Blog

Meditation: Simple Steps to Start or Enhance

 

Some days, you may feel that your brain is on this never ending loop of constant worries and negative talk. Many people struggle in knowing how to stop that chatter. A great way to learn to silence that disruptive head talk, and to restore a sense of calm or emotional neutrality within the body, is through meditation.

Some people have a strong preconceived notion that meditation HAS to be a total clearing of their mind.  Unless you have practiced this for some time, that could likely prove stressful and may even discourage you from trying. Thus, I suggest GUIDED meditation as it is very effective and provides a great way to keep that rational brain occupied and less disruptive with intrusive reminders of things to be done.

There is no one way to meditate. I invite your to try different methods to find the one that fits you best. Meditation is actually a skill and with repeated practice, deepens and becomes even more effective. It is a great method for quieting the negative looping talk in the head and pivoting into a more neutral/positive mood state.   It a meditative state, the brain waves mimic that within sleep. Essentially, meditation shifts the energy within our brain, so we can actually become better problem solvers and more attuned to our intuitive senses.

If you have limited experience or past stress with prior meditation practices, here are a few suggestions to help develop a practice that can be rewarding:

  • Find a time of day to practice.  This may be right away in the morning or at some other time where you can spend at least 15 minutes doing this. Schedules and environmental disruptions often influence timing.
  • Start with 15 minutes.  Just allow whatever happens to happen. If you note the brain keeps disrupting, try not to push, pull or move thoughts. Just notice them. You do not have to silence the talk–it will start to fade on its own.
  • Experiment with your eyes open and perhaps fixated on a stationary object and/or with eyes closed. You will likely prefer one to the other.
  • Feel free to incorporate any sensory items that help you relax (e.g. scented candles, music, white noise, healing tones, nature sounds etc).
  • There are free and helpful guided imagery/meditation playlists on various social media platforms you can use to practice or enhance your experience.
  • With repeated practice, take notice of how it feels when you are in the relaxed (trance) state.  Notice how you might enter that state with less time and greater depths after repeated attempts. Let that be encouragement!
  • Notice any ideas, thoughts, or images that emerge during meditation. I encourage you not to dismiss them as just imagination.  Observe with curiosity.
  • Accept that each meditative session may feel differently and yield varying results. All normal.  We are constantly changing and shifting, so our experiences will as well.
  • Try utilizing meditation when in a negative emotional state to help shift out of it and improve your mood. It is an excellent tool to manage stress and mood.
  • Set agendas and/or choose guided imagery sessions with specific intents (eg calm, connecting with higher self, clearing chakras).
  • Limit expectations of how it ‘should’ be or what impact it might have. You can set an intent of wanting to self soothe or explore your intuitive abilities, but try to avoid fixed or limiting thoughts on how that will transpire.  That can block and frustrate the process.

There is no ‘right’ way to meditate.  Everyone is different, resonates with different styles, and may have differing responses to the practice. All of it is valid and normal.  If we compare ourselves to others, we may feel we are doing it wrong because it looks differently.  You are simply noticing how it best serves you on an individual level. Most of all, I encourage you to approach mediation with a sense of playfulness and curiosity. It can be a great way to manage our stresses and greatly enhance our intuitive development. It is meant to be helpful and not overwhelming or frustrating.

 

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my facebook and YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

Sound Therapy

Music has a long history and obviously, it is global. Not hard to identify its meaning and inherent value across time, cultures and persons.  It is a notable element in most sacred and/or spiritual based practices.  For many individuals, music is a daily need similar to that of breathing and may even feel critical to their daily well being. Many people denote that the music they listen to reflects their mood and/or that they are soothed by it. So, what would you say if you were told music (vibrational energy) can actually HEAL?

We are energetic beings.  Our Chakras are aligned and tuned to specific vibrational frequencies (Hertz).  These frequencies, called the Solfeggio Frequencies, correspond to specific sounds and colors. Interestingly, Earth itself has both a tone and its frequency has been rising with time. All of this information is released and reported by NASA. Taking into account that everything is energy, there is an emerging healing approach, Sound Therapy, that recognizes our ability to activate our bodies healing capacity through specifically tuned sound (energy).

I attended a Sound Therapy training and was excited to learn how to incorporate sound as a healing component in my work.  One can utilize a variety of instruments such as: Tibetan Bowls, Gong, Crystal Singing Bowls, and Tuning Forks.  This is not a comprehensive list by any means but these are commonly used within Sound Therapy practice.

Here is a brief summary of these items and how this therapy helps:

1. Tibetan Singing Bowls:  The bowls are fascinating as they are comprised of different metals, all of which correspond to different chakras, and are also sound tuned to specific chakras.  Thus, the metal and the vibrational tuning correspond to specific chakras.  Some bowls are constructed of seven metals to help activate all 7 chakras but they are tuned to one sound.  A person is invited to select a bowl based on intuition. Meaning, you will be drawn towards YOUR bowl.  The bowls can be temperamental.  If you have others and are trying to match, you need to bring those that you have to pair to ensure they ‘play well’.  Additionally, what I experienced is that you might choose a bowl but the bowl has to choose you as well.  When it does, it sings.  This may be immediately or comes with practice.

The bowls both vibrate and make a sound. The sound arises from the strong vibration that the Tibetan bowl emits. Though the bowl most always vibrates, it can be difficult to get it to sing. The bowls themselves are actually meant to be played upon the body, usually on torso, so that the vibrational current runs through the person.  It helps denote blockages and moves energy.   The bowls can also be played over the body if a person struggles in tolerating the energy in their person or when using multiple bowls at one time. Those with open systems may feel the vibration from head to toe and it can be overwhelming. Those with blockages may denote the energy moves only through part of the (open) body. The body can absorb the vibration and often a person can sense the movement. When the work is complete, a person has a strong sensation of no longer wanting the bowl upon them.

2. Crystal Singing Bowls:  These are made of high quality quartz and some sets are colored to signal their alignment with the specific chakra.  Each bowl is attuned to a specific chakra (HZ). They look innocent but the sound was INTENSE. The sound of these beautifies fill the space of the room. They actually generate a vibration from their sound.  Thus, the sound first fills the room and is quickly followed by a vibrational energy that permeates the body. These are often used in open outdoor spaces and/or with groups of people.

3. Gong: A gong is an amazing tool to open portals and clear out energy. It can be used along side other tools.  It has a strong sound and vibration that actually creates a vortex. Hence, not a surprise that is has commonly been used in some spiritual practices. It can clear and move energy out of large spaces.

4. Tuning Forks: These are reminiscent of wind chimes.  The forks can activate and move energy within the chakras as well.  For example, a tuning fork calibrated to 432 Hz can be used to ground emotion (sounding it and placing it on collar bone) and clear negative energy out of the body.  432 Hz is considered to be the healing tone.  Additionally, a 528 HZ fork can be activated and played by the ears to open and channel with divine (angelic) energy. The tuning forks have a light and soothing impact.

For those curious and not wanting to invest in any of the tools.  The Solfeggio Healing Frequencies are available on YouTube and Spotify. You can listen to the tones as part of your meditative or healing practices.  The tones themselves have a healing impact but in my experience, the tools offer an accompanying vibrational energy that adds an element of advanced healing.  Some may incorporate other healing agents, such as crystals, to attune and work through various emotional, physical, spiritual concerns and processes.

 

 

 

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my facebook and YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

Energy Healing: Benefits and Side Effects

I am a big supporter of people seeking out a variety of services to heal and work towards on-going growth and progress.  Aside from taking care of our physical health, I encourage body, energy, and counseling services.  Our bodies are the warehouse for so much and sometimes, we need to help to ‘release’ patterns, trapped emotion, and memories that no longer serve us.

That being said, I recently attended a training. The facilitator is a healer and I was intuitively drawn to scheduling a session with her.  At my first session, she asked what I wanted to focus on and/or what I was hoping to achieve from the session. I heard myself say “I know you have answers to questions I have and answers to questions i did not know that I had.”   My request was to allow what needed to come forward and I would ask questions as needed.  The session was insightful, powerful and helpful.  The practitioner uses stones as part of her practice and can shift energy.  I felt the energy shifts in session and left feeling euphoric and grounded.

I continued my day as normal and noted feeling queasy, which I simply attributed to a busy day and not eating as I am accustomed.  I fatigued that night and nearly crawled to bed.  I awoke in the middle of the night sweaty and super nauseous.  I began to worry that I may have a stomach bug but nothing ever materialized.

The following days I noted a host of various emotional and physical complaints and discomforts.  I also observed the sudden onset of the discomforts (e.g. sudden fatigue, a raging headache out of no where).  As a practitioner myself, especially upholding the mind-body connection, I FINALLY realized that I was not sick but experiencing side effects from the session.

Energy work is akin to trauma work.  It activates the person on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. It is greatly beneficial to resolve past trauma, integrate experiences, clear energy blocks and facilitate intuitive growth. Great insights and movement in energy and in person can generate quite intense and uncomfortable sensations as the person integrates it all into their being.  This is not to discourage such work but to prepare a person to be patient and prioritize self-care as their being acclimates to the clearing and healing.

Here are some common side effects of such work:

  1. Nausea
  2. Night sweats and sleep disturbances
  3. Fatigue and feeling emotional drained
  4. Mood fluctuations (e.g. free floating emotions)
  5. Dizziness and feeling light-headed
  6. Yawning
  7. Stomach feeling bloated or bubbly
  8. Increase elimination (urination, sweating, burping, sneezing,bowels, etc)
  9. Blurred vision
  10. Reddening of the face
  11. Flu like symptoms
  12. Feeling tingling, burning, or currents in body

The period that one experiences such symptoms, as well as their intensity, can really vary.  It is quite evident to me that this session hit some core level themes and my being was working hard to accomodate all the new information.  It is helpful to allow for more quiet time, meditation, drinking of water, and healthy eating to ease oneself through this process.  It can prove difficult to allow and surrender to such processes but the lack of resistance actually helps to minimize the impact. In many ways, the healing process really symbolizes the full spectrum of life and the inherent need for discomfort and comfort.  We need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

 

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my facebook and YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

Are You an Empath?

Everyone is born with intuitive abilities. Our awareness of them and our connection to these abilities vary greatly by the person   In my healing work, a vast number of empaths cross my doorway and most are totally oblivious to that fact.  They have an awareness of certain patterns of responding and being, but often have shame and pathologizing around those tendencies. They know they are different but assume it is for negative reasons.

If you have ever felt that you are inherently different from most others and notice that you seem to respond differently to things, I invite you to consider the following information.  Listed below are common traits and patterns typical of empathic individuals.

Common signs of being an empath:

  1. You can ‘sense’ and feel the emotions of others.  Quite literally, you feel the emotions of other people within your own body.  This can be confusing and overwhelming.   You may intuit an emotion that a person is experiencing but not displaying. Boundaries related to your experience and those around you are easily blurred.
  2. You may feel anxious, overwhelmed, and avoid crowded events or areas. Empaths are like sponges and can absorb the energy of the environment and the people within it.  You can become easily overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and drained by crowds and busy physical environments.
  3. You experience high emotional reactivity to witnessing or hearing about negative stories, news, or tragic events.  You may often experience extreme sadness and stress related to disasters, news, or even violence in shows. Empaths feel distress on behalf of others, even those they do not know. Thus, many may avoid social media, news, and tv programming all together. Empaths are often labeled as extreme or ‘overly sensitive’ by those around them.
  4. You may find your body mimicing the physical pain of those around you  (e.g. what some may refer to as ‘sympathy pains’).  However, the sensation of pain is real. Essentially, the empath has absorbed that energy into their own. Empaths may actually struggle with chronic pain issues as a result.
  5. You are drawn towards, and draw to yourself, others who are hurt, sick, and in emotional despair. Many empaths are healers. They have a strong desire to help and be of service to others. Many work within the medical field, teaching, and the healing arts.
  6. You may often feel drained, fatigued, anxious and depressed.  Being unaware of empathic qualities often render empaths defenseless and thus, susceptible to energy drains and lack of self care to ‘re-charge’. This is especially true of romantic relationships and empaths tend to couple with energy vampires in their desire to be of service.
  7. You struggle with self-care.  I find a strong pattern of feeling guilty and mistaking self-care for selfishness.  You may tend to invest your energy into taking care of everyone else at your own expense.  Empaths tend to sacrifice their whole being to help friends, family, and partners.
  8. You have a strong desire for ‘alone’ time. Empaths often need time on their own to re-charge.  You may find a need to hide out at home, seclude yourself in your bedroom, and avoid others and community places.
  9. You might struggle with using or wearing second hand items.  You may bathe or wash your personal items a lot.  Many empaths struggle with the imprints of other people’s energies left on items or feel the need to wash/bathe to cleanse self and/or items of energy.
  10. You find yourself truly needing time in nature. Many empaths ground and re-charge by being in nature.  They can feel it balancing and de-stressing their bodies and energy level.
  11. You are very sensitive to sensory stimuli, especially auditory information. Many empaths get overwhelmed by noise and find themselves becoming agitated and unable to filter it out.  You may find yourself seeking quiet or soothing sounds.
  12. You have strong intuitive abilities, known as the Clair’s.  You may see, hear, sense, or simply know things without understanding why. It may seem to defy logic and reason. Some do not realize they receive information that others are not receiving and question why they perceive things differently from others.
  13. You struggle with sleep.  Many empaths report being a light sleeper and often disturbed by noises or activity in the environment.  Many also report intense dreaming at times.
  14. You are creative.  You may be drawn to music, art, writing or anything that has a resonance in the arts.  You might find yourself flooded with creative energy at times and flooded by emotionality when in the presence of artistic outlets.
  15. You have a hard time eating foods, often meat.  Not all empaths are vegetarian but a good number find it difficult to eat meat due to sensing the energy of that animal.

This list could be much longer but these are the main patterns that I observe in the intuitive work I do with empaths.  These traits are often observable and notable since birth. Awareness of self and these tendencies are critical to self-acceptance and growth. When you can understand and embrace your empathic qualities, as well as learn to create boundaries and patterns of self-care, you can reduce the stress that often permeates the intuitive life.  It becomes possible for your to navigate and interface with negative situations and people without feeling ‘attacked’ or drained. You will feel happier, more fulfilled, and joyful in your daily life.

 

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my facebook and YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

 

The Cure for Chronic Loneliness

This is a time of great struggle for many. I see and feel it when moving about in the community and in the work I do daily.  It saddens me, as so many people feel isolated and alone in their experiencing of life. They also believe that they are doing something wrong, are ‘broken’ or are different, often noting the perceived happiness of others as proof that they are alone in their suffering.  Though this is far from the truth, social media postings of photoshopped selfies and staged happiness reinforces otherwise.

Every day, all day, people are being inundated with horrible news stories of various atrocities being committed around the world.  It is overwhelming and terrifying. It can make many feel hopeless and helpless.  Though there are vast amounts of loving and generous acts being gifted, these do not sell headlines. Stories that trigger fear and tragedy gain more attention and thus, have cultivated a general distrust of others.  There has been a hardening of some hearts and a turning away from others–especially those most in need of compassion or a simple hug.

Technology is impressive and has yielded some incredible advances that have greatly benefited us.  I am not discounting that. However, technology has also created a barrier to socialization.  It has impeded people’s ability to connect to others and fully engage in daily experiences.  Though social media allows for a connection to a greater number of people, those connects lack depth.  For many, it is a competition of who can create the most impressive story boarding of a life that does not exist. A relationship may be in turmoil and a couple may take pictures of trips, dates, and artificial words of being soul mates.  In my practice, I once had a 9-year old child tell me how he prefers the virtual world because he likes the character he developed there more than his real self. That is heart breaking and it shows how a person can be so disconnected. Having an impressive number of friends on his/her social media page did not assuage the feeling of being alone.

So, what is the cure?  CONNECTION.  A genuine sharing and exchange between two or more people.  Human connection to others, whether individuals or to a community, has been shown to be the number one predictor in happiness by research.  It is also strongly related to recovery from addiction, illness, and longevity of life.  Simply put: We are built to connect. It is both critical for our well-being and to shift from a state of surviving to thriving.

In an effort to cultivate more love and feeling of belonging, here are some suggestions to create meaningful connection:

  • Be genuine.  It may be hard to feel vulnerable but it is necessary for depth and meaning in a relationship.  People can only be as close to you as you allow. Thus, be truthful about how you feel, what you think, your dreams, your interests and your full spectrum of experiences  It invites others to be close and to do the same.
  • Eliminate toxic relationships.  Assess the overtones of your relationships and note which ones are mostly positive and negative. Be wary of ones in which you feel like you need to prove your value.  If that is the dynamic, it tends to feeds the sense of being broken or undeserving. Recognize your inherent value and your worthiness of love. Eliminate energy drains and invest in relationships and people that feed your soul.
  • Join groups or activities surrounding your interests.   Join a run club, volunteer, take writing classes, music lessons etc etc.  This creates opportunities to feel included and develop connections with others who have shared interests. It can foster a sense of being part of a community.
  • Be present and engage.  If out with a friend or family member, limit use of electronics. Limit distractions and fully attend to the experience.  Have a conversation about this with friends and a commitment to invest in the time together. Engaging in parallel experiences while distracted with electronics does not constitute quality time.
  • Connect to others through activities not involving electronics. This could include board games, walks, art activities, etc with friends and most importantly, spouses/children/family.
  • Develop rituals of connection.  Have daily rituals related to leaving/returning home. I encourage ‘check ins’: Know important events happening to those you love and upon return home, ask about them.  Connect through conversation and attentive listening.
  • Smile and acknowledge others.  This may prove difficult, as you will likely see the level of disconnect and distraction in others. However, there are many individuals also in search of connecting.  If you are not aware, you may miss beautiful opportunities of simple exchanges. Friendly exchanges with unfamiliars can lessen the feel of isolation.
  • Human touch.  Spend time cuddling with significant others and kids. Hug, hold hands, and just enjoying being close.  Physical touch is an excellent way to connect even if it does not accompany talking.
  • Companion animal.  Animals and pets are great ways to feel connected. I encourage that they are not the only source of your emotional attachments; rather, they serve as additions to your love and connecting network.
  • Limit use of social media. Many people cannot help but compare themselves to others and their lives. I encourage you to stop. You are internalizing untruths, photoshopped images, and stories of living that are often fabricated. Detoxing and limiting of electronics use often improves mood and happiness with self on its own.

I invite you to look for opportunities to create the life you desire. Invest in the life you have, not the one created through technology and social media. Emoji icons of hearts and text messages of love cannot replace the value of, or need for, a physical hug from a loved one. Enrich your present experiences and relationships by fully engaging in the moment and by being genuine. Seek out opportunities and people that challenge you to grow and develop in a way that is uplifting and exciting. Eliminate activities and relationships that cause pain, stress, and prove to be an energy drain.  Connect, Connect, Connect.

 

 

Use Your Energy to Create GOOD Daily

I have to admit, I struggle at times  It can prove difficult to make it through some days without feeling being attacked and overwhelmed by horrific news and graphic images swarming social media outlets. There are many times I have experienced a sensory overload and a gut wrenching despair for people I have never met. Truthfully, it can feel immobilizing and discouraging, causing a questioning of the future direction of humanity.

We often feel a desire to be of help and become frustrated in the knowing of how. There is a tendency to focus on large acts of generosity and kindness to make a difference.  This is not always possible due to time and limited resourcing. Though such thoughtfulness is amazing, it is not the only significant avenue towards being of assistance.

One thing to realize is though big events and moments generate a lot of attention and discussion, small gestures of kindness and compassion are infinitely IMPACTING.  This is due to the fact that they tend to be highly personalized (e.g. person to person) and the timing of their allowance is when a person is in the most need. I have witnessed through my work how small acts of kindness from strangers unzip emotionally, head to toe, those I work with in a profound and beautiful way.  Life delivered a powerful message to the receiving person in that moment that they carry forth into life.

My encouragement to you is that you can use your energy to create good EVERY SINGLE DAY.  This is simply by being the most genuine version of you and by showing compassion and gratitude. This just requires you to be engaged and aware of simple daily exchanges.  Here are some suggestions to consider in your daily practice of creating good through your energy:

  • Take care of YOU.  You being in a genuinely happy and contented state of being automatically contributes, on an energetic level, to the collective whole. You may have had experience when interacting with someone who seems full of light and love, leaving a positive imprint on you, JUST from their state of emotional being. Be that person for another. Do not exaggerate or pretend, this only works if you are actually truly in that emotional space.
  • Invest in Self-care and Boundaries.  It is critical that you do not overextend. You becoming under-resourced does not serve your own well-being nor that of others. Be attuned to your own needs and ensure you respect the bounds of your limitations. Appreciate what you do have to offer and trust me, those receiving will as well.
  • Be Genuine in Your Interactions.  Model acceptance of your own true emotions and awareness of areas of growth. People are so critical of themselves and often believe others “have it all together”. It is amazingly helpful to know others share a similar feeling or struggle. It increases one’s sense of value since it seems less about some internal deficits and more about the challenges of living.
  • Be Patient and Understanding.  This is highly impactful on those around you: Friends, family, partners, kids and co-workers.  Never underestimate the value of simply listening when you have nothing more to offer.
  • Model and Cultivate Empathy:   Before becoming defensive and assuming negative intent, either reflect or ask about, a person’s intent in behavior. Perhaps the driver who cut you off is not quite the jerk you thought and may be rushing to attend to some stressful situation. We just do not know and cannot always ascertain, the inner worlds and lives of others.  Refrain from critical or judging statements.  You may think it, but try not to allow for verbalization. Modeling this for others, our children being of high priority, is a powerful methods to facilitate kindness and temperance.
  • Connect.  Hug your loved ones.  Especially kids.  Look someone in the eye when you talk with them. Set down the electronics to show you care about what that person is saying.  Smile upon seeing someone, familiar or unknown. This acknowledgement of another’s presence is invaluable and greatly lacking in our daily lives.
  • Acknowledge a Person’s Struggle:  Offer help when you can. Do not fear if the need extends beyond your capability.  Many people assume someone’s needs may be more than what they can provide and do not even engage.  Offer help. Verbalize that you see someone struggling (eg “I am sensing you are having a difficult time today…”).  If you cannot provide the help, admit that. Understand that the offering of help was in of itself, healing and comforting.  Someone struggling and feeling IGNORED and passed by others is a heart wrenching experience.

This list could be infinite in length but the goal is to provide examples that cultivate an understanding and generate ideas of your own. As we all recognize, life can prove to be challenging and discouraging.  You can use your being to serve as a light and a reminder of hope during the darker times.  Just being willing to emotionally engage, listen, and offer a hug can provide another the strength and resolve to push forward.  I invite you to be this source of love, compassion, and understanding during times of negativity for others.

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

 

Forgiveness: How it Really Works

Similar to the term Mindfulness, I hear a lot of rhetoric about the benefit of Forgiveness and its practice. Many vocalize its power in helping people to overcome and let go of past hurts.  As one might assume, I am a big supporter of people learning to transcend past struggles and to not let adversity identify their quality of being.

That being said, I want to make a very strong clarification about the practice of Forgiveness: It IS about acceptance.  However, it is about accepting that something HAPPENED, not that what transpired is OK.  Huge and critical difference. I see many folks leaning towards telling themselves that they ‘should’ (here comes the shame talk) forgive and that they cannot find it in themselves to do so.  When explored further, it becomes apparent that they are trying to convince themselves that what happened was acceptable.  Of course that did not resonate as true and thus, it simply did not work. Forgiveness is not about reconciling negative things as positive.

Forgiveness is really an allowing for, and an acknowledgement of, something painful occurring.  It is not a condoning of that hurt though.  It is also not about tolerating, enabling, or permitting negative or hurtful behavior. Rather, it is recognizing that something transpired and that the event is not a reflection of one’s own value. Easier said than done, I know.  Forgiveness is by no means an easy journey. Here are a few insights for you to consider:

  • Forgiveness is acceptance that something (painful) happened. Obviously, it cannot be undone.  However, it is NOT about trying to convince oneself that it is acceptable in order to forgive.
  • Forgiveness can be complicated due to it getting entangled with feelings of shame and worthiness.
  • Sometimes self-forgiveness related to the circumstances which one sees as perpetuating or contributing to the painful event has to transpire before forgiveness towards another can manifest.
  • Situations involving Forgiveness may highlight areas of attention and growth in self.  This can be a bit prickly to consider. This is not about blaming self for all that happened but recognizing patterns to prevent unnecessary hurts in the future.
  • Forgiveness may challenge us to recognize our inherent WORTH and recognize the value of our needs. Truthfully, people often permit and tolerate too much from others, internalize it as reflections of their value, and keep investing in that relationship with hopes the other person will reciprocate.
  • “Letting Go” may include processing out one’s emotions and/or a distancing from the agent of hurt.  One might recognize a relationship to be destructive and the need to put emotional distance. Even if this is seen as a positive choice, there can be a sense of loss involved.
  • “Forgive and Forget” is unlikely to happen.  One is not required to delete painful experiences from his/her history. These dynamics do not have to define a person’s being but they are part of our growing process.

In the process of forgiving, it is important that we do not resist the involved hurt. Rather, I encourage a validation and processing out of this pain. This can take time and patience.  We tend to try and reframe negative emotions, dismiss or explain them away, rather than just sit in the actual emotionality of a situation. Furthermore, when appropriate, we may actually cultivate compassion and an understanding of what motivated a person in their decision making. This does not mean their actions were appropriate, fair, or even healthy. However, we might develop insight into what launched the other person into his/her own actions. All of this processing may help externalize emotional junk not belonging to oneself.

Learning to de-personalize the behaviors of others can be helpful in feeling more at peace and less defensive in life.  If we develop an understanding that many people stumble through life, sometimes just trying to survive a moment, we may be better able to let go of small infractions.  Hard to reconcile at times, but other people’s reactions towards us are NOT always actually about us.  The irritable person at the grocery store may be worrying about a sick child v. really caring how many items you have in your cart.  This is extremely helpful to consider in close and significant relationships as it generates an allowing for mistakes. People can love and care about you,  do insensitive things, all the while without foresight that it may actually cause hurt. Hard to believe, but very true.

This ability to observe and respond, versus just react, is invaluable when dealing with unexpected, negative responses from others. If we can see people’s behaviors as a reflection of where they exist emotionally or in life development, we may have greater success in circumventing unnecessary stress or conflict.  It does not indicate that one person is more advanced or superior, it is just recognizing that we are all in life training and are challenged daily to grow. Some days our performance is better than others.

Forgiveness is truly about recognizing and accepting that a range of hurts have occurred and truthfully, will continue to do so.  It is not about tolerating unacceptable behavior or dismissing our own emotional responses to them. As painful as it might be, these hurts often create opportunities to grow, identify blind spots, and validate the value of our needs.

I want to convey a simple truth: People make mistakes all the time. Some are quite unintentional and without malice.  Unfortunately, some may also be motivated by ego and self-serving reasons. Regardless, you have the right to feel your range of emotions.  You are also deserving of repair attempts from others. You just cannot control whether these are offered or not. Your emotions are not the issue, but they may challenge you to assess the quality of your relationships. If a another person continues to persist in decision making processes that cause you continued pain, you are encouraged to evaluate your needs and if the overtone of that relationship is positive or negative.  You may chose to accept the limitations of that relationship and the inherent consequences of doing so. Or, you may also decide to distance yourself emotionally for the present time, allowing the other person time and space to (hopefully) grow. This can be the true ‘letting go process”, which involves recognizing that a specific relationship and person is not a match for you in this moment.  Forgiveness never obligates a person to persist in a relationship or dynamic that causes him/her great pain, sadness, or despair.  Forgiveness can be manifested through surrendering control, emotional release and expression, and relational repair.

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

Synchronicity: Lead With Your Left Foot

Synchronicity is a term coined by Swiss Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist Carl Jung and he used it to address those times when there are ‘meaningful coincidences’. These are instances that have no direct cause-and-effect but are significant and of value to the person experiencing them.  A common day example is thinking of someone and then suddenly crossing paths or receiving a call from that person. Even if it has been years since the last contact.  It addresses those times where what you think and feel suddenly manifests itself at your feet.

Many people became aware of this concept through a documentary called “The Secret”.  It discussed Synchronicity and the Law of Attraction.  The underlying premise is that what you think and how you feel (e.g. desire), actually design the life that you lead. Essentially, all that you want can be magnetized to yourself through consciousness.  I am quite certain there are a handful of people snorting and rolling their eyes with this last statement.

Synchronicity really addresses energy.  Our thoughts and feelings have energy and the expression, “ask and  you shall receive” is really based on this. Despite how it is depicted in the documentary, it is not simply writing out an order form and waiting for life to deliver at your door like Amazon.  There is quite a bit of work involved and often, it requires a shift or change in the person.  Meaning, how you think, feel, and respond greatly impacts the effectiveness of these concepts.

I will use future blogs and videos to explain this concept in further detail. It can be really difficult for people to fully understand and integrate how this works as it defies the rules we have been conditioned to believe about life. Our logical brains tend to be the most disruptive agent to our progress in this area.

Synchronicity is real. I said it. I also see it as a way for you to connect with your higher being. To highlight this, I want to share a personal example of this. The other day, I went running when the sun was bright and the weather warmer (MN Warm, 40 degrees in Feb).  I find that I ground in nature and simply being outdoors shifts my awareness and mood.  As I was starting out, I was processing my discomfort with my recent shift in work and starting of a video channel and blog.  Though excited by the work and my desire to reach out to others, I feel exposed, awkward, and really uncertain about it all.  In weeks prior, I had received my intuitive nudge to do this new line of work. Well, to be honest, multiple nudges (I can be resistant at times).

As I was running about, I asked myself to give confirmation that I interpreted these nudges correctly. I expressed that I was feeling awkward and in need of reassurance. I requested a sign of confirmation AND one that I could validate. I continued running, enjoying the outdoors and my mind off processing other unrelated things.  Likely 15 minutes later, I was looping back and saw something in the road:  A yaktrack for a shoe.  I wear them on my runs and I thought it looked familiar. So I stopped, looked down, and noticed mine was missing from my left shoe.  Then I heard “lead with your left foot.”  I straightened up and literally said, “Huh?!”.

A few moments pass and an understanding unfolds:  I am right foot dominant. I feel sure-footed when I am moving forward with my confident rhythm and into the areas I know well.  The message was that though I was feeling uncomfortable, my awkwardness was not a sign of error and it would improve through practice. I was being encouraged to continue on and to do the very things causing me a bit of stress.  My request had been answered and in minutes from the actual asking.

I could have dismissed or minimized this whole experience as likely many reading this are doing so right now. However, I recognized the tone of these experiences and have learned to trust them.  Sometimes I feel a bit crazed, questioning myself and all that I know.  More so, I simply recognize this as the rational brain interfering with what it cannot explain. I have also learned to observe these rational mind responses and simply re-focus. These experiences, on both small and large scale, have always led me down exciting and fulfilling paths.  They have actually brought to me the most meaningful things I have in my life to date. Thus, I trust these nudges and communications more than anything.

If you are interested in learning more about Synchronicity and Law of Attraction, I will be continuing to write about it and am presently doing a series of videos to help explain them and how to apply them (2 are already on my Youtube channel). If this is something that does not resonate with you, I understand and I encourage you to enjoy all of life’s curiosities.

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

How to Support Someone in Grief

Grief: What a long and complicated process involving various intensive emotions. One could write hundred of articles on this topic alone. There is a lot of information about grief and the different emotions and cycles people rotate through.  However, my interest is discourse on how to be supportive to someone experiencing it, not on grief itself.

On a personal note, I met/connected with my husband during a time of grief.  My husband has a strong and close family, most of whom live elsewhere. Shortly after meeting my husband, his younger brother experienced a traumatic accident and was hospitalized.  He nearly died.  Gratefully, he survived.

Though I barely knew my husband at the time, I sensed his despair. As a therapist, I was also greatly aware of the unhelpful and avoidant dynamics surrounding grief. So, I leaned in. I inquired about his brother, asked my husband about how he was feeling, and simply listened.  I have experience of learning to just ‘sit in the ick’ with another.  Nothing magical or grandiose.  Just a desire to be present.  The interaction was a matter of minutes. However, years later, my husband still references that moment and how meaningful it was for him. He was feeling so sad and so alone in his grief at that time. Simply connecting with him on a human level was helpful and needed.

Grief is a heavy and complicated process. The greater the love, the more intensive the grief tends to be.  It can be difficult to know how to be helpful or supportive to others during this time. Most people do too much. They take on the mindset of having to make someone feel better and move through grief.  This is not possible and your attempts to do so simply cause more added pain and hurt.

I want to remind that grief can be activated by different types of events.  We do not always recognize these as triggering grief. However, it is important to have an understanding of what a person may be cycling through. Here are common triggers, but please note, it is not a comprehensive list:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Chronic illness/Cancer/Dementia of a loved one
  • Facing one’s own death (Illness/Cancer)
  • Death of a pet or ‘fur baby’
  • Relationship loss through break-up or divorce
  • Sudden loss of job or home

There is a lot of avoidance when talking about death itself. You can see it in just language choices when addressing death.  Phrases like ‘Passed away, Crossed over, Moved on”.  There is a belief that these terms somehow assuage the sadness or sense of loss.  Truly, they do not and just add to the sense that we need to avoid talking about the things that make us uncomfortable.

If you really want to be helpful and supportive to someone experiencing grief, then you will need to first address and accept your own discomfort with the topic. You can be uncomfortable and still be helpful, that is ok.  You just need to own your discomfort and not try to reduce it by saying or doing things that make you feel better. The goal is to be available to someone else in a manner that is helpful to him/her.

Another critical suggestion is to have your goal be focused on being present.  Do not focus on making a person feel better. This is where things go array.  You simply cannot. There is nothing you can say that will make a person feel ‘good’ about the loss they are facing.  It is invalidating, makes them feel alone, and likely will halt any communication about their sadness. So please, avoid commentary like “It was God’s plan, S/he is in a better place, It was meant to be.”  This does not typically resonate with someone. More likely, they may display plastic smile and nod, while harboring thoughts of throat punching you.

Here are some suggestions on how to be available and sit with a person in their sadness:

  • Have communication about communication:  Tell a person you want to be supportive and invite them to give feedback on what that is. Let them know you are a safe person.  ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE TRULY CAPABLE OF ACCEPTING FEEDBACK. You have to be able to take feedback without personalizing it.
  • Learn to mirror:  It is like a dance but the person grieving is the lead. You are not to push, pull or try to make them pivot. You move with them.  You follow.
  • Ask questions:  Do not assume you know how they feel or what they need. This changes constantly.  Ask how you can be helpful. Ask how you can make them feel loved in that moment.
  • Touch them with permission:  Do not underestimate the value of a hug or sitting and holding a person’s hand in silence. It is enormously helpful. However, ask if you can do so before doing it. Sometimes, people are in a place of not wanting to be touched. If they say no, allow for it and do not view it as rejection.  It is where they are at in that moment, not about you or your importance.
  • Learn to manage your discomfort with silence:  People tend to get uncomfortable and fill space with words. These words are generally the ones that cause hurt.  It is okay to feel uncomfortable but own it.  Sometimes when facing grief, people just want to sit and be.  They want a presence, but they do not feeling like talking or listening.  This is a VERY helpful thing to do but most struggle with it. There is a sense of needing to do more. This is what I referenced as “sitting in the ick”.
  • Stop the avoidance:  Some people avoid talking about the personality that died or is dying.  There is a desire to ‘not upset’.  A person grieving is going to be triggered left and right. It could be a song, a place, or even a memory that floods in. Simply going to the grocery store and reaching for an item that the person who died love can activate it.  Just accept that this will happen.  It is inevitable.  I encourage you to talk as you normally would and if a person triggers, revert back to learning to be present and sit in it with him/her
  • Be emotional:  Do not avoid expression of your own sadness. Just do not make it the responsibility of the other person to comfort you. I have actually cried in session with clients. Some of the things people have had to face are brutal.  I own my emotion by saying “Do not feel responsible for my tears. My heart is just reflecting the sadness of this situation. You do not have to take care of me.” It can be extremely validating for someone to see another person resonating with the pain of the situation v. always looking at stoic, unemotional faces.
  • Realize the emotional journey of grief is long term:  There is no ‘getting over it’.  It is a matter of a person processing, over and over, the emotions related to grief and learning to live with it.  It will not disappear from their life. It can get triggered repeatedly for the rest of their lives. There is no resolution. It is a management process.
  • People cycle through grief differently:  Everyone is unique in their journey of grief. This can cause discord, especially in families, as individuals may express different aspects of grief at different times.  Because a person is not aligned with another in the same way does not mean they are not grieving. Allow for personal variances to emerge without judgment.
  • Recognize that people rally support right after the death of a person.  There is a falling away after some months go by. That is often when the real grief starts and a person begins to truly process the loss.  Do not be surprised by this. Commit to being one of those few folks who can be present when the realness of it sets in.
  • Do not equate lack of emotional expression with being ‘over it’.  People cycle through emotions and sometimes, there can be a storm ranging inside and a person’s demeanor is not reflecting it.  It might be that they do not want to share it OR, they have experienced negative push back from others and are scared to.
  • Avoid pushing spiritual or religious beliefs on someone: Death can really challenge a person’s faith or religious belief system.  Allow for this. Even if a person identified him/herself as strongly religious in the past, this can a tumultuous topic.  Avoid pushing attending religious services, praying, etc if the person does not resonate in that space.  You might find it helpful but it does not mean that s/he will. It is not the fix.

It is my goal in writing this that this proves to be helpful to at least one person.  It saddens me to observe how alone people feel in their grieving process due to the responses of others.  Again, most are intending to be helpful but are taking the approach of pushing people through their emotional process.  Trust in a person’s inherent drive to move to the other side of acceptance.  By being present with them, you actually enable this process without having to take ownership of it for them.

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ

 

Negative Emotions Are Not THE Problem

 

I need to preface this by saying I am passionate about the role that emotions play in our lives. I view them as guiding agents along our paths. They are not meant to be rationale or logical. They originate from our heart-talk, our heart chakra, and represent our best interests and desires.

As a therapist and an empath, it is really frustrating for me to see how negative emotions are stigmatized. It is inaccurate and really unhelpful to anyone surviving a negative state.  I understand that they are uncomfortable and most people would prefer to exist in a place of joy or peace.  However, though they are unpleasant and sometimes overwhelming,  they are not inherently bad. Often, they are indicators of needed change and shifts.

Some people recognize the value and need to fully experience and process negative emotions. They “lean in” and work on them until the emotional charge neutralizes.  These are a rare few and they have all done this process repeatedly. Thus, they know all emotions are transient and moving through (not around) negative affect is truly the only way to regain inner peace.

We are not usually taught how to lean in. This is not an innate skill.  Oppositely, we are blamed for having negative emotions. The issue becomes our feeling, versus the problem being THE problem.  Similarly, due to the high discomfort most people have with another’s negative affect,  people often make statements to help “push” us into a different emotional state.  Some noted repeats: “Stop feeling bad for yourself” “Don’t be __ “ “It was meant to be”” Don’t let it get to you”.   Though the intent is to be helpful, it is usually hurtful and makes us feel alone. It is already stressful to find yourself in a dark or low place. To feel alone in that space is even worse.

We cannot escape negative emotions. They are an inherent part of life. Dismissing them, ignoring them, stuffing them, cerebralizing them, and numbing against them DO NOT WORK. It may seem as though it does but only for a short while. As I will address in future writings,  these avoidant processes cause negative emotions to stay with us. Our bodies are a storage system for them. We might not always be aware of their presence but don’t be fooled.  They pop up like a scary jack-in-the-box and often manifest in over-reactivity and physical ailments. Unless dealt with directly, they just get carried forward into life.

In my practice, I have devoted a lot of time in teaching people how to manage the flow.  It is not a complicated process but it takes effort.  It requires one to feel vulnerable and interplay with the array of emotions they have resisted for years. Sometimes that work also entails repairing the connect between mind/body when numbing has become an automated response. This is very common with those with a background of trauma.

Negative emotions are often an indicator of us being out of alignment with our sense of purpose or integrity of being. This may seem not the case for complicated emotions, like grief, but I can address specifics in later writings. Generally speaking, negative emotions signal something is out of sync or not aligning as we need.  They can be stressful as they often alert to a needed change or for someone to address a stressful topic.  Sometimes, we may not feel ready to acknowledge that need and we spend time and effort avoiding the feeling. It has been both my observation and clients’ reports that they spent more time avoiding the work than doing it.

I strongly believe that it is critical for happiness and progression forward that a person has the tools and skills to manage the flow of all emotion. It is my hope that each person finds a safe place and person to share this with. Some people have friends or family that really know how to “sit in the ick” with them.  If not, I encourage those who don’t to seek out the resources to build that for themselves as everyone is deserving of a compassionate and listening ear. Empathy and validation is the most powerful tools in allowing a person to move his/herself into a more positive state.

 

I encourage you to like, subscribe or comment.  I am interested in creating an interactive community which offers information and support to others and a safe place for sharing.  You may also visit my YouTube channel for videos on helpful topics at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4D31k-hngy5DFj0LYIYTQ