Appreciate the journey.

People are always talking about "finding their purpose" as if it's some end destination that once they reach it, they'll be happy. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned from doing intuitive purpose readings and coaching is that purpose is an ongoing mindset, a choice that starts with you, in this very moment. It's not something external to achieve or an outcome that you seek. It's all about how you use your energy and gifts in this moment to benefit other people and the Earth. It manifests in all aspects of our lives, not just career. 

Instead, as humans (with strong egos), we tend to focus on the outcome. After we spend a lot of time crossing things off our to-do lists, we ask ourselves, Are we successful? Did we achieve the goal that we set out to achieve? Is this the best possible result of our time and effort? 

I used to be very focused on the outcome. In fact, a StrengthsFinder test told me that one of my top 5 traits was "achiever." That meant, I could set a goal and do whatever it takes to achieve it. Being from an immigrant family also reinforced this notion that we get what we put in. Hard work is supposed to pay off. 

In college, after being a little disappointed in my grades freshman year, I wanted to see if working harder would get me better grades. In my sophomore year during finals, I studied day after day for so many hours straight, sitting in one place, that I swear my knee swelled up for no apparent reason. When I got home during winter break, my family and I waited for hours at the ER. Finally at 3am, the doctors saw me and aspirated my knee.

They asked, On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your pain?

Eleven!!, I said.

That's impossible, they chuckled. Only childbirth tops the list.

Geez. Note to self, I thought. Don't study so hard.

I had to be on crutches. The doctors tested for everything from rheumatoid arthritis to lupus but couldn't figure it out. They just put me on a bunch of drugs that later ended up having to be recalled because of the damage that it did to people. And while I ultimately got the grades (achiever...ding ding ding!), was it worth it? No. 

This is an extreme example, but in my gut, I knew that my knee got messed up because of my own doing. I realized that I had achieved so much but I didn't get the kind of fulfillment I expected when I got to the top of that mountain. Who would've known that getting good grades would ultimately feel empty when it affected my health and brought on all sorts of stress to me and my family. 

So why did my knee swell up? Now, I chalk it up to stress. My body was signaling to me that I had not passed some critical soul lessons: 1) To take care of my body and 2) to detach from this notion of needing good grades for external approval, or even my own ego's approval of myself.

When we attach ourselves to the outcome, we are enslaved to external or even internal approval, constantly looking towards the future for happiness.  

...It could be an attachment to our need to be successful. (Who's definition of success are we talking about anyway?).

...It could be an attachment to our need to make money. (There are so many forms of abundance that we already have; be grateful for it and remember that money is just energy - it flows in and out.)

...It could be an attachment to our need to please other people, our parents or in-laws, or just our own high expectations. (People-pleasing is a never-ending battle; just remember that you have a choice on what you focus your attention on. Choose to focus on the fact that you're exactly where you need to be, right now). 

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to recognize the attachments that our ego has to beliefs or ideas, and to appreciate our journey.  Reflect on how far you've come and all the lessons you've learned. Share them with others so that others have an easier path.

I'll leave you with a bit of intuitive guidance from my own Akashic Records about our purpose.

 "...It is all a journey, an exploration.

The outcome is not important, but the lessons that we’ve learned and how we channel that towards creating a better future for humanity and the planet are.

There is no “success” outcome in purpose; it is just whether we are connected to it, and aligned or not in a given moment."

I've been fortunate to align my days and moments to my soul's purpose, resulting in so many moments of bliss. Not because there weren't any ups and downs, but because all of that was necessary for me to appreciate the journey and see where the nuggets of wisdom are.  

What has your journey of expressing your soul's purpose taught you?

What lessons do you feel like you want to share with others so that their path can be easier?

Drop a line in the comments and share this post with a friend!

What we can learn from Harry Potter and how it reflects real life

A few weeks ago, I started feeling compelled to watch the entire Harry Potter movie series. I had watched all eight of the movies twice before, and had read all of the books a few times, but it had been several years since I had undertaken such a movie marathon.

Each day, I kept thinking about watching the movies, but I didn't have the DVD collection and didn't feel like renting it either, so I put the thought by the wayside. It also seemed a bit frivolous given that I had just left my job and was working on building this social enterprise to help people know their soul's purpose and have the tools to express it with confidence.

The thought became more and more persistent until finally, when I was visiting my brother, I remembered that he had the series. The only problem was, it was on Blu-ray and I didn't have a Blu-ray player (or a TV at home). My brother was nice enough to lend the series and the actual player to me, and I giddily took it home to start my marathon, connecting it to my computer monitor for the full effect.

Watching Harry Potter, this time with the past several years of my spiritual journey under my belt, and with what I was doing now to empower others spiritually, seemed like a rite of passage again. It brought home a few things that I believe are really important for us to remember in this day and age, which I highlight below.

Just a few days into my movie marathon, all the attacks in Paris, Beirut and around the world happened. I had stopped watching the news a long time ago because the media can be an endless cycle of negativity and I prefer to channel my time and energies into the positive, but even without constant media coverage, I could feel the whole world gripped by such a heavy heart. Now, I hear about all the discrimination and feelings of separation that people have in response to this, and I can't help but see how as human beings, we all hold the capacity to love, fear, and hate, especially for people who have hurt us. I know that out of dark times, people's hearts open up and forge bonds that only happen under pressure, so I offer a few things to keep in mind that the Harry Potter series teaches us. 

First, that love is all powerful. It was found in Harry's parents who sacrificed themselves to protect him, making him the Boy Who Lived. It was found in Harry's friends, Hogwarts, and Professor Dumbledore who time and time again, put their own lives at risk to help Harry fight for a greater good. In the end, it was this love that consistently let him win against Voldemort, despite all perceived "odds". Even Voldemort knew this, but didn't know the extent to which love could trump power and hatred. There was one point in Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix when Voldemort possesses Harry's mind. Just like how the Patronus charm requires focusing on all your happy and most positive memories, Harry is ultimately able to fight off Voldemort because he doesn't fear him, and instead feels sorry that Voldemort has never truly experienced love and friendship. This consistent theme of love -- from both the living and those who have passed on who still live in our hearts -- is one to remember, always.

Second, the concept of Mudbloods and purebloods are reminiscent of the same divisive questions that are being asked today that have instigated so many battles. I'm sure JK Rowling based this off of real life, and the reason why watching the series again hit home even more, because our society now is no different. Voldemort's hatred of Muggles and Mudbloods stemmed from his own childhood (how he and his mother were mistreated) as well as his beliefs of what was "right" that were hidden under the guise of revenge and purification. It's amazing how people's beliefs, misguided as they can be, are the sole drivers of all the problems in today's society. A belief doesn't have to be religious in nature -- instead it is just an attachment to an idea or a framework. It is this attachment, that one belief is more right than another, which people use to justify harming another soul, that causes disconnection and separation from love. Take a look at your own beliefs and see if they are truly serving you and humanity. Does it look like love, or does it look like fear against the unknown or those who are perceived as "different" from you? 

Third, that sometimes, our mercy and forgiveness for those who have done us wrong (another way to express unconditional love), is for our highest good and for all those connected to us. One scene that demonstrates this is in the last movie when Harry and his friends save Draco from a fiery death in the Room of Requirement. He didn't have to do this, but it ultimately helped Harry in the end when Draco's mother lies about his death to Voldemort. Professor Snape, his love for Harry's mother, and his bravery throughout the entire series, is another example of how we just never know what is truly driving people, and how it always stems back to love or a desire to be loved. It is also our choices, to act out of love instead of fear or hate, that make us who we are.

There was so much more in the book series, and I'm looking forward to re-reading them again. With all the analogies that can be pulled from the series to real life, I've already gotten some comfort from remembering that even in dark times, it is love that must be nurtured, and that we have help in forms we cannot see. 

I hope this reminds you that we can find comforting lessons and messages everywhere, even in books and movies like Harry Potter. :-) When things are feeling heavy, just focus on what you are grateful for, and the happy or positive memories that you have that you hold dear.

Are there any lessons that you got from the Harry Potter series? I'd love to hear about them! Share them in the comments below. 

How Intuition helps me take the subway, and more.

  Articulated Blue , Rob Sanchez.

Articulated Blue, Rob Sanchez.

I always say that everyone has intuitive abilities. I'm not more special than you are. I just intentionally developed my intuitive abilities, so that it comes easier to me than it did before. You can do it too. It's just exercising a muscle. 

Intuition, our inner voice, is our highest guidance; yet it will never tell us what to do. Our intuition speaks to us in very subtle ways - sometimes it's a gut feeling, a flash of genius when we least expect it. It'll just keep popping up whenever we're receptive to listening. My best ideas come in the shower or when I'm expressing myself creatively with art or music. For others, it happens when they're running or exercising, or right when they wake up in the morning when their mind hasn't yet been clouded with the day's tasks.

I remember taking a class at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on leadership. The professor talked about how top leaders, from the age-old presidents at the beginning of our nation to the greatest inventors of our time relied on intuition to get new ideas or to take bold moves that changed the course of history. At that time, I wasn't aware that you could intentionally tap into intuition. Now I do it all the time, and sometimes it's the littlest things that give us the validation of how real our intuition is.

***

For example, I tap into my intuition when I take the subway in New York City. It's the best way to get around and I take the subway all the time. Using my intuition helps me make decisions, especially when I'm running late or have to get somewhere with not much time to spare. 

One night it was late, I was tired, and I was heading into Queens from West 4th St. in Manhattan. I was going to take the F train, which operates on the local line, but was the only line to get to my destination.  When the F train pulled into the station, however, I had a very strong feeling that I should not get on.

"Why?," I asked myself. "This is the only subway to get there. I take it all the time. Shouldn't I just get on?"

"No," my intuition said, just the subtlest of thoughts impressing in my mind. "Wait for the B or D express trains across the platform."

"But I don't have time to wait -- those trains never come and they won't take me to where I need to go! And the F train is right here!" My ego was putting up some resistance.

We all have free will. I ultimately decided to listen to my intuition because I knew it always served me, even though at the moment, it might not seem obvious. I've taken the F train countless times, but this was the first time I had a strong feeling not to get on and to do something that didn't make rational sense to me. I watched as the F train pulled out of the station and settled in to wait for the B or D train. A few moments passed and a D train pulled in. 

Great! I thought to myself, and got on. Unfortunately, the minute the doors closed, I could tell it was going to be a long ride from West 4th St. to the next stop at 34th St.  It went very slowly on the tracks, stopping every so often to sit and wait in the tunnel. At this rate, I'm surely not going to catch any other F trains that might have passed. Who knew it was going to be so slow as an express train?

As people started to get restless, the train conductor went on the loudspeaker to say that the reason why it was moving so slowly was because there was an issue on the tracks on the F line. Sure enough, through the window, I saw the F train I could have gotten onto sitting and waiting at 14th St. We passed it by slowly on the express line, moving cautiously. We passed by another train sitting at 23rd St., also stuck.

It was probably a smoke condition or track fire on the local line. Apparently, if I had gotten on that F train, I would've been stuck waiting there too! But on the D train, I could actually bypass the problem. 

Thankfully, I eventually got to my destination in faster time than if I had gotten on that F train, and with another example of how listening to my intuition served me well. 

***

This is just one example, but I ask my intuition about which subway route will be faster or whether or not I should continue waiting for a train that doesn't seem to be coming. It comes in handy when I'm starting to feel panic if I'm late to a seemingly important meeting or to avoid delays that don't serve me. (I'll write about the illusion of time in another blog post). I use my intuition when I want to make decisions, from double-checking an email with my inner voice before I send it, to seeing how I should approach a new business situation.

So how do you exercise this muscle? Here are some ways, though there are so many more. 

1. Meditate. Training your mind to experience calm and peace makes it more familiar to you. It also makes it easier for you to distinguish between your intuition and other internal advice, like your ego or other people's opinions.  

2. Intend to make your intuition stronger. Make it a choice and be committed to it. Don't give up if the results aren't what you want. It takes practice and dedication. I come from a spiritual background, so I prayed for clearer intuition, and the ability to listen. You can state affirmations, like "I trust my intuition. I hear it and feel peace and calm in my heart."

3. Use your imagination. Your imagination is actually a very powerful tool of intention and creation. The more you are able to visualize images and feel the positive emotions that you associate with your creations, the more in tune you are with your inner guidance. It also helps you become more creative and ideas can come to you through your musings. 

4. Practice getting "hits" and make it fun. It's like a guessing game that we played as kids when you have cards facedown and you uncover them to make a pair -- it feels really good when you uncover the matching card! Try guessing which elevator comes first in your lobby or what song comes up on the radio. Or try thinking of a friend and seeing when he or she calls you or texts you. Oftentimes, my clients talk about how they thought of a friend and then that day, they receive a call from them out of the blue or run into them randomly on the street. There are no coincidences.

I love talking to people about intuition because when they realize that they can tap into this power, it is like seeing a bud realize for the first time that it can open its petals to be a full-fledged flower. 

We're naturally spiritual beings. We have a soul that lives on, and we're in our physical bodies because it is the best vessel for us to share our gifts and to experience our lives. Intuition is tapping into our natural connection to the Divine - a higher consciousness that connects all of us. How do I know this? Because I've had numerous spiritual experiences that have left me with a deep knowing that there is more to life than what we can see in this world. 

Have you had instances of intuitive flashes or stories that you can't explain? Did you ever listen to your intuition and realize that it served you (or didn't listen, and wish you had)? I'd love to hear your stories and read your comments!

Shifting the Mind

What happens when we notice our limiting beliefs? 

Before I started Being My Purpose, I had a very healthy sense of what was possible. In my mind, it was very normal to work really hard, get a great job that not only pays the bills but also gives me a sense of making an impact, and work my way up the ladder.  Climbing the ladder was the typical route of expansion for me -- get more responsibility, get more staff, get a bigger budget, get a bigger salary or bonus, get a better title, and voila, more happiness.

But it didn't always work that way. Even with a better title or more recognition, I wasn't necessarily happier. That's because, I was still working within the same limiting beliefs and my soul wasn't growing. Sometimes, it felt trapped.

It took me a very long time to even notice that this didn't have to be the case. It took me years to even think that doing something different than the 9-5pm (or 9-7pm, 9-8pm) could be possible. Even though I was surrounded by entrepreneurs in my work and in my family, for some reason, I thought that having flexible hours, following my dreams, and getting paid for it was possible for OTHER people, but it wasn't in the realm of possibility for ME. 

That was a self-imposed limiting belief. Any attachment to a belief that does not serve us will keep us in a holding pattern. It took daily soul-searching to realize what these beliefs were doing to me, how they made me feel, and that I was no longer being served in the best possible way by holding on to them. 

In many ways, I felt like I had this "realm of possibility" for me that contained all the things I grew up thinking were true, or my own experience had "proved" to me that they were true:

Yes, I had to work really hard for my money because I certainly did! My whole family did. Everyone worked Mondays through Fridays and sometimes on the weekends and weeknights, because we believed we had to. I was grateful I didn't have to work more than plenty of other people, but the 4-hour work week was something out of fiction for me. Yes, everyone would have pay raises if they were lucky but it was like an asymptotic curve. It would plateau, and then never reach the line that I wanted.

So, one day, I noticed that my "realm of possibility" needed to be changed. I needed to break free of the ceiling that it held for me and allow my mind to embrace all possibilities that were beyond that ceiling. That meant, I could dictate my own hours. I could express my purpose and go all out and talk about spirituality and inner empowerment all day long. I didn't have to pretend I was someone else. I was the only one standing in my way.

A mentor once told me that it was my own responsibility to care about my life. No one else was going to do it for me. If I don't care about how I spend my time and what I prioritize, then no one else will, nor should they. Thanks to her, it kicked me into high gear. 

Anything became possible.

My mind started noticing every time I had a limiting belief, and switched it to a mantra of all possibilities. I slowly and steadily expanded my realm of possibility so that it became larger and larger. Now it embraces all possibilities, most of the time. I still have moments of limiting beliefs (we always will, because we're human, and that's the ego!), but the more we can fully know that there are infinite ways to solve anything, and then see all the amazing and unimaginably beautiful ways that they unfold, then the more we can finally embrace the fact that we are beings with unlimited inner strength.

In future posts, I'll tell you how I got to that point. But, in the meantime, consider this:

1. What are your limiting beliefs? What beliefs fall inside the self-imposed ceiling?
2. What beliefs or desires fall outside of the self-imposed ceiling right now? Just noticing it is enough to help you shift towards manifesting what you want.
3. Do you know how you even got these limiting beliefs in the first place? Did they stem from childhood? From your parents? From something difficult that you went through?

Would love to hear what you think and if you have any limiting beliefs of your own! (Don't worry, we all have them). Drop me a line in the comments :-).

Mindful Life, Mindful Schools

An important part of living our purpose is having the inner power to do so, which involves the ability to tap into a place of calm and peace that is always accessible within you. Oftentimes, our brain is literally racing with thoughts, from endless to-do lists and reliving past conversations, to worrying about how to pay the bills next month.  No wonder we're always so tired at the end of the day!

For kids, they might be worrying about an upcoming exam or how to avoid the person who keeps picking on them after school. All of these thoughts put kids on edge and trigger the "fight or flight" response in the brain that prevents them from truly focusing. Imagine if you were always in survival mode, which is what the "fight or flight" response is for. You can easily see how there is an epidemic of stress no matter what our age. 

Mindfulness meditation is one tool in the "inner empowerment toolkit" that allows us to observe our thoughts, without holding judgment, to just notice their presence. It could involve noticing our thoughts and emotions or noticing our breathing. Each inhale and exhale reminds us that at this very moment, we are alive. It puts our minds back into a normal, "rest and digest" state. 

I'm thrilled to read in a recent New York Times article, "Under Stress, Students in New York schools find Calm in Meditation" that schools are becoming more interested in using mindfulness meditation to help students feel calmer and more focused. I've taken mindfulness training and curriculum training through a nonprofit, Mindful Schools, in the past and there are numerous ways for trained educators to incorporate mindfulness into literally any activity. Just a few minutes of intentional mindfulness helps both kids and teachers feel centered, allowing them to learn or teach.

The article also mentions transcendental meditation (TM), which is something that my husband, Rob, and I started doing in March last year. TM involves repeating a mantra internally in our minds to ease us into a calm, restful and alert state. We both love doing TM, and while we are human and sometimes miss the twice-a-day recommendation, both of us have seen benefits, including a calmer mind, energy and focus. 

Between these two types of meditation (and there are so many different types that are out there), my life has become a whole lot less stressful. Things happen in our lives that aren't always to our liking. What's important is how calmly and creatively we respond (as opposed to react) to these things. 

If you meditate, what types do you find helpful? How has it impacted you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Hello, world!

I'm thrilled to launch my website for Being My Purpose, a purpose coaching and inner empowerment social enterprise. This blog will contain the insights, aha moments, and musings that accompany the crazy ride that is starting an impactful business. 

Join me on this journey that is a mix of thrilling, nerve-wracking, and exciting because this is my first entrepreneurial venture that is 100% me. I am blessed to be guided by my Higher Self and all my friends, family and mentors who have contributed to the creation of my new way of thinking and understanding of the world. 

I'm convinced that helping others to know and express their life's purpose is a major key to addressing issues in economic development, education, healthcare, and happiness. I'd love to hear from you, your thoughts, and how you found out about us. 

All possibilities,

Julie