Wholeness

Lately, I’ve heard people expressing that they feel fragmented beyond belief which is an interesting synchronicity since my theme for December is wholeness.
With the fires in Southern California, the devastation from the hurricanes, the unknown with every aspect of our government, the daily news about sexual harassment, and of course good old holiday stress, many people feel scattered or like their life is falling to pieces.
There’s a Jewish phrase,  Tikkun Olam, which means bringing the scattered pieces of life back together, literally repair of the world,  to make ourselves and the world whole.
But you make ask:
How can we be whole with all of this uncertainty?
How can we be whole when our things are in a box ready to evacuate?
How can we be whole when our houses have been blown down or burnt to the ground?
How can we be whole in the midst of medical challenges, relationship endings, family chaos, joblessness, political unrest and upheaval?
Here are 9 helpful tips to help you bring back your scattered pieces. 
1. We can be whole by taking a step back and embracing witness consciousness.
Observe what’s going on around you as if you were watching a drama unfolding on TV or as if the events and people were character’s in a book. This is a way to get perspective. It is not intended to disconnect you from empathy, or for you to deny or repress your feelings. It’s a way for you to look at the bigger picture.
2. We can be whole by finding moments of stillness.
Take time to rest, meditate, and simply sit still.
3. We can be whole by doing less.
How many times do we try to do too much? Take on too much? Say ‘yes’ to too much to make others happy?
4. We can be whole by slowing down.
When we slow down, we give others permission to slow down. We can teach our children to be with what is, rather than feeding their ’empty ghosts’ which are constantly seeking distraction and craving something to fill the empty spaces.
5. We can be whole by refraining from self-negating people pleasing behaviors.
Stop trying to impress everyone and stop trying to please an ego that will find fault no matter what we or others do.
 
6. We can be whole by enjoying simple moments of joy.
Bright lights and greater spurts of adrenaline producing activities are addictive and do nothing to connect us to our authentic selves. Instead of seeking spectacle and bigger productions of entertainment, enjoy simple moments of connection, laughter, a sunset, a good meal.
7. We can be whole by coming back to our breath and our bodies.
Taking slow deep breathes. Feeling our feet firmly on the ground. Lighting a candle
and connecting with the natural elements. Going for a walk in the woods or along the beach. Sitting by a lake, a stream, or a fountain and hearing the soothing sounds of water.
8. We can be whole by taking a time out.
We need time and space to restore ourselves. We need time to bring ourselves back together again. We need to say ‘no’ sometimes to others requests of us and ‘yes’ to our sanity and health.
9. We can be whole by being kind to ourselves and others.
This means speaking more gently to others. This means loving self-talk.
Bring the good cheer this holiday season, by slowing down and being someone who relishes the simple joys, focuses on loving thoughts of yourself and others, and speaks kindly and encouragingly to those you encounter.

 

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What are you holding on to that no longer serves you?

Are you still holding on to things that no longer serve you?

Often we outgrow things, yet we have a tendency to want to hold on to them even when they are no longer useful, or even good for us.

Who hasn’t kept an article of clothing that no longer fits or is out of style?  Perhaps you have an item of furniture around that’s like Fraser’s Dad’s chair, duct-taped and well-worn, but a part of a past that no longer fits your present.

My Dad loves to tell the story of how he persuaded me to give up my pacifier to a horse who needed it more than me. I have always loved horses and at the tender age of two, I thought I was doing  a good deed by gifting my pacifier to the chestnut mare. Apparently, he also said he’d get me a swing set if I did. Seems like a pretty good trade to me still.

I gave up the pacifier and never looked back.

Where in your life are you holding on to things that are like security blankets or pacifiers that offer no real value, they simply keep you stuck or comfortable?

What are you holding on to that is holding you back, cluttering your mental and physical space, and keeping you from moving forward in your life?

Is it a job, a relationship, a way of being, an addiction?

Invitation:  

Today take an inventory of some aspect of your life and let go of something that no longer serves you.

Walking through fear and fire!

I walked on fire for the first time in 1999 at Tony Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I was terrified!

Today, I can boast that I’m a four-time fire-walker, including walking a 40 foot fire-walk in Hawaii at Tony’s “Life Mastery Workshop” in 2000.

There is nothing like fire-walking!!!

Our brains are designed to fear fire and our bodies learn early on not to touch it. That’s why walking on fire is so powerful!

The fire-walk is a show of courage over circumstance, to not let fear stop you from moving forward in your life.

How often do you get stopped from taking action in your life because you are afraid?

We are afraid of failing, looking stupid, making a mistake. Our fear can keep us stuck, our fear can keep us from going after our dreams or from making positive changes in our life.

Not everyone needs to literally walk on hot coals to know that they can overcome their fears, but it sure feels awesome to do it! And if you don’t believe me, ask Oprah!

For some people, finding the courage to speak their truth is their fire-walk. I have several amazing clients who realized that the reason they never felt like they “fit in” was because they had been born into a body that did not reflect  their gender. For these brave souls, their fire-walk was dressing and expressing themselves authentically.

For others, their proverbial fire-walk, might be coming out about some other personal truth.  I’ve had several clients who had to muster the courage to tell their parents or partners something they feared they would be judged or rejected for.

For some, a fire-walk might be leaving a professional career to pursue an artistic endeavor, ending a relationship, following a spiritual calling or traveling internationally.

Every one of us has some growth edge, some place where we are hiding or holding back and afraid to step forward into our authentic selves or a greater expression of who we are.

What is your fire-walk and will you take that first step?

The Courage to Be the Author of Your Life

The Courage to Be the Author of Your Life

When I was in classes to become a New Thought/Science of Mind spiritual practitioner one of our assignments was to write our eulogy and perform our memorial service. It was a powerful exercise as we were being asked to consider our legacy, how we wanted to be remembered, and the memories we wanted to leave behind. We were reminded that we were ultimately authoring our lives or what was left of it and we had important choices to make.

It was a beautiful opportunity to gain clarity on what really mattered to us and to touch the courage we needed to make a commitment to get our lives in alignment with our higher selves.

Time flies by quickly.

Like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end the faster it goes. If we are not intentionally designing our life, some asshole is going to take the duration of our years and unceremoniously flush them down the toilet. Do you want that?

If you don’t want that, you must choose to become the author of your life. You must courageously step up and away from the TV, Facebook, dysfunctional friend or family member, or whatever mind-numbing time suck you lose yourself in and decide what direction you want to take your life.

If your life was a book what genre would it be? Comedy, Drama, Tragic Comedy, Romance, True Crime, Inspirational?

What kind of book do you want your life to be?

Where does your heroine/hero want to go? What does s/he want to do? What difference does s/he want to make in her/his life and the lives of others? What obstacles does s/he need to overcome? Why should we root for this person?

You matter. Your life matters. It’s time to stop playing small and letting life happen to you. It’s time to be courageous and become the author of your life.

There are many ways to be courageous.

Being true to yourself.

Following your dreams.

Helping others.

Making a difference in the world.

Doing something new.

Walking your authentic path.

Expressing yourself and your individuality.

How will you be courageous in 2017?

Check out my new program Follow your Courageous Heart: A 90 Day Journey Beyond Fear to Fulfillment. 

 

be-the-author-of-your-life be-the-author-of-your-life

What makes a person courageous?

What makes a person courageous?

 

A courageous person goes against the stream. Unlike a rebel who is simply defiant, a courageous person goes against the stream because they have a higher purpose.

Oprah Winfrey revolutionized TV talk shows by focusing on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality to empower audiences.

A courageous person sees possibilities where others don’t.how-will-you-be-courageous-in-2017_

Steve Jobs saw possibilities others didn’t see and revolutionized the computer world.

A courageous person treads where others fear to tread. It doesn’t mean that a courageous person doesn’t feel fear. It means that they don’t let fear stop them.

Ellen DeGeneres created a show that had an openly gay character. Ellen was the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay character.

A courageous person doesn’t let social convention stop them. They courageously express themselves in ways that are authentic to them.

Prince and David Bowie are two examples of men who expressed themselves in ways that were outside of social convention. They both had innovative musical styles.

A courageous person works to make changes in laws when they see something wrong. 

Nelson Mandela had the courage to fight against the unjust system of apartheid. He was sent to prison for 20 years and during that time he says he was preparing to lead his country, which he did. He became the president of South Africa, when he was released two decades later.

Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.:

Erin Brockovich, a legal clerk, works to hold corporations accountable for their pollutants and helped win one of the largest lawsuits against PGE for polluting the drinking water of residents in a Southern California town.

A courageous person stands up for the rights of others.

Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania, helped 6,000 Jews escape from Lithuania during the holocaust by personally writing exit visas violating orders from Tokyo.

Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave, returned to help thousands of other slaves through the Underground Railroad escape to freedom.

A courageous person stands up for themselves and thus help others like them who are being treated unfairly.

People like Martin Luther King, Jr., Harvey Milk, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Rosa Parks.

A courageous person goes after their dreams.

Malala Yousafzai a young Pakistani woman continued going to school after receiving death threats. She survived an attack on her life and continues to speak out for girls to have an equal right to education.

A courageous person believes in themselves and puts in the time to make their dreams come true.

At twelve years old, Muhammad Ali began training as a boxer. He dreamed of being a world champion and he become one. He said, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”

There are many ways to be courageous. How will you be courageous in 2017?

Check out my free call 7 Steps to Move Beyond Fear and Courageously Live the Life of Your Dreams

The Courage to Change The Things We Can

god-grant-me-the“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I carry this prayer in my wallet and sometimes I actually remember to look at it. I was first introduced to this prayer in my teenage years when I chose a clean and sober lifestyle. In twelve step meetings we always prayed out with the Serenity Prayer.

This prayer is a powerful reminder that some aspects of life are out of control and we must surrender and let them be, rather than trying to make them be a certain way. However there are many things in our lives that we do have agency over.

We all have the ability to change our thoughts, our words, and our actions and yes, even our circumstances. We just need to connect to this truth and find the courage to make changes.

How do we find the courage?

What’s helped me tap my courage is to find someone who has done what I want to do or to find others who are in the process of making similar changes in their lives.

When I wanted to get sober I got a sponsor and attended meetings with other people who were choosing a healthier lifestyle.

When I’ve had to muster the courage to take bigger leaps in my own life, I’ve hired my own life coach, therapist and spiritual counselor. I practice what I preach. I believe it’s very important for people who coach or counsel others to also be engaged in their own personal growth work and get support. In fact, I’m sort of suspicious of people who don’t.

I’ve also found that prayer, positive affirmations, and talking with a trusted friend are powerful ways to tap into courage.

My clients often remark that in our work together they are able to move through fear, self-doubt and negative thinking and make important changes in their lives. They say that working with me as their coach has allowed them to “light a fire under their butt” or that working together allowed them to push through blocks that previously stopped them.

I get it. When I wanted to get in shape I joined a gym and attended exercise classes and boot camp. Having a coach or a trainer to encourage and push me kept me going on days when I was tired and I wanted to quit.

I love surprising myself and moving past my own fears and perceived limitations and I love to help other people move beyond their fears and find fulfillment they didn’t know was possible.

While some things are truly out of hands, everyday we get to make a choice to be courageous about the things we can change. Will we choose to go after our dreams? Will we choose to live our lives authentically? Will we choose to address our mental blocks and negative thoughts that hold us back? Will we choose to make lifestyle changes that allow us to be healthy, strong, and vibrant? Will we choose to end unhealthy patterns of relating?

Today let us pray for the courage to change the things we can.

Check out my free call 7 Steps to Move Beyond Fear and Courageously Live the Life of Your Dreams

Be a visionary, not a victim.

As we get ready to cross the threshold from 2016 to 2017 I invite you to begin this new cycle from a place of inspiration, not desperation, a place of courage, not fear, a place of love, not hate.

Sure, they are real challenges ahead, some external like politicians and people’s cherished prejudices, physical illnesses, and financial situations that we must absolutely deal with. But let us not cower in the presence of these obstacles.happynewyear-2017-gif-happynewyear2017orgin-17

We must deal with our internal challenges that trip us up. We must face and erase our doubts, fears, and worries. Let us grow even bigger than our fears. Let us rise to the occasion and find ways to inspire ourselves and others. Let us be solution focused, rather than problem-obsessed. Let us be resourceful and creative, rather than depressed and resigned. Let us find the very best in ourselves and others.

Let us begin again from a place of enthusiasm that we are alive at a time where we are being asked to lead, not be sheeple, where we are being to asked to love and bring something better to the generations to come.

This is a new cycle where we can flourish, not flounder. Where we can assert with greater clarity our commitment to diversity, equality, environmentalism, freedom, cooperation, sharing, and all that really matters to us. We are not minions.

Rise up with great love and determination in your heart. Rise up with a ferocious commitment to create a world of peace and sister/brotherhood.

Don’t simply focus on what you don’t want or your fear of what could happen.

Envision a world you’re proud of. Be a visionary, not a victim. Begin within by creating yourself and your life in a way that brings you joy and happiness. This is where your strength resides.

Be Courageous!

I love you and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Dr. Davina

Behind Barbed Eyes- My New Novel and Interview for Out of the Box Podcast

Check out my interview with Rosie Tran and Out of the Box Podcast.

Comedian Rosie Tran (@FunnyRosie) interviews psychologist, author, and life coach, Davina Kotulski (@drkotulski) regarding her new book, “Behind Barbed Eyes”. The novel is based on Dr. Kotulski’s work working with women in prison for many years. Dr. Kotulski discusses the dire need for rehabilitation in the prison system, which is primarily filled with abused, neglected, and underprivileged low income and women of color. Very informative episode with a thoughtful and activist guest!

 

It Didn’t Seem Like Much At The Time

It didn’t seem like much at the time.

I saw a flyer taped to a light pole on 19th and Castro in San Francisco. It said something about a forum on same-sex marriage. It was 1999. I’ve always been politically aware and involved and told my then wife, Molly, of my intention to attend. She had guests visiting from out of town, her ex-girlfriend, had come to stay with us and brought her current girlfriend.

Molly dropped me off at the Harvey Milk school in the Castro and they went off to brunch. I walked in, backpack slung over my shoulder, and took a seat in the 7th grade classroom.

There were a handful of guys, two of them were school teachers, Tom Henning and Brian Davis. Tom spoke about getting signatures for a pro-marriage equality ballot initiative which was interesting because Senator Pete Knight had created a ballot initiative to pass a law taking away same-sex marriage rights should same-sex marriage be legalized in any other state.

I picked up some literature and a few copies of the petition for people to sign and we walked to the corner of 19th and Castro with an ironing board and officially started signature gathering for same-sex marriage. No one was particularly interested in signing the petition. Two hours later Molly picked me up.

“How was it?” she asked.
“Interesting,” I said, always my standard reply. “I’m going to start gathering signatures.”

I’m sure her ivory tower ex-girlfriend made some remark about the patriarchal institution of marriage. I didn’t care. I knew real rights for real people trumped academic deconstructionism.

It didn’t seem like much at the time, but going to that meeting was the catalyst for becoming a pioneer in the marriage equality movement. That meeting was followed by years of personally engaging in signature gathering, marriage equality conversations with thousands of people, public forums, marriage license counter requests, demonstrations, a marriage equality bus tour across the U.S., a marriage equality rally at the U.S. Capitol, two published books Why you should give a damn about gay marriage and Love Warriors, multiple documentaries, countless radio, TV, and news interviews, and 16 years later marriage equality across the country in June 2015. One meeting can change the course of your life. Following one intuitive hunch can launch a thousand steps in your life. Following your heart can take you places you never dreamed of going.

What is one thing you’ve felt a calling to do? Follow your calling! Follow your courageous heart

My Weird Miracle

My Weird Miracle

Last month I was invited to speak to the National Association of Bar Executives at the American Bar Association Conference in San Francisco on the topic of LGBTQ Diversity.  I was a little harried when I arrived the night before because my flight was cancelled at the last minute and I had to change airports and arrival time. I checked into the Hilton, stopped by the gift shop for some chocolate around 7pm and debated whether to review my presentation before or after dinner.

I decided I would feel more enthused after dinner. So, I left my luggage and laptop bag in my room and ventured out for food. I stopped at an Indian restaurant that had photos of Bill Clinton with the owner. Apparently this was a favorite haunt of he and Hillary’s pre-White House. I enjoyed my meal and then returned to the hotel at 8:00 PM.

When I got back to my room my laptop bag was missing. I looked everywhere and found it nowhere. I remembered having it on the BART; surely I didn’t leave it there. The lobby, perhaps I’d left it upon check in, though I swear I’d taken it to the room.

I raced to the reception desk. “I think I may have left a laptop bag here about an hour ago.” I told the receptionist who phoned security. Security came and asked me to describe the bag. “Yes, we found a black bag with a computer. We’ll bring it up, “ he said. I sat and waited in the lobby for 15 minutes until they arrived with the bag. My heart sank when I saw that it wasn’t mine. I filed a report, and then made some tearful phone calls.

I believe in the power of prayer/focused positive energy to effect change.

I posted a request on FB for prayers that my laptop bag return to me. I believe in the power of prayer/ focused positive energy to effect change. I also got a return call from the Agape Prayer Line and asked for prayer.

I mentally retraced my steps. I asked the young man working in the gift shop if he’d remembered seeing my bag. He said, “Yes, you had it balanced atop your suitcase.”

“Thank you, “ I said, confirming that I indeed had it when I arrived and checked into my room. I remembered that someone was vacuuming in the room next to mine and I contacted security to give them the additional information. Then, I went back to my room and tried to manage my anxiety.

I’m a writer. Everything is on my laptop; screenplays, books I’m working on, presentations. I do back everything up on an external hard drive, but it had been at least 6 months since I’d done that. A lot can happen in six months. What was worse, is that I always keep a zip drive at home with my most recent drafts of my work, and it just so happened that I’d put the thumb drive in my bag because I’d printed copies of a screenplay I’m working on for my writer’s group. I was beginning to question my karma and clearly questioning what I’d been thinking to manifest such unfortunate circumstances.

I had to take a hard look at my thoughts.

Some good things were on my horizon that required me to stretch and come out of hiding. I realized that this opportunity for growth was triggering me. What better way to stay small than to lose my proverbial voice—my writing, books I’ve been working on for years?

I did some powerful work on myself, including calling my own coach to explore this possible karmic self-sabotage. I realized there was some grief that needed to be expressed.

Every time we grow and embrace something new, we let go of something else, even if it’s a lesser version of ourselves.

I had some tears to shed that had to with past losses, fear of change and losing control, which ultimately meant letting go and letting the Universe support me. I also had to surrender and trust that the Universe had a plan for me and that if I was meant to release my computer it would work out. At the same time, I kept holding the return of my computer in my mind. I worked to tap into the feeling tone of my computer coming back to me.

One of my friend’s texted me and told me she’d lost a whole draft of her book and had to re-write from scratch which she did and it’s now a widely successful book. Another friend contacted me and told me what I needed to do for my computer’s security and how to handle the situation with the hotel. She’d been through this before and said it was common.

I called my girlfriend and we talked and I shared with her some of the things that had been coming up for me that I hadn’t yet shared with her. We had a very rich conversation and while we were talking I heard a knock on the door.

At 11:30 PM I opened the door and the security guys were standing there with my laptop bag. I broke into tears of joy and thanked them. I was so relieved!

I looked inside. Everything was there, including my journal and the thumb drive.

“Have you taken any medication today?” They asked me.

I looked at them and laughed. “No,” I said, “Why do you ask?”

“Are you sure you weren’t in Tower 1?”

“No,” I said, and reviewed for them exactly where I’d gone in the hotel since I arrived. They told me they found my laptop on the 10th floor of Tower I. They looked at me perplexed.

I don’t know how my computer got there or who took it from my room. At one point I was told they had cameras and that they would check them. Then later I was told that they were no cameras. I don’t know what’s true in regard to their security procedures. It’s probable that it was an inside job.

What I do know is that miracle consciousness and prayer work.

I believe in the positive energy of all my friends on Facebook holding the return of my computer in prayer and I believe in the power of miracles consciousness. Thanks to all who sent their positive energy my way. I hope we can all continue to reach out in times of challenge and send one another loving thoughts. Focused positive intention is powerful Our love is powerful!

Below is a picture of my beloved computer.

computer