Category Archives: Inspiration

Heart Full Moments June 2018

Comfort for the Soul

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

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These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. It’s been another challenging time this month, and I know we each need some comfort and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to the unbearable beauty and inevitable pain of our world – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “I do want to create art beyond rage. Rage is a place to begin, but not end. I’m not as wise as my work, but I know if I take the writing deep enough, something larger and greater than myself will flash forth and illuminate me, heal me. I do want to devour my demons—despair, grief, shame, fear—and use them to nourish my art. Otherwise they’ll devour me.” – Sandra Cisneros
  • “We’re all under the same sky and walk the same earth; we’re alive together during the same moment.” – Maxine Hong Kingston
  • “That’s what, to me, carries teams over the top,” Kerr told the sports website Bleacher Report soon after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers. “A lot of teams have talent, and obviously we have great talent. But when that talent is committed to the greater good . . . that takes you over the top.” – Steve Kerr
  • “When researchers studied the gender composition of management teams of the top firms in Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 list, they found that, on average, “female representation in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value.”
  • “Prejudice hurts the health of both targets and (to a different degree) perpetrators. The targets of prejudice experience the well-documented “weathering effect” on their physical and mental health. On the other side, many studies suggest that people who discriminate are at much greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, interracial interactions needn’t be stressful. In many of the same studies, low-prejudice people respond to interracial interactions in ways that are happy and healthy.”
  • “The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy.” – Abraham Maslow
  • “The wound is the place where the light enters you” – Rumi
  • “Thanking is difficult. That’s why most people judge.” – Carl Jung
  • “Life is fragile and short and worth all the loving presence we can bring to it.” – Rebecca Kushins
  • ”Racism is a heart disease. How we think and respond is at the core of racial suffering and racial healing. If we cannot think clearly and respond wisely, we will continue to damage the world’s heart.“ – Ruth King
  • “Every choice made has both good and evil results. The best we can do is to intend the good.”
  • “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
  • “If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Desmond Tutu
  • “We find ourselves again upon a time where we will one day utter “how could we have let that happen?” We cannot afford to forget that there is a history of separating children from their parents: during slave auctions; during the forced assimilation of American Indians; and during the Holocaust. The reverberations of these barbaric stains on our history are still felt today and future generations of these original victims will inherit the intergenerational transmission of these traumas. To try and argue that this policy of ripping children from their parents at the border is somehow different from the systematic traumatization of children during the times of slavery, forced assimilation, and the Holocaust is to disregard history. To somehow convince ourselves that this systematic traumatization of children has no bearing on the lives of these children and no impact on the legacy of our country is to be living in an alternate universe. And to not care about the impact these policies have on these children is to succumb to the worst potential of humanity.
    We, the undersigned, implore you to recognize what is at stake when children are taken from their mothers and other attachment figures. As psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and counselors we have a responsibility to report any concern of child maltreatment. This policy of separation is an indefensible violation of children’s civil rights and we uphold our responsibility as mandated reporters to sound the alarm.” – Petition to Stop Border Separations of Children from Parents
  • “In its passivity and resignation, cynicism is a hardening, a calcification of the soul. Hope is a stretching of its ligaments, a limber reach for something greater.” – Maria Popova
  • “When my daughters were born, I made a pledge to them, and to myself, that I would do everything I could to give them some things I didn’t have. And I decided that if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.“ – Barack Obama
  • “I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly is because they sense that once that hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain.“ – James Baldwin
  • “Now a time of change has come.
    We must listen deeply, bear witness, honor everyone, and choose our actions wisely and courageously.
    Do not worry if the Right Action is not yet clear to you.
    Wait in the unknowing with mindfulness and a clear heart.
    Soon the right time will come and you will know to stand up.
    I will meet you there.” – Jack Kornfield
  • “Our ideal should be to create something beautiful that did not exist before us.” – Zapotec saying
  • “I started to view caring for my mental health as a revolutionary act, a form of resistance to the forces of oppression that were threatening to extinguish me, a working-class black woman. I come from a legacy of people who fought simply to be and I view my effort to fight my depression as a battle for freedom.” – Sherri Williams, PhD
  • ”In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go.” – Alice Walker
  • “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong, because someday in life, you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires and nourishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

HEART-FULL MOMENTS – May 2018

Reflect on these wise quotes and inspiration…

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

IMG_8538These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. I am happy to share them with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Inspiration of the month: Daniel D. Music. He plays electric violin accompanying several genres of music. Another therapist shared this with me as a suggestion for waiting room music.  I found it to be passionate, soulful and inspirational to listen to while working on a creative project. He’ll help you get your work done with heart and soul. I like his story and how he’s putting himself out there, and doing good in the world.  Check him out here.
  • “Ultimately, I decided that my role as a therapist is both to support the individual (who has said something racist) and to support a greater good. These are inseparable to me. Partly because racism and other kinds of oppression are also harmful to the oppressor. So by not pointing out problematic thinking on the part of my client in regards to their blind spots when it comes to race and privilege, I’m not supporting their healing and growth.“ – Lily Sloane
  • “Walls turned sideways are bridges.” – Angela Davis
  • “When you listen generously to people they can hear the truth in themselves, often for the first time.” – Rachel Naomi Remen
  • “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.“ – Elizabeth Kubler Ross
  • “If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for.”- Terry Lynn Taylor
  • “Laughter isn’t even the other side of tears. It is tears turned inside out. Truly the suffering is great, here on earth. We blunder along, shredded by our mistakes, bludgeoned by our faults. Not having a clue where the dark path leads us. But on the whole, we stumble along bravely, don’t you think?” – Alice Walker
  • FAITH:
    “Every morning when I was a girl
    my mother would wake me
    with song, the same lilting lyric
    every dawn,
    It’s going to be such a lovely day,
    good morning, good morning I say.
    It sounds too grand to call it ceremony,
    and she would have appeared
    an unlikely celebrant
    in her bathrobe and slippers,
    but she infused this daily ritual with prayer
    and to this day I wake
    certain that the world
    will have beauty in it
    and certain that I will find it—
    this the most beautiful gift
    any mother could give.” – POEM by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
  • “If I could summarize nonviolence in one word, it would be: patience.” – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
  • “Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control.” – Kelly McGonigal
  • “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” – Wangari Maathai
  • “Beauty seen makes the one who sees it more beautiful.” – Br. David Steindl Rast
  • “The human spirit must sometimes take wings or sails, and create something that is not just utilitarian or commonplace.” -Queen Elizabeth II
  • “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
  • “You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison
  • “If you wish to heal your sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of others. They are looking to you for guidance, help, courage, strength, understanding, and for assurance. Most of all, they are looking to you for love.” – Ana Castillo

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with wisdom and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires and nourishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

I had a talk with Michelle Obama the other day…

Uplift and Mindfulness with Michelle Obama

michelle Obama and mindfulness, inspiration

I had a talk with Michelle Obama the other day… Well, me and about 20,000 other people…

I had the privilege to hear Michelle Obama’s speech the other night. I was in definite need of some uplift after a hard week at work, and being present to some very painful struggles, and experiencing some community tragedies and personal sorrows.

I lacked energy; was de-motivated to keep on keeping on. I didn’t want to have to do anything. It all felt so hard and interminable.

Of course, everything I heard in the news seemed to reaffirm how hard things are right now, for so many. How more and more of the things we’ve counted on or treated as sacred, are being threatened or taken away.

The worst part about this is that it seems that there’s no real reflection, or thoughtfulness or deep consideration going on, by the leaders, as they make these broad and divisive changes.

I am happy to report that indeed Michelle Obama is a thoughtful thinker about herself and about the world we live in. It was so uplifting to hear her share her thoughts, warmth, compassion about our plight. And to hear how hopeful she is. And authentic, and true to herself. And mindful. No surprise there actually. She did not disappoint.

Here is some of the mindful wisdom I got from her, the other night when we were chatting 😊:

1) Be proud of who you are.

I was reminded by her to be proud of who I am. Accept my story; be comfortable with it. Don’t apologize for my background, even if there are things I might have been ashamed of or embarrassed about in my background (inferiority; feeling like I don’t belong; living in a neighborhood not as affluent as my peers’; being different culturally and ethnically; being on “scholarship“ so I could attend a private school, etc.).

She encouraged us to be comfortable in the story that is US, and to be proud of that struggle that helped create us. And to practice and speak that voice from early on, by being authentic.

Owning what we come from is empowering, and helps to give us a seat at the table.

2) High points in life have more to do with experiences with people than with achievements.

Michelle talked about some true highlights she’d had while being the First Lady – all of them had to do with kids and young people, and her experiences with them.

She and Barack tried to bring cultural events to the White House that ordinarily would not have been seen there. At one spoken word event in the White House, a young man showed up, ready to perform his rap about Alexander Hamilton. Her and Barack Obama said “OK“ with slightly raised eyebrows but then once they heard him, they were impressed. They asked what he was going to do next. He said “I’m going to produce a whole Broadway musical about him“. Michelle and Barack were skeptical and raised their eyebrows again and said “OK… Well good luck with that…“ His name was Lin Manuel Miranda! She had been deeply impressed and touched by his enthusiasm, commitment, and determination. This was definitely a highlight in her time at the White House.

Of course, there were some very, very low moments too, while in office, that also had to do with young people. She wept to have to console so many parents and loved ones of children or young people who had been senselessly shot. It was hard enough to be present to Gold Star families who had lost a family member in the military, but to have to console hard-working parents who had simply sent their children off to school that day, only to lose them – was beyond unbearable.

All she could do was to attempt to be there for them. She talked about taking her self out of the equation; not being there for herself, but being there completely for them. Giving a hug and trying to identify with their plight, even though she knew in her heart how impossible that task was.

3) Parenting requires consistency, stability and a lot of love.

Kids are resilient. They can smell out inauthenticity. They need to be taught how to face their struggles, and that life isn’t always fair or easy. She works with kids who are beating the odds every day. They may start out behind, but still have great capacity to thrive.

Parents help raise good kids by having common sense, a hard work ethic, being practical, sharing lessons of how to handle money, not complaining, working hard, being accountable; rather than by doing all the hard work for their kids or not letting them make mistakes, and certainly not by giving them everything. And Parents need lots of support while they raise those kids. She underlined that there is no shame in asking for help.

She repeated several times how many good decent hard-working people there are out there – not being greedy and trying to get rich, but just intent on raising their kids and enjoying their time with them, providing a good family life and caring for family members in the community we live in. She emphasized that THAT is our foundation in America.

4) Sometimes supporting your loved one is more important than doing what you want…

She didn’t want Barack to run for office because she thought it would be too hard on him and on their family, and on her. She grappled with this and decided it was actually better for her and her family, to be a supportive wife rather than resentful that he was doing something she never wanted. (She also really didn’t  think he would win – couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of that – so she imagined she would be able to be a consoling and compassionate wife to him!)

Once he did win, though, she decided to embrace it and was very thoughtful about her and his position – and the position her children were in. She had remembered that knowing her husband, he was exactly the kind of person she would want in office. She looked for opportunities to be of service herself, as a way of making those eight years more tolerable for her. Being of service filled her spirit and brought her much meaningfulness, in a challenging time.

5) The best way to deal with challenge is to know yourself. Embrace your disappointments. Discover your passions.

She reminded us that women are generally very good at taking care of others but may not always do a good job of taking care of ourselves. She emphasized the importance of having a supportive community and the importance especially for professional women (of color) to support each other, so we can bring more like us to the table.

Leaning on others and supporting them, helps one to check deeply inside and know what they need. We need to admit to and live with our vulnerability, in order to build our strength. And to really come to know and appreciate who we are.

6) Be encouraged. Really be encouraged and have hope.

In this dark time, there are many many, everyday and everywhere, good people, who are working hard and speaking up, mindful of their values; taking care of themselves and their families; doing the right thing. These people are making a grand difference in the world and working on making it a better place for us all. Be of service. Be positive energy in someone’s life. Be empathic and have compassion. That’s something we can all do. And that’s something lots of people are doing.

Michelle Obama shared her warm wisdom with a Coliseum full of people. It felt like we were sitting together in my living room, being authentic, sharing stories and giving inspiration. She demonstrated her mindful presence, reflection and thoughtfulness about living life and using her self as a tool to spread kindness and good things in the world.

When we hugged and said goodbye, I felt uplifted. And I was reminded of how much I miss her soul and heart in the White House.

Thank you Michelle, for having a little chat with me – a hopeful and compassionate heart-to-heart. Thank you for all the listening and caring that you do – and for being so mindfully present and real about it all…

If you or someone you care about needs help to find the uplift in life, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445