Being With What Is

We are now a full six months into living with the Corona pandemic.

For me, and most everyone I know, it’s been a very bumpy ride.

It’s kind of like white-water river rafting. Periods of smooth tranquil waters followed by occasional terrifying rapids where I’m holding on tight, hoping not to capsize.

There’s no map. We don’t know when or where the river ends.

Nobody does.

No one.

There are people who speculate. (and some crazy people who promise a return to normal is minutes away) but No. One. Knows.

Now, for me the question is, “How do I best enjoy the ride?’

It’s a constant, daily, sometimes minute by minute endeavor.

I find solace in the people and things I can count on. I have so much gratitude and appreciation for those that share my view of the world. There is a level of comfort and safety knowing that we are there for each other.

So, this is what IS right now.

And my plan is too have as much fun as possible in whatever way are safe and possible as well as giving myself the space to be royally pissed off from time to time.

Wishing you love and laughter,

Arielle

Sitting Shiva for America

I woke up this morning feeling a sense of great loss, loss for so many things…the loss of civility in our country, the loss of life from Covid, and cancer, and guns, and innocent black men and women being killed, innocent protesters being gunned down, the violence in our streets.

The seemingly impossible divide between left and right.

The loss of stability and security.

The loss of freedom to hug our friends, and so much more.

Later, when I looked at my Facebook feed I found more loss.

Friends mourning the loss of loved ones, beloved pets, careers that were once promising that have disappeared.

Grief. Mourning. Fear. Uncertainty.

On my walk this afternoon it came to me that as a Jew I might want to try sitting Shiva.

In the Jewish tradition when someone dies, after the burial, you go home and for seven days, your friends and family come and sit with you to remember and to mourn the dead.

You cover your mirrors, light candles, and in lieu of flowers, most bring a dish of Jewish comfort food.

We reminisce, remember and recapture memories of a loved one.

Surprisingly, there is often laughter as you recall the fun and zany things your dead loved one did or said. It really helps.

And, if there are ten Jews present, then each day the Mourners Kaddish is chanted.

In my own virtual version of sitting Shiva, in this time of lockdown and Covid, I won’t be with nine other Jews, so I’ve asked my dear friend, Liana Chaouli, to make this short video to use as a daily prayer to connect with our collective grief and loss. It is also a prayer for peace.

Whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Pagan or a non-believer, if you are experiencing grief for someone or the current state of the world, may this video be a balm for your soul.

Below is the video:

Wishing you love and laughter,

Arielle

“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you ever want to.”

~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Relationship Role Modeling from the Obamas

Sixteen years ago Barack and Michelle Obama’s marriage was about to crumble.

Michelle told her mother she wasn’t sure their marriage would survive.

Barack told his grandmother that Michelle’s constant nagging was driving him crazy.

They were drowning in debt from the Ivy League law school loans.

Michelle was the major breadwinner with her high profile, corporate job and two young girls to care for and she felt fat, unseen and unheard.

With Barack’s busy travel schedule, they barely had any family time. And she was tired of picking up after him.

One morning Michelle woke up at 5am. Barack was gently snoring next to her. All she could think about was getting out of bed and going to the gym….it had been months! Part of her resisted going….the girls would soon be up and would need to fed….but the other part of her thought, Barack’s a smart guy, he’ll figure out how to feed them.

Once she arrived at the gym she got on the stairmaster and quickly had a Wabi Sabi epiphany.

She realized she had been WAITING for Barack to make her happy.

BUT, she now saw that it was up to her, to make herself happy.

When she got home, she found Barak and the girls at the breakfast table were she announced the NEW RULES of the Obama household.

First, she was finally going to take her mother’s offer to begin helping out with caring the kids.

Second, every night that Barack was in town, the whole family would eat dinner together at 6:30.

Third, Sundays are family day. No exceptions.

And finally, a weekly date night would be put on the calendar.

Today, as we all know, The Obama’s have a fabulous relationship and they and Michelle’s mom, were all happy together in the White House for eight years. They will soon celebrate their 28th anniversary.

By taking personal responsibility for your own happiness and making space for your partner to be who and what they are, magic can and often does happen. It’s when we are blaming and shaming that no progress can be made.

Wabi Sabi Love offers ways to turn conflict into compassion and create a more loving relationship…..with yourself and your partner.

The simple act of being WILLING to find the beauty and perfection in our own imperfections and especially the imperfections, quirks and weirdness of our partners, that is the essence of Wabi Sabi Love.

Discover how to add some Wabi Sabi Love to your relationships.

Wishing you love, laughter & magical kisses,

Arielle

The Alchemy of Tragedy

I wasn’t born an optimist.

In fact… quite the opposite.

I was a moody, sullen, often seriously depressed child and young adult.

One night, at age 26, I decided that I was going to find the secret of happiness.

I was at a party in Coconut Grove, Florida, at the waterfront home of a millionaire, surrounded by people seemingly having a great time. I felt like such an outsider amidst the laughing, smiling party-goers. I had never felt so alone.

I wanted to have a great time, I just didn’t know how.

I thought it was something that just “happened” to lucky people.

In that moment, as I stood on the dock overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to discover the secret to happiness.

During the next several years I went to therapy, read a lot of books, attended workshops and discovered that most of the time happiness is a choice. Even when really bad stuff is happening!

I found out that I am an HSP – a highly sensitive person and essentially very shy. I had to break through my fear of people and really make an effort to learn how to connect, make small talk, and allow myself to “be seen.”

It wasn’t easy but on a deep intuitive level I knew that in order to live, I had to be willing to do what the amazing Dr. Susan Jeffers advised, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

And eventually I radically evolved into a happy, outgoing, optimist.

On a soul level I discovered that I could source my own happiness, in spite of the circumstances.

I now believe that I live in a friendly Universe.

During the past five months of Pandemic lockdown, I really have had to dig deep to recoup my core happiness.

Part of my process has been to give myself permission to say no to everyone and everything that I didn’t have the energy for. (which was nearly everyone and everything).
Even though I had been brought up to believe that it’s selfish to think of yourself first, it became clear to me that my survival depended on my ability to give myself a new and deep level of love and selfcare.

And then, slowly, I began to notice, moments of joy popping up.

  • I found the ability to smile and laugh again.
  • I discovered I was having more moments of ok’ness than not.
  • And, I made major changes in the way I “do” life.

I started resting much more and only making plans a few hours at a time. I gave up thinking (or worrying) about the future (or about the past and what I no longer could do).

Not only am I happy again, I am physically restored, and the Universe sends me near-daily signs that I am on the right track. My creative projects are flowing, ideas appear like gifts from the heavens and I mostly feel peaceful.

While I could say this has been a very difficult time in my life, in many unexpected ways it has also been surprisingly good.

How is this possible?

Because the positive lifestyle changes that I’ve made, will impact the rest of my life and most likely wouldn’t have happened without the loss of my former “normal” lifestyle.

These times have helped me find “gold” during this collective dark night of the soul. Many of these tried and true maxims seem to be coming true:

  • There is always a silver lining.
  • Make lemonade out of lemons.
  • There’s a pony in here somewhere (when the room you are in is full of manure).
  • Have an attitude of gratitude.
  • When one door closes, another opens.
  • This is a blessing in disguise.

Where have you found “gold” in the world as we currently know it?

Wishing you love, laughter & magical kisses,

Arielle

26 pounds, a muffin top, and true happiness…

Thirty-six years ago I was obsessed with the ambition to attain physical perfection.

I had this idea that if I could weigh a certain amount, have my measurements be an exact number, have my hair the best length and all ten of fingernails “long” at the same time, I would be perfect and with that perfectly happy.

I spent a year working out two hours a day lifting weights, running, doing sit-ups and squats. I carefully measured and tracked everything I ate, and I weighed myself daily (ok, multiple times a day).

And, then one day it happened. I got up, stood on the scale, took out my measuring tape and voila – perfection had been reached. For a few moments I was in bliss. 

This occurred while I was at Club Med in the Bahamas on a vacation by myself. (I had recently broken up with my boyfriend.) It was only Day Two of my holiday and I didn’t have anyone to share my “good news” with.

I realized that I couldn’t just walk up to strangers and tell them, “Hey – look at me, I’m perfect!”

I quickly sank into a bit of a depression as I realized I had just spent a year chasing a dream that wasn’t fulfilling me…
The gift of all of this was that I stopped the insanity of restricting myself on so many levels. I quit measuring my food and counting calories.

I decided to exercise a more reasonable five times a week for an hour, and most importantly, I no longer looked to the scale to tell me how I would feel about my body.

A few years later, I discovered the ancient Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi which seeks to find beauty and perfection in imperfection.

Slowly, I began to let go of my notions of perfection (in all areas of my life) and find fun ways to reframe the things I formerly judged about myself. I declared myself a Wabi Sabi Artisan.

Rather than beat myself up over my less-than-ideal spelling skills, I embraced “typos.”

I found humorous ways to forgive myself for having a bad memory and forgetting names.

I forewarned my dining companions that my food was likely to spill into my lap and possibly get onto theirs!

Over the past few years I have developed a “muffin-top.”

It’s that extra roll of fat that pops up over my jeans at the waistline. Each time I notice it, I have this thought, “oh no, it’s time to go on a diet!” But, of course, I never do start that diet.

I finally decided it’s time to stop judging and hating my muffin top and I asked the wiser, Wabi Sabi artisan part of me to find the beauty and perfection in it instead.

Here’s what she said:

“Your adorable muffin top is proof of your fabulous life. You are happy, satisfied and content and you get to eat delicious, nourishing food. Your muffin top surrounds you with an extra layer of protection should you get stranded in a desert with no food for a week. Your muffin top is a daily reminder that life is to be lived and enjoyed and that eating is one of life’s great pleasures that peaks all of your senses so hurray for the muffin top!”
So for those of you who also have a “muffin-top” share with me what you are learning to love about yours!

Today, 26 pounds heavier than the other photo but a million times happier, I happily embrace imperfection.

If you want more Wabi Sabi visit: www.arielleford.com/wabisabilove/gifts/

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle

Making Room For Surprises & Miracles

There once was a woman who saw on TV that her neighborhood was about to be flooded and the officials said everyone should evacuate.

She believed that God would save her, and she ignored the warning.

Then a city worker knocked on her door and told her to leave for higher ground and she said no, “God will save me.”

Then the floods came, and she had to run up to the second floor to stay dry.

A boat soon came to her second story window to rescue her and she said no, “God will save me.”

The water then filled the third floor and she ended up on the roof of her home.

A helicopter came and she said no, “God will save me.”

She was soon swept away by the rising water and drowned.

When she got to heaven she yelled at God and said, “why didn’t you save me?”

God said, “I sent you a warning on TV, a warning to your front door, a rescue boat and a helicopter, why didn’t you listen?”

I share this story with you today because I often see people, in their manifesting process, focused on a very specific outcome, not knowing whether or not that outcome will save them or really make them happy. It’s important to remember that our ultimate goal is happiness and satisfaction and allow room for surprises and even miracles to occur.

We must stay open to signs, symbols, and helpful people that cross our path.

The road to manifestation is not always a straight line, and in the end, we may manifest something unexpected but much more fulfilling.

Make room for surprises, and miracles.

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle

Is Becoming An Author on Your Wish List?

I’ve written eleven non-fiction books over the past thirty years and along the way I made just about every mistake an author can make.

Writing, publishing, and marketing a book is a very counter-intuitive process, and unless you seek out expert advice, it’s likely you will make a lot of mistakes as well.

That’s why I’ve decided to collaborate with the Book Doulas — my dear friends Kristine Carlson & Debra Evans — and share this amazing program for aspiring authors: The Book Doulas’ Incubator Program.

They are two fantastic experts offering a 12-week online program (August 19 – Nov 4, 2020), where you will:

  • Start your book
  • Clarify your message
  • Expand your platform
  • And learn exactly what it takes to become a bestselling author & more.

Kristine is a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff books (over 30 million copies sold), and Debra, is an acclaimed developmental book editor who has helped bring over 20 books to market.

Together, they have over 50 years experience in the publishing industry and understand the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and book marketing.

But don’t just take my word for it. Sign up for a free 15-minute consultation with Kristine and Debra, and to get all the program details and to register, click below.

Get more information here!

The Incubator Programs fill up quickly, so don’t wait…

Now more than ever, it’s TIME to bring your brilliant idea to life!

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle

Finally, some good news….

According to the Vedic tradition, we are now in what is called Kali Yuga, the age of darkness and ignorance. A time when people further down the path of dishonesty, and virtue is of little value. Liars and hypocrites rise. The human diet is now ‘dirty’, and the environment is now polluted. Supposedly this will last 4,000 years.

However, according to my friend, spiritual leader Roger Gabriel there is another, brighter point of view.

Here’s what he has to say:

“Unfortunately there are forces trying to preserve the illusion (of Kali Yuga) so it’s up to us to dispel the darkness and bring in the sunshine of Sat Yuga, the Golden Age. We do this by staying focused on our regular spiritual practices, meditation, pranayama and yoga asana, plus whatever we can do to help the world around us.

This year, from July 20th to August 19th is an auspicious time in the Vedic calendar to receive Divine blessings, prosperity, protection and the removal of obstacles.

During this month-long period, Lakshmi, the archetypal energy of abundance, grace and beauty, is said to overflow to all who seek her blessings. Tuesdays and Fridays are always important days for remembering the Divine Mother or Shakti, the animating force of the Universe, but are even more significant during this time. Tuesdays the focus is on Parvati or Gauri, the wife of Shiva, who brings protection, while Friday is for Lakshmi, who brings every kind of wealth–financial, spiritual, physical and emotional.

Recognizing them on these days helps to remove anxiety, confusion, poverty and ill health, and bestows peace, radiance, prosperity, and the fulfillment of pure desires.

During this period, we should try to eat a more simple, pure diet, follow our spiritual practices, doing our best to be pure, truthful and compassionate in our thoughts, words and actions and staying in harmony with our life’s true purpose.

While this whole period is auspicious, one day is particularly special this year.

July 31st, is known as Sri Vara Lakshmi Vratam. It is said that on this day Mother Lakshmi will grant every kind of auspicious boon. These divine gifts are often beyond normal comprehension and can be the fulfillment of desires that we never thought possible.

Every day during this period (start today!), but especially on July 31st, chant 108 repetitions of the mantra “OM SRIM MAHALAKSHMI NAMAH.”

Thank you, Roger for this uplifting message.

I’m getting out my mala and will begin chanting and asking Goddess Lakshmi for a boon!!

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle

My Favorite Lockdown Distractions

TV, Books, Beach walks and Travel Memories are all the top of my list of how I’ve been keeping myself amused this summer. FYI, none of these activities fall into the category of spiritual or personal growth.

TV – Brian and I have fallen into an early evening routine of watching a couple of hours of TV together. Since we can’t go out to the movies, we have a found some series that are just as exciting. Our favorites are on Netflix. We’ve watched all of the episodes of White Lines, a decadent, sophisticated mystery of drugs, sex, and murder on Ibiza.

Next we watched Money Heist (created by the same producer as White Lines, Alex Pena who’s storytelling chops are spectacular). It’s a thriller of crazy bank robberies in Spain with an eclectic, captivating cast of characters.

Right now, we are deep into season two of Bloodline about the very wealthy, dysfunctional (but well-respected) Rayburn family in Key Largo. The family owns a beautiful beachfront hotel that is the epicenter of the action. These folks lie more often than they breathe. Everyone has deadly secrets in this twisted, crazy group and when the black sheep brother returns home, all hell breaks loose. It’s quite addicting and stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard.

Travel Memories – I haven’t been on an airplane in more than six months and I really miss it. It’s likely that it may be a long time before it’s safe to travel, so, I have been pulling together all of my favorite travel photos from more than 30 years of trekking around the world. Each day I post a photo on my Facebook page and for now this is calming my travel bug.

Books – just finished a laugh out loud novel by one of my favorite writers, Carl Hiaasen. It’s titled Razor Girl and it’s about a lovable con woman and a disgraced detective who team up to find a redneck reality TV star who gets into more trouble than he can handle. All of Carl’s books take place in South Florida (where I grew up)
and they vividly depict the swampy criminality that is rampant there.

A daily beach walk, working out on my Elliptical, and lots of use of my Calm app are all part of my “new normal.”

What’s your new normal look like?

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle

Catch A Wave (In Spite of the Wobble)

The first thing I see out my window each morning are the surfers. We live across the street from South Bird Rock, the best “break” in San Diego and only the most expert surfers dare to ride here.

Not only do you have to be an advanced surfer, you also have to hike down a cliff and then paddle out a quarter mile or more to get in position.

Some days, like today, there are as many as a dozen who are wildly riding the high surf.

Other mornings there are just a few wet-suit clad dudes sitting calmly on their boards scanning the horizon for the next wave.

On my daily walks around the neighborhood, I pass two other surf spots. One is suited to the “intermediate” surfers …it has a shorter hike down the cliff, and a shorter paddle out and the waves are a bit smaller.

This seems to be the preferred spot for the older, grayer guys.

The third location is what I call beginners beach. It’s the most picturesque, has the most activity, and by far the littlest waves.

While I was watching those surfers today I was observing how much fun most seem to be having. I could feel their glee when they stood up, caught the wave, knees bent, arms extended. In spite of some wobbling to keep their balance, most succeeded to ride these two and three- foot waves. They were stoked!

While I have no desire to don a wetsuit and paddle out in the 67-degree water, I am learning to surf the waves of uncertainty of this time of Covid.

I am finally developing a little muscle memory, resilience, and acceptance for the ways things are.

I’ve stopped wondering “when is this going to end,” and started to just be with the not knowing and then tuning into the excitement of how to make the best of what is.

I don’t know when the next big wave is coming.

I don’t know if it’s a wave I can ride or if I will “wipe out,” but I do know that right now, in this moment, I have everything that I need.

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle