When sitting in a metaphorical boat in the middle of the ocean of life, with water in all directions and no land in sight, I only have myself to look within to for direction. I’ve been sitting in this boat for awhile now, and have been perfectly happy with the gentle rise and fall of the waves that rock me, looking up toward the sky for wisdom, and into the endlessly deep water for emotional expression of my authentic self.
Now, the waves are getting rocky, with the current of change heaving beneath the waters. My little boat no longer seems appropriate for the next stage of life that is rapidly approaching.
So what now? I look for the lights.
In the rocky waters of upheaval, feeling slightly desperate for firm ground, I have realized that I can look for the beacons who have come before me and have firmly set their foundations within society in the paths that they have chosen. I can search for the beacons that resonate with the light that is within me, and move toward them, studying their construction, their history, and the foundation upon which they are planted.
Today, I realized that I don’t have to create my path ALL alone. However unique and misunderstood my desires and visions are, there ARE women who have come before me, similarly unique and misunderstood – and I CAN look to them for guidance, reassurance, and inspiration for my path.
Louise Hay – Model, turned housewife, turned minister, turned counselor, turned cancer survivor, turned author, turned health and wellness expert for millions, turned major publisher.
Danielle LaPorte – Fashion School dropout, turned Communications & Marketing professional, turned serious meaning of life questioner, turned think tank Executive Director, turned self-publishing assistant, turned Art School reject, turned mom, turned lifestyle media company co-founder, turned spoken word artist, turned author, turned revolutionary kick-ass spiritual and motivational public figure.
Iyanla Vanzant – Mother, turned lawyer, turned Yoruba Priestess, turned author, turned New Thought minister, turned motivational speaker, turned Life Coach, turned Inner Visions Worldwide founder, turned television star, turned major Spiritual Life thought leader.
Carolyn Myss – Master’s degree graduate, turned small publishing company co-founder, turned medical intuition student, turned Energetic Anatomy creator, turned author, turned student of archetypes/symbolism/myth, turned Sacred Contracts author, turned television star, turned workshop lecturer and major speaker on energetic anatomy, spirituality, myth, and more, turned ArchetypeMe.com partner.
Colette Baron-Reid – Singer, turned intuitive, turned author, turned oracle deck designer, turned radio show host, turned public speaker, turned medium.
Dr. Christiane Northrup – OBGYN, turned author, turned wellness guru and speaker, turned major voice in the world of women’s health and well being.
Jean Houston – double Ph.D graduate, turned LSD study participant, turned wife, turned Human Potential Movement supporter, turned The Foundation for Mind Research co-founder, turned, college professor, turned mystery schools seminar teacher, turned Hillary Clinton advisor, turned author, turned mystery school founder.
These are just a few, and I’m realizing today that none of the paths of these women were linear and for many of them, they experienced a lot of jumping around into different fields and arenas that ended up cumulatively supporting their now successful careers. I see similarities in these timelines and I see differences, but most of all, I see connections to my own story, where I am at in life, and where I want to go. I also am comforted by the fact that many of these women experienced various peaks in various ventures, at various ages in their lives. Some climbed peaks in their 30s, some their 40s, some 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond and still climb peak after peak. I’m comforted to see that several of these women continued educating themselves in alternating disciplines, not satisfied with the notion of becoming an expert in one thing and one alone. I’m comforted by the eclecticism I see here, the variety, the spunk and the courage to go after what may have been seen as out of the ordinary.
I think that I have been trapped by this outdated and perhaps patriarchal as well as hierarchical in nature, view that education and success must appear linear, meaning – education in subject + further education in subject + work in subject = mastery in subject one will do forevermore. Not only do I, personally, view this as incredibly boring and tedious, but perhaps it is also not in my (our) best interests. Isn’t specialization at the expense of holistic education the root of some of our blindness as a society? For example, the West is realizing that to treat the body as many different systems may blind us entirely from the root cause of disease. Or, by solely learning about one religious path, at the expense of exploration of the many paths, some blindly hate, misunderstand or condemn those who think differently? Wouldn’t a holistic approach to life in general, aid me (and us) in understanding myself, life, and others more completely??
I believe that I was put on this Earth, at this time, with these fellow travelers, for a distinct and unique purpose. I believe that my purpose is holistic and multi-faceted. I believe my purpose will entail a lifetime of learning and growing. I believe my purpose involves the aiding and abetting of others in their own journeys through life as a conscious endeavor. I believe that I am right where I need to be right now. I believe that I am going right where I need to go right now.
I trust the process. I bow down in gratitude to my beacons and teachers who have come before me. I look to your stories to hold me up when the waves get rocky.
I am deeply grateful for my path that is unfolding in this sea of change and I am grateful for all of the blessings it affords me. I let it be so, and so it is.
January 15, 2015
As yesterday I affirmed and accepted that Divine Presence not only resides in me, but IS me, today I affirm that the bounty and abundance of such a Presence is also my reality. Today’s reading reminded me that the more I affirm that my cup is running over with abundance, the more I will experience said conditions.
I realize that “thoughts become things” (Mike Dooley), and in order to live in a state of physical abundance, one must first embody a mental state of abundance. I have not always experienced ease with this idea. I have often experienced a mental state of not-enoughness and scarcity consciousness. This has been most challenging with regard to the acquisition of actual money. However, I have noticed shifts in all of the other areas of my life, by changing my mental state first, and everything else shifts to follow, so today, I choose to alter my mental state with regard to financial abundance, as well as all other forms of abundance, so as to experience life as one great big bounty.
Today, I affirm that my cup runs over with abundance of love, of joy, of fulfillment, of gratitude, and of financial prosperity. I affirm that my needs are all taken care of and that I am well supported. I affirm that I have more than enough love in my heart to spread to those whose hearts are in turmoil. I affirm that I am joyous and experience Life as a gift. I affirm that fulfillment is my natural state and I am satisfied with my work and my progress in this life. I affirm that I have all that I need financially and that I am as prosperous as necessary at each and every point in my life. Lastly, I affirm that gratitude is in my every out breath, in thanksgiving that my every in breath sustains me, that every life event awakens me, that every person in my life teaches me, and that all there is exists to open me up to the Truth of Love that I AM.
I give thanks for I all I AM, all I have, and all there is to come – with this, I let it be so, and so it is!
“Gratefully, I accept of the Divine Love and Givingness and gladly extend them to everyone I meet. I am made whole with the Wholeness of the Spirit. Gently, but with complete certainty, I am guided into right action and successful accomplishment of all good desires. This I accept. This I experience.” – Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind
January 14, 2015
Today’s reading reminded me that it’s all well and good to sit here and SPEAK the words that I am One with All There Is, and that the Divine lives in my heart, that I Am Love, and that the Presence of All that is Eternal is within me… but that it’s not in the saying it that has any power, it is in the actual acceptance and belief of these words, where the gift of Divine Presence exerts itself.
In the past, I have often wavered back and forth and up and down in my acceptance and acknowledgement of this fact that I AM (and everyone else is) a magnificent and powerful spirit embodying this human form, brought to Earth to act as one facet of the many faces of Love that the Divine shows up as. I have wavered in my acceptance of knowing that my every single act is guided by an underground knowing of my true path of service. I have had doubts, I have had disbeliefs, I have placed limitations upon myself that would not be had if I truly accepted myself as a face of Spirit made manifest into human form.
Today, and tomorrow, and the next day, I choose and will continue to choose to reaffirm my acceptance that I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and that the foundation of my essence is that of the Divine Itself, being made manifest into human form. I choose to affirm that I CAN hear my path calling, and I CAN visualize the steps I will make TODAY, I CAN do all that I have been placed within this lifetime to do, and I CAN serve in the highest, most expansive way possible to open the hearts of humankind to the Divine Love we are all here to come to know as our essence. I CAN because the only limitations placed upon me are the ones I place upon myself… and today, I CHOOSE to release those limitations in favor of opening my heart to the acceptance that I am a consciously powerful embodiment of Divine Love in human form.
I give thanks for this call to reaffirm my acceptance of this fact, and I let it be so, and so it is!
“I know there is a Presence that came with me when I entered this life, and I know that this same Presence will go with me when I leave this physical form, for It is the Presence of eternal Life, the Life that cannot die. And so I have no fear of the past, the present, or the future, but I am living today as though [the Divine] really were over all and through all. I feel this Presence as life, love, and goodness, and experience Its action as power and certainty. It is with me today, making my life whole and complete.” – Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind
January 13, 2015
In today’s reading, I am reminded that there is always an active creative Spirit in my every moment’s affairs. Every situation I find myself in, every conversation I have, every feeling that comes over me - comes in the name of awakening to the Oneness that I am a part of. Each creative act that enters my experience serves the purpose of my opening to the Divine Love that resides within the core of me.
I recognize this Divine Love, this Presence within my core after certain experiences, the wonderful ones, but especially the tough ones, if I keep in mind the overall purpose of this existence is to open up to this Love. I watch myself, in challenging moments, spiral into self-deprecation or self-doubt of my goodness, but then there is a flash of insight, a flash of Divine Love and I am reminded – I AM GOOD. I AM LOVE. I AM ENOUGH. Just as I am. Then, it is in those flash-moments that I realize that this situation was brought to me to remind me again that it is I who must love myself first. I am the one who needs to love myself hard, so that I may be able to open up to the love from others. I am my harshest judge and critic and so long as I judge myself, I project and perceive judgment coming from others. So long as I open myself up to my Divine Loving nature, I project and perceive others to see this Love within me.
The Divine Love and Presence within me is the same that is within others. All of us. When I am able to recognize it and acknowledge it within myself, especially during the challenging times, I am more easily able to recognize it in others, especially during their challenging times. I am able to see them simply as other individuals learning to love themselves also, learning how to acknowledge the innate goodness and Divine Love within themselves.
As humanity begins to understand this, our capacity for compassion will grow exponentially. And who knows what beauty that will bring to humankind?
In gratitude for all there is and ever will be, I let it be so, and so it is!
January 12, 2015
Today, Holmes reminds me that we are all beneficiaries of Divine Life and Love. Every single one of us. He reminds me that it is through gratitude and acceptance of this Love that it becomes known to us.
I needed this message today, as it is through this awareness of Love and eternal Presence of all that I am that I am aware of my Oneness with all there is. With this awareness comes a confidence in what I am here to contribute in this lifetime. My contribution in this lifetime is the manifestation of this Love in as many forms as I know how. I believe that my contribution of Love in this lifetime will primarily show through healing, teaching, and guiding and it is my trust in this path of service to the proliferation of Divine Love that will lead me to the best outlets to do so. I have faith in Life’s way of bringing to me exactly what I’m ready for when I am ready for it, and I have faith in my own knowingness of what to do when I receive it.
I give thanks for all that has transpired and will transpire to open my own heart to Divine Love so that I may share it with others, so that the greater One that we are all a part of will continue opening and opening and opening to the Love that we are all a part of.
For all that is and ever will be, I let it be so and so it is!
As many of you know, I've been building up and ironing out a speech for my graduate school graduation, as I have been selected to represent the graduating graduate class at commencement this year. I figured, since I wrote WAY more than I can use, I would share some of the other stuff with you guys. For those of you who have heard some of it, pieces may sound familiar, but they have since been edited.
This past Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to sit down with a pile of stuff that my parents and I had collected over those past 30 years; old report cards, papers I had written, notes from my friends that we had passed in the hallways in between classes, and college entrance essays. For a whole weekend, you could find me parked on the floor surrounded by all these remnants of my past. I read my grad school entrance essays, papers, and blog posts that I had written over a year ago. It was like a time travel device had been plopped in my lap. I sat there, getting transported back to different stages of my life, realizing how far I have come, how much I have changed, and how much my perspective has widened.
When I was in fourth grade I wrote a book for class. It was one of those "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up" books. I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write hundreds of books to fill libraries all around. When I think of who I was then, all I can remember about myself was how much of a bookworm I was. I would come home from school and read a whole chapter book before dinner, or hang out in the library for fun. As a fourth grader, my frame of reference for viable job options included a doctor, teacher, and author… maybe a librarian… but that was pretty much it. It was only natural that I wanted to be an author at that point in my life.
When I was in Junior High, I wrote an essay about my life goals. In those goals, I declared that I wanted to get married, move to a big city, wear chic business suits, and work as something in a tall fancy building. I didn't know what my job was, but I know what I wanted to look like. I can imagine myself at that stage in life, surrounded by teen magazines, chick flick movies, and books where the main character always ended up with the good guy and lived happily ever after. My perception had been altered by the mass media by that stage, and it showed in my starry eyed vision of life in the city with a fairy tale marriage, and a job where I was fabulous and well respected. I wanted to be like the pretty girls in the movies who always seemed to live life flawlessly.
As I began preparing for college, I was called to write several items marking the transition from youth into adulthood. I had to begin to take the career thing more seriously, and come up with more than just a chic business suit as my career goal. At that point, I began proclaiming that I wanted to be the world's best secretary, or executive assistant as I preferred to think of it. At that point, I had no belief in myself that I could be the person needing the assistant. I hadn't yet crossed that confidence boundary that would be required for me to believe that, but I knew I was a good at taking orders, and figured it would be best to just find a comfortable space in that support role instead of trying too hard at being successful myself.
While I was in college, I had many teachers who helped me to see what was possible for me. Together, we chartered my next phase of growth based on my desires at that point. After college, I landed a very appealing business opportunity working at a major university in Boston. I wore fancy outfits and pointy heels, I lived in the city - the building I worked in wasn't tall but it was a little fancy. I had a job that from all external appearances looked like what I had imagined those years before. A few years into that position, I realized that the big city apartment was awfully expensive, the job was boring and unfulfilling, and those heels hurt. When I left Boston, I knew I was on the hunt for something else, something more. I had just been moving along based on the steps I thought I was supposed to take, but it wasn't working out the way that I thought it would. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong just yet but it I knew it was time to start getting curious about my options.
When I arrived as an NEC employee, I knew immediately that I wanted to take courses here. I wasn't sure yet what I wanted to study, but I was itching to get back into a real classroom. I realized at that point that I didn't care about what I wore to work, what the building looked like, or how important I appeared from the outside, but I knew I needed to figure out what it is that I did care about. Up until this point, my family, the movies, my friends, and my teachers had all guided my path and brought me the lessons I needed to learn. Now, it was my turn to take the wheel and steer.
Throughout my human services program here, my classmates, professors, and the materials we used in class opened doors in me that led to many inspirations for many different dream careers and life paths. I suddenly would realize that in a moment's time, I could decide to become a therapist, run a women's center, buy a bed & breakfast, write a book, design a website, run a sandwich truck, build a tiny home, become a food critic, or to design my very own multi-faceted and ever evolving career, where I could dabble in spattering of interests and accomplish a timeline filled with good work that reaches across the community and the world.
My favorite lessons gained from curious exploration, however, were not from others, but ones that I discovered about myself with myself as the guide to the depths of myself. I believe that one of our on going assignments in this school that is life is to constantly keep searching within to become more aware of how we operate. We must explore our passions, learn what we are capable of, witness the restrictions we inflict upon ourselves, and where to find the eternal spring of creativity within us.
The past few months have been financially tight, as both me and my spouse are going to school full-time and we are operating on only one steady income. I love food and eating, so grocery shopping is our most important and most constant expense. During the past few months, I have had to cut down our spending significantly in this area.
Back in the day, when I thought everything was easy breezy, with no future-sight in mind, I used to drop $150-$200 a week ($600-$800 a month) on groceries for two people. Many times, things went bad in my fridge before I got to them (shame, shame!). Since we've embarked on this whole new financially complex era of our lives, groceries are one of my primary targets of focus. So far, I've managed to keep our expenses hovering around $100 a week for the most part, while anxiously awaiting summer for fresh, abundant produce at lower costs.
We have recently acquired a small student loan so that we could account for living expenses during this time when one of us isn't working. We are using some of it to supplement our existing income to in paying bills during this time frame, but we figured it would also be wise to attempt to budget our food and gas expenses (two living essentials) for the entire summer. Seeing what we have available to us after bills and gas for those four months (May-August), we have determined that we can set aside approximately $1500 for food expenses.
This means we have $375 to spend per month.
In doing some research on food budgeting, I stumbled across the Massachusetts SNAP Benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps) Page. On that website, I found out that an eligible 2 person household would receive approximately $367 per month for food assistance. I found the similarity to my budgeted amount striking, which led to more research. I found an interesting initiative, started by FRAC (Food Research Action Center), called the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge, which challenges Americans to attempt to conform their food purchasing power to that of a SNAP benefits recipient for a period of time. Why, you ask?
"The SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on the average daily food stamp benefit (about $4 per person per day). Challenge participants find they have to make difficult food shopping choices, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy" - FRAC SNAP Challenge Page
Without even knowing it, we were setting up a life that looks a lot like the challenge (some details are different), except that this isn't a "challenge" for us to see what it is like, it is life.
GAME ON, I say! I can plan the hell out of just about anything. Let me tackle this!
Here's how it's going to work:
Total Length of Summer Budget - 4 months or 18 Weeks (May-August)
Total Cash Input: $1500
What This Will Look Like:
$1000 in $50 gift cards to Hannaford (our least expensive grocery store in town)
= $1050 will result from this as they have a bulk gift card deal, earning $50 for every $1000 spent.
$495 - CSA Share - so we can pick our own items at the farmer's market and crediting the prepaid account.
=$550 will result from this as they give the "discount" one normally gets from a CSA.
In total, I will have $1600 to spend on food over the course of four months.
I will attempt to use one $50 gift card per week without going over, and use $30 at the farmer's market each week, totaling $80. Although the total amount we will have is $132 more than a 2 person family on SNAP benefits would get for four months (using the $367 a month stat), $80 a week for 18 weeks is almost exactly the amount allocated ($81 per week.)
I divided the grocery gift cards the way I did due to the denomination of the cards themselves. This will leave me with $150 surplus of gift cards. I haven't decided yet how that extra amount will work, but perhaps there will be a special event or there might be weeks when we absolutely need to go over the $50, so that extra amount will come in handy.
I don't know all of the details yet, and I haven't decided how to address other items that we sometimes buy at the grocery store (Cat/Dog stuff, bath/body stuff, paper goods), perhaps that is what the $150 extra can be for... but what I've got is a start!
I am open to any ideas and suggestions on how to make this work, comment below with ideas!
What is your food budget?
If you've had to live on a small income before, what did you do to make ends meet, how did you stretch a buck?
What are your favorite budget friendly meals?
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." - Samuel Johnson
Black Bean & Corn Salad Tostada with Avocado & Chili Sauce
As many of you know, I am currently rounding up Week 2 of a cleanse that is becoming a yearly Spring ritual for me. This cleanse has become an important part of my ritual of shedding the Winter's blahs - the hibernation, the extra few pounds, the lazy habits, and the comfy-coziness of winter.... and to move into the fresh, new, lightness of Spring. I am all about re-charging, re-birth, renewal, change, and evolution, and for me, the only better opportunity for change than the dawn of a new day is the Spring of a new year.
This will now be the third year that I am choosing to cleanse my diet of foods and substances that I believe (based on many different sources that I have looked into) contribute to the inflammation within my physical body. Those foods and substances are Alcohol, Caffeine, Dairy, Meat, Wheat, and Sugar. In addition to giving up the inflammatory foods, this year, I decided to simultaneously give up logging in to Facebook for 21 days as well. I have done "Facebook Cleanses" in the past, but never at the same time as my Spring Cleanse.
Although the physical benefits are aplenty, for me this cleanse is not physical, but rather, psychological. Old habits die hard, and I would argue that new ones do too sometimes. It's amazing how "addicted" I become to certain habits. I'm addicted to checking my Facebook on my phone just like I'm addicted to having eggs and toast for breakfast on Sunday mornings. For the record, none of these habits that I have discovered about myself have been inherently bad, it's just that they are happening unconsciously. I have been reaching for my phone to check.. whatever.. without even knowing what I was looking for, why I was looking at it, or the fact that I had literally just looked at it a few moments before.
Becoming conscious of those instinctively driven habits is Step One for me. Then, exploring where the cravings that fuel these habits might be coming from is Step Two. Example: This morning we had a birthday breakfast at work. All of the items that were brought in were things that I am refraining from eating during this cleanse. I came prepared with my own food, but found that after I was done eating, I was longingly looking at and smelling the breads and muffins that were brought in. In a typical day, I would not wake up and truly desire blueberry muffins or chocolate chip bread. However, at a typical birthday breakfast, would have sat there and mindlessly ate several pieces of it. Is that bad or wrong? No, I don't think so, since I do not typically eat those things that I personally consider "once in a while" foods, I am not shaming myself for having eaten them. However, I personally dislike the idea that I would mindlessly eat it or eat it without consciousness. To me, this means that my cravings had more to do with just giving my mouth something yummy to chew on and not because I was hungry or needed food.
"We are not here on this earth to indulge our every whim; we are here to become richer and deeper souls, and then push our light out into the world. In order to step up into our larger role, we must tend first to whatever holds us back."
Much of my growth in these past few years has been dependent upon becoming aware of myself; my habits, my desires, my feelings, my motivators, and mostly, my dark side that I try to push down. By doing this cleanse, I am able to focus on a huge area of my life that tends to center around desire, feelings, motivations, and darkness. Food/Eating/Weight and the shame that comes with these areas have always been a struggle for me, and in the past few years, I have really worked on cultivating a healthy relationship with food - nurturing my body while tantalizing my tastebuds, without inducing shame and remorse. This yearly ritual is just an opportunity to really set a benchmark for myself, reminding myself of what I can accomplish as long as I plan ahead, keep aware, and have faith in myself that I can.
This way that I live for three weeks a year is not a way of life for me. This is not something that I personally would continue to do beyond the 21 days. I feel great by the time I am done, both physically (more energy, better immune function, clearer skin), and mentally (greater mental clarity, fewer cravings, greater sense of resolve). That feeling of accomplishment, paired with the overall increase in energy (both from the cleanse and Spring's natural affect on me) sends me into Summer in a way that feels.... ready... but I would never do it for much longer. There are too many foods that I enjoy that fall into those categories, and I think it is okay for me to enjoy them mindfully. This opportunity just gives me a way to realize what motions I am moving through each day and why. That is what is most important to me.
More on this later...
PS. To those of you who say.. "What the Hell do you EAT??" Please see the photo above of this year's Cleanse Favorite - voted on by both me and my wife. That is a corn tortilla, fried in a little peanut oil, topped with freshly sliced avocado, a black bean and corn salad that has lime, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes, a little fresh salsa, some green chili sauce, and Frank's hot sauce. As a good friend of mine would say - FLAVOR-TOWN! I don't even miss the cheese and sour cream (okay, maybe a little bit, but it's GOOD.)
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Here is a little story about how my persistence has paid off recently.
As many of you know, we recently moved. This move prompted us to cancel our Dish Network account before the contract was up. This cancellation prompted a fee for doing so, which was to be automatically deducted from my bank account last Friday.
All of this I understood and agreed to, until...
We called to cancel our account and the lovely rep informed us that a box would be shipped to our house so that we could send back the equipment. We reminded her that we moved, so the box would need to be sent to our new address.
We got a call a few days later from our old landlord letting us know there was a box on our porch.
We called back, let them know what happened. They sent a new box.
I checked the tracker on UPS. Delivered successfully! To Concord, NH.
We called them out on it again - a third time, they sent it to Concord.
THEN - I get a nasty voicemail, threatening that if I did not return my equipment, the credit card I used to set up the account will be charged with collections fees. I was in a bad mood on this particular day, and not willing to just let it slide. So I did what I do when I feel the need to assert myself to some monster of a company. I write to someone really high up in the ranks and see where that gets me.
First, I Googled the CEO's name, the CFO's name, the COO's name, and searched around a little bit to see what type of information I could dig up about these people and their roles at the company. I found out that one particular gentleman, the COO, had just been given some new responsibilities in the past few weeks, and a press release praising how his focus was going to be all about how to make the customers HAPPY. I knew right then that I found my guy. Then, I had to figure out what his email address was. I tried to search for it, but they are pretty good about keeping those locked up. Then I struck gold... another employee's email address, which contained the logarithm for determining how ALL of the company's email addresses were set up. Firstnamedotlastname@dish.com. I was IN.
So I began to write...
Good Afternoon "Mr. COO",
Within five hours, I received a call from someone calling on behalf of Mr. COO, apologizing for the issues, promising that he would mark our equipment as already returned so we would not get any more reminders, make sure we got the box we needed, and that everything would go smoothly from there.
Honestly, I was a bit giddy at the fact that I even got a call back, so I didn't even think to ask him if they were going to go through and cancel the cancellation fee, which was due to come out that weekend.
I kicked myself for that once I got off the phone, wondering, "what else could I have gotten out of this?"
So the next day I wrote...
Thank You "Minion",
I wrote that on a Saturday evening. He wrote back at 8:30 that night. Poor guy, doesn't even get the weekend off from dealing with people like me.
By Monday Afternoon, I had confirmation that I would not get charged the cancellation fee, nor the shipping fee for my equipment. BOOH-YAH!
All it took was a few emails and four days to get out of a $167.00 expense. All it took was reaching up a little higher than normal. Historically, I would have given up after getting a big-fat-NO from the customer service representative, when I asked him if he could throw me a bone for all of the hassle we went through. I asked the speak to a manager, and he gave me a generic "Feedback" email address and assured me my complaint would get escalated. Yeah right.
I figure, if I go to the Big Guy, he isn't going to deal with it himself, but whomever he pawns it off on will WANT to impress him, so that person will do what they can to get me to stop copying "Mr. COO" on all of my emails to him. Hehe.
I thought I'd share this story in case any of you are out there, dealing with a crappy customer service situation and you don't know what else to do.
Do any of you have any success stories to share? Do so in the comments below!
PS. I also did this once to lower my APR at my credit card. I wrote the CEO that time, and within a few days, I had it knocked down a few percentage points. Don't be afraid to reach high!
So, since I'm not on Facebook these days, I check my email a bit more often because I'm still winding down from compulsive status checking. Anyway, I just was alerted that my blog had a follower... But not this blog. A blog I apparently started a year ago and only did two posts for. Very interesting stuff, to suddenly be transported in time... back to a year before. Well, I thought I would share with friends where I was then... I wasn't ready to share with anybody but strangers then, but in keeping with my post about Operation: Wanderlust, I'm not the same person now... But many of the thoughts I share here still hold true for me.
It's a lil long but... Here goes:
“Treat your entire life as if it were a learning experience. “The Earth School.” A real time, multimendia, surround sound, full color, cast of millions – learning environment that always provides you with every interaction, circumstance, opportunity that is perfect for your spiritual growth, given the wisdom of the choices you’ve made.” – Gary Zukav
I believe that life is a series of lessons designed to guide, coach, plead, cajole, and sometimes push us through our evolution of self. If we are not aware of this constant classroom, I believe that this existence will seem more difficult and less meaningful than it should be. I don’t know how long ago it was that I caught onto this idea of the classroom, but lately it has been pounded in my head by spiritual teacher after spiritual teacher.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you having at this moment.” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Now that I am well aware of the lesson in every opportunity and the opportunity in every lesson, I want to share my findings with those around me. I thought that perhaps sharing MY lessons could help others become open to witnessing their own.
I’ve done what I am capable of to impart the wisdom I’ve learned from my own life lessons to others. These lessons are not always received by others in a welcoming manner, as well they shouldn’t, since most of the time people have not asked to receive the lesson I give them. A lesson that I’ve been working on lately is the appropriate method of delivery for these valuable lessons.
“You should entertain the possibility that you are a powerful and creative, compassionate and loving spirit. Try that one on for size. And if you find that it doesn’t fit, if you find that there is a distance between what you say, do, and behave and a powerful, creative, compassionate, and loving spirit, then also consider that that distance is the distance that you have to travel. That is your spiritual journey.” Gary Zukav
Whether we know it or not, believe in it or not, I believe that we are all on this Earth to align our soul/spirit selves with the human personality/player we have doing the work. I believe that the closer we align ourselves to the true nature of our spirit (through lessons) the closer we become to being whole and joyous creatures who bask in the bliss of balance. Every single lesson that is afforded to us, we must grab hold of, and see what part of our Shadow or Light it might be exposing us to.
“Our shadow, formed long ago, contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny, the parts we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends and, most importantly, ourselves. It is made up of everything that annoys, horrifies or disgusts us about other people or about ourselves. It holds all that we try to hide from those we love and all that we don’t want other people to think about us or find out about us. As the great Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung says, our shadow is the person we would rather not be.” -Debbie Ford
Becoming conscious of my shadow has been one of the most important things for me to learn how to do in the past few years. It is still difficult, but I’ve learned that by exposing a facet of my shadow, I’ve been given the most wonderful gifts of all. Through recognizing and accepting these parts of my holistic self, I’ve become more compassionate to others. I’ve realized that often times when I am having a difficult time interacting with someone and find myself disliking them, it is usually a surefire sign that whatever it is I’m getting annoyed with is a trait that I possess within myself and need to recognize. This has changed my life forever.
“By actively finding the gifts and receiving the contribution our shadow is trying to make, we redirect its once destructive power into a force that can benefit our life.” Debbie Ford
Another thing that has changed my life in these past few years is recognizing true gratitude and truly submitting to the feeling. Embracing my natural inclination to be gracious, I’ve begun to recognize the true beauties this life has to offer. I see and smell the flowers, I hear the birds, I smile into the rain, and laugh into the wind. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are times when the rain just ruins my day like anyone else but I’ve noticed, more often than not lately, that I’m accepting it as a good thing and being thankful for the Earth getting the sustenance it needs.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder
There are a host of other tidbits and major life lessons that I’ve stumbled upon lately, and each day I’d like to present something to the world via blog. I’m looking forward to embarking on this journey and I expect that it will teach me even more lessons in the process. Cheers to evolution!
Cute right? I feel like this was so long ago and I've come so far, and boy am I glad to have things like this as reminders and little check marks along the path that I have traveled. I hope you all have memories like this to reflect on as we move along...