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Jesica Hanley Vega

Sing Your Song

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personal growth

What Reveals The Fire Within You?

fire transforms
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

For years, I’ve been curious about what inspires people to take on change and make it stick. Overall, I’ve concluded that they are either inspired by something bigger than themselves or have experienced a major life transition that caused them to reassess everything.

Unless one of these two things is at work, it’s unlikely to have the vision or tenacity required to get outside the box and create something genuinely new in life.

While at The Hive last month, I was struck by how many stories I heard in which the loss of a parent or loved one inspired a new commitment to activism or social entrepreneurship. Through my private practice and work with Retreats With Heart, I’ve also seen divorce, illness and children leaving the nest also inspire people to take on new, more meaningful chapters of their lives.

If we look closely enough and get present to our experiences, we can always find the inner fires of purpose burning. But too often we’re distracted by the routines of daily life to take the time. Life transitions force us to take those closer looks, to ask the questions and seek the answers we’ve avoided. They strip us of attachments to thought and action and leave us raw, vulnerable and face to face with what really matters to us.

And yet, we don’t have to wait for tragedy to strike or years to pass. Life is not only short, but our planet is in crisis and needs your fire: to burn away what is dried out as well as to fuel new ways of living in our world. Whether you’re in the middle of a transition or already feeling the blaze within, my purpose is to support you in profoundly connecting to yourself and your work, so that your life becomes an expression of what matters most.

Registration is now open for my October 3 event at Retreats With Heart. Entitled Aligning With Your Inspiration, this one day workshop will get you connected to the desires that really matter to you, and give you the tools to fulfill them right now.

Is Holding A Grudge Holding You Back?

IMG_1415When you don’t forgive you release all the chemicals of the stress response…Each time you react, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine enter the body. When it’s a chronic grudge, you could think about it twenty times a day, and those chemicals limit creativity, they limit problem-solving. Cortisol and norepinephrine cause your brain to enter what we call ‘the no- thinking zone,’ and over time, they lead you to feel helpless and like a victim. When you forgive, you wipe all of that clean. (Read more about the science of forgiveness…)

I read this passage today and was reminded that forgiveness is one of the fundamental principles on  which Stephanie, Margo and I have based our workshops and retreats.

In my work, I’ve found that the things that hold us back in life are often not what we think they are.  Lack of forgiveness is often one of those things. Consider the above quote; if holding a grudge puts you into a  “no-thinking zone,” in which you habitually feel like a helpless victim, how might that state of mind affect the capacity to fulfill your dreams?

The greatest teachings I ever received about forgiveness come from teacher and healer Caroline Myss*. She has written that forgiveness is the greatest thing we can do for ourselves. By freeing us from the bondage of our most deeply held stressors, forgiveness frees us to not be victims, it frees us to be creative and it frees us to create a life that is in alignment with our inspirations.

Join us on October 3 for our next workshop: Aligning With Your Inspiration. During this one-day event, you will not only discover the internal obstacles to your dreams but also how to put them aside, and create a life of authenticity, joy and creativity.

REGISTER NOW It’s only $149 for a full day of relaxation, growth and delicious, healthy food.

*For more on forgiveness, check out Invisible Acts of Power by Caroline Myss.

Cocktail Chatter: The Introverts Edition

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Thanks to this “Glory of Amlwch” bush, I shifted from anxiety to peace in a matter of seconds.

If you’re like me, when you look out on a sea of strangers – shaking hands, making cocktail chatter, and exchanging cards – you break into a cold sweat. Almost four years ago, I fled the stresses and social intensity of life in Los Angeles for a simpler existence on the shores of Puget Sound.

It suits me in the Pacific Northwest, and living so closely to the natural world has instilled a confidence and sense of self that eluded me for many years. Living here, I’ve also rediscovered the desire to inspire others that once led me to be a filmmaker. But isolation has also distanced me from my peers, and the desire to close that gap inspired my pilgrimage to The Hive.

Closing that gap was both easier and more challenging than I’d expected. It may not be necessary to say, but I am extremely introverted. I feel comfortable with animals, plants, intimate exchanges and meaningful conversation, but don’t fare as well with the kind of small talk necessary at a conference or crowded party. So there I was, in this environment of openness and excitement, knowing I was among the very people I wanted to talk to…and yet often feeling incapable of establishing the connections I sought. But here’s what I realized…

You ARE your contribution. When I remembered how much I care about the world and my commitment to connecting people to themselves and their planet, my interactions were intimate and meaningful, despite the flurry of small talk all around us.

Most people want to be recognized for who they really are and, while there were people with whom I didn’t connect, more often than not – through my commitment – I was able to find a common humanity with people even if we lacked common experience, background or age.

Check in with something that grounds youI’ve been photographing the natural world since I arrived in Washington and nothing soothes my nervous system like being up close and personal with living things. At my most anxious moments, if I could find a blooming thing with which to check in, I was fine. Ultimately, my social courage over the weekend was a testament to the wonders of getting grounded For me the source is flowers, but no matter your method, it’s worth embracing: not just in crowds, but in any stressful circumstance.

In closing, if you also find yourself in a cold sweat when you look out on a sea of strange faces, and prefer almost anything to shaking hands and making cocktail chatter, remember two things: you are a contribution and what is eternal, real and true can be the magic elixir when it comes to introducing yourself. Because, even if you’re an introvert, the next hand you shake may be the one that transforms your world.

A-Buzz

coffee pot
For a long time, espresso has meant home to me. At least for the time being, something else will have to do.

A few weeks prior to heading to San Francisco, I wasn’t feeling my best physically. I was suffering from body aches, my energy levels were erratic, and my appetite wasn’t good. Making my bed more comfortable helped, but I thought I might feel even better if I improved my diet and eliminated coffee

After the initial withdrawal wore off, my energy levels and mood quickly  improved  and my thinking got more clear. I considered the experiment a success and decided to keep going.

And then one day, stuck with nothing to do while my husband discussed alignment with a mechanic at a used tire shop I took a walk. Even before I set out, I knew that if I walked far enough, I would pass Bluebeard Cafe: where I’ve made many pit stops to make a bad day better, where I’ve brought visiting guests to show off my adopted hometown and where they serve the best espresso in Tacoma, 

Even before I could see it, I felt my body pulled towards the familiar entrance. Conditioned to know that pleasure and relief were on the way, my physical excitement mounted and I started to wonder why I’d quit drinking coffee in the first place.

Espresso; it was a bright spot in a bad day, a boring day, an exhausting day or a good day. It  was a guaranteed pleasure, my one daily indulgence and part of my heritage.

But rather than going in, I kept on walking and instead stepped into a healthy tea and herb shop where I found a book called Rumi’s Four Essential Practices. One of those essential practices, I discovered, is fasting.

I’ve never been a dieter and, though I am a spiritual practitioner, I’d never taken on fasting as a spiritual discipline. And yet, without realizing it, in addition to improving my physical condition, my new diet had actually been giving me the opportunity to deepen my relationship to self.

I brought the book with me to San Francisco and was glad I did when the first thing I found upon checking into my room was a gleaming Nespresso maker. In addition to providing an exciting opportunity to join a community of impassioned and accomplished leaders, my weekend at The Hive was clearly going to be a continual challenge to my resolve.

But I kept in mind these words from Rumi, which were a constant reminder that my commitment to hearing my soul was stronger than my commitment to having a buzz.

yesterday you filled your stomach 
with all kinds of bread and foods
you became so sluggish 
so sleepy

what comes of such indulgence?
either recklessness
or the need to go to the toilet

sounds of moans and mourning
come from the soul while fasting
but the only sound that comes after a meal
is a low-pitched rumble from the rear end

so friend
if you want to hear what the soul has to say
then skip the meal;
it you want to hear from the other end
then bring the bowl closer to you

A Garden Of One’s Own

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This quote from Ram Dass expresses how the body, mind and spirit must all be nurtured in order to create optimal circumstancesnot only for ourselves, but for those around us.

My understanding of the way a child grows is that you create the garden, you don’t grow the flower. You can merely fertilize the earth and keep it soft and moist, and then the flower grows as best it can. It’s an interesting one, because people get guilty that they’re not doing enough about their children, and they tend to get caught in this sort of predicament.

You don’t change your wife or your child. You just keep working on yourself until you are such a clean mirror reflection, such a supportive rock of love for all those beings that everybody is free to give up their stuff when they want to give it up – your wife, her anxiety; your child, that habit. You keep creating a space in which people can grow when they’re ready to grow. – RAM DASS

Experiencing “Retreats With Heart” on Friday, April 17

Stephanie, me and Margo
Stephanie, me and Margo

When Stephanie Fisher first asked if I’d be interested in leading a retreat with her, I couldn’t have been more excited. Ever since I worked at The Omega Holistic Studies Institute in upstate New York, leading workshops and retreats had been a dream of mine. Then, when she introduced me to Margo Wade Walsh and her beautiful home in Gig Harbor, the dream got even better.

In addition to weekend workshop/retreats, this month we will be launching the first of a four-part series called Enlighten Up. Each of these daylong events will examine two principles of living a peaceful, joyous life and explore various practices to get you there: including journal writing, art, movement, mindfulness and affirmation. And, as always, a delicious and healthy lunch will be served.

If this sounds good, on Friday April 17 at 7:15 p.m., you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of it for yourself during my FREE one-hour introduction to Retreats With Heart at Good Karma Center For Joy in Tacoma.

It’s one thing to read about what we do or see one of our fliers. It’s another thing to spend some time with us in person and get a feel for what it’s really like to work on opening your heart to a greater experience of joy, peace and connection.

Retreats With Heart was founded to serve women and men who seek to be more connected with themselves and others. Whatever your background or faith, we know that the pressures of daily life take their toll on everyone. We also know how valuable it is to slow down, take a look at how you’re living and, where necessary, make new choices that are more in alignment with what you really want.

With decades of experience between us, Stephanie, Margo and I are devoted to sharing our love and wisdom with the world and doing our part to making it one where all people can lead lives of the greatest power, joy and contribution. If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, come check us out.

  • When: Friday, April 17 at 7:15 p.m.
  • Where: Good Karma Center For Joy, 711 Saint Helens, Tacoma
  • RSVP or Questions: Jesicadavis@retreatswithheart.com

Your Soul Is Calling

IMG_6668My 2014 SOUL CALL was such a success that I will be hosting two FREE introductory calls to the 2015 SOUL CALL on Friday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. & Wednesday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m.

What is a SOUL CALL?

Essentially, it’s a weekly conference call limited to 4 people in which you can explore and share your deepest desires and challenges in a safe and nurturing environment.

  • It’s like talking to your best friends, knowing you could trust them with your life.
  • It’s like having a therapist, spiritual guide and loving aunt all wrapped in one.
  • It’s like being in a workshop, a support group and a class every week where the subject is YOUR LIFE and…
  • It’s an opportunity to discuss the things that are most important to you and closest to your heart without having to leave your home or office.

Most likely, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

RSVP now for a FREE introductory call and see, hear and feel for yourself whether a SOUL CALL is your next step on the journey of personal expansion and spiritual growth.

  • Introductory call #1: Friday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Introductory call #2: Wednesday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m.

To RSVP or receive further information, contact me at: info@jesicadavis.com

Do You Want To Evolve?

IMG_0964The field of coaching, guidance and personal development is a crowded one, full of promises and potential miracles. I get it. The best way to sell anything is to make it seem like an easy path to everything that people want.

But I’ve never been a fan of easy.

Rather than offering silver bullets, my work is about discovering and surpassing your own inner limits. It’s about distinguishing what holds you back and daring to go beyond it. It’s about recognizing some of your most deeply held beliefs and questioning whether they still serve you. It’s about discovering where you’re weak and choosing to become strong.

Doing readings with my clients enables me to address what lies beyond the surface of their stories and their circumstances. Recommending practices to my clients enables them to develop new habits that will help them see beyond as well. Loving my clients enables them to embrace those valuable parts of themselves they once relegated to the shadows.

I love tough, tenacious people. I love people who are so in love with something, so committed to it, that they are willing to let me be the grim reaper cutting down the limitations to which they are attached.

Clearly, my work is not for everybody.

But if you want to evolve, if you see a great reason to do so, a great purpose that will only be fulfilled once you are willing to look at yourself straight and give up your identity in favor of your soul, it may be for you.

Let me help you be the person you know you are inside.

Why Open Your Heart?

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Nothing has convinced me more of the value of our work than the impact it has already had on my life.

Recently, Margo, Stephanie and I have been asking each other the same questions, and guiding each other through the same processes, we will offer participants during our upcoming retreat.

I’ve looked at my own experiences of fear versus love. I’ve asked myself “Who am I that is not my fears or my ego?” And I’ve discovered how following my heart opens up vistas and possibilities unimaginable to my mind.

Doing these practices with such gifted women has altered my understanding of the work I do and the difference it can make. It has also revealed to me how dramatically I cut myself off from relationships and possibilities when I let my mind do all my thinking for me.

One evening, in the midst of this process, I opened up to my husband in a way I rarely have. I’m 45 and, I told him, I’m noticing myself age. In our culture, there’s very little to “look forward to” as a woman who is not youthful, thin or sexy. And yet, I said, I feel these very things approaching: as if the woman I have been is going to be replaced by someone I don’t yet know.

It was surprising enough that I shared these thoughts. But what was even more surprising was how much more authentic and real he became in the following days. As if my own opened heart made it easier for him to explore his own.

It’s not always true that the people in our lives follow our lead as we grow and expand. But by taking the first steps, at least we give them the opportunity. By taking the risk to open our own hearts, we can show others the way and create a ripple effect that touches the entire world.

If that’s not a good enough reason to open your heart, I don’t know what is.

We have two spaces left for next week’s retreat. Is it your time to Come Home To Your Heart? Register online now or email jesicadavis@retreatswithheart.com for more information.

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