REleasing during Mercury REtrograde

People have learned to fear Mercury REtrograde. This is a time when all things with communication and technology can go haywire. Recently, I even read an article about how explosive the topic has been this go ‘round on Twitter. I once feared Mercury REtrogrades myself and now I see them as an opportunity for growth and REnewal.

REtrogrades are a time of REflection, RElease and when the first two parts are allowed, REnewal. During this time, we are being pushed to look inwards and backwards at the things that no longer serve us. Our beliefs, thoughts, actions and habits are all on the witness stand, being thoroughly cross-examined. This can feel like death as it can wreak havoc in our lives, particularly when we fight the flow, as we are questioning many aspects of our lives.

When we understand that this is a time to throw away the rubbish that has been stinking up our lives and our minds, then we can see this as what it is: time to take out the trash! This can be literal, figurative or both. It is our choice.

Personally, I find that when I give permission for the things in my mind (particularly those parts that no longer serve me) to exist that they quickly dissolve. Then my physical life demands that I do the same. In the past 2 weeks I have deeply cleaned and cleared the clutter in my kitchen and living room. It feels truly REfreshing now to be at home in my own home.

I encourage each of us to embrace this time of REview/REflection, RElease and REnewal, instead of focusing on the havoc it seems to create. REtrograde CAN be an awesome opportunity, if we allow it.

Namaste

This morning, I burned a card that detailed the child support that my ex owes me. I release the need to worry about it. This or something better will come my way. Mercury REtrograde, for me today, equals RElease.

Is anger easier to feel than love?

As I drove to work this morning, I noticed my thoughts were honed in on the areas in which I have felt wronged. In fact, looking back further, I see this has been the primary pattern I have held this past week – and beyond. My fist and jaw muscles were clenched while I seemed to hover slightly out of my body. The still, quiet voice within softly whispered, “focus on your heart.” Immediately, I let out a slow, long breath that, before that very moment, I didn’t realize I had been holding onto. I felt the back of my body again, no longer hovering. My muscles softened, appropriately (afterall, I was still driving). In the same moment, I felt the healing glow of my heart light open and warm the restrictions in my throat and stomach.

Within seconds, I saw where I felt so much better just by changing my focus from my grievances to my heart. One of my next thoughts was, “why didn’t I just do this sooner?” I did see where, overnight, I would turn the focus onto myself to see where I was contributing to the problem, AND by doing this, I was still focusing on the problem. Now, my focus was fully on my heart and I felt complete and whole again, where once I had felt completely broken.

After recognizing the internal battle that ensued overnight, I began to ask myself: “is it easier to be angry than it is to love?” Immediately, I began to see where, indeed, our anger helps us to feel justified, gives us the feeling of power and protection. We feel armored, and it also separates and disconnects us from others. In other words, anger keeps us stuck in our own thoughts, actions and habits.

On the other hand, literally, the open hand of love versus the closed fist of anger makes us feel incredibly vulnerable. Love means we are open, to some degree, to whatever is to come.

Anger disconnects and love connects. To feel love and compassion is to see life from someone else’s perspective. Love is scary because it means we need to change how we view the world, ourselves and how we relate to others. Now love doesn’t seem so great now, does it? (just kidding).

Here are some heart meditations that I have practiced this week while working through the muck that a few times threatened to keep me forever stuck. Trust me when I say that pushing away the anger and frustration is like building a bulkhead along the ocean, the waves dig out the sand in front of it and the waves just return bigger and angrier. Here are some strategies to side-step the building up of anger, by opening up the heart light.

Gratitude

Gratitude is such a powerful tool for opening the heart and seeing life from a different perspective. Sometimes the greatest challenge is just beginning. It may be best to start with the basics. The other day I began my list with being grateful for being warm (I don’t like being cold), for my cozy bed (that I was still in at the time), then my home, running water, water heater, my kids, my Jeep, my Job….

Write the list if this helps to solidify things for you. When we focus on the things that ARE going well, it helps us to gain perspective a higher perspective and rise above the things that close our hearts. Gratitude is infectious, be careful! (wink)

Heart Meditations

Imagine the parts of yourself that are hurting, for whatever reason, in bubbles in front of your heart. Remember a time when you felt love, or ask Your Higher Power to give love to these parts of you (in the bubbles). See the bubbles filling with love and see the various part of yourself, within their individual bubbles, transformed. When ready, allow these bubbles to rise up to the heavens, or see them reintegrate with you. Or follow what your heart tells you to do.

This same technique can be used to help someone else who is suffering in some way.

Digging Deeper

What are some ways in which you can each open your heart to a greater depth of love?

How can you tell when you are being closed to others? I personally find that my muscles go into hyperdrive

Where has your focus been this week or what thoughts are you running away from?

The Lessons within The Pain

The pains that we feel are cries for help, attention, and love. These pains are all messengers that something needs to change. While the form may change in that the pain can physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, each form is a lesson left unlocked. What is this pain trying to tell us?

Instead of pushing it away, fighting it, anesthetizing it, can we take a moment to lean into it? Feel it, walk into the fire; the contraction. Feeling into the middle of the source of our pain, we can begin to relax, almost as if we stood in the eye of the storm. Being fully present with this, we begin to feel the grip of the pain begin to loosen. We can then only be transformed. Sometimes the pain needs to be taken in smaller bites. Sometimes it can be taken in all at once.

Our pain has something to teach us. What are we not learning? Rarely does change occur when we are comfortable….

Believer – Imagine Dragons

The Freedom in Breaking Down

Kneeling on the hard concrete patio, there was a chill to the air as dusk began to fall and I quickly scribbled my feelings on dishes using permanent markers. With safety glasses in place, I placed a plate gently inside a small banker’s box. My adrenalin rushed as I tightly gripped the hammer and brought it down, angrily and repeatedly on the fragile dish ware. At first my hits were staccato-like, trying to pulverize the plate into oblivion.

As I moved through the scribbled set of spare plates, at times large chunks of ceramic shrapnel would land on the patio. One large piece jumped up and scraped along my right middle finger where dark red blood soon followed. This did not stop me; using alternate grips with the hammer to avoid more scrapes, as I was beyond the point of stopping to find gloves.

The power I felt was AMAZING. I then began to revel in the amount of destruction I could do with one smooth hit. Soon the weight that I had been carrying around my chest was lifted, the weight on my shoulders soon followed. My prevailing emotions moved from anger and sadness to empowerment.

Originally, I had planned to throw the plates into a dumpster. Yet I wanted to feel the action of the breaking at my own hands. I now see the benefit of really feeling it. Maybe next time I’ll wear gloves… maybe.

There was such a sense of peace after everything was adequately broken. In fact, I was proud of my destruction. There was also beauty in the melodious way the broken pieces chimed as they collided with one another while I cleaned up.

Looking back, I see how I was able to break some of the habits of my thinking patterns just by breaking plates. That night, I broke up with some of my anger. Afterwards, I felt enlivened and relieved of many blockages. Over a week later, I still do. Since then, I’ve learned a few things, too.

Several people have shared with me the Greek tradition of breaking plates as a form of celebration. One Greek friend even gave me pointers on buying the plates from the Dollar Store instead of the thrift store for ease of breakability. She also spoke to the exhilaration felt with breaking plates while shouting “Opa!”

I have also read of how some Buddhist monks break green glass in pillowcases to help relieve the feelings of anger. What’s interesting about this is that my next calling is to nicely decorate a plate before I smash it, which seems akin to the sand mandalas created and then destroyed by Tibetan Monks.

Since following my calling to break stuff, I now realize how ceremonial and freeing this very act can be. If you plan to follow, please do so safely.

Namaste

Breathing Freely Again

Usually my exercise-induced-asthma is triggered with running or higher level cardio. Today it was so bad while I was out for a walk, it made me wish I had used my inhaler beforehand. After thinking through several possible asthma and allergy triggers, I realized that this past month – and this past work week in particular – that I had felt as if I couldn’t “catch my breath.” 

Later, when I settled into meditation and traveled to “my cave,” the place where I speak directly with internal aspects of myself, the “asthmatic” was already there. Her breathing was such that she appeared to be having an asthma attack. She was anxious and afraid to be happy or joyful. In listening to her, she revealed that she was afraid to be happy. For her it meant something bad would happen and it would be just a matter of time before “the other shoe dropped.” 

After listening to her and allowing her to express her fears, without judgment nor denial, I was able to witness her transform. It was amazing that I was then able to breathe freely again. 

My fear of life, fear of joy, and fear that being happy leads to “the other shoe dropping,” were all keeping me from breathing and enjoying life. 

So now I ask: Where are you not fully enjoying life? What thoughts make your chest tighten and your breathing to be restricted? 

Shortness of breath can be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Please be sensible and immediately seek a medical evaluation if you are inexplicably short of breath. 

Namaste 

The Shame of Success


I won the first round, as we opened the second, I won 3 hands in-a-row. The jokes at the table then began to be directed at me, they knew who would win each hand. This perception felt like a cut, stated somewhat begrudgingly. While I did win the next round, there were others at the table who were only one hand behind me. I felt shame and apologetic. For what? For winning?! 

This is part of the story of my life. The difference is that in the scenario above, my success was out in the open. It was not something I could hide like my grades, my certifications, my degree, my accolades and praises. 

For most of my life, I have felt shame for my successes, some hard fought to show and to prove to myself and others that there’s nothing inherently evil or wrong about me. 

This irony is the razor’s edge of living with shame. We’re afraid to be good, too good, and yet we’re also afraid to show our crap. It’s all a trap! Each type of shame just holds us back from our own greatness. 

It’s time to break free of the shame that binds us and tethers us to a mediocre reality. Each of us in our very own captive AND prison warden. As such it is up to each of us to let loose the shackles, to stand up and shine the light that is our uniqueness. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson, see it below. 

Come now, join me! It’s time to show the world what we’ve been hiding: Our bright, beautiful, superbly unique selves. This planet needs us to shine on. Walk through the fire of the lies others have told you about what’s wrong with you: the good and the bad. Once you reach the other side, you’ll find yourself transformed and more resilient, ready to show more of your light in your own, intentionally unique, magnificent and beautiful way. This is your permission to shine! Let’s roll! 

Namaste

The Shame that Hides Us


The voice of shame puts us down and keeps both our darkness and greatness hidden from ourselves and the world. “Who am I to be great?” is as much the voice of shame as “there is something terribly wrong with me.” These, and thoughts like them, keep us isolated and afraid of revealing ourselves. 

I’m speaking to you as much as I am to myself. For much of my life I’ve felt as if there were something inherently wrong with me, to the point that when something in life goes wrong, I’m the first to lay blame on my own shoulders. This belief has also been the fuel to pushing me forward at times as well as the weed that chokes my breath and keeps my paralyzed. Neither is really healthy. 

In trying to hide my faults, I’ve isolated myself, repeatedly, only allowing people to get but so close. While I can share things that many would consider too private, I struggle with maintaining that level of intimacy and vulnerability for any length of time. My fears of rejection and abandonment then become self-fulfilling prophecies and once again I find myself feeling alone. 

It is my goal over the next month to consistently post on a weekly basis about things that I’ve found shameful; things I’ve tried to hide. It is only when the light is shone on the darkness that healing can persist. I’m tired of hiding. If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you are, too. 

Please feel free to share any stories in the comments, on your own blogs or feel free to Gmail me at Tiffanybeingfree. 

Namaste