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ARE YOU SETTLING IN YOUR LIFE, EVEN ON THE SMALL STUFF?

 ARE YOU SETTLING IN YOUR LIFE, EVEN ON THE SMALL STUFF?There’s a tenet which says, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”  I was reflecting on the notion of where am I settling in my life and it occurred to me that if I settle even on the small things, well, that contributes to my settling on the big ones. I’ll share a recent example.

My dad gave me a cool case for my iPhone 4s for Christmas, but when it arrived, it wasn’t the one that I had asked for, nor was it the one that he ordered.  In other words, a glitch at the Apple store.  Rather than the red one, they sent me an orange one.  Now orange is one of my very favorite colors, but I wanted the red one.  I thought, maybe I would just keep it, no big deal.  But this voice inside me said loudly and clearly, “But you really liked the red one.  Why don’t you exchange it.”  Makes sense, but then I realized it would take EFFORT to make that exchange happen.  I called the Apple Store to see if they had a red one and they said they did, but when I made the EFFORT to drive to the Apple Store to exchange it, it was a different style and not the one I wanted.  So once again, I could have chosen a different one from the stock they had in the store, but I was really feeling how much I wanted what I wanted and didn’t want to settle.  And it became like a mantra in my head, “don’t settle for less than what you truly want.”  At this point it wasn’t about the case, but about living true to myself, as if this experience was a spiritual teaching in and of itself.  (And it was!)  So ultimately they refunded the money in the form of a gift card, and I then went home and made the further EFFORT to reorder it from the online store, and then I had to wait for it to arrive.

So what’s the theme here, really, is it getting what we TRULY want?  On the material level, yes, but it’s the journey that it represents through the EFFORT and some waiting that is the wisdom.  Most of us would rather settle for instant gratification, or to take whatever lands in our lap, even after we have made some EFFORT to get what we truly want.  But when you silence the voice of clarity within you, you begin to live a life of mediocrity, and you will settle all over the place.  In the job you choose to take, the relationship you choose to be in, what you wear, eat and think.  Because it’s true, the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

So why do we do this?  I’m finding that the questions are more important than the answers in life, and the questions will lead you on a journey of self-discovery.  Every time we say, “it’s too much trouble (AKA EFFORT!), I’ll just…” we are setting up a life that is less than what we truly envision for ourselves.  Over time, all that settling morphs into an entirely different life than the one we set out to acquire initially. Every time we say it’s okay when it’s not, we are in the process of changing the frequency of our ENTIRE life.

Now, I”m not talking about compromise here.  All relationships are give and take, and sometimes we need to compromise with another, but I”m inviting you not to compromise with YOURSELF.  Hold out for what you want.  You are worth it.  As I move through my own life, these subtle moments become epiphanies.  No, it’s not about me wanting the red one and not the orange case.  It’s about having what I truly want and being  willing to make the EFFORT to get it. It’s about staying on course with my vision for myself, for my life.  There’s an honesty and integrity in that.  Settling is a form of self-betrayal.  If you’ll betray yourself, you’ll allow others to do it, too.  It’s all connected.

So look at how you do things in your life.  I’m only exploring the aspect of settling in this post, and using a seemingly irrelevant situation as the example, but you can look at other aspects of your life.  For instance,  are you aggressive or passive about how you take action in your life?  Are you conservative or a risk-taker?  Are you a leader of a follower?  Do you like coffee or tea (Okay that was a joke)?   If you start to ask these questions and to examine all the little moments in your life and how you do them, you’ll discover a pattern that is consistent  throughout.  Know thyself.  The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.  I mean, you can’t get a divorce from yourself, or move away from yourself,  or ignore yourself.  So you’re stuck with you.  Be the YOU that’s true.  You’re worth the EFFORT.  So don’t settle for less!

Love & Blessings,

Gina

P,S. check out the archive posts and please share them on your social media and with anyone you feel would enjoy them!

DANGEROUS BEAUTY: What You Need to Know About Your Toxic Cosmetics

Are we dying to be beautiful? Many of us might say that metaphorically, but here, I’m asking the question quite literally, and the answer is a resounding yes.

Much of my work is about providing information for us to make empowered choices as women, and within that, the idea of actually HAVING ACCESS to the information that will allow us to do this. Some of you are already aware that the multi-billion dollar beauty industry preys on the insecurities of women and the feeling that many have that they just aren’t pretty enough or young enough. What many of you may not know is just how potentially lethal many of those products are. The cosmetics industry is pretty much unregulated, and many of the common ingredients found in those various products we all use, are HIGHLY toxic. You might ask how can this be? They couldn’t sell items that are dangerous or toxic, that’s illegal. Wrong again. And don’t believe me. Remember, I invite you to explore for yourself whatever I put before you. It’s how I’ve learned so much about these things I know, is through questions and explorations and not taking things at face value, no matter the source.

The Environmental Working Group has a database called Skin Deep, and they are devoted to education of the consumer about cosmetics. Here is a link to an article called Myths on Cosmetic Safety. Please read this. It will open your eyes, and if you still choose to use products that are dangerous for your health, at least you will be doing so consciously. I am constantly angered by lack of full disclosure in many industries. Lack of FULL disclosure means I can’t make and INFORMED choice, and when I can’t do so, that means someone else is controlling my life, so please, so whatever you do from a place of knowledge. It truly is power. I know some of you will click on this link and think the article is too long, or you’ll read it later. For those who think the former, it’s YOUR LIFE AND YOUR HEALTH at stake. As one of the big culprits in toxic cosmetics says, “You’re worth it,” so take the time to read! Please! I’m getting preachy because many of you have no idea how dangerous this pursuit of beauty is. Here are a few facts from their article:

“Myth – The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and companies wouldn’t risk using them.
Fact – Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval (FDA 2005, FDA 2000).

  • More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union (EWG 2007b).
  • Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association (EWG 2007c).
  • A wide range of nanomaterials whose safety is in question may be common in personal care products (EWG 2006).
  • 22% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products (EWG 2007d, CDC 2009).
  • 60% of sunscreens contain the potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone that readily penetrates the skin and contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans (EWG 2010, Calafat et al 2008).
  • 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead (CSC 2007).”

Let’s take just that last one, that 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead. LEAD!!! Ladies, if it’s on your lips, you’re eating it all day long, ingesting lead into your system. Lead has been acknowledged for years as a toxic substance. Remember that there used to be lead based paints, and kids would eat the paint chips and end up with lead poisoning. This is from Wikipedi’s info on lead poisoning. Pay particular attention to the very last sentence:

“Humans have been mining and using this heavy metal for thousands of years, poisoning themselves in the process. Although lead poisoning is one of the oldest known work and environmental hazards, the modern understanding of the small amount of lead necessary to cause harm did not come about until the latter half of the 20th century. No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered—that is, there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.”

That’s my emphasis in bold and underlined.

Now back to the Skin Deep database that found 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead, and tying that into the fact that there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm, WTF are we doing???? Ladies, we are poisoning ourselves, slowly but surely. You’ll literally eat pounds of lead over the course of your lifetime.

From the time we wake up, starting with toothpaste, our skincare products we wash our faces with, the creams we put on after, the makeup we use as we get ready each day, the soaps we wash our bodies with, the hand creams, ALL OF IT, is adding up to a pretty heavy toxic load cumulatively over the course of our lives as women, in the eternal and now potentially life threatening pursuit of beauty. We must start asking ourselves is this epidemic pursuit of beauty worth dying for. I firmly believe that many of the cancers and hormone issues women experience are in part caused by our lifelong use of these dangerous chemicals in our cosmetics. We live in a toxic world outside of us, and have little control of that external environment. So what we choose to put on our skin, which in Ayurveda is considered the other mouth of our bodies, is within our power to control. What you put in your mouth will be filtered through your digestive process, but what goes on your skin, goes straight into your bloodstream. In essence it’s like mainlining toxic chemicals.

Oh, one more thing we ladies do that’s a huge contributor to our level of toxicity: manicures and pedicures. and how about hair dyes that go right into our scalps, and those oh so popular Brazilian blowouts? How dare we consider going gray? That would be shameful to own our wisdom. Men look great gray. Guess what, so do women. I’ve seen several recently that were stunning, and one woman who I could no take my eyes off of with waist length salt and pepper, but mostly gray hair, with a 30-something face. I approached her and told her how stunning she was an how much I loved her hair. She told me she had never colored it in her life. Talk about REALY beauty. She was stunning! I want to do that.

I did an interview with Stacy Malkan who wrote a book called “Not Just A Pretty Face” about the dangers we are facing due to an unregulated cosmetic industry. The Skin Deep Database of the Environmental Working Group has painstakingly, over many years now created a database of cosmetics that includes all of the product categories I just ran through, and rates them for toxicity. It also has a list of ingredients and their dangers to our health, so that as you move forward in your purchases, hopefully you’ll read the labels more carefully, and with the knowledge to empower you about these substances and their harm to you, you’ll make a different, healthier, safer choice for yourself and your family.

What should you do? Some of you will say, so what, and that’s fine. Some of you will want to make changes. Go to the Skin Deep database and look up the products you use. If they’re not there, submit them. It’s how the database works. They are striving to be the most comprehensive database of cosmetic safety and it’s a collaboration with consumers of the products. See how your products rate, and if you’re mortified, and I can pretty much guarantee you that you will be at least once as you investigate, look for others that are safer and begin to replace your regimen of products with healthier choices.

Now some of you will think, “well, I only use organic products so I know they’re safe.” Think again. That’s one of the myths the above article explores. There can be as much as 10% of non organic ingredients in a product labeled organic, and that 10% can contain some pretty awful stuff. So even we organic fanatics need to check our products in the database.

Aside from changing the products you use, the number one way to avoid this dangerous beauty scenario, is to do the inner work on yourself as a woman that will allow you to live as W.O.M.A.N., knowing that beauty is an inside job, and that yours is already spectacular. Is is easy? No. But I’ve lived this way my whole life. It’s tempting to see that there are “shortcuts”, but those only lead to pretense and the relentless pursuit of an external beauty that is media created. I prefer the road less traveled. Remember, my definition of beauty is that Beauty is not skin deep. It’s soul deep, and spirit fed. Find your truth and be radiant….and that doesn’t cost a dime, and it won’t cost you your health.

This entry was posted on January 6, 2013, in women.

Gina Cloud’s Segment of The Ricki Lake Show

Many of you asked me how you could see my appearance on The Ricki Lake Show, as you had missed it live.  I finally have access to the footage.  Click Here To Watch.

By the way, you won’t be able to view this on an iPhone or iPad for some reason I don’t understand.

Love & Blessings,

Gina

PUSHING YOUR MAN TO BE WHO YOU WANT HIM TO BE WON’T CHANGE WHO HE IS

Ok, so this is a LONG one.  You may want to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe a glass of wine or, my favorite, a shot of top-shelf tequila.  Ready?

How often, ladies,  do you end up looking at the man that you are in a relationship with or married to and thinking that you wish he could be a certain way, or that he would do something that you’ve always longed for him to do or the big one,  things he used to do?   I was reflecting on something in a conversation I was having with a friend of mine about the reality that as women, in our current modern world, we have a tendency at the beginning of our relationship to try to lead the man that we are getting involved with and who we are attracted to in the direction that we want to go.  It feels natural, because we all want  what we want, especially in relationship,  but this is our fatal mistake.  Because you can lead a horse to water, but as the adage goes,  you can’t make him drink.

Now when he is very thirsty, he will drink. Using that as a metaphor for early on in relationship where men are inclined to give us what we want in order for them to bed us.   This is true, ladies, even of men who care about us or love us or who will love us.  That’s BIG motivation for them to deliver all the goods we want.  So let me give you some examples of what I’m speaking to so that I can make what’s clear in my mind, clear to you as well.

Let’s say early on in a relationship, we want the man in our life to know that we love to be spoiled.   Now that means different things to different women, but let’s just say for the sake of this piece( and for simplicity’s sake) that we want our guy to know that we love to be taken out to dinner three or four times a week, (ok, so it’s a shallow example but that’s the way it’s coming through!)  and we want to be able to spend a certain amount of time together each week.    But when we start booking the reservations for the restaurant, or saying to him, “why don’t we go out to dinner tonight,”  rather than allowing him to suggest what he would like to do, we just go ahead and take charge and make it happen. and this is leading the horse to water, or in this case to the restaurant table.   So in those early stages you end up thinking all this is so romantic and he takes me out to dinner. But the reality is you set it up.
For the sake of keeping this simple and illustrating the point, if you want someone who wants to go out to dinner three times a week and you are with the man who never suggests taking you out to dinner, and when I say never suggests,  I’m speaking to that brand-new place in relationship where people really reveal who they are. Let’s say he suggests hey, let’s go for a picnic out in the woods. Not your flavor? A lot of women would say yes anyway, because they like this guy and they want him to like her, so what we are basically doing is setting up our new relationship lies and facades.  You’ll go for a picnic in the woods and hate every bit of it because you don’t like bugs or sitting on the ground, and he will go out to dinner with you even though restaurants aren’t his thing. As time goes on, you will continue the farce,  but most guys won’t.  Sorry ladies, but this is one of those places where I have to give it to men for being  more simple and honest. And it’s not that we are being dishonest consciously, it’s that there is a subtle form of manipulation going on when we keep trying to get him to do what we want.  And it’s born of a fear that either we will never have what we want, or that we don’t deserve to have what we want, or a combination of these feelings.  Or perhaps you just don’t want to end up alone, so you settle for what comes along.
What to do? In those early days, if you are clear about  what is important to you in relationship, you must adopt the feminine principle of BEING  and leave the masculine one of DOING to him. Witness how he shows up organically, because this is who he really is. Is he a guy that brings you flowers and takes you out to dinner and fancy places if that’s who you are? Or is he the kind of guy that wants to sit and talk for hours and know who you are from the inside out? You won’t find this out if you continue to lead with your doing. You’re trying to get what you want and need from a relationship which you are absolutely entitled to have, but you can’t get it by trying to change the man who is in front of you.  When we do this, we dishonor ourselves and the man before us.
Are you following me on this? Why do we do this? I believe because inherent in most women is a sense or belief that if we are just being who we are, that won’t be enough to be offered the things that we genuinely want to be offered by a man in a relationship, so we work at it. We set up our own romantic scenarios and all the other ones that are important to us. But here’s the thing, is it because we’re afraid of being alone? If we just were truly who we were and allowed the man that is the object of our interest to just be who he is and we both were to witness how we each show up for the other we would very early on know the truth of whether we will be a good fit in relationship. Instead we create a habit of getting what we want by taking the masculine role and then one day we realize “he never does XYZ if I don’t initiate.”   You’re right, because it’s not in his nature and  you probably should never have been with him if this is one of the things on your list of needs in a relationship. And then when you get angry, your guy is scratching his head because he genuinely, honestly doesn’t understand.  You see, ladies,  the simplicity of man is the gift and the confounding confoundment that they bring to us, just as our innate complexity levies the same effect on them.

For men, often a duck is just a duck. To us, we see a potential Christmas dinner (sorry to my vegetarian readers) and a down pillow, and wonder why in the world they only see a duck.   I think part of the problem stems from the idea that most women, including myself for large portion of my life, never really examined what is truly important to me in a relationship. What do I want from a man mentally, emotionally, spiritually,  physically,  sexually, financially, and how do I want to feel in his presence?   So many of us just take what we are offered, afraid
to have nothing offered at all. But for those of us who assumed a masculine role and do the doing, not only will you never have what you desire from a man, but you will also emasculate the man that you are in relationship with and he will never have what he wants from a woman, which in part is to be able to offer himself to her, not to be forced to give her what she wants.
There is a huge difference between being offered something by a man and asking for it from him.
In my book, I write about the difference between being a W.O.M.A.N.  And feminism. I believe that feminism attempted to bring socioeconomic parity two women,  which we certainly deserve, but somewhere along the way we stopped being in our feminine qualities.  We stopped experiencing them in ourselves and we stopped offering them to the world, and of course the men we come in contact with.

Men are longing to experience a part of us that knows how to just be, how to subtly suggest what we need from them, without so much blah, blah, blah. Men don’t want to be talked at, they want to be talked to.
But back to us. If you’re in a relationship, think about how the scenarios I am putting forth in this piece may relate to you and how your relationship began.  If your guy is someone who you complain about who is always sitting on the couch drinking beer, watching sports and porn, well, he should probably be in a relationship with a woman who likes to do those things as well. But if in beginning you chose to overlook qualities that were clearly present in him to go along with it to try to sway him into doing all the things you love, this relationship is and was doomed from the beginning.   The feminine art of asking from the place of the heart, the womb, is wordless and has more power than all the talking we could ever do.

A large part of my work speaks to the need for us to return to the true feminine essence, and by implication how that will redirect the masculine. The masculine has become more feminine as the feminine has become more masculine. Look around the world just in your immediate environment and notice how many couples have an inversion of those male/female polarities, where the women wear the pants so to speak.   And I’m not saying AT ALL that we should let men dominate us. That’s NOT what this is about.  It’s about balance, polarity, harmony, synergy, and most of all, love.  Not dominion.

So if you just show up as who you are and don’t feel that you have to effort, or do anything at all in order to receive, eventually the right guy will show up. He will offer you those things that are most important to you. You won’t get everything in one person but if you hold out and value yourself, you will attract the most important things on your list.
Now speaking of  lists, I highly recommend this as a practice that I have used in my life repeatedly to continue to attract the type of relationship I desire.  You do need to make those lists, as they will bring you copious amounts of clarity about all kinds of things you want and don’t want in a relationship. You must get in touch with what you desire and deserve and then you can call it in

So go back a few paragraphs — I know this is a really long post, LOL — but go back a few paragraphs and take some time to write down the answers to those questions. And I don’t mean five minutes, I mean take a week.  Write the answers down one day at a time.  Refine them, delete some, change them.   Until you are clear about what you truly want, you are gambling with the Universe, which will give you whatever you are asking for, consciously or unconsciously.  So become clear and create consciously, as you are otherwise creating unconsciously.   In the meantime you need to show up with the fervent belief and knowledge that you deserve just because you’re you. Stop trying to tell your man who to be or what to do and how to do it. Let him be.  And don’t use your love and affection as leverage or reward.  Love is given freely, or it isn’t love.

If he is truly not a match for you, do the right thing and let both of you out of the relationship. And the next time you meet a guy, if you are a food and wine aficionado and he’s asking you what you like to do and you tell him and then he never takes you to a winery or a great gourmet restaurant, then you know what to do. I’m cracking myself up that I keep picking the food analogies because anyone who knows me personally knows  food is not on my list!
So learn to surrender, it’s the most beautiful aspect of our feminine nature. Not surrendering for someone to have dominion over us, but surrendering to the power within us that has the power to attract all that we could ever need or want.

And yes, a duck is just a duck AND Christmas dinner (apologies again) and a feather pillow.  All potential is there.  What we or someone else sees doesn’t limit or define that duck.  Gina is just Gina.  AND  mother and a lover and a writer and a women’s health advocate.  If someone only sees some parts of me doesn’t mean the others don’t exist.  Bu I have to ask myself which on that list matter most for me to share with a man in my life.  If I choose a man who doesn’t see those parts that matter most, he’s probably not right for me.  Or if he realizes it matters to me and OF HIS OWN VOLITION AND NOT MY FORCING, decides to embrace or explore that with me, it can work.  That’s called growth in a relationship.

If you are a more masculine woman, you will attract a more feminine man.  Polarity is what creates chemistry in a relationship.  People without chemistry are just friends.  So examine your life, are the men you attract more feminine or more masculine?  What do you want?  And the more masculine a man is, the less likely he will love the wordiness that we women are so prone to, but he will give you other yummy things that we long for.  Most of us have a combination of masculine and feminine, with one usually dominant.
Which are you and why?

So I think I’ll leave you hanging there, to ponder yourself and all of the above.  If you chose to have a glass of wine or that shot of tequila before sitting down to read this, it may have turned into more than one, so I apologize if you’re now a little tipsy.

Remember, YOU are exquisite and deserve all that you desire.  Believe this with all your heart, go into your feminine essence, and allow it all to come to you.

Love & blessings,

Gina

PS. If you need help in unraveling this part of yourself, it’s one of the things I do best, so feel free to contact me here or at g.cloud@verizon.net.

CAN YOU STAY PRESENT WHEN THINGS ARE UNPLEASANT?

I’m quite certain that each and every one of us has had at least one day in our lives where we say either to ourselves or out loud, “Life sucks!!”  And these days, we may be saying or thinking it more often than ever before.  Truth is, life never sucks, but our perceptions about life can make this our truth of the moment, rather than THE truth.  I think of THE truth as things we all know without questioning how we know them, like how everyone knows what love is, even though it’s never something that needs to be explained.  It’s something we KNOW in our bones.  So THE truth is that life’s journey for each of us individually and collectively is meant to take us exactly where we need to be in any given moment.  But it’s so damned hard to remember that, when you’ve lost your job, or find out you have cancer, or lose a loved one, or feel depressed a lot.  In those life circumstances, we are prone to feel that life sucks.  I wrote a post a few weeks back about inviting pain in for a cup of tea when next it knocks on your door.  In essence, it’s about embracing life’s challenges, changes, and yes, pain, as an old friend, rather than running away.

So often, when we have that life-sucks mentality, we have lost hope.  We feel powerless, victimized by circumstance and people around us.  But THE truth is that it is a perception, not reality.  It feels unpleasant.  And the challenge becomes, can you stay present when things are unpleasant?  When we stay present, we tend to move more quickly through the “bad” stuff.  It’s that old adage of “the only way out is through.”

If you were going to walk across a bed of hot coals (and use that as an analogy for whatever life-sucks issue is knocking at your door), you know it’s hot, you know it’s going to be difficult, but if you are present and decide, I’m just going to walk as quickly as I can and get to the other side where the ground is cool, most of us can do this.  If, however, you decide to panic when you feel the first surge of heat on the soles of your feet, and you stop because it hurts, you will get burned.  Probably fall off the path (each hot coal) that you are destined to follow because you don’t believe you can cross it as it is now, it’s just to uncomfortable, too unpleasant.  And you’ll stand there frozen with fear, thinking there’s no way you can do it.  But again, that’s perception, and projection.

If you can stay present when things are unpleasant, you will find inspiration in the form of your own soul urging you on.  Yes, you can. ” It’s difficult, but I can do this.  I want to overcome this and there’s no way around it.”   You stay the course, you overcome the noise inside your mind that says it’s too hot and you can’t do it.  You stay present through the unpleasantness and you grow.  You traverse that difficult path which is uncomfortable, painful, fraught with uncertainty and you discover treasures inside yourself that perhaps you didn’t know you possessed.  Or you rediscover ones you thought you’d lost.    Every time we stay present with our perceived adversity, we expand into more of who we really are.  Every time we encounter unpleasantness in our lives and want to escape through food, sex, talking, shopping, video games, choose to stay present instead.  Is it confronting?  Hell yes!  But to confront simply means to face something.  To look it squarely in the metaphorical eyes, to assess it and find a way to overcome it.  Unpleasantness is just another word for change.  It rarely feels good while it’s happening but you know it’s for the best.  Stay present and moment by moment, have an internal dialogue that is supportive, encouraging, one that says you can transcend this and then trust, surrender and do it.  And surround yourself with people who will do the same for you, as external support.

There are so many moments in life that we find uncomfortable or unpleasant, but our perception of them as such is a huge factor in how we navigate them.  Choose to perceive them as challenges, as opportunities for growth and you will be empowered by them rather than becoming a victim of the situations that create them.  Flow with, not against what is.  The current may be very strong, scary and uncertain, and you may be carried farther than you may have wanted to go, but in your surrender, in being present, there will be no struggle, and maybe, just maybe, where you find yourself, though you did not envision it, will be EXACTLY where you need to be.

Love and Blessings,

Gina

Sisterhood – Getting High Off Of Our Connections With Other Women

The other day I was working out at my gym just doing my usual cardio routine when I was fortunate enough to have an accidental connection with a woman who got onto the elliptical next to me. She had accidentally clunked one of the rollers off of the groove and was trying to figure out what happened and in a collective problem solving moment, we figured out what was wrong.  She said thank you, and we started to chat. First it was politics, then the awful new decor at the gym.  And then, as almost any conversation I am  having with a stranger goes, it turned to just life. We opened up to each other about spiritual things, political beliefs, challenged childhoods and how they affect your life, and we just began to have this very animated, connected, instantaneous bond. We literally talked for an hour.    When we both got off of the equipment and were lying on the floor doing some abdominals, she looked at me and said, “God you can get high off of people!” And I smiled, because this made me realize how much I do love connecting with other human beings, but then I said to her,  “You know. this is really a woman thing.”    I said I had lots of men friends that I have great conversations with, but this kind of bonding, sisterhood, truly exposed kind of connection only happens between women, women who are willing to share and to open to each other.

I realized when she said that we can get high off people, that I did feel very alive in that moment from the connection we had forged over the past hour of bonding while working out.  We had also been talking about how devoid of female energy our world is and how it’s becoming more and more masculine in its pace, energy, frequency and ideas.  So of course that’s venturing into my very favorite topic, which just made us even more animated in our dialogue .  I love it when I can engage with another woman or women on the topic of why the world needs women to be women, not men.  It inspires me to talk about it and inspires the women I’m talking to.  That’s when we get high off each other!  When women find an inspiring topic, something that we feel passionate about and we share it with other women, especially with the intention to be of service, we can truly heal each other I believe, and change the world!  When we ban together for a cause, women are UNSTOPPABLE!

We even had discussion at one point in our mutual disgust at “how things are,” (read my post about the way things are!) and she expressed her feeling of “What can I do?  It’s hard to make a difference.”  There was such inspiration going back and forth between each other.  I truly believe there were endorphins being generated in our exchange, which is why she made the comment about getting high off of people.

All it takes is being open and willing and real and authentic.   All it takes is putting down your phone and looking into the eyes of a fellow woman, smiling and saying hello.  All it takes is a genuine caring connection with another human being. It is effortless. But we as women do this in a way that men don’t. And we do it with each other in such a beautiful way.  I live in Los Angeles and there a lot of fake “I love you people, let’s get together, ” seeming caring, that is just superficial. I’m not talking about any of that, and we all know the difference. This woman and I had genuine connection that we both availed ourselves of, shared with each other and because of this, we inspired each other, and literally got high off of connecting.

As women, we are such communal creatures. But this world that we live in, this ultra masculine frequency, energy, and pace, does not allow us to remember this, to experience this, to explore it, without being extremely conscious of the fact that it is nowhere to be found and if we want to experience it, we must generate it ourselves.  How? Just the way it happens organically, speaking to a woman that is next to you. Not sizing her up for her appearance or her attire or comparing yourself to her, but opening to the genuine sisterhood that is all around us, available to us, if we would only open ourselves to it.  It is truly easy to start a conversation about almost anything. And one thing does lead to another with us women. And quickly. LOL If I see a woman who is sad, or looks like they’ve had a bad day. I might compliment her on something, or I might honestly say something like, “Has your day been that bad?” It opens up a genuine door of compassion and connection that we can choose to step through with each other, and if nothing else, you’ve simply done a kindness by acknowledging that woman.  And ladies, we all know that acknowledgment is something we just don’t get enough of in our lives.

We are powerful, beauty-filled forces of feminine nature, and when we ban together to share ANYTHING, we open the door to EVERYTHING.  Talk to as many women in your day as you can.  Smile at those you can’t speak to, and offer your heart to your sisters through your words and smiles.  I have made so many wonderful women friends just by living my life this way.  We are all yearning to feel the feminine all around us, enfolding us, embracing us, sustaining us.  We long for it because it’s been almost completely removed from our world.  But where two or three, or more women gather in their feminine energy, there is an exponential increase in that energy in our world.  One by one, joining hands and hearts with our sisters, we can heal this planet.  This, I believe with all my heart.

So try it.  See where it leads you.  And take the time DAILY to tune into your feminine self.  Without constant access to this part of yourself, your life will be joyless, stressful and empty eventually. Women can’t live in a masculine world devoid of the feminine.   And if you need reminders, read my book.  It’s a quick read, but it will inspire you in your feminine essence.

For those of you in Los Angeles, I am starting a dance class focused on my acronym. W.O.M.A.N.  It will be a 5-week series, 2 hours a week, both lecture and dance so that you can experience the W.ild, O.pen, M.agical A.uthentically-empowered N.ectar you are.  Please contact me if you’re interested and I will put you on the mailing list for the class!  You’ll meet amazing women and unearth the Goddess lying within. We are exquisite!

Love and Blessings,

Gina Cloud

JUST BECAUSE THAT’S THE WAY IT IS…DOESN’T MEAN THAT’S THE WAY IT HAS TO BE

There are six words that make my blood boil whenever I hear them.  Those six words are: “That’s just the way it is.”  Those words signify to me resignation, acceptance, powerlessness over the way things are in our society, our world, our personal lives.  They reek of a militant, “march, march, march,” chant, inciting us to all be the same, to get in line and do as we are told by “them.”  Those six words ooze the frequency of “I can’t change it, so I have to accept it,” about circumstances that control our lives or make us feel hostage to them.  Those six words are prelude to a feeling of imprisonment and victimhood.  And they become an excuse for why we don’t take action in our lives to make things the way we want them to be, rather than the way they are currently, collectively.  They become the excuse for why we are not living true to ourselves.

What I want to know is who says that’s just the way it is, is the way it has to be?  In my world, those six words are a call to action, a call to rebellion, a call, literally,  to friends to vent about how angry it makes me that we just tend to settle for and accept what’s put before us in society as the norm, what’s popular, what’s happening du jour.  And almost always they are a call for me to move in the direction 180 degrees of whatever that thing is.

Let’s take the example of the media and its effect/control over our lives here in the West, and literally all over the world, but we’ve got it the worst here, I believe.  We absorb what’s put before us as the way it is, but why don’t we question it and ask that question:  who says it has to be that way?  If we stop and ask ourselves this question every step of the way, we become more independent, free-thinking people (yes, subversive to those who want us to stay in THEIR box), people who make choices based on having considered what’s right for you personally, for your family, for your health.  There’s almost no area of our lives that the media doesn’t touch/manipulate with its multi-armed monsters.  There’s TV, Internet, music, ads, magazines, radio, mainstream health information, especially as it relates to women’s health and prescription drugs.  We are bombarded with signals via all our senses, inviting us to get on the train bound for the destination known as mediocrity.
So ask yourself, do you really want to live a life proscribed by the dictates of others, no matter what their form takes?  Do you daily stop and ask yourself if what you are about to purchase/do/experience is something you REALLY choose, or is it just part of life’s treadmill that you’ve become accustomed to?  How would your life look if you turned off all the input from the outside and simply LISTENED to the output from within?

We are marching through our lives like automatons, being fed a modicum of metaphoric “foods” to keep us from feeling starvation, but our souls are so malnourished for that which would bring us true joy, vitality, connection to ourselves and others, a sense of purpose and peace.  What lives inside you that is TRUE to who you are regardless of whether society, or your family, or your friends, or your boss, or the whole damned world would find it acceptable?  Where are you compromising self to sustain the facade of being accepted by others?

When we are willing to simply question things, hell, EVERYTHING, our lives become ours again.  We reclaim them and begin the journey back to self.  So the next time you hear those six words, challenge the idea that it’s being said about.  And if you hear yourself saying them, then challenge yourself.  The only way it has to be is the way YOU choose it to be.

love & blessings,

Gina Cloud

JOY: THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS

 JOY:  THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSSDiets don’t work.  They don’t work because being overweight is not the problem.  Being overweight is a SYMPTOM of the problem.  The real problem is lack of happiness, discontent with our lives,  a lack of connection to our true selves; and in a nutshell, living a joyless life.

Here in the West, we treat symptoms.  We have a drug or a diet for every symptom, but few cures for the cause of the symptoms.  When we are willing to look deeper, to find what is causing these symptoms in ANY health issue, and then to treat the CAUSE, this is when true healing can take place.  Without pulling up the root, the weeds, like symptoms, simply reappear over and over and over, weakening the life force of the plant.  The extra weight on your body is a weed, not the root.   And even when we use natural alternatives, unless they are intended to uproot the cause, there can be no cure.

Our obsession with weight loss in this country is an epidemic.  We have weight loss pills, diets up the wazoo, new diet innovations from people; like the blood type diet,  Atkins, Paleo, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on.  I’ve noticed lately, too, that talk shows seem to be turning into weight loss shows.  Lose weight fast, is the common theme, and everyone with a few extra pounds is all over it.  Let me try this one, let me try that one.  For those of you who have tried any of these, have they worked for you?  I’m willing to gamble 100% that they haven’t.  You may have lost some weight while on them, but did it come back?  Of course it did.  Health, of which your weight is a part, is about lifestyle, commitment, discipline, and SELF LOVE.  This is where the lack of joy comes into play.

I was recently a guest on the Ricki Lake Show on the topic of body image and self-esteem.  There was a woman on the show who had lost a lot of weight (about 150 pounds!), but found herself unable to stop feeling like a fat person.  She said she was still identifying with being overweight.  We spoke a bit backstage and I asked her if she had dealt with the underlying cause of the weight, the root, which had been sexual abuse, and she said that she hadn’t.  So while she managed to get the weight off (through bypass surgery), the root of the body weight, the sexual abuse, was still unhealed.  The goal she thought would make her happy, didn’t.

So what are you carrying around as emotional weight that has literally become body weight?  And how long have you been carrying it?  Weeks, months, years, your whole life?  Joy is our birthright.  Look at children at play.  They know joy.  Listen to the sound of their laughter.  It’s pure, unadulterated joy and elevates anyone around to hear it.  Where in your life did your joy start to diminish?  Can you find it now, or is it a distant memory?  Is it a memory at all?

When you are willing to examine your life, all its pieces and parts, the people in it, your work life, home life, your sexuality, your relationship to your body, and to take off the rose-colored glasses, then you can begin to heal the joylessness that you inhabit, perhaps without awareness.  Perhaps these words are making you realize that you’ve had no relationship to joy for as long as you can remember, and maybe they will stir a longing in you to find out why.  Where in your life did you become unplugged, literally?

So if you are struggling with your weight, be it pounds, or a heavy heart/mind, seek to restore the joy in your life.  When you do, those pounds will come off, the heaviness in your heart/mind will lift and you will find the childlike laughter that is STILL within you.  It is never lost.

If you’re asking, but HOW do I do this, Gina?  Makes sense, but how?  The answer is the road less traveled.  The road that takes you directly into your healing, but probably more slowly than you want to go.  Pills don’t work,  whether natural or allopathic pharmaceuticals.  They are bandaids on deep, gaping wounds that left uncared for, will fester and become infected.  What have you been treating this way in your life?  You already know the answer.

So back to how.  My dad used to say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  And it’ true.  Most people need help in this process, at least until they can find the courage and commitment to stay the course.  This is a big part of the work I do, mostly with women, is to help you heal so you can lose the weight, both physically and symbolically.  Get support, in some form.  Books tend to open the mind to ideas, but rarely give you the motivation to actually take the action required for the journey.  You can start by making a list of all the things/activities that have made you feel joyful in your life.  Go back as far as you can into your memories to make a thorough list.  Once you have the list, make a commitment to begin doing some of those things again.  This will bring more joy back into your present, but the past still requires healing.  For those of you who could find nothing to put on the list of things/activities that have brought you joy in your life, you are just more shut down from your heart and your joy, but I assure you, it’s there.

I love the work that I do and  love helping people reconnect with their true selves, with the joy that is your birthright.  If you’d like to work with me, it would be my honor to assist you.  You can contact me and see what I do at www.redefiningwoman.com.  Some people feel they can’t afford help, but how much have you already spent on the useless products or diets trying to mask the symptom of extra weight?  I find that people who are really ready to surrender to this journey find me to work with them.  I’m tough, but loving in my approach and my goal for women is to help you live a life of natural beauty, born from the inside out.  When you accomplish this, your body finds its natural weight, because you are in true alignment with your own life, and because of this, your life becomes joyful.

If working with someone doesn’t feel right to you, then find a way. All you have to do is commit to a life of joy and all the tools you need will literally appear.  But you have to TRULY commit.  Do it.  You are absolutely worth it.

Please free to contact me with questions, suggestions, comments.  The link above (or on the sidebar) will get you to me.

Love who you are.  You are truly magnificent.  And remember that beauty is not skin deep.  It’s soul deep and spirit fed. Live this way and joy will be your constant companion.

Love & blessings,

Gina

The Next Time Pain Knocks On Your Door, Invite Him or Her in For Tea

I found myself recently reflecting on the idea that most of us tend to avoid emotional pain when it shows up in our lives, and as human beings, that’s quite often in the course of our lives.  Avoidance is generally not a good idea when it comes to our inner world.  These reflections came through me while I was interviewing the last guest on my show, Judith Barr, a therapist, about the roots and origins of violence, and as we unwound things over the hour, I had the realization that almost, if not all, of what we suffer in our lives long-term is due to our desire NOT to feel pain.  As I write this, know that I’m speaking only of emotional pain, not physical.  That’s a whole other post.

So I got to thinking about emotional pain in my life and realized that at some point along the way, years ago, I decided not to run away from the hurt when it showed up, and I literally made the choice to view pain as an old friend, as someone with a message for me, even a gift.  And rather than run away from him (feel free to choose whatever gender you’d like to personify pain as!), I wanted to embrace him, to see what would happen if I stepped fully into my fear of how awful it feels and how it would destroy me if I let myself full on make love to pain.

What I discovered then all those years ago and continue to experience is that when I allow myself to just go straight into the hurt, make a beeline into pain’s embrace and let him hold me until I finish sobbing, or yelling, that sooner than later, I move out of his arms and back into the light of my own life.  But I let myself be held there, in the hurt, in the feelings that put it all there; the past, the present, even the fear of the possible future, that all that holding on to avoid is unnecessary.  You see pain is an old friend, and wants to help you, not hurt you.

This path of surrendering to what you are feeling, the good, the bad, the ugly, the painful, is a courageous and not easy path, but it is simple and highly effective.  When my heart hurts (that’s usually where the pain stems from is our aching hearts), I literally will make time and space and a pot of tea for my dear friend pain to feel welcome.  I put on music that takes me into my sadness, or madness, or whatever the case may be, and I go there, ALL THE WAY, and I don’t come out until I’m purged and feel freed.

Stop and think about this for a minute.  When we avoid our feelings and stuff them, either in our mouths with food, or drugs or alcohol or sex, or extreme adventures, we are avoiding.  Just because we are avoiding the pain doesn’t mean it’s not there.  It is, very much so, and as you drive it underground, it gets stronger, as it’s trying to get your attention for a reason.  Then as you avoid over the years, it becomes this heavy burden you are carrying around, year after year, and you’re still in pain.   It seeps into your consciousness now and again, more and more as you try to pretend its non-existence, burying it deeper and deeper into the fabric of your subconscious, and slowly but surely it extinguishes your joy.  It gets heavier and heavier as time goes by, putting literal weight on your body, your heart and your mind, when in reality, if you’d just been with him when he first showed up, it would be healed.  Is it intense?  Hell yeah.  Is it worth it?  More than I can ever convey with words.

So try it.  The next time you find yourself hurting to the core, heart aching, filled with Pain.  Invite him (or her) in, and have a cup of tea together.  It will change your life, your perspective and your sense of what you are capable of dealing with.  Most of all, you’ll have made a dear friend of an old enemy, and that, pure and simple, is healing.

And here’s the link to the latest episode of my show: http://contacttalkradio.net/CTR/ginacloud091312.mp3

Love & blessings,

Gina

USING PMS TO CREATE MORE INTIMACY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP (For women AND men)

What; PMS and intimacy in the same sentence?   Yes, they do go hand in hand and let me tell you how and why.   First of all, let’s take a look at what PMS REALLY is.  To do that I have to explain to you that in my world and the work that I do, I love to redefine negative concepts and language, imbuing them with positivity.  Life after all is all about perspective.  We tend to believe what we’ve been told growing up by the adults in our life, as well as buying into all the media messages we are bombarded with constantly.  What I do and what I’m asking you to do is THINK FOR YOURSELF.  Reframe things outside the box so that they empower you, rather than victimize you.  PMS as I have redefined it stands for Powerful Monthly Sight.  Ladies, open your minds.  You guys, too.

Ladies first.  Each month, beyond our hormonal changes, we have emotional shifts that happen.  I am a firm believer that this aspect has not been examined nearly closely enough in all the “research” that’s been done on our menstrual cycle, yet every woman knows what I’m talking about when I say this.  Each month, for women who tend to play “nice,” and people please for others in their lives, especially our mates and our kids, even bosses and friends, when we are not honest about our truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we end up suppressing a lot of emotion, which always ends up turning into anger, and depending on how many years of your life you’ve been doing this, it can often turn into pure, unmitigated rage.  For women who have trouble expressing anger, it pours through your eyes as tears. but something sets you off, usually something your spouse or your child does, and you just explode.  Basically you blow emotional chunks all over the place and leave a mess everywhere.  And the truth is, you only feel better for a moment, as you have not really addressed or healed what was causing you to feel these feelings in the first place.

Men, you too experience our PMS (the mainstream version).  You notice without fail that each month, there is a cycle to the emotional issues the woman (or women, as in daughters, friends, etc.) in your life experiences, and you wisely connect the dots and often end up saying things like, “you must be about to get your period because you’re bringing THAT up again.”  When you make that statement, a woman will feel  that you’re not taking her seriously and simply labeling her hormonal, like the media and everyone else around her does, too.

What to do ladies and gents?  Go deep into the issues using my model of Powerful Monthly Sight and let the conversation lead you into the realm of intimacy.    Ladies, this is the time of the month where the rose-colored glasses come off, where you get a shot of truth serum in the arm, and all the ways that you have been BS’ing yourself all month long, perhaps for years, are in your face, in black and white.  All the ways that you have not been honoring yourself, your truth, your needs are before you in the resultant “issues,’ ready for you to address.

The problem for most women is where to start once they realize what this truly means, that this Powerful Monthly Sight is really an opportunity to work through and HEAL a lot of issues in your life.  When you adopt this new perspective you can start to say to yourself things like, “I realize that the way my guy never helps me around the house is because I have an issue asking for help.”  Or “He never listens to me,” can be reframed to a place of taking responsibility for not going to him and saying “Can we talk about something.”  The mainstream PMS causes you to be a victim of your circumstances, to project what’s wrong in your life out onto someone else, usually your spouse.  But in reality you are a creator of your own life through your choices, and my version of PMS will allow you to take responsibility for having made the choices you did so that you can choose differently.  This is the path of empowerment.  But until you realize it’s your choices that have created what you have in your life, good or bad, you will feel a victim to your own life.

Women are more sensitive at this time, more vulnerable.  We live in a fast paced masculine rhythm in our world and there will be no down time to examine your life, reflect and decide how to change things that aren’t working unless you SCHEDULE TIME WITH YOURSELF,  Quiet time, away from all distractions.  That’s why I advocate for women to take a few days BEFORE their periods start to be with self and reflect.  After that reflection, with some clarity about what’s on your mind, talk to your man and allow issues to transmute into intimacy.  That’s really what they’re designed to do if we are courageous enough to go there.

Now men, here’s what you can do.  There’s nothing wrong ostensibly with mentioning that her period must be near because she’s brought up an issue.  It’s not what you say; it’s HOW you say it.  Perhaps saying, “This is an issue that comes up for you regularly, honey.  It must be important to you.  Do you want to talk about it?”  Now before you think, “no way, I’m not going into the lion’s den,” just give it a try.  Preferably AFTER she’s read this article.  LOL.

Also for you men, one of the things that I know you notice is that women shut down sexually with their cycles, but you may not realize that the biggest reason is not hormonal, but emotional.  When we are feeling closed in our hearts, our legs tend to close, too.  When we have a pile of unresolved issues inside of us that we never talk about, we shut down.  Passionate, free-flowing sexuality is a by product of openness.  Get the connection?

For men who really love their women, this Powerful Monthly Sight time is a way to bring EMOTIONAL closeness into the relationship.  I feel that this is the weakest link for most couples, probably because it requires the most sustained, ongoing effort, but it is also the most rewarding as that emotional closeness keeps the passion alive for both men and women.

So make time to talk, REALLY HONESTLY.  This is a time for you men to really just listen.  I know you’re solution oriented, but sometimes we just need to vent.  For most men, to just vent without figuring out HOW to fix it makes little sense, but for us women, getting it off our chest is often part of the solution.  And ladies, don’t make him wrong!  When you do that to a man, he shuts down.  Take responsibility for your choices and speak honestly and clearly about what’s bothering you.  Use the pronoun “I’ in the conversations much more than “you” when you start your sentences.  Then ask for what you need from your partner.  You’ll be amazed at how much closer you will feel after doing this.  And just keep working at it.  You’ll have a chance every month to perfect your skill set.  And remember to keep the love flowing. Then PMS can be Powerful Monthly (in)Sight!

To learn more about my concept of W.O.M.A.N. and other areas of our lives as women I have redefined, please visit my website, www.redefiningwoman.com,  and subscribe to my radio show.  It’s all free!

Love & Blessings,

Gina Cloud

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