability and strength to make these changes and to go where Life is taking you next. You really can do it, despite the intense, gut-wrenching fears and anxiety about what your life will look like if you follow your intuitive heart.

You must do it.

There is no turning back, and simply no staying still, because your energy field has already make the change. The decisions have been made in consciousness, and the steps actually already have been taken in higher vibrational reality.

Now, your body just needs to follow. You simply need to keep putting one step in front of the other and walking on towards the Light that is heralding such immense and joyful transformations for you.

You can do it.

It may feel like it is, or will, take every ounce of courage that you have ever mustered, but the energy inside you just has to flow freely: without restraint, without self-doubt, without the toxic pressure of other people’s reactions, without endless worry about the consequences of following your Truth.

When you follow your truth, sometimes it causes temporary chaos. It stirs up the dust and brings emotions to the fore that have long needed airing. Other people get to see that you are a person with needs, with passions, with ambitions, with dreams and with a life path that may not be just about looking after them.

What you feel is calling you now is not a selfish path. It is, in fact, a path that is ultimately more giving and more aligned with spiritual service than the one you were previously on. This is because when you are living from your true spirit you give back to the world expansively, without limits, from the pure wisdom of your heart, with a deep and clear quality of presence that only comes from a person who is humble enough to realize that they are divinely magnificent.

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You are divinely magnificent.

The world needs your magnificence to be sweetly flowing from your body. The world needs you to be glowing with love uninhibited. The world needs you to be nourished and supported, so that you can give from a place of balance – not burned out, resentful, jealous, frantic, unfulfilled, depleted or self-sacrificing.

You can make these changes that call you to put yourself in the center stage of your life and live from your authentic Spirit. You can do it in front of everyone that knows you. You can continue to do it even if they don’t like it and complain. You can keep doing it even if they have complete meltdowns and tantrums in the face of you shifting the patterns that have stood firm for so long.

People who have been used to receiving the endless giving from Earth Angels and Lightworkers don’t generally like it when you begin getting assertive with your own needs for freedom and individuality. It disrupts the nice, safe place that they have been living in for so long. It forces them to start taking responsibility for their own lives and personal issues. It makes them stand on their own two feet, and realize that you are not going to take their burdens any longer.

This frees you up to have much healthier relationship dynamics – and it also makes it rapidly clear who is now meant to be in your life and who isn’t. You are not abandoning people by getting stronger in your personal boundaries, or by taking new paths that resonate with your real energy. You are actually giving them a great gift – the opportunity to create their own lives, realise how powerful they really are inside, and to experience a new, more balanced and positive life of their own.

You really, really can do it, beloved Earth Angel. You can be strong, stronger and even stronger still.

You can accept the love and support of legions of etheric angels and other powerful guides who surround you at all times. You can receive the help of earthly angels who are all around you also.

You can trust the pulsing of your own precious, sensitive heart when it says that now is the right time to leave the old ways and move on to the wondrous and miracle-filled New.

You can do it, you are doing it, and you will continue to do it with nothing but encouragement and acceptance from the Universe. You deserve this life that is beckoning to you. You are entirely worthy of every drop of happiness that now comes your way.

Start doing it now.

(Originally written by Sophie Bashford and posted on Keeper Of The Platinum Ray)

Photo credits: Asa-Mari Thompson & google images

Embrace Your Storm

I suppose it’s not uncommon to experience a storm while writing about one. 21275-stormy-ocean-1920x1200-artistic-wallpaper Lately I’ve been feeling as if the universe is trying to squash the life out of me. Really, and in all fairness, it’s just asking me to grow up; to make the shift required from my old self and ways of thinking and being into a new, higher purpose. I would assume that as many times as I have done this it would get easier, but I will be honest in admitting that while it doesn’t necessarily get any easier, thankfully, it becomes simpler. I’ve been resisting the idea of writing this article for several reasons, first of which I felt like a liar. Here I am telling people to be brave, to weather the storm, they have what it takes…and then I wake up every morning feeling less and less like myself until I reach the mornings I don’t want to wake up at all. I felt I had nothing left in me to give, that I was tired and unworthy of an audience. So I haven’t written anything in over a week.

The best part about not taking psych meds for depression is that I can feel whatever it is I’m feeling, and hopefully learn from it. Younger versions of me would have been quick to numb the pain of feeling isolated and pressured to make moves by disappearing in a bottle of vodka, pacifying my anxiety with sex, and avoiding my insomnia with a blunt before bedtime. This time, with no job to report to, no lovers to fall into or deadlines to crush, I allowed myself to feel every miserable moment of it. I also joined a support group of women- self-titled, awesome goddesses- who are all going through changes of their own and upon whom I can rely for a friendly ear and emotional support.

Feeling it meant allowing myself to stay in bed when I didn’t feel like getting up, crying for hours, wanting to die, going to sleep and then waking up angry because I didn’t die. It also meant recognizing the mornings when I felt better and being grateful that those mornings actually happened; looking at the house in its deplorable state of uncleanliness, having enough energy to finally clean up, and recognizing happily that I’d made it to the other end of the tunnel without my usual vices. It meant recognizing too that while I felt better, I was still not my absolute best, and that being gentle and loving with myself is the most helpful thing I could do to help myself get better.

It was in this space that I was able to see how many of the thoughts and feelings I’d been carrying all these years about myself and the world around me were so off that it was no wonder I’d been prone to anxiety and depression all this time. I could see my fears as if they were identifying themselves on the theatre screen of my mind- no longer permitted to hide in the shadows of errant thought-messaging. The universe was trying to squash me, but in a good way. The part of me that needed to die was, indeed, dying, and I was grateful. I could face my demons head on now and overcome them, just as I’d done so many times over in the past. Of course I would rise like a phoenix- that is who I am; it’s what we phoenixes do!

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And I realized this too- this wouldn’t be the last time I experience this type of shift, just like it wasn’t the first. I pray to god it’s not my last. As I step into the new me, I can see I have so much more growing to do, and for that I’m excited. I’d never want to remain the same-old-me. Living things grow, after all; that is the nature of living. Sometimes growth is painful. Not all pain is harmful. Sometimes pain is a precursor to growth.

This time around, instead of resisting, I learned to embrace my storm.

Instead of running from my anxiety and cursing myself for my feelings of loneliness, I took hold of it and made it mine. In retrospect, I can see how many beautiful things happen in the storm. In the moment, though, we usually lack the vision to see it. Ask anyone who has become suddenly homeless, widowed, childless or parent-less. Ask anyone who has been through a personal storm about the love and beauty by which they were surrounded- the human compassion and prodigal blessings upon which they were bestowed as a result- the outpouring of love and compassion from the community, from family, from complete strangers who live thousands of miles away. In the midst of disaster there is always help, there is always grace, there are always angels. In the midst of darkness, there is always light, there is always love, even if it is just a tiny spark.

And don’t be fooled by people who say things like, “Your life wouldn’t be that way if you would only ______________. That’s bull. Last time I checked, no one is exempt- everyone goes through it at some point, even the most cheery of the bunch. We all have our dark days, we all have our storms. Storms are normal and necessary parts of the human experience.

Storms put us in the unique position of experiencing the grace and unbridled compassion of the universe, we simply have to be willing to see it. It is always there.

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I embraced my storm and found a part of me I always hoped was there- the girl who believes in her ability to be successful despite what life throws her way. I found my tribe- the group of upstate goddesses, former strangers and one high school friend- who are beautiful and resilient, who mirror for me the things I need to see in myself and who love me even when I’m in a funk so I can get through it. I found that I have what it takes to weather the storm, and that in itself is the most loving affirmation I could ever receive from the universe.

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

Yellow Daffodils

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A STORY THAT COULD INSPIRE YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE……

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say,
“Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.”
I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead
“I will come next Tuesday”,
I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.
Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there.
When I finally walked into my daughter Carolyn’s
house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children.
I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

I told my daughter, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!
The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and
there is nothing in the world except you and my grandchildren
that I want to see right now. I don’t want to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly and said,
“We drive in this weather all the time, mother.”

“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears,
and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

“But first we’re going to see the daffodils.
It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”

“Carolyn,” I said sternly,

“It’s all right, Mother, I promise.
You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

So we went!
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road
and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church,
I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read,

“Daffodil Garden —->”

We got out of the car, each of us took a child’s hand,
and I followed Carolyn down the path.
Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken
a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak
and its surrounding slopes.

The flowers were planted in majestic,
swirling patterns, great ribbons
and swaths of deep orange,
creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink,
and saffron and butter yellow.
Each different-colored variety was planted
in large groups so that it swirled
and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

There were five acres of flowers!

“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn.
“Just one woman,” Carolyn answered.
“She lives on the property. That’s her home.”
Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house,
small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house.
On the patio, we saw a poster.

“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”
was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read.

The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.”

The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience.
I thought of this woman whom I had never met,
who, more than forty years before, had begun,
one bulb at a time, to bring her vision
of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.

Planting one bulb at a time, year after year,
this unknown woman had forever changed
the world in which she lived.
One day at a time, she had created something
of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught me
is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time.

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn.
“What might I have accomplished
if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five
or forty years ago and had worked away at it
‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years?

Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day
in her usual direct way.

“Start tomorrow,” she said.

She was right.
It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration
instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,

“How can I put this to use today?”

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The Daffodil Principle.

Stop waiting…..
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die…

– Author unknown

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don’t need money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
and, Dance like no one’s watching.

If you want to brighten someone’s day,
pass this on to someone special (like I did to you!)

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!!!
Don’t be afraid that your life will end,
be afraid that it will never begin!!!

❤ Love you all.

Tastes Like Chicken!

Ohmygosh it all looks soooooooo goooooood!

I’m sharing this with you all from the Team Beachbody Blog- 30 Healthy Chicken Recipes. These are very simple, quick to prepare recipes that are as healthy and nutritious as they are delicious!

Yum yum…April sure is looking good- 30 ways to eat chicken in thirty days- sounds like a challenge to me! Find all thirty recipes here. You can pin them for later and add them to your fabulous repertoire. I know I will!

Do you have any favorite chicken recipes you’d like to add to this dirty thirty? Share them in the comments and I’ll feature them on my Beachbody Coaching blog!

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Chicken and Veggie Fajitas
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Curried Chicken With Couscous
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Chicken Pizza
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Classic Herb Chicken
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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Choose Your Thoughts Carefully.

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Last week I had an unfortunate run in with a friend over social media. This friend, while I love her dearly, has a tendency to be a “Negative Nancy”, and I (as wonderful as I can be!) am the opposite, if only by intention. I will admit, I have a tendency to be a bit scathing in my delivery sometimes, and I am working on that- after all, we are all works in progress if nothing else.​ So her “FML!” moment (because she has cancer) was met with my soliloquy on a soapbox about ​being positive and not giving in to the want of feeding her disease with negative energy.

This turned into a trolling frenzy.

I’m not saying I was right to try to tell her who to be, or what to feel, or how to vent. ​Admittedly, in trying to point this out I only made myself look like an ass-hat, because who tells a cancer patient who thinks she is dying that she shouldn’t rail against the heavens? I mean- what kind of friend am I? Well, I honestly thought I was being the good kind…but I digress.

​I’m a firm believer that t​he universe does not discriminate between positive and negative energy. I​t only gives us what we give it.

​Over my life, I’ve played with this idea several times and seen myself manifest numerous things simply through the power of intention- my first apartment being yellow, living in Rosedale (a.k.a my best friend’s backyard), the fact that I am a single mother​ and both my children are on the autism spectrum…all these things are things I contemplated heavily before they came to pass in real life. It is as if I specifically asked the universe to hand me these things…and it did. Were all of them things I wanted? Of course not. But I focused on them so much that they manifested themselves regardless of whether I wanted or didn’t want them.

I​t’s not that I didn’t want my friend to vent- like I said, defaulting to “fml” is her thing; it’s a knee jerk reaction if for no other reason than she’s practiced it for so long she doesn’t realize there are other ways to deal with loss or pain or frustration. And it’s hard for me to know she is in pain and setting herself up for more. On the other hand, I’ve worked in facilities where I’ve seen the elderly and formerly destitute, those who are amputees, cancer patients and survivors, and others with multiple medical diagnoses who live day in and day out with nothing less than a smile, whose response to “How are you today?” is always anywhere from “Hanging in there!” to “Couldn’t be better!” or my personal favorite, “I’m alive-can’t complain!”

It occurred to me after a couple years of coaching others to be responsible for their own lives that I ought to do the same for me, otherwise I am nothing but a hypocrite. “You Are A Creator- Your Words Create Your World”, I’d said, time and time again. For the sake of the outcome of my own life, I’ve had to learn to be responsible with my thoughts. ​I owe it to myself to be such.

Even in the midst of our suffering, if we shake our fists and shout to the heavens “F*CK MY LIFE!”, the universe hears us and says, “Okay- no problem!”- and brings us exactly what we do not want…because we asked for it! Pushing through the desire to be negative and transmuting that energy into something positive is the type of inner alchemy of which miracles are made.

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​There’s a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. If we head into every day affirming that the universe is, indeed, collaborating with us to make our dreams come true, we will see this truth manifest in our lives. It is possible, if we train our minds to do this by everyday practice. For some of us, this practice is not just necessary everyday but on a moment by moment basis, depending on what we have trained our personalities to agree is acceptable. Statistically, and especially among cancer patients, those with positive attitudes and expectations are more likely to have positive outcomes. One can practice mindfulness through a number of ways- stillness, prayer and meditation are excellent, ancient practices for training the mind and spirit. There are many different types of yoga one can try. Some people go for de-cluttering walks, others prefer to exercise, with or without music.

Personally, I enjoy reading personal development books and articles. I read anything I can get my hands on and I annotate while I read. And I pay attention to what’s coming out of my mouth. I set daily intentions for myself and keep a gratitude list so I can be mindful and present about the direction of my day, what I would like to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.

Words carry power. They enchant, entice, incite, excite. Words are magic. My thoughts control the words that are coming out of my mouth. If I can control my thoughts- if I can catch them and hold them there and take a good look at them before they have the chance to escape my mouth and create havoc, I may yet have a chance.

I’ve come a long way. I didn’t mean to be mean to my friend but I can see how I came off as arrogant and lacking empathy.

If I could take it back, I’d explain to her that I watched my mom die of cancer but that after she was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer, she taught her kindergarten class and traveled and planned picnics and events for the neighborhood and decided she wasn’t going to let her diagnosis slow her down, and she lived seven years longer than the doctors said she would.

I’d tell her that one of my other really good friends is also presently in a nursing home, living as vibrantly as possible with the same diagnosis she has- stage IV colo-rectal cancer; her tumors are decomposing. The doctors don’t know what’s keeping her alive and in such great shape, but every time I see her, she’s smiling and at 6′ 3″, she is as loud as she is tall!

If I could start over, I’d begin by reminding her that she is not alone, that she is loved and surrounded by love, and even though I know she is in pain, she can draw from that loving energy around her and surround herself with peace and calm, happiness, love and light. And I’d encourage her to think and speak and live as though she were preparing to live, not as though she were preparing to die.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t know everything, but what I do know is, regardless the circumstances, we always have the power to choose.

“Whenever you suffer, next time don’t complain, don’t create an anguish out of it. Rather, watch it, feel it, see it, look at it from all possible angles. Make it a meditation and see what happens: the energy that was moving into the disease, the energy that was creating suffering, is transformed, the quality changes. The same energy becomes your awareness, because there are not two energies in you, the energy is one. You can make it sex, you can transform it and make it into love; you can transform it still higher and make it into prayer, and you can transform it still higher and make it into awareness—the energy is the same.”~ Osho

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Blessings & Affirmations

Find the practice that works for you and allow yourself to enter your quiet space. 

Acknowledge that the universe is a vast, infinite source of energy.

Tap into that energy and let that energy flow through you.

Release your negativity- pain, fear, worry, misunderstandings, feelings of lack and insecurity- and allow the goodness of the universe to flow through you.

Choose your thoughts carefully and embrace what is yours.

I have permission to create my future. 

The Universe wants me to succeed.

Money is flowing to me easily and effortlessly and I trust the Universe to take care of all my financial needs.

I am going to let myself participate in life and enjoy it. 

I can choose love. I am love.

I can choose peace. I am peace.

I can choose calm. I am calm. 

I can choose surrender. I have surrendered.

I choose blessings. I am a blessing.

I can choose abundance. I am abundant.

I can choose prosperity. I am prosperous.

Namasté .

Love Thyself. Because Self Love is the Best Love.

This infographic landed in my facebook timeline and I couldn’t help but share it everywhere possible. It goes without saying, if you can’t love yourself, who can you love? I’ve heard so many confessions over the past week; absolutely wonderful, hard working, high achieving individuals who have a difficult time accepting themselves as they are, and who make daily habits of being hard on themselves to the point of depression.

Maybe it is an indicator of how our society measures “success”, and that hunger to succeed that drives us to self-loathing. At some point it should dawn on us that it is our personal responsibility to learn to be kind to ourselves first.

Appreciation of self and love for self translates into appreciation for and love for the “other”. The directive to “love they neighbor as thyself” hinges on the premise that one loves one’s self. I’m always wary of people who claim to love others but who have no concept of self love. How can you give what you do not have? Maya Angelou said it best when she said,

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

We owe it to ourselves to learn to love ourselves- truly love ourselves, accepting our “flaws” and our strengths. It is only in so doing that we can ever truly love another. And I should know. I’ve been there too.

I hope you enjoy this infographic as much as I did. Make a mental note on what you can do, what you already do and things you really want to start doing, like, right now. I promise you, you will feel better!

I love you. You should love you too! ❤

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Thoughts Of A Goddess: “Make The Shift”

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Last week’s lesson, Be Strong gave way to several breakthroughs and much needed karmic cleansing. Words that needed to be said were finally said. There were tears and kisses. There were confessions and forgiveness. There was the realization that everything in life happens for our highest good.

There is no such thing as failure. 

Nothing is ever going wrong. These moments are clarifying moments.

Learn from it what you must, then let it go and move on.

Know that when you have a dream, when you are charged with giving birth to a vision, you will experience resistance. Know too that the force of this resistance is in direct proportion to the measure of the dream that you will birth.

Great dreams encounter great resistance. Do not give in; do not give up. Push through and see your dream into reality; the universe wants you to succeed.

It is time for us to Get Ready, to Clean House.

 Make The Shift.