2018: Celebrating Wholeness & Completion

For 2019, I’m choosing to celebrate the New Year differently. For the first time, I’m going to ring in the New Year solo. In the past, I would have been in a panic to be alone. While I do have places where I could celebrate, I’m actually looking forward to the solitude. This desire is quite a shift for me and I believe the lessons I’ve learned from 2018 are a large part of it, having lead to a new experiences of wholeness and completion.

Overcoming Fears & Seeing my Strengths
As I look back over what brought me to this place of desiring solitude on New Year’s Eve, I can see the road was tough at times. In 2018, there were several significant events that lead to lessons in compassion, forgiveness and realizing my strengths.

This year, I lost out on a relationship because I felt emotionally left out and alone when he was over-scheduled and his life demands kept him away physically and especially emotionally. In my fear of rejection and abandonment, I grasped more strongly thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It has taken me most of the year to both see my own part more clearly and to have compassion and understanding of where he was coming from. Uncovering this process has lead to forgiveness for him, and even more so for myself. Through this loss, I learned compassion and forgiveness.

The breakup was untimely in that it was just a few days before my father had a brush with death. It was a one-two punch that threatened to take me under. I found that while my father was drowning in the bottom of a bottle, that legally I could do nothing if he refused care or treatment. Part of my lesson was one of surrender.

Once he chose to detox, due to his medical conditions, he was ineligible for inpatient rehab at any local facilities! He almost lost his life during the process when he had several detox seizures. Later, he fell and broke his back, further complicating his recovery. It was a difficult process for him, we’re all fortunate that his will helped him through.

This situation showed me both my strengths and weaknesses. I saw where my skills and tools both as a PT and spiritual traveler were called into action. Surrender showed up again when I saw where I needed help and turned to Al Anon. It was there that I learned that my father nor his addiction were my problems; my problems came from my own within.

It was up to me to focus on myself while having compassion for him; not fighting him to quit drinking. In trying to control my father, or a lover for that matter, I only lose control of myself and in so doing, steal from them their ability to recognize their own need for accountability. Much like the adage: you can lead a horse to water, you just can’t make him drink, I had to see where my tendency to help can be perceived as similar to waterboarding. While a bit of an exaggeration, the idea still stands. 

Later, still working through these circumstances, I witnessed a man tragically taking his final breaths. This rocked me to my core and lead me to a new understanding that life is brief, best enjoyed fully and that suffering is optional. This situation helped me to take the edge off of my need for perfection for perfection’s sake, recognizing the wasted energy in it.

My recent work with The Enneagram System has furthered my understanding of the struggle within each person and personality. While I am very much just on the river’s edge of understanding here, the take home message has been one of compassion, a form of surrender that leads to forgiveness. I see now where the vast majority of people are really doing the best that they can do. Our responses to others are often based on unconscious fears. As such, it is up to each of us to uncover these hidden fears, so that they no longer control and drive us. 

2019 Wholeness
For so long, I have felt this indescribable irredeemable deficiency* and sought external fixes to my internal lack. My personal fears whisper of lack, shame, rejection and abandonment. It is my duty to recognize these fears and the clues when they crop up so that I am not ruled by them. Writing has been one means to understanding and sharing my process to uncover the shame of my perceived deficiencies.

Through meditation, self-care (including writing) and a deeper spiritual understanding, I now see that I have been complete all along. Now I’m in a place where I can surrender into the truth that I am (and have been) whole and complete all along, as Unity intended. Now I see the feeling of an irredeemable deficiency is my blessing as much as it is my curse for it drives me into greater degrees of compassion and forgiveness.

May we each see our fears for what they are: our gift to propel us forward, or our curse if we allow it. May we see and experience ourselves in our highest truths, as we are each truly whole and complete. Through self-compassion and self-forgiveness, we see.

Namaste

*Irredeemable Deficiency is a term coined to describe The Enneagram Four’s Experience

Recovering from Heartbreak: Taking it to the Next Level

Healing from heartbreak can be a drawn out and difficult process. It can seem to take forever because we don’t like feeling hurt or that we are broken. Often we suppress our feelings and try to rush the process in our desire to feel “A-OKAY” which can further prolong the process.

Idealizing the person and the relationship keeps us stuck and from moving forward. These thoughts become an addiction. It is up to us to choose when we no longer wish to ruminate, when we would like to move forward. Just as with changing any habit, to be successful, we must replace our old habits with new ones. Initially, this takes effort and near constant redirection. Here are some of the tools I have found helpful in breaking the habit of idealization:

  • Burn Letters – This can be very transformative. Pour out your emotions onto paper. Say whatever is on your mind, or that needs to be gotten off of your chest. Then place the paper into the fireplace, or fire pit and let your feelings be transformed. The stronger the feelings, the more times this may need to be done. For some, it may be one and done. For most, it may require repeated efforts.
  • Sh*t List – List out the things you did not like or that went wrong. Yes, focus for a little bit on the negative. When we are idealizing someone or something, then we are avoiding the negatives.
  • Gratitude – Each time you think on the ex lover or relationship, mentally thank your ex for showing you what you want in your next relationship. In relationship, we experience examples of what we liked while learning through contrast what we do NOT want again.
  • Wish List – List out all the things that you want in your NEXT RELATIONSHIP. Feel into as many items as you can as you list them out.
    • Additional suggestions:
      • Make an A to Z list. Challenge yourself to find at least one thing for each letter.
      • Read and feel this list everyday.
      • Record the list in your own voice. Listen to it daily.
      • When you start to think about the ex-lover or that relationship, look at the list.
      • Share the list with a trusted friend who will NOT ridicule you.
      • Allow this list to live in your heart.
  • Radical Self-Care – What have you not been doing for yourself? Were there good self-care habits that fell to the wayside when you were in relationship/grieving?
    • Some ideas:
      • Love & forgive yourself more. The Ho’Oponopono Prayer* is amazing: “I Love You. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
      • Change your schedule.
      • Tidy your home, office or car.
      • Drive to work differently.
      • Exercise your body. This helps to get the emotions moving, too.
      • Fast (safely).
      • Eat foods that are right for your body.
      • Meditate.
      • Take a salt bath.
      • Go to the spa, get a massage, or have some energy healing done.
      • (Re)Connect with friends.
      • Journal.
      • Seek counseling or hypnotherapy.
      • See an Acupuncturist.
      • EFT

Return to Innocence

There was something inside that I wanted to hide. The true name of what it was that caused my shame was unknown to me. I could see some of the situations from my childhood in which it seemed to be rooted. And I had spent nearly a decade tugging up various “weeds” to get to the root of my shame problem. Yet, the deep rooted shame was still there.

Last week, I started the process of using EFT or emotional freedom technique to systematically begin to return to innocence through the process of forgiveness. Within just a day, I began to feel my shame load lighten. It was even more amazing after five! (The book is Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyanla Vanzant.)

Then, while at a party to celebrate my birthday something happened. Well after dark, while surrounded by friends on an outdoor patio of a local bar, a young boy about 7 years old walked up to me and was trying to solicit something. He spoke so softly and the crowd was so loud that I could not here him. My mind, intoxicated by the celebration – not bourbon – was unable to fully process what was happening! He held up a piece of paper in front of his chest with printed lettering, something apparently given to him by an adult to legitimize his solicitation. In my confusion over the juxtaposition, I gently yet firmly said to him, “No thank you.” I turned to my friends and commented how surreal that was for me. Then I quickly moved on. I didn’t even turn around to see if he had left.

Later that night the memory flooded back in. The next morning, the heaviness of guilt-ridden emotions followed. Why had I not done something more? How could I dismiss this child instead of protecting him and asking questions such as where was his parent/guardian? I was absolutely disgusted with myself!

I meditated, breathed into the physical and emotional pains and also used EFT that day on several elements: anger, sadness, and guilt. I sat through the emotional storms and rode some mighty waves. I even did a constellation on the incident (I’ll need another post to explain what this meant!) and sent a prayer request to a friend for myself and the boy. I also sent prayers to his “guardians.” I even tried to talk it out to get it off my chest and also asked a trusted friend who was at the party about the incident.

While each use of a modality helped to move me through something more, there were still some lingering pangs of guilt. The next day, I told a retired social worker about the incident; as if she could grant me absolution. Tears came to my eyes and I still got choked up. It was apparent that I still felt guilty for not doing more. It was also apparent to me at some point that the boy, due to his estimated age, also reminded me of my own son. In some way, I had “taken” responsibility for this boy as if I were his parent!

Through continued mindfulness while allowing the upwelling of all of the emotions, I finally saw the keys to unlock my cage of guilt. One key was that I recognized I was angry with myself for not protecting and honoring his innocence, as I would for my own son. And the skeleton key was seeing how my own childhood innocence had not been protected nor honored by adults who “should have” done so. After this recognition, the tears no longer flowed. The light bulb was now lit: I needed to see, honor and protect my own innocence.

That evening I attended a mini constellation therapy session in which my intention was to replace shame with innocence. Through my ancestors, I was able to receive further support in transmuting the lifelong shame I had felt back into innocence.

While there are still some areas to work through, I feel that a significant amount of shame and its emotional burden has been relieved. I share this story to illustrate that emotional freedom can seem elusive when we are moving through any upwellings. It is unlocked through persisting at allowing the emotions to become our teachers, in spite of what we may be feeling. Had I dismissed my feelings about this incident, as I had the boy in the bar, I would have missed an opportunity to reclaim my own innocence; my own freedom from shame.

Letting go now has a new meaning for me. It wasn’t about letting go of the story, my feelings nor the boy, it was letting go of control of it all to rediscover the innocence I had been missing.

May we each find the roots behind the story, so that we may each be free of our suffering in new ways. We all become more free, even if just by degrees, by each root that is disentangled. This is not just about individual suffering as we each suffer with one another, at least on some level, both directly and indirectly.

Namaste

Anger’s Lessons

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?!

Namaste

Please seek professional help if your inclination is to harm yourself or others.

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

Living Our Dreams

How can you fully grasp the new dream if you’re still holding onto the old reality?

Surrender is the name of the game. Repeatedly giving over all which does not serve to our higher power. This opens our channels so that we can receive the new dream.

Remaining grounded and connected to ourselves keeps us in awareness. While focusing on others keeps us wallowing in our own suffering, for we cannot see the power we have to get out. We must ask for support to receive it. If we are distracted, then we stay in struggle as we must walk through or ask to have the old removed.

As we clear, it is important for us to remain curious and open “like a child.” It is here that we are more receptive. One step leads to the next. At times it may feel like the wrong step. Yet in remaining open and curious we are able to more clearly see. It is best to avoid certainty, as this closes the waves of possibility. In our openness, we allow for more to be created.

It’s about loving and forgiving the parts of ourselves and others who have lived in the belief that love is found through suffering. When these thoughts and stories surface, be willing to love and forgive the parts of you that believe it and anyone else who helped you create that. Again, this helps us to see and live the new dream.

Namaste

Prayer Circle Request

Prayer is a personal thing for each of us. For me, I both believe in the power of prayer and in force multipliers; the more people praying with the same intention boosts the power of the prayers.

With that in mind, on this day I am writing to ask a prayer. A loved one of mine is needing help and is refusing it. Please pray that this anonymous individual receives the care that is needed, in the best and highest way.

In return, I will pray for each person who replies and requests any prayers. I ask that anyone requesting a prayer also prays for those who are also on the list.

Thank you, in advance. Positive thoughts, I believe, are also a form of prayer and are very welcome in this circle.

May peace be with you and yours.

Namaste

Image: Google

Insomnia: The Pot of Guilt at The End of My Sleepless Rainbow

For the past few weeks my ability to stay asleep at night has been very much hit-or-miss. I have played with varying bedtimes, reducing my overall caffeine intake and screen/TV times at night, while increasing my night time meditation. I’ve also tried dietary changes including increased magnesium intake (through oil and citrate), and even taking Valerian some nights. All with varying effects that were inconsistent, at best as I was still awake most nights at 0300 and unable to shut off my mind even with use of guided meditations. Well, I discovered a connection that has helped to completely change my nighttime waking.

For just over a month, I have been using The Insight Timer App for timed and guided meditations. This week, I stumbled upon a meditation theme of healing guilt & shame that really resonated with me. It was a long meditation, and I identified with many things discussed during it. Afterwards, I felt refreshed and as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

Feeling this relief, I began to notice more feelings of guilt bubbling up. Wanting a shorter meditation, I did a search for “guilt” and about 4 out of 10-12 search results referred to insomnia or sleeplessness in the title, but not guilt. Curious, I listened to several and found that guilt has been the thief in the night, stealing my restful sleep. Honestly, I am still a little surprised by this and yet so grateful to now have this piece of the sleeplessness puzzle solved or at least knowing where to focus my efforts!

Following several meditations, I have been having some of the best sleep I’ve had in several months. If I wake up at 0300-something, I have been playing one of the (many) guided meditations on guilt (sleep specific or not) and find I fall back to sleep before the meditation ends and I stay there until my alarm sounds off in the morning. This is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G improvement for me!

Over this week, I worked through guilt that I’ve been carrying about my divorce, children, work, finances, relationships, personal needs and life in general. This has also had physical benefits, as I am able to more freely move my head and neck, probably from having many emotional burdens lifted from my shoulders.

I am absolutely astounded as to how much guilt there was and still is. In another meditation about guilt, the speaker talked to how feeling bad (aka guilt) is an expectation. WOW! So guilt is so ingrained that we do not seem to know what it even looks like?! She also spoke to letting go of statements such as “I could have done better at ….” While this statement CAN help us to improve ourselves and our condition, if we perseverate on it (which I find I do, a LOT), it can lead us straight down the halls of guilt.

These meditations have been life changing for me. I feel as if I have unlocked more rooms in my secret vaults; able to see the unconscious drive. For instance, I have noticed how many of my decisions I make based on guilt avoidance instead of doing something because it is the right thing to do in my heart.

Intention sets the tone for our outcomes, with intentions based on fear instead of love, we are setting the stage for more problems than solutions. I’m changing that. This includes feeling bad for how I’m feeling; this just compounds the guilt!

I highly encourage you to take a peek inside at the guilt you may be carrying. If you’ve had a strong emotional response, including resistance, this may be a sign that you need this more than you think.

Namaste & May you Return to a Greater Sense of Peace and Restful Sleep

Handling Regret Using Empathy (Guided meditation)

P.S. The Insight Timer app is free and filled with many amazing meditations to suit your time, and your goals. There are zero agreements between myself and the developers to say these things. Happy Growing!

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?

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