Unveiled…

experiences from the edge with Cara Bradley


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It Goes By Fast

Goesbyfast-2Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?—Mary Oliver

While vacationing in New Hampshire this month, I attended a play at a summer playhouse called The Peterborough Players. The walkway leading up to the playhouse was made of cobblestones engraved with names and dates of donors—one of which caught my eye and read,

It goes by fast.

I stopped in my tracks and in a flash a wave of “Holy S*#@$,” passed through me. It  goes by fast, I thought. My life is flying by. What am I doing? Am I living fully?

I looked at my beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter. “Holy S*#@$,” I thought, she is almost out the door! I will be fifty in a few years! I looked at my wonderful in-laws sailing through their seventies and thought, “Holy S*#@$, they are getting older!”

It goes by fast.

Some wise soul paid to put a special reminder on that pathway and surely  thousands have walked over it. Perhaps only a few ever paused to see this  powerful message. I feel fortunate enough to have allowed its whisper to find my ear that night. It penetrated my soul and, in a sense, woke me up out of my slumber.

Our  lives go by fast. Why do we dwell on drama and clench our fists so often? Why do we hold ourselves back? Why do we care so much about what others think? Why do we hold onto our opinions so tightly that it tenses our faces?

In a blink of an eye, our children grow up and leave the nest. Why don’t we take the time to lay down in the grass with them to look at the stars? I could go on and on about how not to miss “your one wild and precious life.” I would share this message across the globe for the rest of my life if it would help one person receive the gift I did on that beautiful evening in New Hampshire.

Life is precious. Don’t miss a moment of it not experiencing your profound brilliance. Remember, it goes by fast.


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Are you a WE or a ME?

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As published by SimpleReminders.com

There are two types of people in this world.

Those who make you feel really good about yourself and those who leave you feeling left out in the cold and hung out to dry? The ones that make you feel really good acknowledge your birthday, your good work, and even your smile. They ask you questions and listen to your answers. Then there are those who unconsciously make you feel small, they don’t listen and don’t seem to care.

Every day you come across these two types, the ME’s and the WE’s. Which one do you tend to be?

Consider the following:

  • ME is exclusive
  • WE is inclusive
  • ME judges
  • WE acknowledges
  • ME is insecure
  • WE is confident

Are you a WE or a ME?

The truth is, you are both. Throughout the day you move through a range of being completely self-absorbed and recognizing the goodness in all living beings.

When you show up in the Now, present in the moment, you effortlessly operate from a WE state. You’re aware of whose around you and what they need. When you’re busy or stressed, you get caught in the ME state, unable to listen to, connect with, or acknowledge others.

  • ME is self-interested
  • WE is curious and compassionate
  • ME boasts about personal success
  • WE shares the wealth
  • ME is a solo traveler
  • WE is a team player

The good news is that it’s fairly simple to snap yourself out of ME and point yourself in the direction of WE. Ask yourself this question throughout the day:

Am I a WE or a ME?

Ask it while getting ready in the morning, in the line at Starbucks, as you head into your first meeting, when navigating the merge in traffic, when you’re hungry, when your mother calls. Asking this question stops you in your tracks, especially if you’re headed down the path of, “watch out I’ve got stuff to do,” and “my stuff is more important than your stuff.”

“Am I a WE or a ME” is like a quick litmus test. You don’t even need to answer the question. Oftentimes just asking it is enough to snap you out of your closed up, self-important state. Here’s what I’ve found by looking at my own tendencies:

  • As a WE, I am a good listener
  • As a ME, I interrupt or get restless
  • As a WE, I am fearless and abundant
  • As a ME, I am scared and scarce
  • As a WE, I feel content
  • As a ME, I feel fragmented and unsettled

You don’t really want to be a ME, no one does. You don’t want to appear self-absorbed or too busy for others, but sometimes it happens. I get it. Believe me, I’m a ME sometimes too. At the end of the day, being a ME is not that much fun and it makes life messy. Too much ME and not enough WE isn’t good for the world.

Here’s how you can do your part:

  • Be a good listener
  • See the good in others
  • Let the small stuff go
  • Acknowledge the success of others
  • Compliment often
  • Include others in your success
  • Ask for help (even if you don’t need it)
  • Encourage others to follow their dreams
  • Embrace different views
  • Be available for advice
  • Help others shine

I have a dream that as more and more people wake up from their own narcissistic slumber they’ll start showing up for each other. I have a dream that someday the WE’s will outnumber the ME’s.

_____

Cara’s posts published by SimpleReminders.com also include: What is your “Yes?” and Catch a Glimpse of Being Fully Alive


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To curse or not to curse, that is the question

imagesTrying to distinguish yourself amongst the crowd is challenging to say to the least—especially when you need to broadcast your message in a sea of self-help blah, blah, blah. There are already really incredible and inspiring teachers on the circuit these days. I know this because I’ve been studying these really successful teachers, particularly women, with their best selling books and sold out workshops, in an attempt to understand the secret to their success. What I found is very intriguing.

The standard mojo to get attention is to curse.

Cursing on stage, in blogs, and on-line seems to work. There are several big time personalities currently firing up the nation in that trendy and positive, “bitch-slapping” sort of way. I’m sure it offends some, but it sure seems to be gaining the attention of millions.

Do you really need to curse to get attention?

Trust me, I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve been known to pull out an appropriate “f-bomb” in the right situation—amongst friends—and I’m not judging those that choose to pull one out of their hat on stage or anywhere else for that matter. I’m simply asking the question, in 2015 do you really need to curse to get people to listen?

There’s no doubt cursing can be effective. Whether you say them or hear them, curses shift your state—immediately. Cursing can wake you up from self-judgment and self-sabatoge. Cursing commands your attention and shocks you into the Now.

It seems to me, however, the benefits of cursing may be short-lived. You may grab someone’s attention but it wears off quickly. Soon enough your audience will be waiting for the next f-bomb to drop. I know this because I wait in anticipation too. I like it when these super pumped personalities curse and scream in my face and I know where there is one curse, they’ll be more.

I like it in small doses and when I’m in the  mood for it. 

While you’ll likely not hear me curse in my classes or blogs, I will continue to follow from those that curse—and do so well I might add. It doesn’t offend me and to be honest, often makes me laugh. I’m not convinced cursing is necessary to wake people up and get them to listen, but it certainly adds some fireworks to the oftentimes overly sugary and sappy world of self-help and personal transformation.

To curse or not to curse, that is the question. 

How do you feel? I’d love to hear your sentiments.


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What is your “Yes?”

yesFor the past two years I’ve been writing a book, a guide actually, to showing up and living life fully. The process from conception to finding an agent, a publisher, and completing the manuscript has consumed my life. I’ve been waking at 4:00 am to write before teaching yoga and managing my business. As my July manuscript deadline got closer, the pressure increased and the more often I found myself saying, “No.”

I said “no” to lunch with friends, “no” to networking meetings, “no” to opportunities to teach or speak. No, no, no. I said no more than ever before. As my calendar cleared, so did my mind and I began to understand why I felt compelled to write a book.

In saying “no,” I found my “yes.”

Deep down I feel called to share my journey with you—my breakdowns and breakthroughs—how I’ve unpacked my mind and heart and put myself back together in a whole new way. Deep down I know the clarity and fearlessness I’ve discovered, you can discover too and the tenderness and joy I’ve experienced, you can experience too.

In saying “no,” I discovered that my “yes” is my passion to wake up, show up and shine in every corner of my life and my deep desire to help you do so too.

This resounding, “yes” pulled me out of bed at 4:00 am every morning and sat me down at my laptop for hours and hours. It guided me to say no to non-essential activities—stuff that got in the way of writing and, over the past month, directed me into more and more stillness and silence. My yes carried me through weeks of writing and sleeping, writing and sleeping. My yes got it done.

What is your “yes?”

Have you thought about what gets you out of bed every morning? What inspires you to lean in and explore your boundaries? Is it raising your kids to be conscious global citizens, leading a campaign for cleaner water, or teaching others to be kinder or more compassionate?

What is your “yes?”

If you want to be inspired and inspire others, you’re going to want to find out. You likely have a few answers. Some may stand out today and others tomorrow. Identify your “yes” in the morning and notice how it directs your focus. Let your “yes” guide you when to say no in your daily life. Let your “yes” help you lean into life in a whole new way.

Let your yes inspire you to show up and shine.

I’ll warn you though once you’re aware of it, you may start getting up at 4:00 am, and you may start saying “no” more and more, but once thing’s for sure, your “yes” is definitely worth getting to know.

I’d love to hear from you. If you know your “yes,” please share. Not only will your “yes” inspire others but it’ll also feel great to proclaim it to the world.


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The Pulse of Thunder

images2There’s a palpable energy that hangs in the air before a thunderstorm. I feel it in my bones.

As nature prepares, I do the same by slowing down or stopping altogether. I wait in stillness. As the storm moves in, my energy intensifies. Electricity runs through me lighting up my every cell. I’m alert and on edge while calm and expansive. The ride of the storm passes through my body as I shift from movement back to once stillness again.

Thunderstorms—I wake up and am fully alive.


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Catch a Glimpse of Being Fully Alive

simplereminders stock photoAs seen on SimpleReminders.com

Step beyond your busy mind, rise above your doubt and worry, and you will shift into a place, a state of a pure awareness — where you know who you are and you like what you see. In this space, in this slice of stillness, you glimpse a perfect reflection.

Time slows down and the lights turn up.

You recognize you are awake and alive — and in that moment — you like what you see. You catch this perfect reflection when you arrive in the space between thoughts, in the pause between breaths. Here you begin to trust your basic goodness and essential pureness. You know yourself as being enough. And this is where life blossoms — in your slice of stillness, staring at your perfect reflection — where you catch a glimpse of being fully alive.

Glimpses like this are powerful reminders that you are living and breathing. They change your perspective on life, for the short term at least. They light you up. There is no mistaking when you catch a glimpse of being fully alive — you stop in your tracks, hold your breath for a moment, and open your eyes wide. You see the world as brilliant and your experience as sacred.

Glimpses of aliveness come and go in a flash — like sunshine on the top of snow-covered trees or a flock of birds catching the wind in unison. They may last longer when your stare at the ocean, or listen to an open-air concert under a star lit sky. You may remember them forever like the moment your child entered the world, when you nailed a singing audition or received a big award.

Glimpsing aliveness is not something you possess — you can’t buy or hoard brilliance. If you are too busy, you will miss it. Instead, this slice of stillness, this peek of pure awareness, must be directly experienced — right now.

You can practice catching a glimpse of being fully alive in three ways:

  1. Step beyond your busy mind by noticing when you are drowning in thought, distracted or pulled away from by your to-do list, worry about the future or judgment. Over-thinking creates disturbance, not stillness.
  2. Rise above your doubt and worry by noticing when you get caught in your made up story about yourself or others. Doubt is a waste of energy and blocks you from seeing your perfect reflection.
  3. Allow yourself to rest in this moment. Right here and right now is the easiest place to drink in aliveness. Take a breath, look around you, don’t miss the opportunity to see your perfect reflection and to know who you are and like what you see.

Step beyond your busy mind, rise above your doubt and worry and in this slice of stillness you will see the world through pure awareness.

You will trust that you are enough — and when you do, you will directly experience the spontaneous pureness of being fully alive — and you will never, ever look back.

 


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Living On The Verge: Your Slice of Stillness

DSC_0098Drop your drama and step beyond your busy mind and you will shift into a space—a pure awareness—where you know who you are and you like what you see. In this space, in this slice of stillness, you will see the perfect reflection of your being-ness. Glimpsing this perfect reflection over and over, even for a short period of time, you begin to trust in your essential pureness. You start to know yourself as basically good. And this is where your life begins to blossom—in your slice of stillness, staring at your perfect reflection, you feel completely awake and fully alive.

Being fully alive isn’t something just that happens when you are at the beach, on a mountaintop, or in the middle of a crisis. Being fully alive is a sense of feeling bright, clear, and connected. It emerges when you are open and available to life in this moment, right here and right now. it comes and goes in a flash and is not something you can possess. This slice of stillness, this glimpse of pure awareness, instead must be directly experienced.

You can practice experiencing your being-ness in three simple ways:

  1. Drop your drama by noticing when you get caught in your made up story about yourself or others. Drama is a waste of energy and blocks you from your perfect reflection.
  2. Step beyond your busy mind by noticing when you are distracted or pulled away from your mirror by your to-do list, worry about the future, or judgment. Over-thinking creates disturbance not stillness.
  3. Glimpse your perfect reflection by allowing yourself to rest in this very moment. Take a breath, look around you, don’t miss the opportunity to know who you are and to like what you see.

Drop, step, and glimpse.

Drop, step, and glimpse.

And in this slice of stillness you will see the world through your pure awareness. You will trust in your basic goodness and experience the sacredness of being alive.

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