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Earlier this month we discussed Self-Mastery and how by resonating at a high frequency of energy (more on that coming soon!), we attract what we want into our lives with little or no effort.

What holds us back from living the lives we desire?

Some people attribute the lack of having what they want to fate – that their lives are somehow “meant to be” the way they are. Many people don’t like the concept of fate, however, because it negates free will. But what if neither the traditional concept of fate, nor free will, really existed for most people? I’ve been curious about these things all my life, and when I learned about Energy Leadership by Bruce Schneider, I realized that an unusual concept called self-fate helps explain why so many of us don’t have what we really want.

Self-fate is the idea that because our past is dominating our thought processes, and because most people are not consciously living in the moment, our past actually creates our future. Because we are making choices based on our past experiences, we cannot change our future unless the control of the past is removed, and we choose to live in the now. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that living mindfully is one of actions I take regularly to help me stay out of the past and focus on making THIS MOMENT the most powerful and energetic it can be. You can find some of my mindfulness blogs here.

So self-fate really means that for most of us, it is us who create our fate because we are imprisoned by the past. We have pre-determined choices that we are programmed to make, and our past does the programming for us. Yikes! Living in the moment…living consciously is the first step to correcting this. In fact, in this powerful moment, you can consciously decide to direct your fate NOT by the past, but by your conscious choices (yes, as opposed to subconscious choices!).

Many of us know this woman, and some of may have been this woman (or man)…

Think about a woman who is unhappy with her relationships and says that she seems to meet the same kind of men over and over again. She complains that men are all the same, looking for the same thing. She believes that she’s never going to find a relationship that is mutually respectful and serving, as opposed to the relationships she’s had, where she’s been emotionally abused. It’s no wonder she feels this way, as she’s had many experiences that have created those beliefs. In fact, it’s quite normal that she believes what she does, which poses a real challenge – since she sees men as disrespectful, abusive and manipulating, she is putting out “victim” energy. She is being a victim to the beliefs she has. And what is the result of that? The vibration she emits is picked up by those whose energy matches those beliefs: men who take advantage of her. To them, she’s an easy target. And so, she actually creates her future relationships, and will continue to do so unless she changes her sense of self, or, who she is BEING, in relationships.

So while aspects of our lives may very well be pre-determined, let’s recognize that there are many things in our lives that we can control, and one of those is how aware we are of what from our past we are allowing to re-create itself in our present. Have you caught yourself saying, “Well, of course that’s going to happen!” Guess what? You just confirmed that it will continue to happen! Make sense?

Be mindful. Listen to what your thinking and saying for clues. Your fate is very well in your hands. How will you guide it?

In October, we’ll dive more into our energy, what that really means, and how it is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to direct our self-fate, and our self-mastery.

It’s your life, lead it well.

Namaste,

Monique Reneé Catoggio

I Thought He Was Crazy

August 4, 2015

Mindfulness has been a big topic for us during this Summer of Wellbeing, and as I take some much needed mindful moments in Montana, I’d like to share one of my favorite posts from 2011 about just that. Perhaps you have a similar experience where your perception shifted? If so, please do share. 
 
Enjoy!


hand-5032_640My mom’s former neighbor had a strange habit. When we observed him we really thought he was crazy. He would sit for what seemed like hours on his front lawn picking his grass. He would never look up at passing traffic, just picked away, like a monkey picking bugs off his companion’s fur. What was he doing? Was he crazy? He must be, or so I thought, until I took to the green! Maybe there was something to this picking at grass after all?

It was one of those moments when relativity strikes you harder than usual, when your range of emotions is as wild as a roller coaster…it climbs, then drops, then quiets, and the cycle begins again. My soul was tired in that moment. I looked outside to the bright beautiful day and the grass called me. All I could think about was taking my shoes off, stepping on the thick warmness and spilling my soul out onto the green grass. All of a sudden I became that crazy neighbor, picking and picking the diverse grass, pulling it apart, and noticing the deep life contained within it. This big jungle under our feet is just as intricate as our lives, I thought, yet more simple.

My next thought was, “Wow! What an amazing activity of mindfulness this is!” This neighbor was onto something! It’s not like my empty feeling subsided, but all of a sudden I was observing my emptiness and it was ok. I was ok. I didn’t need to be anyone or anywhere in that moment, but deep in the grass that was much larger than anything I was dealing with in the moment.

For me, now, Green Peace has a new meaning. And that crazy man, well, he doesn’t seem so crazy to me anymore, simply a bit wiser.

May you find your own moments of wise craziness and peace within the green.

Namaste,

Monique

 

“…We have an infinite number of moments between now and the time we are going to die. That is a lot of time for living. So there is no hurry!” —John Kabat-Zinn

If you’ve been following my recent blogs, and/or you subscribed to our Summer of Wellbeing, you know I’ve been blogging about John Kabat-Zinn’s book, Mindfulness for Beginners. Let’s keep it going for a bit longer.
Although I’ve already discussed a few of these in my previous posts, let’s re-cap what Kabat-Zinn tells us are the 7 Attitudes that are foundational to a mindfulness practice. He describes them as:

  • Non-Judging – Lead with your heart, here, not your mind. There’s nothing to do or be, just sit in awareness and understand what’s happening.
  • Patience – Lack of patience prevents us from being where we are already, the whole point of mindfulness. 
  • Beginner’s Mind – Even Monks and Lamas with decades of experience may say, “I don’t really know anything,” and they mean it! One Zen Master is famous for having described his forty years of teaching as “selling water by the river.”
  • Trust – Trust in the nothingness. Trust in what you discover (or you don’t!). Trust in your senses. Trust your feelings. 
  • Non-Striving – Set aside “human doing.” Boredom can be unbelievably interesting. As you watch it, you might find that it dissolves into something much more interesting, another mind-state. 
  • Acceptance – Has nothing to do with passive resignation – far from it. Ultimately, it means realizing how things are and finding ways to be in wise relationship with them. And then to act, as appropriate, out of that clarity of vision.
  • Letting go – It means letting be. It doesn’t mean pushing things away or forcing ourselves to release what we are clinging to, what we are most strongly attached to. It is non-attachment to outcome. We can let go of both our cravings and our fears, we can let things be as they are. 

I don’t know about you, but when blogging about mindfulness and reading/writing about these 7 attitudes, I catch myself breathing deeply, smiling, and ultimately “being”. I feel that non-judgment, trust and acceptance within me, and it truly does become easier to let go. And then it makes me ponder, these attitudes are not just about being mindful, they are truly about LIVING. How we choose to go through all of our moments. Pondering further, I can’t help but to get excited about contemplating our Beginner’s Mind in particular. In the book, Kabat-Zinn compares beginner’s mind to the beauty and joyfulness of young children, and the WONDER they see and feel in all of their doings and beings. 

This idea took me right back to my childhood and the freedom and freshness I experienced. In fact, while walking our dog this week, my husband led me down his normal walking path. Under a bridge that leads to the other side of the street. In that second I went back in time to my life as an 8 year old. This exact spot (under the bridge) was what I called “Paradise”. It was my paradise, because I would ride my bike there and climb under the bridge to think and dream by myself! Now, I had a huge laugh, because under the bridge was a lot of trash, not-to-enticing smells, and I’m sure some gators lurking under the water. Yet, as a child I didn’t judge the bridge or anything around it. I didn’t see all those “bad” things, because I chose to see a “paradise.” I craved WONDER and created it for myself. 

Why does the WONDER need to stop when we “grow up”? Why does the judgement get stronger, the trust lessen, the lack of patience increase, and our fears falsely lead us to believe that we have to DO to BE?
 

NOPE. I won’t buy into it any longer. Are you with me? How did you WONDER as a child. Were you full of WONDER

My request for you this week is to step back into the past briefly to remind yourself of that WONDER and give yourself permission to bring that energy into your life today. Then, thank your past and LET IT GO and come into the NOW, where you can create a life full of WONDER through this magnificent practice of mindfulness. 

“Challenge for us as adults is to see whether we can meet each moment an recognize it as fresh and therefore interesting – after all, we’ve never seen this one (moment) before. 

“If you take a ‘you’ve seen one moment, you’ve seen them all’ attitude, you’re going to get very bored cultivating mindfulness.” — John Kabat-Zinn



It’s your life, lead it well!
Namaste,

Monique

Last week in my weekly video series, Quotability, I talked about fear, the types of fear, and how we can hold ourselves back from taking risks, or trying to new things. If you didn’t check it out, you can view it here.
Let’s keep this conversation going a bit longer, why don’t we?! Over the weekend, while reading and listening to others’ journeys and perspectives, I had my own shift in thinking about fear and risk and I’d love to share it with you. Perhaps it will help you take a few leaps forward too!
What are your thoughts about this statement: The biggest risk is avoiding risks altogether. What do you think about this? Do you agree? When you think about not taking risks how do you feel? What do you feel in your body?
I can personally relate this to being in line at Disney (was just there!) for Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. That jittery feeling inside is awesome! It makes you a bit uncomfortable and nervous, but it also contributes to so much excitement. I love that feeling! I would hate to live my life without that feeling of excitement—like I’m about to embark on a journey that although over in a matter of seconds, is still so worth it. Thinking about this feeling—about taking the risk of going on a ride that may or may not operate properly— I still value the feeling highly. When I read the statement above, then, my curiosity is peaked. I ask myself, “What would life be like without tons of those moments (either similar or different)? What would I be missing? What could small, daily risks be for me that could provide me with this feeling?”
It’s a curious thing, and here’s what the legendary singer and performer, Iggy Pop, says about curiosity…
“Curious is a good thing to be, it seems to pay some unexpected dividends.”
I just love the simplicity of this quote— of the concept of “unexpected dividends.” Yes, the benefits of taking these smaller, daily risks in our lives can provide us with unexpected dividends. Is it possible, then, that switching my vocabulary from “risky” to “curious” can help me take this little leap more often? Of searching for unexpected dividends all the time? How fun is that!!!
What if instead of saying to myself, “No, you shouldn’t do that, it could be dangerous,” I wonder, “What feeling of joy or pleasure can come from this, and is it worth it to me?” Could this small shift in our thinking help us experience more “dividends” of excitement and pleasure?
Now, let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you become an adrenaline-seeking, risk junkie! Nope! I’m asking you to consider using your curiosity to examine if you can extract more joy and pleasure out of life by doing things a bit outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes that comfort zone comes with a lot of fear and worry.
As a student of energy and what good and bad energy can do to our wellbeing, I’m here to state firmly that these “bad” feelings of worry, fear, anxiety, etc., especially at high levels, can produce too much cortisone in our body and make us sick. Conversely, feelings of exhilaration, excitement and joy do the complete opposite. They give us the kind of energy to accomplish all those wonderful goals we have for ourselves, and to feel satisfied with our lives.
I love how an article in GoodTherapy.org states it:
“While some risky behaviors might not be worth their potential consequences, risk-taking in small doses is almost universally beneficial for your brain and mental health. Novel experiences can help ward off depression and reinvigorate a stale relationship. Risk-taking is often a necessary prerequisite for starting a new business or launching a new career, and the excitement associated with uncertainty can be a powerful antidote to boredom and even depression. Because dopamine produces a natural high, risk-taking behaviors can help you get a positive mood and a new perspective without the risks associated with drug use.”
Where will you turn up the volume of your curiosity this week? How will you step a bit outside of your comfort zone and into excitement?
I’d love to hear your ideas! Sharing is caring. 🙂
Namaste,
Monique

I love sharing the knowledge that I’m able to receive through the various programs and events that I attend. Perhaps these nuggets of wisdom will spark something within you?
 
Miguel “Mike” Fernandez is one of the most successful men I’ve personally met. You can certainly define his success by his many titles, businesses (existing and sold), and even perhaps by his billions. These are all certainly measures of success, especially for a Cuban-born boy of hard-working, modest parents. However, I prefer to value his success by his story—one of determination and persistence; vision and execution, and mostly, passion for his family and doing great good in the world. Perhaps I was even more moved by it because just like my mother (and other relatives), he came to U.S. during the “Pedro Pan” movement, where children came to start a life away from their parents, due to the turmoil in Cuba. In fact, he came the same year and at the same age as my mom. Heck, they were probably in a few photos together! 
 
Mike is the founder of MBF Healthcare Partners (a private equity firm), and (especially) locally, known for founding CarePlus Health Plans and Simply Healthcare Plans; his acquisition of Navarro Discount Pharmacies, and his deep involvement with Niklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly Miami Children’s Hospital).
 
The purpose of his talk on campus was to share his new book, Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons for My Family…And Yours, which he claims he reluctantly wrote due to the urgings of others. Although I have not yet read it (I will!), I can see why his family and other close business partners wanted him to write it. Just like most of us, he’s got a really great story—one which undoubtedly will inspire others who want to achieve great success while living a meaningful life of impact. He almost died at a young age when his parachute didn’t open, and he’s battled multiple diseases. At the foundation of the book, however, is his journey on the Camino de Santiago, a path known to be taken by those on a spiritual quest. In 2014 alone, 237,886 people made the pilgrimage across Spain. It’s 500 miles in length and can take 30-40 days to complete. Most people don’t finish it. Mike did finish it, and had a wonderful reason to— to raise millions for (then) Miami Children’s Hospital.
 
It is said that people’s lives change forever after this pilgrimage. Things become really simple. In fact, he doesn’t like to plan ahead, but lives by a “7 day plan” as he calls it. Mike shared, “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come. There is only right now.” He feels the greater purpose of our lives—all our lives— is to give in every moment, as he helped others to do through this “camino” and campaign. 
 
And as a very accomplished business man, he offered the following recipe for success, called “SUPER“:
  • S – Sacrifice. We won’t make it very far without sacrificing (time, money, hard work, etc.). He shared how he was accepted into one of the finest schools in NYC because he was Hispanic, but his father didn’t allow him to accept the scholarship, or “free ride”. Instead, he worked to pay for half of his tuition, and his father paid for the balance.
  • U – Urgency. You have to move fast and want it. Once you know that you want it badly and believe in it, don’t let it go. Fight every day for it. 
  • P – Passion. Life is too short to invest your time and energy into something that doesn’t fulfill you or help you to learn and grow. Look for the passion!
  • E – Execute.  Ideas are only ideas until you bring them to life. 
  • R – Results.  Bottom line…you need a bottom-line! How will your success be defined? What results are you seeking?
Where can you give more today? In this moment? 
 
How will you choose to live your life in this very moment?
 
How can you apply his SUPER model to achieve greater success in your work and life?
 
It’s your life. Lead it well.
 
Monique

“Time waits for no one and things can end tomorrow.” – Stevie Nicks

 

I’m a big fan of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and Masterclass, because it provides us with an opportunity to hear others’ unique stories of transformation. Being that I’m in the “business of transformation” I just can’t get enough of it!

 

Today I watched Stevie Nick’s Masterclass, and it presented itself at just the right time. In it, Stevie describes the incredible woman her mother was, how her mom took every opportunity available to pass on wisdom to her and provide her with teachable moments. She really seemed to be Stevie’s guiding light and biggest supporter. However, her mother died suddenly. Stevie expressed how there were so many questions she wanted to ask her mom, and so much more wisdom she wanted her mom to pass to her, that she regrets not taking the time to spend with her and ask those questions. She feels like there is so much about her mom and her family that she’ll never know. She said, “I just always thought that she’d be there. I didn’t expect her to go.” I have to say that this relationship she had with her mother reminds me of the one have with mine. A lot of the things that I believe in today that guide my life came from her wisdom. I’m so grateful for it. (Thanks, Mom!!)

 

FullSizeRenderOne of the additional ways I seek wisdom is by “pulling” a card for myself each week. I have various card decks that I use for weekly inspiration and perspective. Last week, I pulled this specific card after watching another favorite show,  Who Do You Think You Are, which features actors who are given the chance to dig deep into their family genealogy and learn more about “who they are.” There’s no way you can watch this show without craving to know more about your ancestors! So, I pulled a card call “The Bard.” Among other things, the card’s message was:

 

“When the Bard appears, you’re asked to seek answers in your personal history. Go back into your own story and find the threads of the patterns in your reality, and trace their length to the present. Perhaps you’ll be surprised by how much of your past, or that of your ancestors, still weaves its influences on you today. (The Bard) asks you to retrieve the stories woven in the past. Perhaps you need to learn about the history of someone, or something important to your inquiry. It’s time to dig a little…”

 

Woah! That was too cool! So, of course, this card planted a seed within me to do just this. Fast forward to this week when I pulled another card. Guess what I pulled? The Bard again!!! Ok, Universe, I’m listening!!!

 

I’m not a huge fan of looking to the past. In fact, my thrust these days is to live in the moment and let life unfold for me. But, I have to say that I’m now drawn to look back—far back— to see what I can discover that will be meaningful for me. I will look back to move forward!

 

What do you need to seek from your past today that will help you plant your seeds for tomorrow?

 

What are you waiting to do that you’re not making time for?

 

Bring it forward. Get it done. Don’t leave the door cracked… walk through it. 
 
Namaste,
Monique

 

Walks, Windows & Water!

March 25, 2015

woman-in-window-1920x800 

What inspires you, and how do you best tap into your inspiration?

 One of the great things I’ve learned about honoring who we are as individuals is understanding that we are uniquely different in many ways, including how we each access our “inner genius”.  What’s our Inner Genius? Well, I define it as that bank of ideas and knowledge that we’ve deposited coins into all of our lives. Everything we see, touch, smell, hear, feel, and learned ends up in this “bank”. Over time, all of that information mixed together with INSPIRATION— that which does not come from us, but from a universal source — creates our Inner Genius.  Accessing our Inner Genius doesn’t always come easy. Let’s face it, folks, we aren’t always listening!!! In fact, we’ve got so much inner dialogue happening constantly, that sometimes it’s hard to quiet the chatter so we can tap that inner knowing and also be open to outside inspiration.  Yes, one of the very best ways for all us to open those channels more widely is via meditation or mindfulness. We can access some really juicy stuff that way! But, I bet you have ways that are unique to you. Do you know what they are? And, if you knew, could you tap your Inner Genius more often? I really enjoyed this past weekend. It was an active one— some fun family and friend time, cultural activities, and some quiet time around my home and neighborhood. It was through some of those activities (the more simple ones), that I realized what those inspiration HOT buttons are for me, and they include WALKS, WINDOWS, and WATER! Walks do it every time! I don’t know what it is about taking a walk, but the inspiration is quite spectacular! Perhaps it is being out in nature and just taking it all in. I get some of my best ideas on walks.  Windows do the same! I did a bit of work over the weekend, and I have a lovely desk that sits by one of my large windows facing my Oak Trees and butterfly plants. At any given moment starring out the window I can see Blue Jays or Cardinals (my favorite!), wild parrots, or lots of butterflies! Just sitting quietly and watching, can spur on some great ideas! Finally, being in water is a sure-fire way to get me going! Whether it’s a nice long shower or tub, the inspiration literally flows!  I love being aware of my Inner Genius triggers, because when I have those moments of frustration or stagnation, all I have to do is take a walk, look out a window, or get in some water, and voila!!!  How do you tap your Inner Genius? What gets those ideas flowing for you? It’s your life. Lead it well!Monique 

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