Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Opalescent Experience

Monday marked the total end of an era for me. Over thirteen years ago I married Charles Grimsby. I have carried the weight of the “GRIM”-sby name for that long. When we were finally divorced in May of 2010, I had the chance to change my name, but the timing was totally off for me as I was headlong into the Next Top Author contest. I put a name change on my wish list, knowing the right time would become clear. That time is NOW!

As I contemplated changing my name, I knew I wanted to pick something that clearly reflected the essence of who I am. I scoured my mind for memories of the most significant experiences in my life. I came up with pages and pages of notes, leading me to wonder if anyone ever wrote their memoir as a series. LOL!!

One of the most transformative experiences of my life happened sitting in the Reading Room, as my kids called it, in the big old farmhouse where we lived for years. I had recently attended a workshop in North Caroline with Drunvalo Melchizadek. While there, I met someone who told me to get my hands on a set of cassette tapes (YES, it was years ago.) about remote viewing. Upon returning, I got them. One day, I decided to listen to a tape before starting to make dinner. It was a weird time of the day to do any meditative type exercise, but at least I wouldn’t fall asleep like I sometimes did after dinner.

I believe it was the 2nd time I listened to the first tape. I totally ‘went out,’ not even hearing the guided meditation. As I did, I was instantly surrounded by white, as if walking in a thick, puffy cloud; a timeless, formless, eternal, space. I was without a body. There was nothing there except for shiny, sparkly, little flecks of color which reminded me of floating inside of an Opal. It was impossible to tell if I was moving because there was nothing else present with which to measure any movement, no body, no objects, no people, not even “me.”

As soon as I realized that, the sound of something akin to waves began rushing into my head. It was then I felt a powerful energy hit my chest in a completely tangible, palpable manner. Wave after wave of the most delightful, completely loving, omniscient, Divine energy crashed into my body. Today, even the mere thought of this energy brings tears to me. I have only on rare occasion experienced anything anywhere close to that and all I can say is that those experiences were not in the 3D realm either.

I’ve come to refer to this as my “Opalescent Experience” and can find no other manner to describe or explain it. All I can offer each and every one of you right now is this: There is a force of Love out there so strong and so overwhelmingly powerful and all encompassing that I cannot even begin to describe its magnitude.

I carry the experience of this power deep within my Soul. As a way of reminding myself that THIS is what life is really about, I have changed my name to:

Gina Maria Opalescent.

WITH OPALESCENT LOVE,
Gina Maria

Monday, April 4, 2011

LIVING FULLY

Every single day in my life is so richly full. At every turn, with every breath, in each moment, life itself flows with such beauty, strength and passion, I find it hard to explain.

While working, on the phone with clients who are parents of children with disabilities attempting to advocate for their children in situations that could easily be viewed as grim, I help them figure out possibilities, methods and tools for cooperation and collaboration with schools, as together we brainstorm multitudes of options in an attempt to work with the system. The creative ideas and inspiration we feed each other astounds me on call after call, as I am filled with the sensation that the ideas and creative possibilities that occur to me are much larger than I myself ever could be.

In my personal life, as I get ideas of places, people or things I’d like to pursue, day after day, I watch pieces fall into place. At times, seemingly impossible yet deeply desired experiences come together easily and gracefully, step by step.

People appear, connections are made, more ideas pop into my Heart and Soul. I have visions of where I’d love to go, but I guess I’m wise enough to know the road bends, turns and swerves sharply at times, contributing to the adventure and keeping my eyes, ears and Heart open enough to the space of Infinite Possibility.

Tonight I spent a few hours with my son, Rodrigo, while driving and listening to music, and to him talk of Phrygian dominant, modes, diminished seventh chords, harmonics, unusual chord sequences…. His burning passion and understanding is clear, and while I don’t understand half of it theoretically, intuitively, I follow closely. Our time and conversations are accompanied by abundant, hysterical laughing and tears, as together we tag team quips and lines which perhaps someday will be shared.

Upon arriving home, I found this overwhelming beautiful TED talk by Eric Whitacre summing up the deep feeling of connection and fullness many of us desire to share. http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_whitacre_a_virtual_choir_2_000_voices_strong.html

This short video truly represents the degree of intensity, passion and connection with which I live. I had to pause it within the first two minutes I was laughing so hard, as Mr. Whitacre reminds me of my son.

Eric’s talk, the work I am now doing, and my son’s passion remind me that holding back, slowing down or giving ourselves over to doubt or fear are only ways in which we can seriously deny the opportunities available to live more authentically and honestly in the vast Divine potential that exists within each of us. I say, “Stretch, grow and allow yourself to brilliantly shine in all the grace and glory that you are.”

I wish for each of you, a fully lived live!!

BLESSINGS BEYOND BORDERS(C),

Gina Villa-Grimsby
PS More tomorrow!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Archetypes at Work

I just finished my 2nd week working as a Parent Information Specialist for WI FACETS Parent Training and Information Center grant. PTICs exist across the country. I help parents of children with disabilities navigate the Sp. Ed. system. There is a ton to know, we cover all disabilities and rarely do we get 2 calls that are the same.

In 2 weeks I’ve made over 65 contacts with parents, professionals who support them, other agencies, other advocates, been in on several training sessions attended a weekend workshop specifically on transitioning from high school to post secondary or work-related environments. That workshop was with my son, after all, I got involved with the disability community as an advocate for him.

While still very difficult to significantly measure after only two weeks, some of the principal themes that run through many of the conversational fall into one of several categories:

- Information – in which parents have specific questions as to how this whole systems works or want specific information regarding a specific disability. These calls are relatively easy, as we have an abundant supply of resources from either national organizations or specific local groups to which I can refer them.

- Training – Parents call with questions regarding an aspect of the system with which they will most likely be dealing for a number of years. In these cases, we not only provide information materials, but also direct them to the vast webinar trainings we provide.

- Support – Some parents just need support. They need someone else who can hear them, someone who is able to listen carefully and offer feedback, if asked, so they know they are on the ‘right’ track. Some like to hear another parent’s experiences, or they just want to know they aren’t losing their minds.

- Procedural – There are many, many, many steps, procedures and measures that must be taken to ensure that student and parent’s rights are being properly upheld. This is the area where things can get quite sticky. Everything required is clearly spelled out by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), WI statutes etc. Yet, sometimes things just don’t go the way they are ‘supposed to’ go.

After yet another conversation with a father regarding a situation in the third category above, it suddenly hit me, the Archetypal parts of me that have been super activated in this position are:

- The compassionate Scholar/Student/Guide, as I help teach others, learn a ton myself, and Guide parents to what they need for their children and themselves.

- The Networker, as I tap into and pass on information from other service providers, local, state and national agencies, support groups and a lengthy and growing etc.

- My Liberator/Alchemist/Mystic is in constant contact, as I get strong intuitive hits on how to handle situations and read people even in phone conversations.

- Finally, most undoubtedly, the Judge, as I continually call others to Integrity so things function according to the plan. This is difficult part as I wish I could just wave a magic wand. It isn’t quite that easy. Still,I have never given up yet and encourage parents not to either!!


If you want more information or know of someone who could use this, go to http://wifacets.org



BLESSINGS BEYOND BORDERS©,



Gina

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Same Book, New Chapter

Straight from headquarters, now it is official!!

Life has taken an amazingly wonderful turn, FINALLY!!! I am wrapping up just a few loose ends from prior ‘unfinished business,’ after that, it is no holds barred!!!

While there is a learning curve to my new position, I am overjoyed about being able to fulfill this role in service to education and to people who are differently abled and to making a difference.

For Immediate Release:


Villa-Grimsby to Serve as WI FACETS

Parent Information Specialist -

Zone 1

MILWAUKEE, WI USA, March 8, 2011: WI FACETS, a statewide provider of training and support for parents of children with disabilities and professionals who support them, is pleased to announce the hiring of Gina Villa-Grimsby as Parent Information Specialist serving WI FACETS' Statewide Zone 1 covering: Adams, Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juno, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marathon, Marquette, Milwaukee (not city), Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Richland, Rock, Sauk, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Waushara and Wood counties.

Gina served as a long time volunteer parent leader for WI FACETS before assuming her position as Parent Information Zone Specialist at WI FACETS. She has B.A. degrees in Political Science and Spanish, with a minor in Women's Studies and also has her Masters degree in Divinity.

Gina lived in Spain for 15 years and is bilingual in Spanish at a native level. She worked as a Case Manager for a federal Child Abuse Prevention Respite Care program at La Causa, Milwaukee; for UW-Marinette as Program Director for a foreign exchange program run through USAID with George Washington University; and most recently for CESA 8 as a distance learning network Spanish Teacher.

Gina is the parent of a teenage son with autism who also has grant writing experience for the Autism Society of Southeastern WI (ASSEW). That grant was awarded by The Milwaukee Foundation.

"I greatly enjoy helping parents understand what can be, at times, a rather complex and confusing process of dealing with Special Education. I look forward to continuing to serve families with WI FACETS," Villa-Grimsby said, regarding her new role. She added, "As a parent of a young adult with Autism and having a disability myself, I am well aware of the difficulties that both parents of children with disabilities as well as people with disabilities in general face on a daily basis. My mission is to empower parents by giving them options, tools and helpful techniques to assist their children succeed regardless of what type of disability the child may have. I've always been one to focus more on the positive side and see their abilities."

Gina can be reached at Gina@wifacets.org or by calling 877-554-7309.
WI FACETS, Inc. is a non-profit agency founded in 1995. WI FACETS provides statewide training, information and support to children and adults with disabilities, their families and others who support them.
For additional information, please visit: www.wifacets.org or call 1-877-374-0511.

BLESSINGS BEYOND BORDERS©,


Gina

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Are You Courageous?

I share this powerful TED link with you because it spoke so incredibly deeply to my Heart. For about the past year, I have come here sharing my vulnerabilities with courage. I have shared dreams and longings, victories and lessons, my deep yearning for connection, and my ongoing struggle for worthiness and sense of belonging.

There is so incredibly much more to share. I have chapters and chapters of different “adventures” that have not yet completely unfolded to the extent that I am able to share them. If it were up to me, I’d let them rip roar wide open and spill them all, but I always have someone, not even my own still small voice of consciousness, advising me against my Heart’s longing to reveal it all. That is when I sit still and quietly weigh the scales and realize they are right. Then I conclude I need to wait until I’m able to tell WHOLE, COMPLETE, FINISHED stories in order that others may become even more inspired to take similar action, take a stand, and creatively and tenaciously follow through with their own hopes, dreams, intuition, and guidance.

For now, I wish you the courage to really FEEL WORTHY of connection, love, and belonging in spite of your “perceived” imperfection. Dr. BrenĂ© Brown says it beautifully, from the Heart!!



BLESSINGS BEYOND BORDERS©,


Gina Villa-Grimbsy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Click for Clean Water in Cameroon



Not long ago, I attended a workshop on Dream work given by my friend Margaret. She does brilliant dream work, and because she is so amazing, I decided to go. “She is highly intuitive,” is an understatement. During the course of the evening, while people were sharing, she asked a young man from Cameroon, Africa to share his dream. He is known as Farmer Tantoh, (FT). He told his story. I later recorded it to get it right. Here it is.

FT: I was fifteen years old, back in 1996.

Me: Okay.

FT: Yeah, I was a teenager, and my father was very sick, so by then I was in High School, in tenth grade. We were studying about California’s agriculture and water, it caught my instincts and I told my dad, because I had the intuition that he was going to die one day because he was very sick.

I told my father, “I want to study agriculture and environmental protection, because it is going to take me to America one day, and the first place I want to visit in this world is California, USA.” And I wrote on the wall of my room, “California, USA.” Someday I will get to this place.

Me: *Gasps*

FT: Yeah. And my dad told me, “How come? We are poor. We don’t have money. We barely have food. How are you going to get there?” And I told my dad, “Someday I will get there. And I just have to start protecting the soil, planting crops, protecting the environment.” And my dad just told me, “If you believe in yourself, one day you shall get there.” So… So a few months later, he passed away, and that is when I started working hard, every day, keeping my records, writing my stories down, and… And then eleven years later, I was chosen to represent Africa, and the first place they took us to visit was California, USA, where I had dreamed of visiting and what I had written on the wall. And that was eleven years later.

Me: *nearly in tears* That is the most beautiful, moving story.

Today, Tantoh is studying in Green Bay, WI and has become involved in a very important competition which would provide another well in an area of the world in which people are walking seven (7) miles to get water.

Farmer Tantoh founded and currently coordinates the Save Your Future Association (SYFA; www.africasyfa.org). His project would provide Nkambe, a village in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, with a well. It is a rural region of Africa where the World Health Organization estimates that only 44% of the population has access to clean, reliable water. The rest of the province's 1.2 million inhabitants drink from streams and lakes polluted with human and animal waste.

To make a difference in many lives, just click http://bit.ly/ClickCleanWater Once you see the picture, look at the blue box on the right. If it says vote received, refresh the page. PLEASE, vote once a day until March 22.

Farmer Tantoh represents a beam of Hope for his country. Soon he will return there. Today, his biggest dream is to win this competition. Just Click for Clean Water in Cameroon. It is that easy!!

BLESSINGS BEYOND BORDERS©,


Gina Villa-Grimsby

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank you unionized workers of Wisconsin!

I'm betting most readers do not know I am a Political Science major from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where we are experiencing crazy times.

Fortunately, it is happening in WI where Governor Walker has awoken a sleeping giant. Imagine if this had happened in a state with no tradition in grass roots movements! I guess that is just my Optimystic Ride going out, again!!!

In this sense, I truly believe that this is the beginning of a movement to change our vision from a "traditional" corporate one to a more unified, compassionate, global ideal with a greater sense of oneness.

Here is a letter that landed in my Inbox. I like Ms. Greenhaw's perspective so much, I asked for permission to repost:

Today, I write a letter of thanks.

Wisconsin union workers have stood up to resist Governor Walker's legislation that would eliminate bargaining rights for unionized state workers in Wisconsin.

However, a lesser known provision of the bill would put Medicaid in jeopardy. This bill would allow the governor to make changes to Medicaid with no public input.

My daughter has autism. Four years ago, through the Wisconsin Autism Waiver, my daughter began intensive in-home therapy. At the time my daughter began her program, she had lost 90% of her language, and was reduced to about 10 words that she could routinely access.

My husband and I were devastated. We had no idea what the future would hold for us, and we were unsure of whether my daughter would ever be able to answer simple "yes" or "no" questions, go to school with kids her age, or even be potty trained.

Today, my daughter is nine. She is an articulate, smart, funny girl. Thanks to Wisconsin's federal autism waiver funding, my daughter was able to access services that allowed us to get early intervention services that has made all the difference in our lives. Children that receive these services are less likely to need intensive services throughout their life, and today, the hope is that my daughter will be able to go on to lead a happy, independent life. Without Wisconsin's autism waiver, these options would have never been available to us, and undoubtedly, my daughter would have required intensive services throughout her entire life.

Wisconsin has been experiencing tremendous upheaval this week as a result of union demonstrations objecting to legislation by Governor Scott Walker that would eliminate their right to collective bargaining. Another little known impact of the legislation, however, is a provision that would allow Walker to make sweeping changes to Medicaid policy that would impact children like my daughter.

Walker has made his intentions to make deep Medicaid cuts clear. Walker appointed Dennis Smith to lead the Department of Health Services. Smith made his name writing articles encouraging states to drop out of the federal Medicaid program.

What would that mean for children with disabilities? Medicaid provides states with funding to provide coverage for certain populations, such as those with disabilities. In exchange for the funding, the states agree to provide coverage to vulnerable populations within their states.

Smith's writing urges states to forgo Medicaid funding, allowing states to eliminate programs for these vulnerable populations. Smith argues that dropping coverage for people like my daughter could save states considerable amounts of money, and urges states to leave Medicaid.

What Smith's writings fail to acknowledge, however, is the immense benefit that programs for vulnerable populations ultimately provide to states. My daughter, as the result of receiving early intervention services, will ultimately be much more independent. In fact, Harvard Business School estimates that individuals with autism who receive early intervention services are likely to cost 3.2 million dollars less over their lifetime than those without them.

The disability community has fought hard in the past for benefits for our children, but in this fight, without the immense contribution of the labor community, this legislation would have undoubtedly been already enacted.

We in the disability community have a shared interest with the labor community in defeating this sweeping, unprecedented legislation. I'm not sure how things will turn out, but without the support of labor, it is unclear that the 14 Democratic legislators would have left the state. Their absence has prevented this bill from passage and has bought some time for us to work hard to defeat this bill.

I would like to thank all of the protesters who have come out to defeat Walker's budget amendment. People with disabilities and their families have enough to worry about just trying to make it through each day, without having to worry about whether they will have Medicaid coverage.

So thank you, Wisconsin state unions!

Sincerely,
Rhonda J. Greenhaw
Germantown, Wisconsin



BLESSINGS WITHOUT BORDERS©,

Gina Villa-Grimsby