There are times in our lives where events, that are often traumatic, lead us to want to “wrap things up” and put a bow on them. Senseless deaths or murders, such as school shootings or other acts of violence leave us grasping for understanding. Yesterday, I was almost involved in an accident in which there was a fatality. Hours after the Adrenalin wore off, I sat in silence as the various images raced through my mind. The speed at which the images flashed began to crescendo, and it was then that I realized that this was not my mystery to solve. It is not my place to make sense of it all. Instead, it is my place to do what I can to help others out. It is my place to be the best I can be in these situations that test my faith. My “small mind” cannot grasp the big picture here (nor anywhere, it seems). This realization has lead me to re-examine how I am living my own life. I’m asking myself: where am I unhappy? Where do I need to shift my focus to allow more joy? Where do I take life (way, way, way) too seriously? With these new thoughts in mind, I am beginning to mentally redesign how I view my life: it’s time to really appreciate all that I do have and to laugh more. A lot more. May you be well. May you find more joy today in the simple things. Namaste
Back in January, I posted Changing Money Strategies, a post that was out of my comfort zone at the time. Since then, I’ve made some significant shifts that have helped me to improve my credit score and reduce my debt load. Being that many healers have hang-ups about financial issues and “net worth,” I felt it may be helpful to share what I’ve learned.
New Mental Outlook: Helpful and not Initially Required
Prior to the work I did leading up to the “Changing Money Strategies” post, I believed that I did not have enough money. It was a constant thought process on my mind. In making the shifts that I outlined, I now feel far more comfortable with my income and how I choose to spend it. It is in our discomfort and fear that we make choices based in fear. When our minds and hearts are open, we can make choices that are more aligned with our big- and small-picture desires.
Consider a Personal Loan for Debt Consolidation – even at a high interest rate. Here’s why:
Taking out a personal loan to consolidate my debt was one of the best choices I could have made. While the interest rate was high, and caused a lump in my throat at 16.99%, it was still lower than the ones on the credit cards. In moving the debt from the higher interest cards and to the personal loan, I lowered the amount of money that was being paid to the lender while paying more to the principal. An additional bonus, which I did not expect (again, I was non-financially minded) was that this also helped to improve my credit score tremendously and nearly overnight.
Credit Score Factors
When credit bureaus calculate your credit score, they use several factors. One involves the percentage of credit utilization on credit cards. Basically, we get “dinged” harder for credit on cards versus on loans because the higher the amount of money on credit cards, the lower your credit score.
Credit Bureaus also look at the percentage of your available credit that you are actually using. After I found this out, I left my credit card accounts open instead of closing them. This helped to bump my score up, too. Note: This can be tricky! The temptation may be to use your cards, so if you know you’ll just run up the credit again – it may be best to close the accounts as you pay them off.
With these strategies, my credit score rose 76 points between December 2017 and February 2018, just by shifting the majority of my debt from the credit cards to the personal loan. Seven months later and my credit score has risen by 117 points, putting me in the “Good” category!
These shifts were very fruitful for me, as I am now approved for a new personal loan with a <6% interest rate (>10-percentage points less than the January loan), and with a lower monthly payment and a shorter term. Though my score may drop next month due to getting “dinged” by both a new loan and the credit checks, in the long-run this will help me to pay my debt down faster!
Personal Loan Payments: How & When
During the last 6 months, I also paid as much to my personal loan as I could each month; adding on extra funds when I had windfalls AND paying early when I could, too – as the interest accrued was reduced when I made earlier and larger payments.
While I still have a bit of time before I am “out of the woods,” I am in a much better place now financially than I was just half a year ago. Now, I am allowing myself to begin dreaming about home ownership again; it’s on my horizon at least – something I really wasn’t even able to think of just a few months back.
I’m hopeful that this information will help those of us who also struggle with the fears of financial burdens and decision-making. Prior to January, I was feeling helpless and hopeless. These shifts have been a game-changer!
Mom, Physical Therapist, Healer, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Woman, Ex-Wife, Ex-Girlfriend, Employee, Student, Blogger, Breather, Investor, Borrower, Tenant, Driver, Consumer, etc, etc, etc.
We can have so many roles that at times we lose site of who we truly are. Each of us can have multiple labels that come with different and sometimes complicated and conflicting expectations. Sometimes these roles come to define our identity and then we lose ourselves in living up to unrealistic expectations. Why do we do this? To meet the expectations of others, living and not, and some of these expectations are often only in our minds.
In allowing these identities to define us, we lose personal freedom while we gain a false-sense of security. We then find ourselves needing to defend this false sense of self, less someone begins to see the cracks in the walls or the foundation. Separation from others deepens as we lose ourselves to the facade – to the mask – of who we want the world to see. We become trapped in our own self-created prisons; the place we created to protect ourselves now keeps us from true experiences.
In this place we avoid following our hearts’ desires and instead we find ourselves stuck on the paths we believe we’re supposed to follow. How does this serve us? We believe that by following the preset path that we will be more safe, that our survival will be more properly preserved. Yet on the inside we’re dying from misery of living below our unique abilities.
Each of us is here for a unique purpose. When we cage ourselves, we are much like the lion in the zoo whose pride (literally and figuratively) is taken away. He is unable to follow his instincts and roam as he may. Instead he treads the same paths, dreaming of running across open savanna’s. (what is your heart’s dream?) Unlike the caged lion, we can choose differently. We can choose to break free of the false identities, the roles in which we play.
So when will you choose happiness, breaking free of the false-identities? When will you choose to follow the whispering of your heart, your soul unleashed?
What I’m talking about here is happiness without condition. What happens in our lives can shape us or break us. Even the heartaches and struggles are here so that we can choose our values, our path, our perspectives. Strength is built by doing and by choosing to “level up” and be our greatest selves. When we place conditions on our love, on our happiness, both cease to exist.
If not now, then when? When will you listen to the whisperings of a soul ready to be unleashed?
Emotional freedom comes from repeatedly choosing to observe our emotions and thoughts objectively; as a witness would. Otherwise, our thoughts and emotions rule us or we attempt to rule and suppress them (and then they eventually pop up again, either in obvious or secretive ways).
The phrase ‘repeatedly choosing’ is also important here. Just as we require routine activities to keep our homes and bodies in order, our emotional landscape requires continual upkeep. Also, it is our will to do the work or to ignore it and allow the emotional or thought “weeds” to grow; hence our need to choose.
It is when we decide that the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go that we can grow; when we can allow life and healing to truly unfold. It is our will that keeps us from letting go. When we hold onto what has past, we cannot open our hands to allow the present to fully unfold.
In these ways, emotional freedom is ours to choose. Witness what you think, what you feel, as if you were watching a movie. You will find that the more you practice this, the easier it becomes to detach and move forward into acceptance, into allowing and recognizing the impermanence of what we think, feel and even do. These are the keys to emotional freedom.
PS Fear not! You will still have emotions! They just will cease to consume, overwhelm and “control” you.
Last summer, I faced my fear of heights by doing a high ropes course. This past weekend I faced my fears of deep water by taking surf lessons. Both experiences were life-changing for me. Instead of being limited by my fears, I became invigorated and more free by facing them, head on. I also had fun while doing it!
There was some prep work for me. Last year I used visualizations a lot in the week before climbing to “see” myself successfully stepping and zipping. The experience was exhilarating and my most feared part, the zips, were also the most fun! My hunger and need for a meal was what lead me to leave…something I hadn’t prepared for!
With the deep water fear, I used EFT tapping more than the visualizations, at least at first. Once I tapped away the bulk of the fear, I was able to use the visualization strategies.
Surfing was also more fun than scary for me. In fact, I’m going back for round 2 in a few weeks when my schedule frees up. A friend even wants to go, as she’s been inspired by my tackling my fear of deep water. Hoping she’s receptive to trying the tapping.
In both instances I was in a somewhat controlled environment. A surf board is a flotation device and there was an instructor there to guide and help me if I had run into trouble. The high ropes course had harnesses and safety features, also with help if I needed it. So while I was facing my fears, I was doing so in a way that helped me to feel somewhat safe.
What are some fears that you have?
What are some fun ways you can face them and free yourself from their grip and enjoy new experiences?
Your confidence and self-respect will thank you!
PS It might be helpful to come up with a reasonable goal for yourself. For instance, my main goal with the surfing was to get over my fear of deep water. If I rode in on a wave or two, that was icing on the cake. So let’s just say my next surfing lessons will have a higher bar! 😉
Anger is an emotion. Emotions are energy designed to move us, to help us to move forward or to teach us something.
Many of us were taught or learned that anger is dangerous, scary and should be avoided at all costs. Anger is like fire… and yes, we do want to avoid being burned, yet think about what would happen if all fire ceased to exist: how would we warm our homes, cook our food or drive our cars? My point here is that not all fire is bad and the same goes for anger.
Anger feels like fire, and it is part of the matrix of passion. Just as fire burns and transforms fuel into movement, we can use our anger as an internal fire to propel us forward; to change.
When we suppress our anger, our internal fire, we suppress our passion. We prevent ourselves from changing, and we stagnate or stay stuck.
Tapping Out on Emotional Overload offers a helpful strategy to help manage anger, or other emotions, that feel excessive or unhelpful.
Again, not all anger is bad. It is our judgment about the feeling and suppressing it or not channeling it into something creative that can be the danger. What we do with our passion, with our anger, and this with our energy is up to us. We can use it, just like fire, to cook food or to burn things down.
- What are you using your passion for today? Or are you keeping it locked up?!
- Or just allowing it to unleash without any creative direction?
- How can you see your emotions differently, allowing them to lead you to your greatness?
Last week a good friend reminded me about the benefits of EFT or “tapping” to help with difficult emotions. Her reminder was perfect timing for me as I was in the throes of coping with a mother load of anger. While I meditate multiple times a times and have other stress-reducing self-care routines, the erupting volcano required more than my “usual” self-care and meditation to manage.
I’ve had used EFT in the past and each time I’ve found it to be incredibly transformative. It is my hope that you will find some use to this technique, as it really helps to gain freedom from overwhelming emotions. EFT can also be used to support both the development and reinforcement of positive thoughts and habits, too.
Please see the YouTube video below, which has both the following written description as well as a walk-through of the EFT technique.
Before beginning, identify and then rate the intensity level of the emotion you are wanting to change on a scale of 0-10. Then think of how you want to phrase what you are feeling. In the video, my feelings were on anxiety and nervousness.
Here is the initial phrase you use while rubbing your chest:
Even though I feel this _________________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Repeat this 3 times before the next step.
Then repeat “this __________” on each area while tapping with your index and middle fingers about 7 times each on the:
crown of your head (1 hand)
Under your eyes
Under your nose
On your chin
Under your collarbones
On the bottom of your ribcage
(Personally, I run through the tapping part 3 -4 times before I reassess.)
Now, assess the emotional level and determine if you need to repeat the tapping sequence from the top.
Feel free to experiment and see what unwanted feelings you can tap away. Sometimes being more specific can help clear more thoroughly.
May this technique help you to find a greater sense of peace within.
Namaste & Happy Tapping
(I’m still working on the thumbnail frames. Mobile app isn’t as friendly lol)
The shifts from this week have lead to me to the awareness of a significant amount of suppressed anger and sadness. While the events that lead to this awareness were seemingly innocuous, they did their job in uncovering the hidden well of emotions. It was in giving myself permission to feel my emotions that the well was tapped.
Sorting through the initial upwelling, I saw patterns emerge. Boundary violations, perceived indiscretions and abandonment were common threads. Digging deeper I found that the Golden thread in each of these scenarios was myself. As I felt this, I literally hit my bed. I gave myself permission to have a good ol’ fashioned temper tantrum.
In round two of my delving, I found that pure emotion rose up. There were not as many memories or images or impressions to go along with the anger, sadness and grief that I felt. It was just plain raw, yet needed to be allowed and felt.
Walking through as much as I could, I was breathing easier once again. And after releasing the feelings to my Higher Power, I slept somewhat restlessly.
The next morning I felt off center and while the horizons within were expanded, the edges still felt serrated. Sitting in meditation helped, where I also prayed and turned things over again. EFT was a tremendous blessing. If you struggle with difficult emotions or health issues I highly recommend learning about tapping!
Lessons learned about anger:
- My anger is my responsibility. The stories I tell myself about why I’m angry only keep me stuck in it.
- Judgment about anger can be more damaging than the emotion itself. By judging we often try to suppress what we’re feeling.
- Suppressing anger is like compressing a spring. It may make the anger seem smaller, and this is only temporary. Eventually it’s going to spring back up.
- Foods I like to eat when I’m angry are chewy or gummy, like gum or gummy bears. When I’m frustrated I like crunchy, like chips. These are warning signs that I’m suppressing, as is forceful sighing. Oh, and impatience at the littlest things…
- Anger is the fuel for change. It can transform us into vehicles for positive changes as anger is part of the spark behind our passions. If we were happy about everything we wouldn’t want to change it nor would we be motivated to do so.
- Anger can show us where a boundary has been violated.
- The one person for whom I hold the most anger and unforgiveness is myself.
- Giving ourselves permission to feel angry and being willing to forgive ourselves and any other trespassers will help get us unstuck.
- Being angry and acting on that anger are two separate things, if we allow it to be.
- Letting go and letting our Higher Power step in can be a tremendous relief. Asking for the situation or our perspective to change gives our Higher Power permission to act.
- Holding onto anger only truly hurts the one holding it (meaning it only hurts me when I am holding onto or suppressing it).
- Suppressed anger can separate and prevent feeling love or compassion for oneself or even another; this keeps us further separated.
- Forgiveness and gratitude also help to unlock the gripping effects of suppressed anger. They open our hearts and shine light on the situation.
For me, anger was something I saw as scary, overwhelming and dangerous growing up. It was easier to suppress it than to feel or show it. I also believe that I was socialized to believe that anger wasn’t an acceptable emotion. Now I see how much it hurts me to hold it in, and how it keeps me stuck.
By allowing my anger, without judging or suppressing it, I give myself permission to change my perspectives, my life circumstances and to follow the path of my life purpose; my passion.
A good friend shared a fantastic paradigm shift with me today. To see myself as a superhuman who is able to act (and feel) in no set particular way. It’s okay to make mistakes! That’s how we learn…and teach.
May you begin to find some peace today in allowing your anger. Emotions are energy, they are here to help us to move and be moved. When we judge and suppress them, we set ourselves up for dis-ease. Let’s change that, shall we?!
Please seek professional help if your inclination is to harm yourself or others.
Just as the tides ebb and flow, life is meant to move so that we can grow. When the sands beneath your feet begin to shift, what do you do?
Do you tighten your grip?
Do you let go and trust?
If you’re like me, the first thing you want to do is to dig in, deep. However, with time, I’m learning to relax my grip sooner rather than later; allowing the tides to shift without getting all bent.
What I’m beginning to see, again and again, is that regardless of my fear and gripping that changes unfold accordingly. So what is the purpose of holding on to something I cannot truly influence, anyway?!
Being grounded and being present are helpful when sudden shifts hit. Feeling into the body, any physical sensations can help you to be more present.
Ongoing resilience can be built through meditation and allowing of emotions. While these strategies do not change the life circumstances per se, they can help us to be more flexible when the shifts occur. With greater resilience, we learn to gain trust and grip less.
Just as light, sound and water travel in waves, in life we have ups and downs as a natural ebb and flow of our energies. We will move or be moved. The sands beneath our feet will shift. How we choose to respond can affect how well we shift into the emerging energies. So will you fight it or allow it?