Love your thoughts…

I have come to realize that most of us are our own worst enemy! It has been a tremendous growth year for me personally. I have battled with the swirling negative thoughts we all seem to think about ourselves when we look in the mirror or do or say something we later regret. The nasty things that pop into our heads and make us think we aren’t enough. I have battled my “will” to stay in the game of self-improvement instead of quitting and chalking it up to “I am the way I am”. I have battled with the belief that I am overwhelmed and that everything needs to be struggle. Yup…I have struggled.

But this month, the last month of the year, as I review my journal and the strides I have made, I am reminded that the ONLY obstacle in my life between where I am now and where I dream to be – is myself. And that’s true for all of us. Our thoughts are powerful. Our thoughts create feelings, those feelings create energy and that energy goes out into the world and reflects the same energy back to us. All the time…without fail. The more you think you don’t have enough and how broke you are – the more experiences show up to prove you are right. The more you think life sucks, the more it will suck. That’s the bottom line…

So, this year, I worked tirelessly to retrain my thoughts. That’s really all it takes, retraining. Like breaking a bad habit. I had to “catch” myself all day long and as soon as I realized I was thinking thoughts that were not in alignment with who I wanted to be or where I want to go, I would change my thought. If I was telling myself things were too hard, I changed it to “I am doing the best I know how, just like everyone else”. If I had a thought that there wasn’t enough time in the day, I changed it to “I have all the time in the world”. It’s amazing what happens when you start catching yourself and taking control of your thoughts. It’s like a light bulb goes off and you start realizing that you have more control over how your day turns out than we sometimes think wone small positive thoughte do.

We can get so caught up in our feelings and running the race that we forget to stop and smell the roses. We rush, rush, rush, go to bed late, get up late and our day spins out of control and then we go to bed with a thousand thoughts swirling around in our heads and we can’t sleep. I get it. I mean I TOTALLY get it! It used to happen to me all the time. Until I took control!

So during this holiday season, when things seem to be moving too fast and we are so hard on ourselves to be perfect, to get it all done too fast, to have all the gifts ready, to have all the parties, and on and on and on…try these simple steps to slow you down…

  1. Take time to breath…5 deep breaths with your stomach (not chest)
  2. Make a to-do list the night before
  3. Bring in the 5 senses to stop swirling thoughts (what can I see, hear, smell, touch, taste)
  4. Say to yourself “I am doing the best I can, just like everyone else!”
  5. Close your eyes and see 5 things you are grateful for – gratefulness changes everything!

I hope you have a blessed, truly fabulous Holiday season with your friends and family!!

For more amazing tools and to learn more about the Creative Insight Journey, visit my bio and free workshop webpage at http://www.jennifergrace.com/cij-cities/napa/  – dates coming soon in Napa.

Hugs and blessings,

Victoria

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Part 2…a new adventure…

Our life is speaking to us all the time…but for many of us, we doubt the messages and doubt ourselves. We have a voice in our head or a movie we play over and over telling us we are not enough or that we can’t or shouldn’t do something. In October of 2014, despite the “little voice in my head”, I chose to follow my heart and embark on an 8 week journey to transform my life. And much like Luke in Star Wars, I too had to “feel the force” (I’ve always wanted to quote that line, love it…) and trust that I was in the right place at the right time.images (1)

As I explained in my previous post, I was in overwhelm mode not only at work but at home too. Something had to give. Burning the candle at both ends for too long leads to illness or even worse and I knew I was headed down that road soon. Thankfully, I listened to my intuition, took a chance and invested in myself. I signed up to take the “Creative Insight Journey” with Jennifer Grace. An 8 week transformational class based off the Stanford University’s Masters Degree course “Creativity in Business”.

Have you ever clicked SUBMIT for something on-line and then said to yourself “oh crap! What did I just commit too?” Well…that was me! After I committed to the class I doubted myself. I asked myself…”Would I really learn anything new? Will I be able to dedicate 2 hours a week to the class? Should I really be spending this money on myself?” But after speaking with Jennifer, I knew in my heart this was my next step.

For the next 8 weeks, I learned tools that I never imagined could create such a dramatic shift in my spirit and in my thoughts. I did exercises that reconnected me to my intuition, my spirit and my dreams. In essence, I found me again. Who knew?! I didn’t even realize I was lost.

The class ended in December 2014 and I was so impressed by the materials and the shift I had created that I was telling everyone about the class and sharing what I had learned. I was so excited that I bet my friends and family thought I was a little crazy…

Then Divine intervention graced my world once again when Jennifer Grace reached out for me to see if I was interested in her certification program to become a coach for the Creative Insight Journey. Something inside yelled “YES!!!” And I listened! Now, I will not lie and say I didn’t have doubts or worry about how it would work, how I would find the money, yada yada yada. I am a Kramer (my maiden name) and worrying is in the blood. But now I had tools to release the worry and JUST DO IT!!! Nike sure came up with a good one there…

The idea that I am lucky enough to share this program with others and help them create shifts in their lives blows my mind. If I can bless the lives of others, then one person at a time we can heal people, relationships, families, companies, towns, cities and the whole world! This journey is being launched in multiple cities and in 3 other countries. Incredible!

And what I am moved by the most with this program is that it gets you back in touch with our innate true selves…LOVE! Which is the theme of my blog – oh the irony! There simply are no coincidences. If you are interested in learning more about the Creative Insight Journey please click here.

My favorite moment during the Creative Insight Journey was when I came to the realizationnew mindset that my life was running me rather than me managing my life. I let the “voice in my head” rule the roost for far too long and it was time to take back control of myself – my thoughts and my emotions!

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”  

– Buddha

To a new adventure…

Loving the journey to a new adventure…

Over a year has passed since my last post, April 8, 2014 and it’s hard to believe where life is headed these days. I am so excited to once again be dedicated to my blog and although the theme of LOVE has not changed, the meaning changed a bit.

To recap for any followers who might be so inclined to read my blog again, last year was a monumental year in my LOVE journey. My post in April last year was about lessons coming back around and they sure did in a big way all year. My quest for nurturing self-love as part of my journey came to a screeching halt when my life began to shift into chaos mode. Everyone has been there I’m sure.

You wake up and rush to get ready for work, get the kids ready, get out the door, drop them off at school, rush to work, focus on a to-do list that is far bigger than the hours you have to complete it, rush home, make dinner, bath time, story time, bed time, clean-up time, prep for lunches the next day, grab the laptop and focus more on the to do list for another hour or two and fall into bed exhausted at 11:00pm or later just to repeat the whole routine in the morning. Every morning. Even typing it sounds feels exhausting. Then add a preschooler that wakes up twice a night and you can add operating on delirious to the list.

By the time the weekend comes, you hope to squeeze in a little bit of fun while running all the errands of groceries, household shopping, laundry, cleaning, post office and pet supplies, etc. I am sure that many families with both parents working full time out of the home experience the same thing. The same “rat wheel” every day.

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Someone snapped this pic at my desk as a joke, but this was ME! Totally OVERWHELMED!

 I felt like I was losing my sanity. Always forgetting things and always rushing, rushing, rushing! Now add that routine to the culture where I was working, a toxic and negative environment to say the least and I found myself burning the candle at both ends. By June 2014, I was feeling the pressure and something had to give. My marriage was suffering and I didn’t like hearing our 3-year-old tell me “Mom, put your phone down”. I was always working and if I wasn’t working, I felt the stress of work.

One day was particularly challenging and I stepped onto the patio by my office to get some fresh air and take a break from the madness. Praying for guidance, I grabbed my iphone and clicked on Hayhouse Radio – a free motivational channel I turned to a lot for growth and support. (Click here to listen) There was a show on with Jennifer Grace and the first words I heard her say were “this is why I love what I do, I love helping people find their destiny and purpose”. I had never heard of her before but somehow I knew…that intuition kicking in again…that I needed to reach out for this woman because she would be able to help me.

She was offering an 8-week program called “The Creative Insight Journey” and it was starting in a few weeks. I did some research as I over think and over analyze almost everything…LOL. I absolutely loved what I read and signed up! Come October 2014, I was starting my new adventure…an 8 week transformational course to change my life…

Hoping you continue to tune in….

Blessings and love,

Victoriahearts

Week of April 1st

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:

My goal this week surprised me…as I sat in “quiet time” and thought about my week ahead in visiting my Oma (Grandmother) in Washington and what my goal should be (read post from Week of Mar. 18th & 25th for background) the words that came to me were “Be Open”.

My Experience this Week:

We left Tuesday night for our long drive to Washington with the motor home packed with every possible thing I could think we might need for our 18 month old daughter and ourselves of course. The shopping, planning and packing took some time but by the end of dinner we were ready to load up and begin our first trip away from home with Kaylee.

We intentionally left at night so that hopefully she would sleep for most of the drive and for the most part she slept fairly well in between the rolling around, bumps and noises…I however did not sleep and surely my husband, Tim, didn’t sleep as he was driving. The night was long and we finally stopped at 7:30am so Tim could rest and I could make breakfast and get us back on the road.

We arrived at my Mom’s around 1:00pm, exhausted and hungry. After lunch Tim took a well-deserved nap and I was having fun watching Kaylee play with my Mom. This is the first time she has seen her since she was born. And it was so fun to watch them play the way my Mom used to play with me when I was young…oh the memories!!!

But as I unpacked some items and started settling in, I had thoughts racing in the back of my mind about what the next day would bring. Seeing my Oma again after at least 3 years and wondering if she would remember me at all. If she did, would I tell her how I felt for all these years? What would she say? Would I get an answer that gave me any sense of peace or closure?

Finally, the morning came and we were off for the short 1.5 hour drive from Shelton to Port Orchard – let me tell you – Washington is such an amazingly beautiful state! We arrived at my Oma’s house and were greeted by my Uncle John and Aunt Didi. My Oma was sitting in her wheelchair and looked so different from the last visit. She looked almost “gone” – like the Oma I knew was somewhere else and left dying in this body was a woman that I didn’t recognize. Her frail body looked tired and her face looked pale and a little sad. And she didn’t remember me. I wondered if somewhere deep inside she knew how sad it all felt that she didn’t know who we were? I asked how she was doing and just chatted about stuff. I held back the tears when my Aunt would tell her who we were and you could tell it just didn’t register.

We only stayed a few hours as I didn’t want to impose and Oma was looking tired. But just as we were leaving I knew I wanted to come back again so I asked if we could make another visit the next day. The drive back to my Mom’s that first day was hard. I just kept thinking about the Oma I remembered and felt sad that I hadn’t tried harder to have a relationship with her when she was younger and healthy. But I also knew that when I would try, I was left feeling unimportant and like a burden so eventually I gave up. Now I am left with so many unanswered questions about her story, background, life and why she made some of the choices she made. The little I do know I will carry with me always.

We went back the next day and this time when we arrived Kaylee was napping in the car so Tim stayed with her while I went inside to say hello. I was hopeful that maybe on the 2nd day something would click and she would remember me. The amazing thing was that she did remember me visiting the day before but still wasn’t sure who I was. When I said “Hello Oma, I’m your granddaughter”, she looked at me, smiled and said “Wow, you are so beautiful”. I said thank you and again tried my best to hold back the tears. Then she asked me where my beautiful daughter was…she just loved watching Kaylee run around and play. She kept saying “look at her” in her strong German accent.

Suddenly as I sat there looking at her and holding her hand, I was overwhelmed with a sense of calmness and peace. Peace in knowing that somehow, even though, she was quiet and didn’t know who I was she could feel my love through my touch. In her eyes – somewhere way in the back through the darkness and sludge of Alzheimer’s – I saw a glimmer of hope that maybe she knew me on some deeper subconscious level.

My Aunt and Uncle were very gracious and welcoming. They even allowed me to go through some old photos and take a few with me which really meant a lot. At one point, without any hesitation, these words just flowed out of me as if they were coming from someone else “You know, we always felt like we were at the bottom the totem pole” and she replied “sweetie, that was never the case”. A little part of me wanted to believe that so much. But in that moment, I knew in my heart there was nothing else left to say. No further words needed to be spoken. No rehashing of let downs and hurt feelings was necessary. I felt relief.

We all make choices in life and now that I have a daughter of my own I truly get how your life can get wrapped up so easily in those around you every day. I rarely lived close to my Oma – we were always traveling, always moving. So there is a part of me that can now understand that the distance between us in miles was simply geography and not an intentional choice to not be with us. But the distance between our hearts – that is a separate story. We each have our own journey in this life and make choices as best we know how. Maybe she felt that they needed her more than we did? Maybe she needed them more? Who knows now – Alzheimer’s has taken away any chance of answers for all of us.

But what I do know is that the goal for the week to “Be Open” was wholeheartedly accomplished. As I sat with my Oma, held her hand and just looked in her eyes – I knew there was love surrounding us. The need to share my hurt feelings or find some closure for the past just faded away and no longer seemed as important as the time just being there. Because in that moment, I was OPEN to feeling LOVE, even if it came from above.

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

Love & Light,

🙂 Victoria

Week of Mar. 18th

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be ConnectedHonestly, I did not set a goal for myself this week. But nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned, if you are open for them and I believe I am…

My Experience this Week: This is the first week since my New Year’s Resolution to begin this journey of Learning 2 Love and Be Connected that I haven’t set a goal for myself. The past few weeks have been so emotional for me, with losing an Aunt and my husband losing his Grandmother. But I was also dealing with the 5th Anniversary of my Dad’s passing (read post from Week of Mar. 11th for background) plus trying to celebrate my birthday. So, when Sunday came around to set my goal for the week, my heart just wasn’t in it.

The interesting thing about being on this journey is that the concept of “loving and connecting” is always on my mind and in my heart as I go through the routine of daily life. I have felt a shift in how I perceive and relate to people and the world around me but also realizing how much I am connected to…everything! So as I stated above, although I didn’t have a goal set, there are lessons all round us if we are open to them. Being on this journey has opened my soul in ways I had not expected.

So, midway through this week I received some not so pleasant news that my Oma (Grandmother) was in hospice care again. She has been ill for some time with Congestive Heart Failure and Alzheimer’s but still able to have a meaningful life. At first, this news, although unsettling and sad, did not spark an overwhelming sense of loss in me. It sounds heartless when I write those words but honestly, I am not really close with that side of my family – at least not as close as I am with my Dad’s side. And the details surrounding the reasons why are not important but the feelings of semi-abandonment or neglect (for want of better words) were suddenly in the forefront of my heart.

I started asking myself why I felt this way. When I called my Aunt to see how things were going and I was able to talk to my Oma, I started crying. Not just from feeling sad that her time on this earth might now be limited but also from a desperate feeling of longing – longing to feel loved and important. She immediately remembered me and during those brief moments, I told her I loved her. Then like a flash she was gone and didn’t know who I was but I felt blessed that I at least was able to get those words out.

Growing up I always felt that somehow my Mom, sister and me weren’t as important. It seemed like all my Oma’s energy, attention, love and money were spent on other family members. Almost like we were wicked step children. Those feelings have made it so difficult for me to desire a connection with them and I have not allowed myself to work through those feelings and be honest with myself or with them.

So once again, my goal became to reflect and pray. As I started thinking about the past, how things developed, how I felt and what I needed to do or say in order to feel a sense of closure so I would have no regrets – I remembered something that Marianne Williamson had said during an interview with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday: “Only what you are not giving can be lacking in any situation”.

That is a powerful statement. I mean think about…as an adult, anytime you have felt wronged, hurt, alone, angry, betrayed, etc…what were you not giving that contributed to the outcome? I can honestly say that I have never told my Oma how I felt. And I certainly didn’t make any extra efforts to connect with her because I was too busy asking myself why she wasn’t trying to contact me and be a part of my life. Hmmm…at what point do you give up trying? Well…my Dads motto during his whole ALS struggle “Never, never give up!!” And if I am honest with myself…I did. Not only did I give up, I was too stubborn and settled in my hurt that I neglected to be the bigger person.

So now the challenge becomes what to do next. Perhaps try to make a trip to see her and hopefully she remembers me? Should we spend some time just being together or talk about my feelings? Not sure…I guess time will tell. Prayer and meditation do wonders at providing answers if you are patient (not one of my strong suits).

For now, on this journey to Love more deeply and be more connected…I have to be strong and own my piece of how I feel and why. Embrace it and realize my feelings aren’t wrong, they just “ARE” and I can choose how I feel at any moment. So I can choose to let go and just LOVE!

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

 (Please also check out My Poetry page for an update)

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Me and My Oma

 

Week of Mar. 4th

My Goal This Week: Well…as they say “the best laid plans”…I had a goal set for this week and by Wednesday life had other plans and things changed. So my goal for “learning to love” this week became: get through the week as best I can.

My Experience This Week: On Wednesday this week we found out one of my Aunt’s passed away. Although it was not a huge shock as she was in her nineties but still not expected as she was full of life and vigor. I actually had not seen her since my wedding shower a few years ago. But nonetheless, the news was sad and was harder the more I thought of her.

Technically speaking, she was not an Aunt by genetics but she was my grandmothers’ best friend (for decades) and we all grew up calling her our Aunt and it certainly felt that way. And like my grandmother, she was the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet. She had a way of making you feel special when she was in your presence – like you were the most important person in the world to her at that moment. That is a rare gift. She loved life, loved to dance, laugh, play the slots and have fun. She always called you sweetheart, honey or some other endearing nick name and was always concerned with what was happening in your life. She will be greatly missed but perhaps now we all have another angel looking out for us and maybe helping us win a few dollars at our next gambling venture.

But then, just as we were wrapping our arms around that news, we learned that my husbands’ grandmother had passed away. His family had been caring for her and visiting her for weeks as they knew she was nearing the end of her earthly life. But although she was in her nineties as well, it was still very difficult news. Being there for my husband and his family as much as I could became the second goal for the end of the week.

Upon hearing the news, we immediately drove to his Aunt’s house to be with his family for those precious final moments. Saying good-bye is so painful – even if it’s only good-bye for now. When you care so much and see your loved ones going through this pain – you wish there was a way to take it away. Especially if you have been there before and know what they are going through. But all you can do is comfort, hold and share your love with them while they work through the process of grieving their loss.

But what I was not expecting this week was the memories all this brought back of the loved ones I have witnessed in their last moments and how much I still miss them no matter how much time as passed. My dad used to say when I experienced pain or loss growing up “sweetheart, time has a funny way of healing all wounds”…so funny that now I can understand what he meant. All wounds heal over time, but the deeper the wound, the large the scar left behind. When it comes to the most special people in our lives, the deeper we love them, the deeper the scar their loss leaves but healing is still in progress under the surface.

My father was already ill with ALS when my grandmother passed away. So, we knew we were on borrowed time where he was concerned. Watching him grieve for his Mom, I can remember thinking “how am I going to get through this when it’s my dad?”. The only answer I have is by the grace of God. We all experience different forms of loss in our lives and somehow, from somewhere, the strength we need arrives and we can do things we never thought were possible.

I guess the ultimate end result or lesson for me in learning to love this week is that by the grace of God we are all connected to each other, to God and to everything around us. Because of that connection we can never be separate from God, each other or everything around us. There are times I feel more connected to my grandmother and my dad now because their souls are limitless and connected to mine in a powerful way. There are times, when I still miss them tremendously and some days it’s harder than others but I do feel blessed in the comfort of knowing they are able to offer guidance and a helping hand in my life more now than ever and the more I connect with that love of them, the more little miracles I witness in my life that could only have come with a little help.

~ Hoping you are staying connected ~

🙂 Victoria