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In October I had the honor of being asked to return for a second time to Brazil and teach a two- day workshop titled: Motivating the Unmotivated: Planting the Seeds and Reaping the Harvest. It was sponsored by the Milton H. Erickson Institute of Belo Horizonte. www.ericksonbh.com.br. The first time was in 2006 when my book, Reconnecting to the Magic of Life was translated into Portuguese. At the time I was invited to an amazing place, Nucleo Assistencial Caminhos Para Jesus. Translated it means the Pathway to Jesus. Celebrating its fortieth anniversary, Caminhos Para Jesus exists on donations and serves a whole community.

I was asked to be with the many precious children who had been abandoned at birth and who have advanced cases of Cerebral Palsy.  Each of the children I encountered provided a richness of experience unable to be described in literal words. I call the wonderful staff members “angels,” each providing the children with physical, occupational, speech, art, education, and psychotherapy along with social work,      dental and medical care and most of all LOVE.  www.caminhosparajesus.org.br.

 This time I was accompanied by Glaucia and Brenno, two talented therapists from the Ericksonian Institute. After     being welcomed by the Executive Director, Raul Marinuzzi, and honored by being introduced to the founder, Celio Oliveira Tropia, we were greeted by the staff and children with overflowing hugs and love. I was presented with a book with hand-drawn pictures, wishes, and joyful smiles galore. There was Edson, a young man who enthusiastically pointed to the pictures and words he pasted in the book in order to communicate his feelings and blessings to me. Gabriela, used paper hearts and drew the sun, Nilo drew butterflies, Lucas left me his feet prints, Laudomiro, a beautiful design, Claudiana, a butterfly on a flower, and Patricia drew a smiling heart and wrote: “Joyce, I love you! Love is ALL … You are pretty! Patricia (Paty) Your Friend.”  Of course, I brought BT, my famous turtle hand puppet to share warm snuggles and stories.  

 Among the many precious children and adolescents who touched my heart was little Kathleen, who at first was not sure of BT. She quickly brought out her puppet friend of courage, d’Artagnan and introduced him to BT. Before long, they were friends. Her courageous spirit outshined the initial fear she experienced. Child after child, BT made his way around the circle, playfully sharing his message of joy and care. It was especially touching when little bright-eyed Rodrigo, outstretched his arms to embrace BT with loving kisses. The twinkle in his smile said it all.

Remembering how much they all loved BT, I brought a new turtle puppet to leave with the staff and children as a gift. When I introduced the new puppet, I told them that BT brought one of his special relatives who needed a good home to live with them. They were all excited to meet this new friend and relative. One of the staff said that they needed to name the turtle before I left. When they decided to name it “Todd,” after my own son who has Cerebral Palsy, I was visibly moved to tears.

 After the storytelling, I visited all of the other children who were still in their rooms. Lying in his large crib-like bed was Dennis, a young man severely afflicted with Cerebral Palsy. With a        dazzling smile and outstretched arms, Dennis used every bit of his energy to slowly and deliberately bring one of his thin arms across his frail body to touch and be kissed by BT and me. We often take such simple movements for granted, but it was Dennis who reminded me about the power of “determination,” to accomplish one’s goal.

 Just before leaving, I noticed a beautiful curly-haired boy about four years old flailing his arms while standing in a play pen. The staff told me that his name is Brian and that he is also blind. As if feeling a magnetic pull towards him, I knelt down close to Brian and gently began stoking his cheek with the soft nose of BT. I told him my name and that what he was feeling on his cheek  was BT my special Tortoruga Amigo here to give him love. Almost immediately, Brian calmed down, and nestled into the softness of BT and then cuddled in my arms. We remained embraced for what seemed like a magical time where all else disappeared.

It was soon time for us to leave, so I motioned to one of the staff members to get another stuffed animal for him to hold. At first, she came back with a doll, but Brian rejected it, because its material was scratchy. She quickly returned with a small, soft white bunny rabbit. I slowly began caressing little Brian’s face with the long ears. Again, he calmed. I placed the rabbit in his hands and moved away.  This precious child embraced the bunny and then sat down in the play-pen and began singing it a song. We were all moved to tears as we watched this child find comfort in the soft presence of this simple toy.

By the time I left, my heart was full and I knew that each child was a spiritual teacher of determination and joy.  I am sure I received more than I could have possibly given.

As we move into the holidays and the New Year, perhaps it is a good time to give thanks for the many unexpected blessings we have received that inspire joy in our hearts and a sense of determination to overcome the obstacles placed in our paths. We need to remember that nothing is more powerful than the human spirit to touch and be touched, to love and be loved.

Invincible Optimism

On January 9th I attended another fabulous  “Focus Your Intention” workshop offered by my dear friend and colleague, master BrainGym® trainer, Cristina Whitehawk (www.poweredbygenius.com).  As part of  the many exercises Cristina offered was a word-spirit stimulating brainstorming process, whereby we all had an opportunity to share words that we wanted to include in our intention statements.  Connie Kadansky, (www.exceptionalsales.com) one of the incredible women present, offered two-words that immediately resonated within my soul – “invincible optimism.”   Like a delicious piece of chocolate, I savored their spiritual flavor as I repeated them over and over again.  Just try it and see what you discover.  Begin a sentence saying “With Invincilbe Optimism I  …………” 

At this transformational time on our planet when we are exeriencing what visionary Barbara Marx Hubbard calls an “Evolutionary Metamorphosis,” I believe we need to embrace our endeavors with Invincible Optimism in order to confront the challenges before us.  Like the Butterfly, which flies thousands of miles through storms that may arise  in order to reach its destination, as humans we, too, can get through the storms of our lives when we hold onto a sense of Invincible Optimism in order to reach our full-winged potential.

In light of this weekend’s tragedy in Tucson, I felt compelled to call for all of us to create Peace Gardens in our world. This stemmed from a dream I had after 9/11 when parents were asking me for a way to help their children.  It is my hope that the creation of a Peace Garden becomes a foundation of every home, school, and business, and that the seeds of a peaceful resolution germinate, blossom, and flower for our children and our planet.

Peace GardenThe following ideas for creating a Peace Garden are shared from my heart to yours.

Materials needed: Rocks of various sizes, acrylic paints, brushes. Optional are plants, flowers, or a tree.

Where: Walk out into your yard or garden with your child. Let your child choose the area he or she feels would be the right place for the Peace Garden. This does not have to be a large area. If you live in an apartment, or have very limited space, use a small planter box to house your Peace Garden. It is not the size of the space that is important; the importance is on the intention.

Time of Day: The time of day you choose to create your Peace Garden is optional according to your personal family schedule.

Clearing: Once chosen, create an open space, clearing away any brush or obstacles that may be in the way. While doing so, ask your child to picture clearing away any worries or fears he or she may be experiencing. Take your time in this part of the process. Giving voice and action to inner feelings is a way of honoring our humanity and connectedness.

Planting Peace: Gather rocks of various sizes and put them in a pile near the area you and your child have just cleared. Next, you and your child choose a rock, hold it in your hands and meditate for a few quiet moments on the word, message, prayer, or picture you want to paint on it. When you and your child are finished painting the rock, place it anywhere in the Peace Garden area.  You may wish to plant a tree, shrub or flowers in the garden also, but it is not necessary.

If your child is having a friend or friends over for a play day, invite them to participate in the creation and perpetuation of the Peace Garden. They can be asked to bring a rock of their own, or use one that you have provided.

Spiritual Pollination: Like the tiny particles of pollen carried on the wings of butterflies from one flower to the next with the sole purpose of perpetuating regeneration and life, it is my belief that our prayers, messages, and images are transformed into tiny particles of “spiritual pollen,” carried on the wings of angels with the soul purpose of perpetuating healing and peace.

At this time of great challenge and uncertainty we must remember
“Fear is the messenger, Faith is the Message.”

Shared with blessings for peace and healing.

Happy 2011! It is a crisp, cool day here in Phoenix Arizona. The sun is bright and the mountains are beautiful.  Yes, it’s the New Year . . . a time for New Beginnings. 

During a phone conversation this mornining, my friend told me she was in her sixth day of a cleanse, drinking a healthy concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and distilled water. I chuckled and told her that I am on a cleanse too, only mine is chocolate, cookies, Sprinkles cupcakes,  chocolate truffles, white chocolate brownies, Irish coffee, and wine.  Okay, for the health enthusiasts this might evoke panic, but for me it’s “all good.”   

 I decided it is a time of the year to indulge. Matter of fact, one of the inspirational messages on a card in my Butterfly Wisdom Transformation Kit  reads CHOCOLATE – Just because…indulge in the deliciousness of life.”  Of course, Chocolate is a metaphor in this context. It is meant to evoke a consciousness that opens our sensory awareness to the beauty of life.  With the news being fraught with fear, violence, and financial disasters, we often forget that there are simple gifts all around us that are “decilicious.” To name but a few gifts:  A bird’s song, the smile of a little child, a call from a friend, a sip of water, a comforting hand on your shoulder. 

For me the personal and spiritual challenge is to cleanse myself of fear and embrace the tastiness that life presents.  Yes, I will eat Chocolate and Indulge in the deliciousness of life. That is my New Year’s goal.  What’s yours?

 Butterfly Wisdom Transformation Kit

Butterfly Wisdom:  The perfect gift to celebrate the New Year!  What is it about the butterfly that entrances and delights us? Perhaps it’s her beauty, grace and spirit.  Or perhaps there is something deeper on a soul level that invites us into her magic. After learning the secret of a butterfly’s metamorphosis over twenty-five years ago, it became apparent that not only is there a scientific story, but also one that mirrors our own passages of transformational change and healing.  Within the magic of her story is the inspirational message “When you know where you are, you’ll know where you’re going.” 

The New Year of 2011 shows us that we are in the first passage of New Beginnings where we learn to explore adventures, take risks, reach for support, give ideas a voice, and awaken to the unfolding of rich new experiences.   For a short video about the four passages and the secret of transformation see: www.drjoycemills.com

Ask yourself the following questions as you prepare to journey into the New Year of 2011:  

  • What new territory do I want to explore?
  • What familiar path do I need to step off?
  • Who nurtures my inner well-spring of creative passion?
  • What are my new ideas?
  • Am I mindful of rich experiences that unfold each day?

As you prepare for the New Year, my hope is that you Hear the music, Dance with zest, Laugh out loud, Taste

passion, See the Rainbows, Feel your wings and Soar.

Upcoming events: January 14 – Evening at Storm Wisdom – Butterfly Wisdom: The Ecology of Human Transformation. January 15th – Butterfly Wisdom Transformation Sessions  ~ January 29th – Butterfly Wisdom Transformation Facilitator Training. www.stormwisdom.com for registration and events   calendar.

 

From the moment I got off the plane in Paris on October 18th, I ate and ate and ate all of my favorite foods – a sumptuous food fest continued throughout the two weeks I was there including chocolate, crepes, pasteries, and wine. Each morning I awoke to fresh chocolate and butter croissants and cappachino.   My lunchtimes consisted of salads, main courses, and of course, desserts. Dinner was the same. Taking our time to enjoy each mouthful without having someone waiting to “turn a table”  for a waiting customer expanded each meal to at least two hours.  No rush, just sensuous, mouth-watering pleasure. 

The surpise was when I got back home to Phoenix, I found I lost weight. Yep, you got it right; I lost weight. ..more than ten pounds and a whole dress size. Not sure how that happened except to say I was in Paris. I wonder if Paris is a state of mind or truly a place that holds magical powers to transform common everyday experiences such as eating into joyful, healing adventures.

Giverny – Monet’s Gardens

I received this lovely email from Betty Liedtke, one of the 40 female entrepreneurs featured in the new book Fearless Women, Fearless Wisdom, by Mary Ann Halpin.  Rather than edit it, I felt it extremely important to share Betty’s words as they were written.  We never know where something amazing is waiting when we share it.

Hello dear Fearless Sisters,

I am SO excited about this! I have to share some more info with you about Tabitha Kyambadde, the friend of mine from Uganda who was so inspired when she heard me speak about the Fearless Women book after I got back from Dallas. I met with her this morning after our Toastmasters meeting and she told me that she sent the Fearless Women book she bought to her daughter in Uganda, and her daughter has shared it with many of her friends. In fact, Tabitha bought and sent her a second book because her daughter wanted to keep her own but have another one to share. EVERYONE there wants a copy! :>

But what excited me the most while Tabitha was telling me all this (actually–what caused me to start shaking, and just about brought me to tears) was when she said that all the women in Uganda who have seen the book are so inspired by all of us in the book, and by our stories. They related to all of us, and to the different things we have gone through in our lives. Tabitha said they all told her daughter, “These women are just like us.”

Doesn’t THAT choke you up??!! Tabitha’s dream (one of them; she’s got some fearless, brave, and AMAZING dreams that she has already started putting into action) is to inspire all the women in Uganda to see what they are capable of, and what is possible for them. She said to me that she wishes WE could all go to Uganda and speak with the women there.

Wouldn’t THAT be a trip!?

I’m sharing this with you for a number of reasons. One is simply to point out again what a powerful effect this book is having on women (and men!) literally all over the world. Another is to sing your praises once more (especially YOU, Mary Ann!) and thank you again for being part of this movement and for allowing me the privilege to be among you.

And also, I know that miracles and magic are happening because of this book (miracles and magic are part of my Dream Coach knowledge, training and experience, too :>), and I am putting this out there with the hope, the dream, and the prayer that some–or all–of us will be going to Uganda with Tabitha so that we can share our stories, our lives, our experiences and our Fearless Wisdom with the many Fearless Women there. I’ve no doubt that we will all come back even more inspired by their lives and experiences, and by the stories and Fearless Wisdom they share with us in return. And who knows what would happen from there!?

Fearless Woman Betty Liedtke

Betty Liedtke

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