Expectations

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Whose expectations of you do you try to live up to? Where do they come from? Are you trying to please someone else, yourself, or do they come from a deeper place?

 

I posed this question on my page, because I was curious to see what kind of answers I would get and because I was deeply contemplating my own answer. I think expectations are good, but they can really get us in trouble sometimes too. Depending on where they come from, they can change our thought patterns and can either help us or hurt us.

 

I don’t think we’re born with self-expectations. I think we learn that our parents expect certain things of us and we try our best to please them. Their corrections or disapproval reinforce this. We don’t know what we expect of ourselves at this young age, only what they expect of us. Unfortunately, I think this can lead us into a dangerous pattern of thinking…even at this tender age, because if we’re not able to live up to their expectations of us then clearly we must be disappointing them. And if that’s the voice that gets in our heads, then it can cause anxiety, self-doubt, low self-esteem and even depression.

 

Other type personalities may be driven by these high expectations, which I suppose can be a good thing. Perhaps those are the ones who are more successful in life, but I wonder if they truly ever have peace or if they’re forever driven. Expectations too high is a tremendous burden to put on our kids. Not to be confused with encouragement, which is loving and supportive. Encouragement lets our children know they’re capable and to not be afraid to try. It lets them know that we believe in them and it’s okay to make mistakes. So I wonder if when we expect them to do certain things if it’s not really just for our own gratification rather than theirs. Perhaps bragging rights?

 

All of my life my mother told me she was proud of me, but I don’t know that I always believed it, because I wasn’t the picture of me she painted for me. The me she saw was flawless, and I knew that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t until she passed that I started to really understand it. As a parent myself, I get that this “picture” isn’t as much an expectation as it is an incredible unconditional love that believes our children can be, should be, and deserve to be all that they’re capable of. I think as I’ve grown over the years, I’ve tried my best to relieve my children of that burden and to let them know that my expectations of them don’t matter. Only the expectations they set for themselves do. They’re incredible people and I love each of them as they are and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

 

Something else happened when my mother passed. A feeling I had to come to terms with and I hope isn’t misunderstood here. Keep in mind that my mother was truly my best friend, my mentor and my hero. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to have her physical presence in my life again. (And I am so very blessed to feel her and talk to her in spirit). When she died, and after the grief became bearable, there was a sense of freedom that I didn’t expect nor did I know how to deal with. The one person in the world whose expectations of me actually mattered was gone. Of course we have partners, spouses and children who have expectations of us too, but those things I did because I wanted to be supportive of my family. Not so much because it was expected of me. The pressure wasn’t the same and the motivation was more self-driven. I wanted to (and still do) be the best wife & mother I can be.

 

It was incredibly freeing to have that burden lifted from me. I knew in the end that my mother was proud of me, and I also realized that so much of that pain I carried about not living up to her expectations were self-inflicted. I’m so over it now, because now I know that the only expectations of me that matter are my own. But that leaves me wondering where do my own expectations truly come from. Who am I trying to please? Who am I?

 

My expectations of myself have changed and are ever evolving. I enjoy doing for others, but not when it’s expected of me. It’s on my terms now. It’s important to differentiate, otherwise I think you leave yourself open to being taken advantage of and may become resentful. I do what I do with an open heart and helping others pleases me. I think as I continue on this journey, and walk my own path of discovery I’m realizing that my own expectations do come from within. They come from the place where the spark of the divine dwells. That God-force, Gaia, Goddess (or whatever else you may call it) that dwells in each of us is the one I try to please now. But it’s not so much a burdening feeling of expectation, as it is the one of encouragement I mentioned earlier. It comes from a place of love and beauty, free of guilt and what an incredible freeing feeling it is. One I wish on you all.

 

Blessings – Leslie ♥ Inner Calm Reiki

 

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What is a Strong Woman?

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a-strong-b

As my poster says, “A strong beautiful woman is a woman with confidence. She’s a woman who never looks down on another, but rather is someone who uplifts and encourages other women to be the best that they can be as well. There is no competition with her. She is wise, she is nurturing, she is an invaluable support system.”

There will be many different answers to the question as to what it means to be a “strong woman”, because our perceptions are so different. We each live in our own truth (or at least try to) and it doesn’t matter what the reality is, we see it as we see it. Madonna spoke out recently about her life, insecurities and abuse and I think it was very brave of her to share her story. I think those who are quick to judge her can’t understand the depths of pain from which she’s risen. Her struggle may not be theirs, but it is one that many share. So they don’t understand that her creative expression is a way of saying look at me, I have value and I matter. And it has nothing to do with her bank account, because really famous wealthy people are pretty screwed up too! It’s a facade for the scared, insecure person behind the fame. We literally got to watch her grow as a person through her expression and music.
And I agree with her when she said she’s a terrible feminist. Not that I don’t believe that men & women should be equal, because I do (and I think we are, at least from a spiritual perspective). I believe we divide & separate way too much using labels to our own detriment…from religion & race to politics. I am who I am. I am a being in a physical body. I am a ball of energy. I am light. I am worthy and don’t limit or reduce myself by labels. I am also a wife & mother who enjoys caring for her family. It’s not in a subservient role, but rather a nurturing one. I don’t do it because someone else expects it of me, I do it because I expect it of myself. It’s something I’m good at and proud of. If I were good with cars, then I’d be a mechanic, because I have no limits and I can do whatever I choose.
I come from a long line of women who were often abused by men who were physically stronger, but no match mentally or emotionally. They were stronger than the abuse, because they learned how to survive in spite of it. They didn’t have many choices in their day and no doubt felt hopelessly helpless at times. To say I am a victim means someone’s got power over me, and they don’t. I am strong, because I am able to not only survive and thrive, but because I have the power to stop the chain (of decades) of abuse. To replace hate with love, hitting with hugs, and anger with laughter. Love is my superpower and I am strong because I can freely give it to others, but mostly because I can give it to myself. Recognizing that my own voice should be louder than any others in my head, and that that voice should always be one of reason, compassion and unconditional love.
Blessings – Leslie ♥ Inner Calm Reiki
Link to original video, Billboard’s Woman of the Year – Madonna: https://youtu.be/c6Xgbh2E0NM
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A Phone Call to Heaven

Christmas, grief
a-phone-call-to-heaven
Brokenhearted: Operator, please connect me to heaven, as there’s someone I’m missing very much this holiday season and I need to tell them just how much I love them.
Operator: Heaven, you say? I’ll see what I can do. It seems there’s a bad connection and you may not hear them clearly. Try putting the receiver down and listening with your heart.
Brokenhearted: Can you tell them how important they were to me, and that I’m sorry if I wasn’t always as kind or as patient as I should have been. There’s so much I’ve learned in their absence.
Operator: Your loved one hears you clearly and says those things don’t matter. You are perfect, you are loved & you are forgiven.
Brokenhearted: Please tell them thank you for all they’ve done. My life has been so empty without them. A piece of my heart is gone.
Operator: Your loved one sees that and it saddens them. They want you to be happy and to enjoy all the time you have left on earth…it goes so quickly. They want you to celebrate your life, not mourn theirs.
Brokenhearted: Christmas just isn’t the same.
Operator: Your loved ones are glad you realize that it’s the presence of those you love, and not the presents that matter. They want you to share of yourself and be that which you miss for someone else. This is how you honor them best. They are with you always. Remember that.
Brokenhearted: Thank you, dear Operator. I will. And a very Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!
Blessings – Leslie ❤ Inner Calm Reiki

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Your total is…

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I was standing at the register to pay for my shopping, and when I looked in my wallet to pull out my credit card I saw I had a $10 bill. The strangest feeling came over me, because I immediately felt as if it had a purpose. Being an intuitive, I’m pretty accustomed to having strange feelings, so I didn’t give it much thought. 

Then I noticed a man at the next register having a difficult time with his purchase. The cashier asked him for his courtesy card or his phone number and I assumed he left it in the car because he ran out of the store seemingly to get it. He came back seconds later and she finished ringing up his order. He wasn’t getting much, but I noticed milk & cereal…the kind a kid would eat. I didn’t hear his total, but when he went to pay he emptied out his pockets and counted out some cash & all his coins. He questioned his total when he realized he came up short. The line was getting longer and the people behind him were starting to lose patience, especially when once again he told the cashier he would be right back and ran out to his car.  I couldn’t help but feeling pulled to asking the cashier how much he owed. She responded (exactly) $10. Before I could even think or stop myself I reached into my wallet and handed her the $10 bill I had discovered earlier. I told her I wanted to pay his balance, but to please not tell him it was me. When she asked me what she should tell him, I simply replied “pay it forward”.
Blessings – Leslie ❤ Inner Calm Reiki
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Teaching Integrity: The Art of Apology

Integrity

 

Teaching Integrity
I originally made the above poster on Facebook to emphasize how important it was to raise our children with integrity. To it, I added the commentary that a person of integrity is one who is honest and has strong moral principles. It’s something we teach our children at a young age and by being a good example. This poster contains words my own children have heard me say a thousand times growing up. Although we may have had moments we’re less than proud of (as most families often do), I have always been extremely proud of how they handled themselves in these situations. And I’m proud of the young adults they have become.

As outlined in the poster, if you’ve wronged someone there are 4 steps to be taken:

  1. Own it – This is important for both yourself and the person you’ve wronged. If you lie, they will surely lose respect for you, but more importantly you will lose respect for yourself.
  2. Apologize – Apologizing teaches empathy. Plain and simple. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel?
  3. Do right by it – Making amends (or at least trying to) shows you can learn from mistakes and that you’re still a good person.
  4. Let it go – Whether or not you’re forgiven, you have to let it go. Forgive yourself and just strive to do better next time. Learn from the experience.

Although I intended this to be about a lesson for our children, it appears to be a lost art in a society of people who have become quite judgmental and less empathetic. And it’s especially an issue with those who have a sense of entitlement, as if their needs are the only ones that matter.

It really comes down to respect. I may not agree with your views, nor you with mine, but I will always do my best to treat you with respect. If I’ve wronged you, I will own it and apologize. And even if we just agree to disagree, I will apologize if what I said offended you. It doesn’t mean I don’t own my words, it just means they weren’t meant to make you feel less than. If I spoke in a way that made you feel disrespected, I will apologize if my words were harsh. I think people refrain from apologizing thinking it’s always an admission of guilt. But that’s not the case at all. Sometimes it just shows that you’re empathetic to one’s situation. Here are some situations and apologies:

  • Death: I’m sorry for your loss.
  • Injury: I’m sorry for your pain.
  • Break-up: I’m sorry for your broken heart.
  • Wronged: I’m sorry for how I treated you.
  • Argument: I’m sorry for how I spoke to you.
  • Disappointment: I’m sorry that I let you down.

Not all of these apologies mean you’re responsible (although a few might), but they all mean that I acknowledge you, and I respect you, and I feel for you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go around apologizing for every little thing, but trust your gut. If it’s telling you an apology is in order, then don’t miss the opportunity to give one.

Blessings – Leslie ❤ Inner Calm Reiki

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Hateful is Hurtful

Bullying

 

I'm rubber

Very young children can often recognize when someone is saying something hurtful. Not always because they understand the ugly words, but because they understand that icky feeling they get when someone is being mean. They feel the energy behind the words and they know it’s not a natural state and it’s not a loving state.

We’re not born with hate or judgement, and very young children recognize that ugly words aren’t truth. Little ones are still learning about their new world outside of themselves. They still come from and are still connected to a gentle loving place within. It isn’t until they start to get a little older that they start to discover the world outside of themselves. They start to question, observe and absorb all that is around them…the good and the bad. They try things for the first time and sometimes it takes them several tries before they master it…like when learning to walk. They’re determined and there’s no self-judgement. They don’t feel stupid or dumb. They don’t even understand those words. But as they get older and are in the company of mean people and they get picked on, they start to question themselves. Maybe these people know something they don’t know? The self-doubt comes in strong. Other people’s voices become the thoughts in our head. It’s cruel and it’s damaging. It makes us question our existence, our purpose, our value. And the more mean people say mean things, the more we drown in self-loathing. The more we just want to make it stop. The key is to know you have value and your self-worth right from the get go. The key is to know that you’re rubber and anything mean someone says truly is a reflection of them and not you, so let it bounce off! You’re just as entitled to be here as anyone else. You are a gift to the world.

Sadly, there are bullies in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, and all ages. We’ll all encounter one (or more) in our lifetime. And the only way to stop them is to take away their power. Be rubber! More than likely your bully has serious self-esteem issues and has a need to hurt others. Perhaps they themselves were hurt and learned that inflicting pain on others deflects their own pain. Perhaps they weren’t loved enough, or they were made to feel inadequate. I’m not making excuses for them, but I do feel sorry for them. It’s not a natural state to be in. It’s not a healthy state to be in.

I can share many stories where I’ve reached out to someone mean and took the time to get to know them and found they softened a bit after doing so. They each came from a place of pain. Not that that’s an excuse, because many people who come from difficult situations end up doing the complete opposite and are kind & loving. I don’t know what makes one person go in one direction and another person go in the opposite direction. All I know was that I was strong enough in my own truth to know that their words would never penetrate or have power over me. And because I was kind and loving, sometimes I even accepted that if that’s what they needed to do to feel better, then so be it. I’d imagine them blowing bubbles at me instead of hateful words. Honestly, I barely listened to the words let alone give any weight to them, and I absolutely didn’t absorb them.

When my own son came to me as a young boy in tears, because someone called him an idiot. I looked him straight in the eye and asked him, “Are you an idiot?”. He got mad and said, “No!”.  I then responded, “Then what do you care what they think?”. As simple as that and he learned not to give their words power. He learned that there was no truth in them.

We can stop bullying. I know this is a cliche that always makes people think of the hippie era with peace signs & free love, but I truly do believe that love is the answer. Love yourself and send love to a bully, because clearly they can’t possibly be at peace and love themselves. Know that you have incredible value. You are put on this earth for a reason. You are a spark of the divine and you have true purpose. Shine your light as bright as you can shine it. Be kinder, more loving towards yourself and others. When you fill your world with love, there’s no room for hate. Hateful words are hurtful, but only if we give them the power.

Blessings – Leslie ❤ Inner Calm Reiki

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Remembering 9/11

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On September 11th, 2001 I was just coming out of the cleaners from picking up a dress I had altered for a wedding I would be attending the following month. I got into my car and immediately heard the news about the North tower of the World Trade Center being hit. A part of me went numb thinking off all those people in the buildings and wondering if they would get out. Tears started to roll as I said a quick prayer, but was interrupted by my cell phone ringing. I answered the call from my son’s school. As if the towers being hit weren’t bad enough, someone called in a bomb scare to all of our schools and they were requesting that parents come pick up their children. I had been in charge of the elementary school’s emergency call system, as there were no automated systems in place then. School barely started and we hadn’t even gotten that year’s call list circulated, but the principal asked me to start “the chain”. I immediately started calling everyone on the old committee and asked that they start making calls. I knew that we didn’t have an updated list, but that we would still reach the masses. I called a friend in town to coordinate picking up our own kids from two schools. I went to the elementary school, where my youngest was in kindergarten, knowing that my older two at the middle school would at least have each other while they waited the two minutes it would take my friend to get them. It took me four minutes to reach the elementary school, but it was the longest four minutes of my life. I just needed to have my children home safe with me. Working in the schools, many of the children knew me and begged me to take them with me. I wished I could, but was not permitted to do so. I spent a few moments assuring them, hugging them and letting them know that they were safe and that their parents were on their way, before heading home to hug my other children.

By the time the South tower of the World Trade Center was hit, you could feel the absolute panic in the air. Unsure at first if it had been a freak accident; there was no denying it was a deliberate act after the second was hit. We got home in time to turn on the news and see the towers collapse one after the other. It was all so surreal…so very scary. It was a day that someone would attempt to break the resolve of the American people. But you can never break us. You cannot even bend us. All attempts to do so only strengthens us. It unites us. Makes us stronger. I pity the hate that festers within those who would do us harm. They will never know peace. When you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. We protect our own. Americans have proven time and time again, that they will put aside their differences and come to the aid of their fellow man, each and every time. I don’t have hate in my heart and I find it so difficult to even conceive of it. Until we stop looking at our differences and start embracing them, we will never know peace. We are each created the same way. We each bleed the same way. As long as man has been on this planet we have still yet to figure out how to co-exist. We may live in different states and different countries, but we are all one planet. We are all one people. I may be naïve in thinking love is the answer, but I rather die with an abundance of love in my heart than to be poisoned by hate.

I continue to send healing prayers to everyone who was affected by the horrific events of 9/11 and I pray there be an end to all suffering of all mankind. May there be peace on earth.

Blessings – Leslie ❤ Inner Calm Reiki

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The Wellness Universe Quote of the Day by Leslie Sommers

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Enjoy The Wellness Universe Quote of the Day by Leslie and find more inspiration on her page. Here is her expanded thought…

Source: The Wellness Universe Quote of the Day by Leslie Sommers

The Reiki Principles

Attitude, Compassion, Kindness, Meditation, Reflection, Reiki

The Reiki principles, passed down from Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, are an important part of Reiki training. They become your daily mantra, prayer & meditation…a way of life really. The wording may vary slightly, but the impact they make in healing yourself and others can be significant. They keep you grounded and remind you of the kind of person you should be. The principles will work for anyone really (whether a Reiki practitioner or not), if you choose to adapt them into your life. It encourages us to eliminate ideas that can be harmful and to adapt a more loving mindset. Here, I will explore each of the five principles and what they mean in my own life. They may have different meaning for you, and that’s okay.

Each of the principles starts with “Just for today”. A lovely reminder to live in the moment, but “Just for today” refers to each and every day. I like to take a deep breath before reciting each principle…breathing in their meaning and allowing my mind and body to absorb it.

  1. Just for today, I will not anger.

Anger often comes from fear, and fear comes from what we don’t know or understand. Take a step back and ask yourself why the situation elicits a response of anger. There could be deeper triggers that have absolutely nothing to do with the situation at hand. Calmly work through the anger and then let it go. Holding onto anger can manifest within us as illness or disease. Reacting in anger only escalates the situation. It takes more courage to diffuse it. Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself. This will assure that nothing is said or done that you will regret later. Eventually, you can learn to acknowledge the feeling, but deal with it more efficiently, in a less toxic manner.

  1. Just for today, I will not worry.

At some point in our lives we all worry about something or someone. Whether it be a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a spouse, etc., or it can be money, a job, housing…well, you get the idea. We worry…a lot. But worry itself is often counterproductive. It can actually contribute to a negative outcome by putting negative vibes out into the universe. If the situation is something you can fix, then fix it. If you can’t fix it, then let it go. No point in holding onto it. Instead of worrying, take a deep breath and envision the best possible outcome. Hold onto that instead.

  1. I will honor those who passed before me.

I’ve heard some variations on this third principal. From “honor your elders” to “be grateful for your many blessings”. I choose to use this one since I am already so grateful for the blessings in my life and already consider myself to be quite respectful of my elders. After all, they’ve lived longer and have probably learned so much about life if you just take the time to listen to them. “Honor those who have passed before you”, reminds me to behave in such a way that would make them proud. Whether that be great Reiki Masters before me, other teachers or members of my own family. Behave in such a way that they would happily support what you do. Behave in such a way that honors them. Be honorable.

  1. I will earn my living honestly.

This principle reminds us to live a life of integrity. It’s understood that one needs to earn a living in order to support themselves, but one should always be honest and fair. Never take advantage of anyone and never let greed be a motive for what you do. This doesn’t mean you have to give away your gifts or craft, although occasionally donating your services can be equally rewarding to the recipient, as well as the giver.

  1. I will have true compassion for all living things.

This is another principle that has a few variations. Some may say “be kind to all living things” or “be kind to your neighbor”. I opted to elaborate on it, because I not only want to be kind, I want to be compassionate too. And not only to people, but to all things that have life. This is where I am in my own journey. If you have not gotten there yet, then start smaller and work your way up. It seems like such a no brainer to be kind, but putting it into daily practice can be a challenge, especially when faced with people who can be challenging. Often those people are the ones who need your compassion the most. They own their behavior, but you own your reaction to it.

Those are the five principles as I see them. Don’t be afraid to make them personal to you. I live these words. I breathe them in daily. I meditate on them. I put them into practice not just for today, but every day. As a Reiki Master/Teacher they have special meaning in my daily life, but as a human being they are equally valuable. Just for today incorporate them into your own life.

Blessings – Leslie Inner Calm Reiki

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I Chipped My Tooth and I’m Happy

Attitude, dentist, self-evaluation, smile, thankful, tooth

Have you ever been thankful for a situation that although not great is still better than it may have once been? I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but let me explain how I could actually feel good about something negative.

This weekend I was enjoying my dinner and somehow managed to chip a piece of my tooth. I should say that this particular tooth was bonded, so it was actually a chip of the bonding material that flew out of my mouth and across the table. I wasn’t thrilled that I would now have to make a dentist appointment to have it taken care, but somehow it didn’t bother me that much. I called my dentist first thing Monday morning and they were going to try to figure out where to squeeze me in. Something told me to call her right back and as luck would have it the first appointment was a no show, so they told me to come right over. The whole process only took a few minutes and you’d never know that I did any damage to it. I told my dentist she was an absolute goddess, and I asked her assistant if that spit suction thingy she kept sticking in my mouth would do any good on my thighs and stomach! I chatted with the receptionist for a bit, had a few more giggles with the dentist and off I went. Once again with a great big smile on my face. I always smile, even with my chipped tooth all weekend I still smiled. I tried to remember a time when I didn’t smile and I remembered the time that I needed to have my tooth bonded in the first place.

I was 9 years old, in a new school, running laps in gym as instructed. Someone bumped into me totally by accident, but none-the-less I face planted right there in front of the entire 4th grade class of girls. As if losing my dignity wasn’t enough, I stood up to discover I chipped my two front teeth. Needless to say, I was quite upset. My mother picked me up, and although we did see a dentist, we couldn’t afford to have them repaired right away. That was the year I didn’t smile. Having chipped teeth certainly didn’t do anything to help my self-esteem, even though I tried to convince myself vampires were cool. It felt like a lifetime, but eventually we did have them repaired and life was good again, and the smile returned to my face.

So what’s the point, you’re probably wondering. Well, the point is this time around I chipped my tooth, I went to the dentist, immediately had it repaired and paid for. Now, I’m far from being “well off”, but it made me realize and truly appreciate just how far I’ve come from being pretty poor. Although, my mother always used to tell me, “We’re not poor. As long as we have each other, we have everything we’ll ever need!” She was so right, because that really was all that mattered. Today, I have my mother in spirit who continues to guide me and support me, and I also have my tooth. And that’s certainly something to be thankful for!

Blessings – Leslie Inner Calm Reiki

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