Tag Archives for " Soul-Full Sundays "

Soul-Full Sundays: Iris Fritschi-Cussens

How are you following your life path (dharma)?
I am working on being able to support my family with the thing I love more than anything in the world: making art & helping others to create as well. It’s not the default choice, not the easy path, not the safe option. It is, however, my calling.

I’m so excited to listen to what is inside me for the first time in my life and find that it gets me excited to get up in the morning. Every day I can’t wait to get started, so many ideas swirling around in my head! I never knew I could find something within myself that feels so right, when all my life I’ve felt like there was something wrong with me (didn’t fit in, didn’t know what I want, didn’t feel good enough).

Soul-Full Sundays: Darren Schilling

Darren is one of those souls who you want to connect with, be around to soak up his sweet energy, and learn from. His wit, writing, and compassion inspire me to dig deeper into my own nature. His own journey to uncover truth and share his findings with the world are a testament to what can happen when one listens and lives connected to his heart.
How are you following your life path (dharma)?
Is this a trick question? I think everyone is always following his or her life path. Some people just don’t know it. Alright, alright I understand what you’re asking me here. About 5 years ago I started to make a conscious effort to be forthcoming and honest with myself and everyone I encounter. That led me to writing my Blog and reaching out to other like-minded individuals. Now I’m on a path where I would like to begin speaking publicly and offering my own brand of intuitive counseling.

Have you always had this calling? If not, was it a sudden/gradual shift?
I think I have always had a calling to heal myself. I had a lot of emotional pain that started to surface in my late teens. I spent my early 20’s visibly in agony over the challenges I had. At some point I was guided to shift the focus of my life to healing those emotional wounds. I just really couldn’t stand being in pain anymore. I began meditating, journaling, exercising, and I even went to acting school to help gain access to my pain so I could heal it. (I also really love acting and the catharsis was more of a little bonus I wasn’t expecting.) Through this healing work my focus shifted on it’s own from the pursuits of a tortured soul to the pursuits of a happy soul. I feel like I’m still shifting and I’m really happy about where I am right now. And where I came from too actually.

What did you have to give up by honoring your path?
Pain. Following your heart is the safest thing you can do in every situation. We are trained to think we have to be able to figure everything out with our rational thinking mind. In my experience once I gave up that idea and realized that I was on a roller coaster along for the ride and not in a car driving my trust grew and my fear and pain melted away.

What have you learned/gained by remembering your true nature (honoring your path)?
Freedom. Being open and honest is the most freeing thing anyone could ever imagine. I feel as though I am available to the universe to be guided in any way it seems fit. I see everything that comes into or goes out of my life as a gift. I rarely feel restricted by the ideas of those around me. I rarely feel ashamed or embarrassed about who I am, what I do, or what I say. I am constantly grateful and I am eternally in awe and appreciation. This is all because I am always only telling the truth. I have nothing to hide and it is so liberating.

What is one thing you do every week to honor your innermost authentic Self (connection to Source)?
I live in Montreal and lately I have been walking to the top of Mount Royal. It’s about a 5 or 6km round trip walk along a long gradual incline. When I get to the top I do some Yoga poses and some stretching. It’s beautiful and I’ve really been enjoying the opportunity to connect more with nature and to give a little attention to my body in the form of exercise.

What is one treat you can share with us to bring along on our own path towards freedom?
Here are some things I try to keep in mind: “Gratefulness is the seed for love.” “Fake it until you make it.” “You are always right.” “You are always loved.” “Happiness is a choice.” “Something is better than nothing.” “You don’t need 100%.” And “I like Pizza”

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Thank you very much Carrie for inviting me to be a part of Soulful Sundays.

Soul-Full Sundays: Shannon Kinney-Duh

Shannon is the best of the best of us. She exudes love, grace and joy. She sprinkles inspiration, authenticity, and wisdom through her yoga, writing, art, and mothering. I am tickled to have her pop on over today to share her journey and upcoming e-course (Mothering with heART) with you.

How are you following your life path (dharma)?
I am a mother and I work from home doing what I love most. I’m my own boss…well, except for the little people in my life. I get to spend the days with my two little boys (with another one on the way) and being a mother is definitely part of my life path. The other part is teaching yoga, making art, writing and life mentoring through e-courses and personal coaching.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is to always listen to my body. When my body is hurting, there is usually something else going on in my mind. Like years ago, when I was struggling to make the decision to leave my job so I could follow my own dreams and keep my first baby out of daycare, I was getting headaches every day. I cried when I’d leave him and just couldn’t concentrate at work. I felt awful.

The second I made the decision to leave work, I felt this amazing pressure released. Yes, I was scared. I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing next. But with small steps along the way, and continuing to listen to my intuition, I found that I could be a life coach, and teach yoga, art and writing through classes online – all while staying home full-time with my kids.

My headaches went away. Creative flow came back into my life. I felt more alive, healthy and happy!

And now, if I ever feel like I struggle with making the next decision, I get quiet first. I enjoy the stillness. I check-in with my body. And when I’m quiet enough to listen, I can connect to what feels best in my body, mind and heart. It’s my daily practice of finding stillness that helps me stay on the path that is right for me.

Have you always had this calling? If not, was it a sudden/gradual shift?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself, doing creative projects with purpose and meaning. But it was a long road getting here. I got swallowed up by fear and self-doubt for so many years. As I mentioned, it wasn’t until I had my first baby that I finally found the courage to take bigger steps towards my dreams.

I had been teaching yoga for 10 years, which was definitely part of my calling. But the courage to work for myself and start my own business got an extra push the moment I became a mother. Now I am able to see just how fast life goes as I see my children growing before my eyes. It helps me act more without hesitation. Because if not now, then when?

So yes, I’ve been shifting gradually towards my calling for years, but when I took the leap towards my greatest fear (letting go of a “real” job) – that’s when I saw the shift take a sudden turn. I got the idea to offer my first e-course experience called “Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery” (http://www.afreespiritlife.com/inside-out/) 4 years ago. I thought if I had 10 people sign-up for class then I would give it a try. Instead, I had 72 people register for my first class, from 15 countries! I was so new to blogging and social media at the time that it didn’t even occur to me that I’d get international students. I was overjoyed by the response. Taking that risk and finding success from it has given me the courage to take bigger risks. And since everything I do now feels in-line with my calling – the mistakes, the failures, the struggles and the celebrations are all worth it – because I’m always learning and growing along the way.

What did you have to give up by honoring your path?
Because the first priority on my path is being present and available for my young children, I’ve given up a lot of time and attention I would otherwise give towards my art, writing and teaching career. Sometimes this can be hard for me, especially if I get too consumed in seeing what other mamas or business women seem to be accomplishing in their careers.

But truly, I’m so grateful for the decisions I’ve made. I know this stage I’m in – raising young children – is fleeting. And since I’ve made space in my life to still express myself creatively and teaching in different ways while being a mother, I feel I’m nurturing both sides – my need to be with my kids and my need to connect to my career and community.

I’ve also had to give up the comfort it feels from staying comfortable! Meaning, I’ve learned that by honoring my path, I must do things that scare me a little, that allow me to take risks and put myself out there, and to leave a place of comfort and certainty, in order to truly find abundance.

What have you learned/gained by remembering your true nature (honoring your path)?
Pure happiness! Life is full of abundant opportunities – and usually ones you can’t even fully visualize at the time. I love that reminder to let the Universe figure out the how sometimes. I was always so caught up in figuring out the how that I never left my job because I couldn’t figure it out in my head. That just kept me paralyzed and scared. The more I follow my heart and true calling, the more opportunities come my way.

I’ve learned to surrender.

I’ve learned to trust.

I’ve learned that the fear is going to be there, especially when following something I’m passionate about. So finding the courage to move through the fear is a better choice for me than staying scared.

I’ve learned to lighten up. To stop rushing. To take small steps each days and that it’s ok to take it slow. To simplify my life.

I’ve learned the importance of play.

And I’ve learned that no matter what, when I’m living in alignment with my true nature, I sleep better, I feel better, I laugh more, I dance more and I feel ALIVE.

Remembering and honoring my true nature brings me a sense of joy and freedom that radiates from the inside out.

What is one thing you do every week to honor your innermost authentic Self (connection to Source)?
I make space for quiet time to clear external distractions and reconnect to myself. I can find this through meditation and by going to yoga, but I also try to find these moments throughout my busy day – so it might be while cutting vegetables, or writing in my journal, or reading an inspiring good, or walking in nature, or connecting to my community or taking a bubble bath, or while having a dance party with the boys or playing with paint. I make space for the things that bring me joy and help me connect to the present moment.

What is one treat you can share with us to bring along on our own path towards freedom?
Give yourself 5-10 minutes of stillness each day. Take a break from the responsibilities and distractions in your life. Sit quietly. Connect with your breath. Do nothing for these few short minutes, and simple be present. It’s when you get quiet that you can truly hear the messages in your heart.

It’s helpful to find books and teachers and spiritual guidance out there, but ultimately you have to go inward. When you reconnect to your creativity, your intuition and that place of stillness – you remember that you have all the answers you need.

Enjoy this 10 minute simple guided meditation for relaxation.



My next e-course (and last one for the year) is Mothering with heART and registration is now open! This online experience runs for 4 weeks and begins Monday, July 8th. The intention of this course is to bring us all together as mamas while we reconnect to our own intuition and creativity. It’s about remembering to trust ourselves as mothers, to let go of perfect, to embrace the present moment, to support each other through the struggles and the celebrations, and to learn how to make time and space for the creative dreams and callings outside of mama-hood.


Website: www.afreespiritlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AFreeSpiritLife

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AFreeSpiritLife

Soul-Full Sundays: Sharon Tessandori

Sharon is one of those old and gentle souls whose wisdom is imparted through a soft and knowing touch on the arm, a gaze which looks beyond your eyes and into your heart, and the beautiful words of encouragement and understanding she shares through her blog. Her authenticity, compassion, and inner beauty are just a few of the qualities that inspire me to continue to grow and stretch. I am delighted to share her interview with you all!

How are you following your life path (dharma)?
I’m following my life path by living, loving, teaching, writing, and speaking with my whole heart with the hope that it will inspire others to lean into their true, heartfelt longings. I do through teaching yoga, leading trainings and retreats, and life coaching. Ultimately the philosophy of yoga combined with the practicality of coaching ignites powerful, purposeful growth and that’s what really lights me up.

Have you always had this calling? If not, was it a sudden/gradual shift?
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to support others and contribute something to the world but I wasn’t clear on how I could go about doing that during my college years. I received my Bachelors and Masters Degrees and moved halfway across the country for a job. It was a few years later when my life began to crumble.

At the tender age of 25, I discovered this longing to create a life that helped me to contribute in a way that was particularly suited for my personality, my true nature, and my gifts. Once I discovered this, it was a fairly sudden shift. My husband and I quit our jobs, sold our home, and moved back to beautiful kick ass Kentucky and I started crafting my dream life, my dream work. I’ve now owned Barefoot Works, a yoga studio here in KY for nearly nine years.

What did you have to give up by honoring your path?
I gave up a lot, especially in those earlier days of blazing my own path. I was up the stability of a good salary, the comfort of the home I owned, and the luxury of travel and experiences I had come to rely on. I gave up my professional title and settled into calling myself a “yoga teacher”. Even when people said, “Is that all you do?” (and they did often), I stayed committed to the path I was on.

As I continued on my path I stripped away beliefs that did not support the vision I had for my life. As I stepped more fully into myself, parts of my personality shifted as they continue to do so.

What have you learned/gained by remembering your true nature (honoring your path)?
I’ve learned that the world is one big playground in which I am invited to play on in the ways that most bring me to a state of joy and aliveness while remembering we are all connected. I’ve learned that things don’t always have to be so hard. I’ve learned not to suppress the darker feelings and emotions I experience, that they too, are gifts. I’ve learned the art of savoring the moment and that I’m most content when I’m able to so. I’ve learned that nothing is permanent, that letting go is a daily practice. I’ve learned not to base my worthiness on anything outside of myself.

These are things I believe with my whole heart. I’ve gained a sense of freedom, contentment and acceptance as a result of honoring my unique life path.

What is one thing you do every week to honor your innermost authentic Self (connection to Source)?
Connect to nature. I take time in the morning to softly and quietly begin again. I choose to take the long road home through the winding country roads so I can admire the natural landscape. I feel like I’m home when I put my bare feet in the sand, and the green grass. I walk daily in the historic cemetery by my home and connect to the beauty around and within me. The ancient yogis say we hold the whole Universe within, that we too are made of the same elements of nature…earth, water, fire, air, and ether. I feel most connected to my still, quiet voice within when I am blanketed by the goodness of nature.

What is one treat you can share with us to bring along on our own path towards freedom?
Consciously breathe each and every day. Continually work to expand your awareness. Do the work (or play) to truly know yourself. Use your discoveries to heal yourself, to increase your happiness, and use your gifts to heal the heart of one person. Rinse and repeat.

And dance. That’s an important one.

Thank you Carrie for inviting me into your space. It’s been a delight.

Find me on the web at www.SharonTessandori.com

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Soul-Full Sundays: Sandra Pawula

Sandra is a gifted writer whose words stir my soul to wake. The depths of her wisdom, compassionate heart, and gentle nature inspire me to explore my own internal landscape. She is one of the most authentic souls who helps explain rich Buddhist concepts in terms that each of us can grasp and understand.

How are you following your life path (dharma)?
I practice Tibetan Buddhism, which focuses on transforming the mind, and can be summed up by these three words: peace, compassion, and wisdom.

Peace represents non-violence, refraining from harm, and not causing suffering for others.

There’s so much to training the mind in compassion. It begins with cultivating the four immeasurable qualities of love, compassion, joy, and impartiality, but there are many other specific practices as well like patience, generosity, joyful diligence, and so on. Ultimately, compassion is the wish to bring all beings to enlightenment, which is free of suffering and the source of true happiness and freedom.

Wisdom means seeing reality as it is without the veil of all our habitual patterns, discursive thoughts, and distressing emotions. Wisdom is a profound mix of impermanence, emptiness, interdependence, and karma, Understanding wisdom inspires us to take full responsibility for our thoughts, words, and actions as they have an impact, for better or worse, on our self and others.

The essence of my path is mindfulness and awareness, which is developed through the practice of meditation.

Have you always had this calling? If not, was it a sudden/gradual shift?
I’ve always had a sensitive heart and felt a natural empathy for the pain and suffering of others. However, as a young adult my emotions were on fire. My emotional upheaval was rooted in fear, traumatic stress, and low self-esteem. I ended up a perfectionist who could, at times, be arrogant, abrasive, and insensitive. I was holding so tightly to my fractured and fragile identity that although I tried to do good by involving myself in non-profit work, negative emotions would seep through.

Fortunately, I met my spiritual teacher and my spiritual path, which provided a clear, cohesive, and sensible way to reconnect with my basic goodness; the same basic goodness that exists within all of us. But, it wasn’t a sudden shift. It’s been years of study, practice, and integration.

What did you have to give up by honoring your path?
Ego! Clinging to the notion of a permanent, independently existing self. Our true essence is pure awareness whereas all the thoughts, emotions, and stories are transitory projections. We cling onto a notion of “self” comprised of all our beliefs, patterns, and way of being, but the truth is mind changes in every moment. When we identify with our unchanging true essence rather than all the turbulent thoughts and emotions, we’re on the path to true happiness and freedom. Ego dies a slow death, as subtle and clever as it can be, so I can hardly claim to have demolished ego. But, I am chipping away at it, which makes more space for joy and happiness.

What have you learned/gained by remembering your true nature (honoring your path)?
I still have a long way to go, but friends say I’m lighter, softer, and happier. I’m more joyful, accepting, patient, and heart-felt. When a challenge strikes out of the blue, I have a bigger perspective. Thanks to this view, I’m able to navigate rocky periods with more clarity and strength. I still get shaky sometimes, but there’s more inner strength available to me.

What is one thing you do every week to honor your innermost authentic Self (connection to Source)?
I practice meditation every day, but there are many other ways that I might also connect with my innermost authentic “self” In any given moment. These include stopping, being silent, bringing my mind home, dropping into my heart, reading or listening to spiritual teachings or receiving them live, cultivating love and compassion, and remembering my spiritual teacher. My aspiration is to live more and more from the true essence of mind/heart.

What is one treat you can share with us to bring along on our own path towards freedom?
Your true nature is basic goodness. This basic goodness lies within you, ready to blossom once you provide regular doses of care and attention. Suffering and happiness depend entirely upon the mind and how you decide to perceive any situation. The good news is that mind is pliable and flexible. You can tame and train your mind so that positive qualities like love, compassion, joy, and confidence become the status quo while afflictive emotions like low self, anxiety, aggression, insecurity, impatience, and other negative tendencies gradually dissolve away. In short, true happiness and freedom is within your reach, closer than you may think.

Sandra Pawula is a freelance writer and inner explorer. She writes about finding true happiness and freedom at Always Well Within (http://alwayswellwithin.com)

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