Archive for the ‘Guest Bloggers’ Category

This is a guest post by Nikki Di Virgilio, author of The Soul Reporter blog.


Success. It’s a word I’ve resisted. When I hear it, my mind attaches to the modern ideas of success: a good job, college degrees, fame, wealth, living in a big house, and being able to purchase whatever we desire.

Some of these “successes” I’ve experienced. Some, I have not. None, I am experiencing right now.

But here is what I am experiencing: daily insight about what I experience, a sense I am being guided and protected, inner flexibility, a renewed sense of strength, courage, and stamina, and a connection to purpose.

I am expanding my mind, reading ancient spiritual texts, and feeling more grounded. I have moments of complete joy and expansion- as though there is no separation and I am a part of everything.

This year alone, I have experienced a divine intervention: a car crash, which had all the ingredients to turn fatal, did not. I have faced issues with my family, I’d been avoiding that changed the fate of those involved. These are successes- successes in my family, and inside my soul.

Success is defined as follows: impressive achievement, especially the attainment of fame, wealth or power. The word itself, especially in the west, makes our mind assess our lives and ourselves and begins to take score. Have I achieved those attainments?

In the past few months, I have turned away from this modern definition of success, and joined a sacrament, which seems lost upon our modern world: duty. And, I have reconnected to what I value most: my family and my spirit- where my sense of duty is restored.

This restoration breathes freshness and aliveness into my being, something I’d been lacking while keeping score and worrying I was failing. This is how I am redefining success.

Am I everyday, answering the call of my duty, fully and completely, regardless of material (or even spiritual) favor? If so, then I am successful.

For insight on the spiritual path, visit me at The Soul Reporter.



Are you ready to take a transformational journey to discover, create and implement what’s most important for you in your life right now? Are you ready to make the necessary changes for a happier more fulfilling life? Are you ready to make yourself a priority? Take action today. Let me guide you in redefining what success means for you.

Maureen Simon
Founder and Creative Director
Author “Awakening The Essential Feminine: Claiming Your Influential   Power

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Many of you may not be very familiar with who I am. My name is Shavonne Dorsey and I design beautiful dresses for the sophisticated, curvaceous woman. Did you know that 75% of American women are a size 14/16, but less than 20% of retailers cater to them?  I am proud to say that I am a part of  that 75%! After speaking with Maureen  Simon, founder of of the Essential Feminine Company, I was deeply impressed and moved about the initiatives she has taken to improve and enhance the lives of great women. I wanted to be apart of this movment and reached out to her, and now I’m reaching out to you. I wanted to share my experiences as a curvaceous designer and how it relates to the greatness of women everywhere.

As a curvaceous woman, at a size “Sweet 16”,  I meet a variety of women who are a lot like me. We are always looking for the statement piece or garment in our wardrobe to give us that extra appeal to keep us feeling special. Who Are We? We are curvaceous women, created to give life, to grow and nurture ourselves and others. We are achievers, motivators, entrepreneurs, inventors, strategists and leaders.  We are a daily celebration!  Our size is not relevant to who we are, but is relevant to what makes us uniquely beautiful. Our curves emphasize our innate ability to be  flexible yet strong enough to accomodate to what life brings our way.

Whether you consider your size as a challenge or a movement, I encourage you to dress  and present yourself the way you want people to recognize you. In my experiece as a designer, I find it ultimately amazing how several of my clients’ self esteem, mentality and even spirits have been clearly defined just by simply wearing the “right dress”.Who are we? We are jewels, we are valuable, we are unique, we are curvy women. The next time you shop for the garment of your choice, I encourage you to start the search from within to ensure that your garment  selection reflects the beauty inside of you!

Check back with us next month as we discuss more Inspiring Curvy Topics!

Keeping  it  Curvy,

Shavonne Dorsey


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What would you like to make space for?

Maybe you work a job you’re not challenged or motivated by. Maybe you are facing an illness within yourself or a family member. Maybe you need more time for your inner life. Whatever the circumstance, there is a possibility to move toward, and into something you have passion or curiosity for, and are ready for. To create a space for this, you may just notice the other spaces, which feel tight, stagnant or chaotic becoming more spacious and free.

 We went through fire and water, yet you have brought us forth to a spacious place.

-Ps. 66:12

From my own experience, my life is in flux, and it has been for a while. We have moved several times, and still have not settled. And each of the members in my family is striving toward something, which remains to be seen.

Prior to this phase of my life, I lived comfortably and felt outwardly stable. I was a parent and homemaker, who made space within this life for my soul. What in me is holding me hostage? What in me wants to be free? Who am I? Who am I not? What am I capable of achieving?

As I lived within these questions, finding answers along the way, I now notice an inner flexibility, along with a wider scope, which helps me feel more spacious, while this current life of flux continues. Something else, which assists me now, is work. For me this means writing, and preparing myself to teach what I have learned.

I have always wanted to take the time for this, but what I didn’t know then, as I do now- I can’t do everything I want to do when I want to do it. I couldn’t run my home, do deep inner work and also teach and write for others. I just couldn’t.

What I also see now, is there is a natural progression and order to my life, which I’ve resisted. It was in right order that when my life was comfortable and stable on the outside, I went deep to look at what’s not stable, and what is stable, within me.

And now when my external life is not stable, I find the work I’ve always wanted to do arriving front and center to bring stability. It might not be smoothing out the rough and unpredictable edges, but it certainly has the potential to, and if nothing else it gives a focus and an attention that grounds and nourishes me.

Reflect upon where you are right now… How might it be an opportunity to create a space for something new? Something that allows you to expand and explore new territory? That creates stability? That brings release? That grounds, support and nourishes?


Looking for more inner space? Subscribe to Daily Soul Glimpse: http://thesoulreporter.wordpress.com/soul-glimpses/

 Visit Nikki at www.nikkisacredspace.com and read her Daily Soul Reports.

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Stanford University

Stanford University (Photo credit: Angel!)

Repeatedly I have been told, “You can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do!”  To which my inner dialogue responds, “anything?  Anything I want?…. But, what do I want?”  And that’s the catch.  Figuring out what is truly meaningful to me has been one of the most arduous journeys to embark upon.  When I began at university three years ago, I took classes in every corner of the university.  Each time I thought, “Yeah!  I can do this, I can be this person.”  There was a sense of excitement, I felt bold.  Even so, I jealously looked upon the pre-med students who were enrolled in no doubt the most boring load of chemistry classes (especially in comparison to the bizarre array of courses I was taking), but were on a path to something; they had a light at the end of their tunnel.  I felt like I was in a dark and musky cave, groping around for some sense of purpose and security.  And then my second year of university rolled around, and I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted to do.  The stress of being pathless began to overtake the novelty factor.  I began to resent being told that I could do anything.

Now, halfway through my third year, a major is declared and loose path outlined.  In my anxiety about finding my meaning, I have found that anytime I really focus on something, I end up enjoying it.  Just the practice of doing something fully is rather pleasurable.  So, I continue to explore, and keep reminding my cookie-cutter-driven self that she is going to be put aside for the time being, as I continue to explore.  The expectation that by age 20 one will have figured out who they are and what they want to be is absurd, and is (in my opinion) the leading cause of Mid-life Crisis Syndrome.  Because the fact of the matter is I am not sure how much closer I will be to an answer at age 50.

Thus, the practice becomes: enjoy living in flux.  Take pleasure in the focus, regardless of what I am focusing on, and keep my eyes open, because maybe, just maybe, my meaning will be standing right in front of me.  But probably not, so I might as well enjoy the view.

Charlotte Brown

CCARE Undergraduate Fellow

Stanford University

Contemplative Science

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Hello girlfriends – When I listen to my inner self, I find the answers I need. They may not always be the answers I want, though.

How many of us truly stay true to our own instincts?  I find myself starting to doubt my instincts at times.  My heart tells me one thing, and my mind goes in another direction.  The majority of the time, when I don’t go with my heart, I find myself not going in the right direction.  I often wonder and ask myself, “Why didn’t I follow my heart on this?”  My best advice to you is follow your heart — follow your instincts.

Why do we doubt our instincts?  Could fear be involved here?  Could it be, not trusting yourself enough to know that your heart won’t mislead you?  At times, we think things through too much and we don’t give our instincts any consideration.  The way to start trusting your instincts is to put them to the test. Next time your instincts tell you this is what you should be doing — follow them — DO IT!

I will share a story with you — years ago, I woke up from a dream and in this dream, an ex-employer/friend is about to commit suicide.  Now, I had lost contact with this person, but as I was awoken by this dream, I listened to my heart and instincts, which told me to find him.  I set out that day to find this man. Long story short — I ended up calling his dad in another state and he alerted me that he has been quite concerned for his son.  He graciously thanked me for reaching out.  He gave me his home address, and after my all day search, I had an address now.  I went to his home and when I knocked at his door — he answered and looked confused — unshaven, listless, and almost hopeless.  He asked what I was doing there, and I advised him of my dream.  He invited me in and he told me that he was contemplating the ending of his life.  In the weeks to come, he got out of his slump by moving back to where his parents and family lived.  He moved back in with his parents and in that first month, his father passed away. You see if that morning, I would have talked myself out of going to find him, I’m not quite sure what the outcome would have been.  For now, I am happy I followed what I believed.

Remember, may the possibilities of today excite us all!

Nancy Shields

Founder: http://makegirlfriends.com

Blog: http://blog.makegirlfriends.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/makegirlfriends
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fanpage.connectwithMGF


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In Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol, there is a haunting scene: two children hiding in the cloak of the Spirit of Christmas Present. The spirit says, “Learn this lesson…..This boy is ignorace. This girl is want. Beware them both.”

Hiding in my cloak, I recently discovered: This boy is weak. This girl is incapable.

They arrived after a phone session I won with a consultant who helps women design/redesign their lives and businesses.  Do not think these children only just showed up, however. They have been hiding inside of me for a long time, but another layer of their existence was exposed after I felt what I can only describe as- my Core of Strength, which sits right in the center of me- an unshakable stability, as Maureen, the consultant asked me to visualize speaking to people about the message(s) I want to share.

In that moment, I felt strong and absolutely incapable of folding within myself in doubt and fear- completely self-assured and present. Leading. Listening. Sharing. Offering. And then, as my daughter observed as she listened to me speak, my voice changed. In the beginning of the call, my voice was strong and elated. At the end, my voice faded.

I touched my capablity. Reengaged with my vision, and naturally as the inner journey would have it, in order to reach that capability, I must face what is standing in its way.

This boy is weak. This girl is incapable.

Intellectually, I know this is not true. I know it is part of a story I carry with me, a rather influential story, which says: although you do have much to offer you are incapable and far too weak to carry it through. Look at how many times you have disappointed yourself. This story simmers, in what seems to be fact, based on past behaviors and experiences, and although I know my past does not have to determine my future, this story has the capablity to completely shut down someones potential. That someone right now, is me.

But- I am working through the layers of my boy, weak and my girl, incapable. Sometimes I still get up and play with them as if they are old, dear friends. I give them reason to stay. But mostly, as I have been exposed to them in a greater way, I look at the dynamics of our relationship and determine its health, and wonder how the relationship might be transformed.

The other night, I had a dream of a fly. It was buzzing, sitting on the baseboard beneath a window. In its buzzing, I was able to hear words. The fly was telling a story. A story of its childhood and how it felt abandoned. However, even though I was able to understand it, I wanted to kill it because it was annoying me. It flew off the baseboard and began flying around the room. As it flew, it got bigger and its buzzing got louder. I had a swatter and tried to kill it, but I was in conflict. I know why it suffers and yet I still swat. Missing each time, it landed in my hair- now a large sized locust, black as night.

I woke up.

I used to believe it was about fighting and killing parts of myself that I disliked and made me uncomfortable, especially once I find them and see the troubles they cause, but it is not about fighting or killing these parts of ourselves that hold the sad stories. It’s about looking at them curiously and through the eyes of compassion. If I fight and kill the part, which holds the story, I lose opportunity to be compassionate, and a part, which can perhaps assist in new and unexpected ways moving forward.

In my dream I wanted to kill that part of me, that girl with the sad story of abandonement- who does not feel liked or important or capable or strong. The girl who feels weak because of her vulnerabilty and innocence. The girl who couldn’t. The girl who can’t. The girl who doesn’t. But, that girl is kind. Sweet. Pure. And I will not abandon her.

In keeping her story does not mean I now have to live by it. I already have been. But, now that the story has seen the light of day and I was brave enough to look I am no longer controlled by it. I only understand yet another layer of what I carry inside, and that is a victory.

We have millions upon millions of stories alive inside of us- all of them creating a beautiful mosaic of the mystery of who we are and the story of our continuing evolution. All of them, singing and dancing, and yes many creating chaos and havoc, yet awaiting our courage and curiosity to look, and therefore awakening and liberating us closer to that great mystery.

This holiday season, as we go into the darkest night, ask: What am I hiding beneath my cloak? The light of awareness will guide you.

Guest blog post by ~ The Soul Reporter ~ 

The original article is located at The Soul Reporter ~ Investigating What The Soul Knows.

Connect with Nikki on Facebook.

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With all of life there is joy and sadness- often living side by side. One of our main team members here at the Essential Feminine Company had this light and dark experience this week. Judie Fouchaux has been a pillar in our company  and she is experiencing a major hassle in the middle of  the holiday season.  (Read her poem below—it is wonderful!).

One thing I know about Judie is that she is a rock and a pillar and will always make full use of where light and dark meet. We should all do the same ….Read her poem –written in the midst of her home being flooded this week.

Happy Holidays and that you Judie for being you and for all you do.

Maureen Simon


As we approach the Winter Solstice –a true time of winter reflection we have a chance to notice the light and dark in our lives.

The Week Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas with much to be done

There’s cooking and baking and oh so much fun.

There’s work as well so early I go

Out into the day but not into snow.

And then work comes to an end and I’m headed home

Where for an hour or so I’ll be alone.

Time to bake cookies just one little batch

So I rush to the door and turn open the latch.

But what do I hear as I open the door –

The sound of a loud “Plunk” followed by more.

I rush to the kitchen and look in the sink

But it’s not the faucet left on as I think

It comes from the ceiling and what’s more

There’s an inch of water all over the floor.

I rush to the stairs and up them I dash

Race through the bedroom to bath – splish, splash.

I turn off the faucet and pick up the rugs

Full of water they’re thrown in the tub.

Throw down more towels so sop up the mess

Get on the phone and call Dann in duress.

Down to the kitchen to open deck door,

Frantically sweeping the tide from the floor.

Dann arrives and asks what to do.

I tell him call Eliot to get us out of this stew.

Call him he does and then Eliot comes

Shortly thereafter the whole house hums.

Fire in the fireplace, heaters galore

Blowers and suckers all over the floor.

Four hours later the best has been done

When we dry out we’ll get back to the fun.

J C Fouchaux

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Image by Teo's photo via Flickr

Teaching children gratitude is all about their attitude but more importantly it’s about the parents attitude and the mirror image they portray to their children and the rest of the world to see.

Gratitude is such a brilliant gift that has been bestowed upon us if we choose it. The sophistication of this gift is simple. It is a choice. Be thankful for what you have, who you are and who you can be. It’s all about perception. It doesn’t matter what societal status you come from, what your wallet has in it or how you were culturally raised. Be thankful for what you have and feel right now in this exact moment in time. Hard times and good times. These are all opportunities to acknowledge gratitude. To give a shout out to gratitude. As we teach our children to witness this invisible mind thought, the concept emerges within them just as easy as they learn how to brush their teeth, their ABC’s or how to tie their shoes. These are life skills they will use through-out their whole life.  Gratitude can be a wholesome part of your healthy intentional conscious parenting routine.

Guest post by Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten

Visit Carol and Stacy’s blog Intentional Conscious Parenting for more intentional parenting topics, book reviews, author interviews and live author chats.

Intentional Conscious Parenting is on Facebook 

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Hello Girlfriends – As I take off from Raleigh Durham airport flying to Dallas with my final destination of San Francisco I write this blog to you. I always request a window seat because I love to look at the bigger picture.   As you ascend you see the homes as they get smaller.  You observe the clouds as they pass by below and around you.  The higher you climb the smaller things get.

This analogy in life pertains to our everyday lives. The higher we climb in knowing ourselves, in accepting who we are, in improving our characters, in being the spiritual beings that we are called to be, the smaller things here on earth look.

We sometimes miss the big picture because we get so focused on all the smaller things life throws our way.  Everyone’s definition of small varies – I guess it depends on your tolerance, your perspective, your attitude, your life experiences.  Think of some things that may be going on in your life that may be considered small and remember to see the bigger picture. 

In the book by Amanda Owen, The Power of Receiving, it states:  “although our egos have an important function, they just don’t have the bigger picture; they don’t have an aerial view.”

Sometimes the bigger picture can’t be seen because of the dense fog or clouds that engulf us.  We ask for rays of sunshine so we can have a break in the clouds.  At times the bigger picture cannot be seen due to turbulence – those small bumps in the air.  We must remain focused to be able to be grounded within ourselves to truly take in what life has to give us and be able to process it.  The key word is “process”.  Do whatever it takes to process life – when we avoid it or are in denial then it seems to me that the same issues keep coming up in different scenarios. 

We must feel the pain to go through the pain.  If we choose not to feel the pain and instead numb the pain with alcohol, pills, activities to distract us then the pain will creep up over and over again.

So when life throws you lemons, let’s make lemonade and remember to be aware that there’s always a bigger picture in this big adventure we call life…..

Remember, may the possibilities of today excite us ! 

Written By: Guest Author Nancy Shields

Visit Nancy’s website: Make Girlfriends and her blog

Make Girlfriends Blog

Follow Nancy on Twitter and Facebook

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"The Blue Marble" is a famous photog...

Image via Wikipedia

Mother Earth is powerful, sensitive and susceptible. I walk through the forest after our recent storm and see her power. We have large tree limbs spliced from the trunks, and old trees toppled over. It is events like storms, thunderous rains and unusual weather that reminds us of her power. But we aren’t often reminded of Mother Earth’s vulnerability. It is subtle and we often take it for granted. For example, we know that autumn changes the trees into brilliant color, and long after the leaves are gone from our front yards, snow will fall, blanketing our communities in protective white. Yet in the northeast this year the trees had just begun to change color when a heavy snow fell. The snow clung to the still green leaves, and the trees didn’t know what to do with the weight. Their branches fell hard and cut power to many homes and businesses.

This visible power teaches us yet again to appreciate the susceptibility of Mother Earth. We are visitors to her home for our life and we must remember to respect her. We can do simple things to make a difference. Be conscious of our use of water, reduce our energy and gas use, recycle and compost whenever possible and be careful of how we affect our environment. If we leave our place on earth better than it was when we arrived, then we can take care of our powerful yet sensitive host. As we admire her magnificence and beauty we can also mother our Mother Earth.

Written By: Guest Author, Leigh Harris, BA, RM
Receive Leigh’s Metaphysical Mom weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cqSFD
or go straight to her blog: http://metaphysicsetcetera.blogspot.com
Connect with Leigh on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metaphysicallife
Or follow her on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/metaphysicalmom

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