Mantra Maven Blog

One of my guilty pleasures this summer is OWN's new show Finding Sarah. If by chance you haven't heard about it, I'll give you a synopsis. The show is a "docu-series" following Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and former wife of Britain's Prince Andrew as she embarks on a journey with the help of Oprah's favorites, Dr. Phil, Martha Beck and Suze Orman. Together with their support, she battles to find the self-worth that has eluded her most of her life.  It's touching and surprising to see how candid she is about some of her past mistakes, notably the scandal last year where she was accused of selling access to the royals and her regrets over a failed marriage.

Last week's, episode was particularly tv-ishly triumphant. After months of training, Fergie and her trainer take a 26 mile trek through Canada's arctic wilderness to Yellowknife, the site of her honeymoon more than 20 years ago. Although Fergie might have feared for her life, we as viewers did not. The fact that a camera was there for filming and half-way through the hike, her trainer called a doctor who snow-mobiled over to check Fergie's frost bite and give the okay for her to continue gave it away. But suspense aside, she completed the trip at age 51, and she gets mad kudos for that!

One very sweet visual in the episode shows Fergie alone on the plane on her way to Canada to begin her hike. You can tell she is a little nervous and a little doubting of her ability to complete what she has agreed to do. And on her arm is a bracelet with the word "BELIEVE" written in all caps. I think this perfectly sums up the way many of us feel at the beginning of a journey--not  knowing how but believing in our ability to eventually get there somehow....which of course, Fergie did. This was just a reminder for me that whatever your personal goal may be, for bloody sake, don't stop believing.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

For the last week and a half, I have fielded questions from friends about my New Year's resolutions. Was it to exercise more? Start a new project? Or maybe be more spiritually tuned? Nope. Nada. They were very surprised to hear that I don't make New Year's resolutions...at least not anymore. I was never really a fan of resolutions even when I WAS making them. They just seemed like a societal set-up......."let's all collectively set goals and see who's left standing." Talk about pressure. Each year, there 's so much enthusiasm for resolutions in January and even February. But come March? Fizzle. Each spring, I and millions of others would have given up those 5 a.m. trips to the gym or saving for that European vacation, only to find ourselves feeling deflated for trying and failing....AGAIN.  So I stopped. Not that I'm giving up on any of my heart's desires. I just refuse to have them relegated to an abitrary, set point in time. Take that, resolutions! I'm finding much more value in doing my best to live each day with mindfulness and purpose, which I have not doubt will get me a lot closer to reaching my goals than my resolutions every would have. Try it. You might like it. Oh, and wishing you the best 2011 possible filled with love and prosperity!

Many blessings,
Tiffany

All my years of regular voting caught up with me this week. I had managed to successfully avoid being called for more than 12 years here in Chicago. But a month ago, I received a summons for jury duty and thusly reported bright and early for at the Fifth Municipal District Courthouse this week. I'll be honest, I had mixed feelings about jury duty. On one hand, I was curious to see our much beloved democracy in action—you know 12 relatively impartial citizens joined together to do justice and all. But on the other hand, the idea of sitting in a room with strangers waiting to be called to inflict judgment on your fellow man was disheartening. So I hedged my bets. To prepare, I re-watched the Thirty Rock episodes when Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, wears her Princess Leia suit and side buns in order to be excused from jury duty on the assumed grounds of mental unfitness. And I Netflixed Twelve Angry Men, the story of how one earnest juror is able to convince his cohorts to be impartial and truly examine the facts of a murder trial ultimately leading to the defendant being aquitted. Talk about extremes, huh? On the morning of my duty I stood outside the courthouse and waited for my turn to be screened by the metal detector. I was then directed to a quiet room where I would await my fate with the other potential jurors. I took a seat and waited, soaking up the air of anticipation and dread which was filling the room. Oprah played on the teeny TV. An hour went by as I quasi-listened to my iPod. Then another. Then another. By the time lunchtime had arrived, my then three hour wait felt like double that. An hour later, I was back in the little room waiting...........again. There is nothing worse for me than waiting. I am not the most patient person. (See previous post). By the grace of God, at 3:00 p.m. the convener of the almost jurors announced we were free to go. Freedom! A sigh of relief and joy swept the room. Although it was rather uneventful, I didn’t emerge from this process empty handed. My brief brush with our judicial system left me with two very important reflections—justice can be a slow and tedious process AND it's worth it to live in this every so great country of ours. Maybe next time, I won't even bring the side buns :)

Many blessings,
Tiffany

For the last several weeks, I've been in a funk. Tired, cranky and dull—so much so that if I wasn't me, I would've stop hanging out with me a week ago. Not sure if it's been because of the cooler weather, the darker days, the going and going to the point of being completely out of steam or a combination of all three. But the one thing I do know is that I am no longer enjoying my trip to "Funky Town."  I think all of us hit a rut every now and then. We've all heard the true test is how quickly you bounce back. But what if you have no desire to bounce back? What if you want to hang around, get to know the people, and check out the scenery? I mean....ruts do have their privileges, which include my own version of the three R's—rest, relaxation and reflection.  So when I do hit a rut, I like to mull around a bit and make the most of them. In the last two weeks, I've watched more than 20 episodes of  House. I've taken several naps on the couch with the cat. I've prepared some mean chai lattes. Physically, I've done a lot of nothing. But I've used this time to think up new plans for my future, catch up on reading and contemplate the meaning of life—again. So feeling rested and rejuvated, I am now ready to leave Funky Town. It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

I picked up the November issue of O Magazine over the weekend. As usual, whenever I have the time to sit down and read O, I start with "What I Know For Sure," the last column in every issue. It's my favorite. In the column, Oprah writes about a theme and relates it to her own experiences.  This month's article was about finding your true calling. Now, stay with me because this part gets a little tricky.....in the article, Oprah quotes Mark Nepo, author of "Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have," as he quotes Mechthild of Magdeburg, a 13th century mystic who wrote, "A fish cannot drown in water. A bird does not fall in air. Each creature God made must live in its own true nature." Although these words were written more than 700 years ago, I think they are very prophetic for today. Mechthild is calling on us to recognize and live our own true nature. Even her use of the word "nature" itself is subtle yet compelling. We all know you can't fight Mother Nature. If it's "nature" calling, you have no choice but to pay attention.  But what if you don't know your true nature? What if it's been taught, ridiculed or ignored out of you? I've always envied those people who at age two knew they wanted to be a doctor/teacher/mother....people whose talents and inclinations pointed to a neatly wrapped profession or role in life. Or those who had a teacher/parent/coach who recognized a special talent in them that they failed to see in themselves who then guided them through the ups and downs along a path to unbelievable success. I mean, isn't this the theme of every inspirational, tearjerker in theaters these days? Well, what the heck about the rest of us? What about our callings? Through some work, I've been lucky to find mine, which you can read more about in a previous blog entry. But figuratively speaking, what of the sparrow who lives everyday in a sea of trout who longs to feel the wind beneath her wings or the salmon raised by starlings who knows something is amiss but has never seen the ocean. This is when it gets serious. We would never ask a lion to become a vegetarian or a butterfly to lay an egg. It goes against nature, and it's just not gonna happen, folks. But we often ask this of ourselves on a continual basis. For those of you who know your callings, Goddess bless you. For those of you who don't, get happenin'! I believe THIS is the real purpose of each of our lives. Find what feels as natural to you as breathing....then do it all the time. So I ask you, is your nature calling?

Many blessings,
Tiffany

It happened in May of this year. All of a sudden, every time I turned on the news, something bad was happening. Now up until this moment, I did recognize that the news reported lots of "bad things" but I saw it as my duty to hear these "bad things" to A: avoid them and B: know what was happening in the world around me. And I really loved the news. I was a news junkie—CNN, MSNBC and occasionally, FOX were always on in my house. I was in the know. Friends would call me for the latest happenings. I would always know the latest, breaking news. Whether it was a drop in the stock market because of fears about Greece or the latest presidential approval numbers, I had the goods and was ready to deliver updates on demand. It was my personal claim to fame.  But in May, the Gulf oil spill story was in full swing.  Day after day, I watched thousands of barrels of oil seep out in the Gulf and nobody knew how to stop it. I watched environmentalist debate  the long-term impact of the spill. I saw interviews with business owners and citizens of New Orleans who felt angry and helpless—fearing another tragedy would destroy their already fragile existence since Hurricane Katrina. I empathized with them. It made me so sad that I just had to stop watching for a while.   Five months later, I am still news free. On the few occasions I've felt an itch, I turned to the internet to find out what was going on. Most surprising to myself, I don't really miss it. I've told my information seeking friends that I'm on hiatus and replaced my news watching with reading, gardening and spending more time with friends. Life is better when you are not aware of all the "bad things" that happen each day because “good things” happen too and more frequently. So for me, no news really has been good news.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

I am not a patient person.....but I'm working on it. No other time illustrates this for me better than the change of seasons. Spring and summer are my favorite times of year. Fall and winter...not so much. The magic of my childhood love of snow has been replaced by visions of snarled, rush hour traffic and icy sidewalk navigation. These days, winter for me, unfortunately, brings the death of most living things, and fall is just its meaningless precursor. So, you would be surprised to know how eagerly I am waiting for fall to arrive. I monitor the weather daily waiting for it to hit a steady stream of 50 degree highs.  I've already changed my automatic thermostat from "cool" to "heat" making sure when the cold does arrive, I can walk into a warm home. I've been unnecessarily carrying my fall coat around with me when there's been no reason to need it yet. See my point? So why would a person who doesn't care for the Chicago's darkest season so enthusiastically prepare for it? Well, it's that patience thing. Summer is over. *Sigh.* I know it. So it's time to move on. Whatever the next season may be, it's NEXT. So let's just have at it so we can get that much closer to spring....and then to summer and then....... :)

Many blessings,
Tiffany

Many of you have heard about the popular DVD, "The Secret," produced by Rhonda Byrne.  The piece focuses on using the spiritual "Law of Attraction" to create optimal experiences if your life. Although, the DVD was panned by some for its materialism, the movie is well-produced and easy to understand……which leads me to Abraham, an original teacher of the Law of Attraction principles of whom Rhonda Byrne was once a student.  Unlike “The Secret,” Abraham is a bit more complicated. Abraham is a group non-physical beings channeled through Esther Hicks. For more than 20 years, Esther and her husband, Jerry, have traveled the country holding workshops about how individuals can improve their lives using their emotions and the Law of Attraction to focus their desires—some of which Rhonda Byrne attended.Recently, I had the opportunity to attend one of their workshops here in Chicago. It was surprisingly normal. The usual friendly staff working the check-in desk. The usual freezing hotel conference room. The usual books and tapes available for purchase. Had I not had the back story, I would have assumed it was just status quo for the lecture circuit. Regardless of your feelings about the messenger, the message makes a lot of since—focus on the good things in life and ignore the bad things. And this thought pattern will open the way to more good things in your life. Well, whatever Esther, Jerry and Abraham are doing, it seems to be working—sold-out workshops, best-selling books, and even 5 star-rated iPhone apps. So the not-so-“Secret” is really Abraham. What do you think about the message of the Law of Attraction?

Many blessings,
Tiffany