Being Okay With Not Being Okay

I asked God what it was that I was missing as I was “doing the work” and yet felt so unhappy. My message was “to be okay with not being okay.” I needed to accept that sometimes it really is OKAY to not be okay. This year has had more than its share of heartbreaks, heartaches and tragedy: things I also see as growth – and yet with growth there is also loss for which I had not allowed myself to fully grieve.

Wow! This was a real eye-opener for me. While I could see my desired goal of where I wanted to be “in joy,” it was completely blocked because I was refusing to allow myself to be okay with where I was: NOT okay.

Recovery is about surrendering into the NOW, even if where we are right now feels like a cesspool. We worry that if we allow ourselves to be okay with our misery, that we will stay there – WHAT?! Say that again! If we are okay with our misery, we fear that we will stay there. This fear actually keeps us stuck!

It is in allowing ourselves our misery, our mourning, our grief, our anger, our fears and our sadness that helps us to rise out of the muck! The release is almost instantaneous and is proportional to the amount of freedom we allow ourselves in our wallowing. Acceptance leads to freedom.

It is in denying ourselves our true emotions that we are blocked. Trying to be rosy and cute when we feel blue and ugly serves NO ONE.

Allowing the storm requires support in some form. Trusted friends & family, a good counselor, radical self-care and self-compassion help us to get through these tough spots. We are NOT alone, even when at the lowest points it can feel that way.

May you find peace today in the places where you do not feel okay. May we accept where we are so we can let go and embrace the bliss that is awaiting us when we allow the mess.

Namaste

#NoMudNoLotus

Harnessing Our Anger

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.

For reflection:

  • 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?

Namaste

Detoxing Addictions both Emotional and Chemical

A few weeks ago, I posted a prayer request for a loved one to receive the support s/he needed. This person was not eating regular meals, and instead was drinking a superhuman amount of vodka per day. Since then, s/he has started the detox process and is eating again, returning to human status.

In developing compassion for this individual, I started to look at my own addictions. In doing so, I recognized that on a basic level it doesn’t matter what we’re addicted to: an addiction is an addiction is an addiction.

Each substance or behavior keeps us out of our own control and power. When we are addicted to something we feel powerless to change and so we don’t. Various addicts like to think they are better than others, but I no longer feel this is true… just my humble opinion. Each addiction steals our power.

So with this in mind, I chose to initiate the process of stepping away from addictions (chemically with junk foods, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, and emotionally with unhealthy habits of relating). At first, my biology craved the sugar and the caffeine. Those effects were minimized for me with an herbal detox.

The more challenging aspect has been the emotional response. For it is now that I am recognizing that the emotions I was suppressing with my addictions have begun to surface. To stay on top of these emotions, it has been important for me to keep centered and grounded. Meditation and self-care have been saving graces. Prayer and support of friends have also been tremendous in getting me through.

For several days, I have felt like I’ve been surfing in a bad storm. There have been periods of grace, yet overall it’s been tumultuous. To keep on my surfboard through the emotional waves, I have dropped into my center and grounded by imagining my consciousness being in the “bowl” of my pelvis. At times I have also imagined my tailbone sprouting roots that go downwards into the center of the earth, which takes away all that no longer serves me.

Furthermore, softening into the emotions allows for grace. Journaling has also helped. The big move, however, has been finding my willingness to forgive and send love to any others involved; including myself. At times it has felt like every trespass and each grievance had bubbled up. In finally seeing each item as a part of me that had not healed, I have become more compassionate towards myself…and others.

This detox and getting away from my addictions has helped me to see all of the emotions I was tucking away for another day. All of these chemical distractions were what I used to avoid feeling my emotions. To avoid feeling myself.

I also recognized during this time that my focus on others has kept me from taking responsibility for myself. In blaming others, I failed to see where I was failing myself.

Change takes effort. Yet we are worth the effort. When we can make these changes that support ourselves, we can further support others.

Each light that is lit helps to spark the light in others.

May we each find the solace we seek within ourselves and our Higher Power, instead of the things that are external and uncontrollable.

Namaste

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.

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 

My inner voices were fighting – Here’s how I Found Peace.

A post I wrote has been accepted by Elephant Journal. Please follow the link below to read it all. Shares are highly appreciated & encouraged 😉

On an ordinary day, waiting for a phone call from a good friend, I noticed an inner battle start to brew.

Stepping back further into observation mode, I noticed a few peculiar inner voices arise. On one side, there was a bratty little voice. She was entitled. She wanted things fixed and done immediately. On the other side, there was a voice I later identified as my martyr. She told me, “You get what you get and you can’t feel upset.”
….Continued 

Image: Google 

For How Long Do You Suffer?

The keys to our freedom are in our hands. Yet so often we ignore them, brush them off, put them to the side or outright deny them. The keys to our freedom rest in our willingness to walk into and sit with the paradox of our dilemmas. We have been taught to avoid our own shadows, our fears, the things that go bump in the night and wake us up. Yet it is in the darkness that we have the potential for growth. Seeds sprout and take root in the dark. Our creativity is also borne out of our willingness to take a walk on our own dark sides.

So for how long will you suffer your fears? Carrying them around on your back, on your chest, weighing you down and keeping you from your greatness?

It is through walking into the pain that releases it and allows us to grow into something greater. The release is in the surrender; in the trust that we will survive our emotions, our inner conflicts and paradoxes.

One of the great cosmic jokes is that in embracing our pain, we are finally able to be free of it.

Images: google

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Dream Analysis Part IV: Accepting the Change

This is Part IV of a 4-5 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.

In this fourth and final step of dream analysis we take action on our interpretation of the dream. Johnson refers to this as a ritual. At first I had mixed feelings when I began to read this chapter as I found I was triggered by the word ritual. Johnson spends quite a bit of time explaining how rituals are ceremonies of change. Weddings, funerals, graduation celebrations and other rites of passage anchor the changes and growth that occur with life’s transitions.

In this step, we are charged with moving the dream from the mind – from the cerebral cortex – and here we activate our muscles and do something. The actions we take are symbolic and help us to anchor the change or new acceptance into our lives. Something as simple as lighting a candle with the intention of living in the message of the dream can be the ritual that is needed. Johnson gives examples in the book that may help to spark other ideas. Next I will share with you several things that I did to anchor in my new essence.

Accepting the Change

First, even before I fully interpreted the dream, I knew on some level that I was needing to become decisive on a relationship that I knew was not headed in the direction I wanted. So I changed the nature of the relationship. He later thanked me, as he was feeling the same way.

Then I wrote him a letter, pouring out many of my grievances as well as my gratitude. Then I burned the letter. I also smudged mysrlfvsnd my home by burning Palo Santo wood, adding frankincense and mhyrr to a charcoal round.

Later that day, I took a 6 mile hike alone feeling my power and fire grow in my belly. I would focus on my solar plexus as often as possible. When I felt the need to stretch, I stepped onto a side trail and did several of my favorite power inducing Yoga poses: Warrior I, Warrior II & Triangle. I chose a spot where the sun was shining through the trees. I felt the fire of Kali move through me as I anchored these changes. It also didn’t matter to me that others were walking by: I was standing out.

This week, I added the lighting of a yellow candle in the morning while getting ready for work. As I light the candle, I say to myself, “today and every day I live fully in my power.”

I share these different things I’ve done to help give you ideas that may spark creativity in your own expression of your dreams. Hopefully you have found this process helpful in seeing how important your dreams can be in your own personal growth, and how to understand the messages your unconscious is sending to you every night to guide the way. 

Be patient with yourself as you go through this process. It took me nearly 2 months on this, my first dream, to pull all of the pieces together. In between there were times where I just put the dream aside. Sweet dreams of growth to you!

Namaste: in the light and darkness 

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