I remember a time when I was going through my divorce, working full time as a Medical Practice Manager, and pushing myself really hard to address many childhood trauma issues with my therapist when I got to the point where I wasn't able to forge on any longer. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. I recall praying and pleading to be strong enough to work through ALL of this, since I had a very clear idea of what being “strong” looked like.
However, you can call it the flu, exhaustion, or Spirit’s answer to my prayers, I spent the next three days at home on the floor in my living room. Never changing out of my pajamas and unable to go on with my usual day to day life. My life came to a screeching halt and the world as I knew it, stopped. It was like my life was a snow globe that someone had shaken up and I was trapped on the inside of the globe, simply as an observer.
All of my old tapes played in the background as I laid on the dingy, out-dated carpet of my interim apartment looking out of the sliding glass window. Outside the orangish red and yellow leaves blew by effortlessly in the breeze. Stillness took over and I was left in a catatonic dreamlike state. I remember being concerned at first and then laughing to myself, at the irony of asking for a new perspective and this being the one that showed up.
Initially, I fought it. Telling myself you have to get to work, you have to do this thing or that yet my body was simply not responsive.
After a short while, a beloved spiritual teacher of mine came to me in a vision and told me to “Stay down”. I was confused, inherently stubborn, and argued with him that I needed to do all the things on my list for the day. Even struggling to get up to show my determination.
His kind eyes and loving smile washed over me. “Stay down”, he repeated. Showing me a boxing ring. “You don’t have to always fight so hard. The answers are right here.”
Time simply did not exist as I cried, slept, and prayed for hours upon hours. Wondering what I was doing with my life and questioning what kind of future I wanted for myself. I felt like I was being lovingly rocked and held in a weird time warp of unraveling, as images, experiences, and old scenarios flashed through my consciousness.
A familiar voice started talking to me. It was faint yet determined! It kept asking me, "Who are you?" Talking about joy, love, laughter, and happiness. Showing me, one by one, all the barricades I had put up to protect myself from ever being hurt again. Returning me to my childhood when the air was invigorating, the smells delighted me, and the small things meant the most. Small things like splashing in rain puddles during a thunderstorm, twirling in the grocery store while listening to snappy music, and singing my heart out while dancing through the woods and pretending I owned the forest.
After journeying through this beautiful time of rediscovery, I realized the voice I was hearing was my inner child channeling my heart's desires. Showing me how to simply BE once again. She began pleading with me to stop and to redirect my life, NOW. Reminding me of my own Divinity, my soul's essence, and that most of my life had already been lived. Asking me, "What if you died tomorrow?"....
A HEAVY sense of mortality settled into my heart. I began scrambling for answers and ways to justify how so many years could have been lost to conformity, autopilot, and complacency. An unconscious state of sleep walking through life had unintentionally occurred. I began to identify all of the things that needed to change in my life to be able to live with intention, with integrity to myself, and a deeper sense of self love.
I began dreaming of a new way of being and in that moment decided that I would not die with the music left in me. This was a huge turning point in my life. I had no idea of how, when, or why things would manifest but only that my life was now headed in a totally new direction. I asked for help from Creator which I knew I was already receiving and cried tears of gratitude as I drifted off to sleep. My mind was racing and Spirit comforted me in these moments, of being here but not here, by telling me to say YES to the opportunities that were coming and to courageously dare to be more in this lifetime.
I woke up later that afternoon able to fully function, once again, like a light had been reignited inside of me and hope now radiated from my soul. The possibilities seemed limitless and my path appeared to be much clearer for me to follow. I look back now with a smile in my heart, recognizing the true strength that is needed to "Stay Down' or to surrender.
It takes courage to listen and to reconnect with one's own heart. I've found that strength comes in many forms and sometimes most powerfully when you surrender and simply allow yourself to be held in grace. May you find the joys of knowing strength through your own surrender.
In Joy and Gratitude
I was thinking of this today when I got up. The kids are savoring the last free days of summer vacation and John (my husband) and I decided to sleep late (past 6AM) because we have been doing a lot to support our eldest as he wraps up his eagle project. So, it was nice to go to bed early last night and sleep until my body got up on its own today.
In fact, it felt wonderful.
I don't know about you, but I crave simplicity and comfort in my life right now. I don't want to complicate things or be offended. I just appreciate going with the flow and understand that many things in my life can be more simple and sweet when I focus on the here and now of my basic needs. This desire has brought me full circle in many areas. I am able to let go of things from my parents and grandparents and be rooted more in the memories and lessons that they taught me throughout my life, instead.
It is not always easy, but my awareness of the opportunity to soften and expand is coming more readily as I strengthen this practice of paying attention, and then releasing.
For example, with all the lawn maintenance work I have assumed over the summer months and the anniversary of my dad's death coming up quickly, I could easily become frustrated or sad. Instead, I have been dreaming and thinking about him a LOT, and translating memories into wisdom. As I ride around our lawn and cut the paths over at The Soul Source, I remember how meticulous he was about the rows and the schedule for cutting the grass every week. "You have to stay on top of it, or it is more work."
Now that I spend hours trimming and circling trees and picking up stones and figuring the fastest way to create a semi-manicured look to our unruly land, it makes MORE sense to me. This wisdom, that I attributed more to landscaping than living, is so much wider and deeper. There are lots of things in life you need to do consistently so time and opportunities aren't squandered, and the little things are not forgotten.
Little things do matter...like how I take my coffee, where my friend likes to go for breakfast to avoid a gluten contamination, what books my daughter is reading right now, what type of music my son plays when he is feeling frustrated, and how quiet or withdrawn family members are for periods of time. These likes, dislikes, experiences and reactions are all clues to deciphering our people and, more importantly, the riddle of living deeply and richly in the moment.
Yes, the big things, like choosing a spouse, finding a home, birth and death in our circles of family, friends or pets, definitely matter. However, I would purport that these important moments would not have as much meaning if we had not noticed or cherished or stayed on top of all the little things along the way.
For instance, my husband doesn't drink coffee--it is too bitter for him--but Dad and I always did throughout the day. It is one of the things I miss about him at home. I would wake up or be working on the computer late at night and he would have already made the coffee or bring in a steaming cup with just the right amount of cream. He thought about me and knew how I took my coffee, and he cared enough to take the time out of his life to do something which bonded and connected both of our lives.
Sometimes, when he brought the coffee in or poured it for me on the kitchen counter, my father would walk off and do something for himself. However, many times, he would linger or sit and we would talk about dreams from the previous night, what we were going to do during the day, worries that we had ruminated on for days or insight into some situation with someone in the family and how there really were bigger patterns to consider.
These moments in time are what I remember and miss most because they are how I found space to go deeper into myself. I think these day to day touch-points are how we build a firm foundation of caring, awareness and values in an often detached and very slippery world of distraction and hurry.
So, now I am intentionally making more room to appreciate the small things in my life and with my "people." When my son wants to toss the football or my daughter wants to show me her latest crocheted creation or my husband needs help with a project or errands, I usually stop or set aside time from my daily to-do list (things I do to stay on top of the material mess in our world) to pause and play, be present or assist where I can.
I do this because I know how much this means when others are present and extend love and attention to me, and I want to live in reciprocity and harmony with my people and the world around me...AND, I know from experience and loss, that these small moments are what matter most.
These moments and all our efforts to connect and be present are what helps our loved ones transition in peace at the end of their time and us move forward, when they are gone, without regret.
Say, "Thank you." Say, "No." Say, "Yes." Say, "I am sorry." Do whatever you need to do to identify your real priorities, simplify your life, live more fully in the moment and realize that, "Staying on top of these things and people that matter, reduces the work you have to do later." It also make your life less chaotic and dramatic and more sweet and simple.
I send you blessings and appreciation.
I often hear clients talk about self love as if it is a selfish choice. How, is that possible? In my opinion, it’s one of the most important, loving and nurturing things you can do for yourself.
Self love is much more than treating yourself to pizza after a tough day, it’s a deep and personal process of getting to know yourself which requires our conscious attention, discernment, new choices, and action.
Dictionary.com defines self love as, " The instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being." However, so many of us have been socially programmed from a very young age to believe untrue judgments, to agree with unfounded shaming, and to accept the blame that others project upon us.
We have unknowingly agreed to believe that these beliefs are true without ever stopping to ask, “Who says or does this make sense for me?”
Naturally, as children we trust our families, churches, community groups, and government to tell us how to see things and what we should believe to be true. These “truths” are taught to us consciously and subconsciously in an effort for us to easily adjust and fit in to our society and families.
It is our job, at some point, to start fostering our own inner happiness and to ask if we truly believe what is being given to us as the “correct” answers or ways to behave. Asking do I agree with these statements, view points, or judgments and to no longer go on mindlessly agreeing with anything that isn’t in alignment with our own soul’s innate wisdom and knowing.
This is where diligent work comes in and everything you think you know to be true needs to be examined. I liken it to building a new foundation for yourself. Often times when I first started rebuilding my foundation, I would ask “Who says… I can’t, I shouldn’t, or I have to?” and my mother’s face would flash in my mind or the Catholic church, since that is what my childhood was steeped in. Then I would sit with that belief and decide if that’s what I truly believed or not.
It became very freeing once I gave myself permission to start examining all my beliefs and making my own decisions, taking the time to look at all the areas of my life. Anything that resonated with my core belief system was kept and anything that made me contract, feel limited, or didn’t feel in alignment with my spirit was tossed aside and replaced. The new beliefs I chose for myself became the cornerstones for MY foundation, allowing me to fully embrace who I knew myself to be.
Of course, this is a life long process, but it does become easier once the huge boulders of untruth are removed and compassion and understanding is allowed to wash over them.
So many of us are unknowingly defined by what others have told us we are, never questioning further. We have accepted how others see us and turn away from doing the deep inner work because once the door is opened it is very hard to go back to who we were before. Because it is scary, we sometimes put off starting the process or never start at all.
However, if you begin this journey of self-exploration and firming up the foundation of who YOU ARE, eventually you will arrive at the ultimate question of, "If I am not this (who I believed I was based upon misconceptions and stories from the past), then who am I?"
This is where the true journey of self love begins!
It can be a pretty bumpy road of changes, unrest, and new awareness’s but gradually it opens us to a new way of being which allows us to know ourselves, love ourselves, and give more of ourselves on the deepest levels.
My heart beams with joy for all the truth warriors who are on the path of unbecoming who they once thought they were. I celebrate those who have the courage to look in dark corners within and decided to create a new way of being for themselves, step by step and little by little.
Self love is only perceived as selfish by those who don’t want you to change and aren’t ready to change themselves. It takes courage to love yourself this much and there is nothing selfish about being your true authentic self.
So, I ask, "What are you waiting for?" Your heart deserves a home where it feels unconditionally loved and the world is waiting for YOU!
Written By: Catherine Jimenez,
Certified Life Coach and Shamanic Energy Practitioner
My name is Beth Busse, and I am a licensed acupuncturist at The Soul Source, LLC. This month, our collective of independent contractors are promoting the benefits of creating and maintaining BALANCE in our bodies, minds and spirits, so I wanted to share with you some information about how YOU can use acupuncture to do this. I offer individual treatments and provide Community Acupuncture (an affordable and effective option where 4 or 5 individuals receive personalized treatment in a open but quiet space so their common goal of healing can be amplified and shared) at The Soul Source, LLC every Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 4-6PM. We use a sliding scale contribution of $40.00-$25.00 per person, per treatment so it is affordable for people to come often, if they want.
To create and maintain BALANCE in our lives and bodies, we need to remind ourselves and others that we ALL have ups and downs, and in living a healthy and balanced life, we generally benefit from having both extremes in our experience, because it assists us in discerning what BALANCE is. As the old adage states, "Without the bad, we wouldn’t appreciate the good in our lives."
What does that have to do with Chinese Medicine and acupuncture? Creating Balance and homeostasis is the objective behind acupuncture. Finding the middle ground between Yin and Yang, Heat and Cold, Internal and External, and Excess and Deficiency is important. By nourishing both Qi (our internal energy source) and Blood we can create Balance if our life and be more aware of it in our world.
Our bodies were created with an inner wisdom to be able to naturally heal. Acupuncture uses these instincts to unblock stasis and find what areas of the body need to be harmonized. All acupuncture points increase circulation, but some run deeper and wider and can influence larger areas of the body.
Our goal this month is to focus on a point that does just that. ST (Stomach) 36 is a major acupuncture point that fits the bill. It’s located one hand-width below the knee and one finger-breadth lateral to the anterior crest of the tibia. This can sound rather confusing, so feel free to refer to the picture provided.
Its Chinese name is Zúsānlĭ, which translates to "Leg Three Mile." Thousands of years ago, when Chinese Medicine was developed, people walked everywhere. It was said that if a person had walked so much that they felt physically drained and depleted, they simply needed to needle ST36. By doing this, the ancient wisdom claimed the body would restore enough energy to the legs to get in at least three more miles.
ST36 is the Command Point for disorders of the abdomen. It is a Sea of Nourishment point which shows its supportive quality. It’s also categorized as a Heavenly Star point, which makes it one of the most vital acupuncture points.
There are numerous actions this point promotes. Obviously, ST36 harmonizes the Stomach. The Stomach works very closely with the Spleen, thus fortifying the Spleen and resolving Dampness. It supports Correct and Original Qi that promotes healing. Both Blood and Yin are tonified and nourished. Fire is cleared and the spirit is calmed. Yang is revived and has the ability to restore consciousness. The Stomach Channel runs from your head all the way down to your feet, therefore it can activate and alleviate pain along the entire channel, not just in the abdomen.
Clearing Fire, tonifying Blood and Yin, and reviving Yang aren’t exactly what we’re used to hearing in Western Medicine. So, what kind of indications are actually being seen? The applications for ST36 are practically countless, therefore I’ll touch on some of the main ones.
These are just some of the most common ailments and conditions ST36 can treat. It is INCREDIBLE! When combined with other acupuncture points, it seems that ST36 could probably help with just about any ailment, because its range of actions and indications are extremely broad. It barely seems an exaggeration that Chinese medicinal lore claims, "All diseases can be treated with this point!"
If Balance is what we’re trying to achieve this month, ST36 is the perfect point.
If you have any questions about this information, feel welcome to post something in the comment section here or send us a personal message on FB.
May we all take the remaining days of December to recognize and send gratitude for where we are in our lives. There is no need for regret, fear or doubts, but they happen. So, please make time to embrace your feelings and ask if those stories are real any more for you.
Can you adjust or edit the assumed outcomes and trajectory of your life and path by embracing the location of NOW?
If you are still struggling with the where you are, you may want to do something outside of YOU to gain perspective. Many times, it can be challenging to get out of the loop of past mistakes and regret or the stress of what will be in the future.
When this happens, besides breathing intentionally, one of the best things you can do is volunteer or help someone else to help themselves.
As Saint Francis of Assisi said, "For it is in giving, that we also receive."
This belief and practice of Ayni--giving and receiving in order to create balance and harmony in the world in which we live, is a core value of The Soul Source, LLC. We have donated our time, services and the use of our facility and land to assist non-profits, friends and families since we opened in 2010, and we will continue to do this as part of our mission going forward. We love the relationship and community of caring that this practice cultivates, and we hope you do, too.
If you do, please consider joining in our efforts to give back to others in need during this season of giving. In order to be a blessing this holiday, we have created toiletry bags for the Kewaskum Food Pantry. If you would like to create and donate some, too, please assemble Toiletry Bags using the following list and drop them off at The Soul Source between now and the 18th of December.
Consider including the following helpful travel-size items in a large plastic Ziploc Bag:
Please do not include mouthwash, hand sanitizer or shampoo and conditioner or mix food in with the toiletry items.
We will deliver all collected bags to the Kewaskum food pantry on the Tuesday before Christmas so they can be distributed for the holiday, as needed. To thank you for your generosity, you will receive a raffle ticket for every Ziploc Bag you donate. We will be doing a drawing for prizes on the 19th.
We so appreciate you and any efforts you make to participate or to do your own practice of giving in the community. It is so INSPIRING and AMAZING what generosity and loving compassion can create and how it can help change the ending of our own story. Thank you in advance for helping others, the community and yourself to have a "Clean Slate" going forward in the new year.
Blessings and Joy to you and yours!
As a psychic medium, one of the most challenging things to do sometimes, is to bring through loved ones who have committed suicide. As a parent, there are not words or emotions expansive enough to express my sympathy for families who have dealt with the loss of a loved one because of suicide. It is almost impossible to wrap my brain around the grief.
In these situations, people want to know, "Are they OK." From what I have experienced, loved ones in spirit are good, because they are light and energy and not tied to a physical or emotional body of pain and suffering. However, these same spirits usually seem concerned about the loved ones they have left behind and the pain, loss and confusion their decision may have caused.
Another question is often, "Why?" This is harder to answer, for each person is different. For some, it wasn't really intended (they didn't think it would really work or end up the way it did), for others, there didn't seem to be a better solution for ending what was overwhelming to them. Some people like to say, "It isn't a decision, it is a disorder." I don't know if I always understand that statement, BUT I do know the trauma and internal drama are REAL. I remember the pain and noise in my head for a son I brought through. I felt distraught and desperate (again, not in spirit, but their experience from when they were alive), and could not imagine having to deal with that every day.
So, knowing this, and the fact that I cannot change what has already happened, I wanted to write to inspire and comfort those who are still here, but may be struggling RIGHT NOW.
I am not a therapist, but I do know a lot of good ones, :) because I have had my own challenges in the past. My life isn't a fairytale, but in many of my darkest hours, I had the privilege of still intrinsically KNOWING, that I was loved by the creator. That was and continues to be my greatest comfort and floatation device in a sea of uncertainty.
I know I have been CREATED. I have come forth to LIVE and DIE, and both are happening simultaneously.
Isn't that amazing?! I, like every single person alive, am meant to experience all facets and nuances of living and dying. In order to do that, though, I MUST allow myself to be open to ALL the experiences along the way. Challenges and loss and disappointment and questions are landmarks along the road of my life, BUT they are not permanent addresses. I do not need to live in a place of continual suffering. Most times, I can choose to move on or go back, but I could also choose to say, "That is enough. I am done." That is the beauty of my free will.
However, part of having my free will is also knowing when I might need help, AND ASKING for it…through therapy or medication, a ritual, a support group, and/or prayers. Growing up, when my mom would tell me she wished I had never been born, or would blame me for problems she was having, I could easily have chosen to turn to abuse or alcohol. These solutions certainly seemed to be some of the most popular remedies in my household.
I didn’t though…and I don’t say this to judge others. I say it to remind myself of the POWER of my choices and my path. I can only decide for me, myself and I. No one else...and that is really hard to swallow--especially, if you have a loved one who is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts or other serious disorders.
YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL YOU.
No matter what I am facing, I always know that I have choices and options. Every single moment is filled with limitless possibilities. Sometimes, though, people can have a disorder and they can be so down or so high, they can’t see past those emotions and thoughts. This can happen, and choice may not seem relevant. I get it. Once again, it may be necessary to get different medication, change your diet, add in more exercise, see a new therapist, etc…
For me, I thank my lucky stars that I was too stubborn to give in. I refused to be anything like my mother, PLUS I had the encouragement and love from my grandparents, and the solace of singing in church, talking to the stars and escaping to safe spaces through reading. All of these things were like beacons of shimmering light in the darkness and they shone their light so I could see a different path and outcome.
I encourage EVERYONE to pause and look around. Please REALLY see your life—not the circumstances, the disorders and disabilities, but the miracle of YOU living and breathing. Know that you are on a path of dying every day so why not savor and taste, swirl the magical goodness of all the flavors LIFE is giving you around in your primordial belly and CHOOSE to live WHILE you are dying.
Do not choose to die faster, because you are THE ONLY YOU walking your path, and wouldn’t it be a shame to never explore and discover the gnarly woods of darkness and light, the pristine lakes of purity and deep depths, and the mountains of stolen breaths and blinking eyes of wonder?
I think this is one of the reasons why I am SO passionate about creating safe spaces for people to do their work and find themselves…places where you can break down and fall apart and know that the sacred mother of this earth will hold you and love the pieces of you back together.
I practice being present and seeing people, thanking them, acknowledging them and accepting them where they are as divinely perfect yet humanly flawed individuals. I don’t always get it right. I can be rude and impatient and short-tempered. I have bad days, but I make amends and apologize, and always seem to come back to this space of gratitude.
I am so grateful for my life, for the lessons, for the people and teachers, for the awe and wonder, and for so many things that seem small and inconsequential—like the plump, purple grapes dangling from twisted branches overhead when I walk on the path to The Soul Source, the small gray and golden feather I found floating in a pool of rain water, the enchanted and excited laughter of my kids playing the new version of “Mindcrap,” and the wobbly smile and wagging tail of my 13 year old baby when she is prancing around under the apple tree or sniffing the compost pile.
These are tiny precious gems from my everyday life that I cherish, and they remind me to CHOOSE to live. To get help, when I need it, to cry when I can’t be strong anymore, to laugh at how long I waited to cry, to sink into a place of just breathing and being when I am done with everything, and then to wait until something changes again. I
I know I am not YOU. However, I do also know that everyone, in one small moment or another will think, “Maybe nobody would care if I was gone. What would it matter if I wasn’t here anymore? What good am I?” I have thought this, and knowing that I had this thought when I was younger, makes me aware that others may have had similar thoughts and/or may still be thinking this. I am not in charge of their thoughts and feelings, but I can offer to help by being a kind and loving human being. I can make time to listen to others, to say hello, to drop someone a note of thanks, to cook a meal or volunteer as a Big Sister. We ALL can help.
I send out so much LOVE, STRENGTH and SUPPORT for anyone who may be having suicidal thoughts or questioning their meaning and existence. I want to tell you, in case someone else hasn’t told you already, “YOU MATTER. You are loved and needed. You are a beautiful soul filled with divine light. Please share yourself with the world.” I hope you can receive this message and take it in and then give it out to someone else who may need to hear the same thing, and if you can, I hope you choose to live.
Blessings and love,
The true dichotomy of life and living well seems to me to be wrapped up in this statement:
"The stronger you become, the more gentle you will be."
I know, I know...At first, this seems like a bunch of woohoo nonsense and stupid talk. I personally want to contradict and argue this statement by pointing out all the historically touted images of "strong" people and leaders.
I mean, come on. Hitler and Stalin built empires of corruption and violence by projecting "strength" to the general public. So did Darth Vader, the Godfather and numerous other "bad guys" in myths and legends, and movies throughout time. For some reason, we are ingrained to swallow the story that "strength" means political power, amassed financial resources and a need to be ruthless and emotionally detached.
This makes me feel sad and a little hopeless at times. I wonder how we can ever have peace and contentment when so many world "leaders" continually promote and condone their individual political and religious agendas? How will the attention and movement of the masses ever be swayed to focus on the good of all when our cultures instead glorify the having and getting of more "goods?"
When I go down this mind spiral of negative what ifs, it can be really overwhelming. So, I pull myself back and say, "I can only manage MY THOUGHTS, MY ACTIONS and MY LIFE." Whew! That is a cold splash of wake-up water to me. It helps me to get out of my "stinking thinking" and back into the land of now. I turn off the TV, shut down the computer, (I don't have a cell phone) and stretch and breathe. Ahhhhhhhh. I feel more calm and able to chew on the deeper meaning of this lesson:
"The stronger I become, the more gentle I will be."
The best way I can help make this world and my present moment and place more peaceful and loving is to become a paradigm of these characteristics. I can remind others of the less celebrated meanings of strength--those of character--through my own actions, thoughts, words and beliefs. I can focus on the act of being morally strong and dedicated to the tenets of kindness, patience, compassion, forgiveness, joy, happiness and acceptance.
When I am truly strong in character and spirit, I understand and embody the need for gentleness and I encourage and honor the choices of others. I don't need to force anyone else to think or believe the way I do. I just need to be the BEST ME. I have to do MY work, release my regrets and anger, forgive my "trespassers," and build my spiritual strength of faith and intuition. This is A LOT! No wonder lots of people want to focus their attention on others. It is easier to do.
Life IS an infinite space of directions and possibilities. The act of being kind and respectful becomes the anchor for the vessel of my strength so I may remain rooted yet flexible and resilient in the face of challenges and difficulties. Sometimes I find this challenging and notice I am becoming hardened in my heart and opinions. When this happens, I also feel more stiff and inflexible physically and emotionally sharp and splintered. Things don't flow and I seem to look for and attract conflict and obstacles. Has this happened to you?
Lately, this is when I practice pausing and reflecting and I ask myself:
1) What trigger from the past that makes me feel anxious and afraid is coming up right now and why? Are the people and circumstances similar somehow? In what specific way?
2) I then wonder why I am attracting a situation like this past circumstance into my life at this moment and time? What am I ready to learn, and how can I respond differently than in the past because I am a DIFFERENT person?
3) How can I appropriately comfort (I am very honest with myself at this point and try to think of healthier ways to provide solace than food, romance novels and lashing out at others) and reassure myself AND the younger person I was in the past? Do I need to forgive or just listen and extend compassion? I also remind myself of all the loving ways in which I take care of someone else who is asking for my assistance in this type of matter and see if I could treat myself the same way.
4) Do you want to cry or scream or run away? Can I give myself these releases in a way that honors? Is there some type of ritual that will help me process and surrender my feelings? Sometimes, I write in a journal or call a safe friend. Many times I walk outside, sit with my dog, go someplace quiet or just get in the car and drive for a while with some gentle music in the background.
There are other things and thoughts that come up, but this is where I usually start, and ALL of these practices remind me of how I am being more gentle and loving with myself. As a result, I am able to set some things from the past free to float back into the infinite source of all and brush out new spaces for more strength and peace. After all, the more I am able to face my own fears, demons and regrets, the more personal power and courage I gain to go deeper and further into myself. The more I do this, the more I am able to do the same for others, and the stronger I become.
I am becoming stronger all the time...not in the "evil" empire way, but in a way that mirrors paradigms of personal strength and accountability. Teachers who inspire me by recognizing their flawed human nature and deciding to embrace it and use it to create love, plant seeds of hope, and engender gentleness in one small space at a time. I am choosing this path and I am learning as I go:
"The stronger I become, the more gentle I will be."
Each morning and moment I am presented with the opportunity to choose who and what I am feeding in my life.
I think everyone I know has heard the tale of the two wolves--the good and the bad and how it matters to whom you are giving emotional sustenance. Am I waking up with anger and frustration? Chances are, if I am, I will probably attract and look for more things about which to find fault and complain throughout the day. I feed THOSE feelings of inadequacy, comparison, emotional neglect and disgruntlement, and within this heartspace of hurt, I can birth and strengthen a wolf of fear and anger.
However, if I awake and consciously choose to look for the beauty, the love, the miracles and joy, then I manifest and feed the wolf within who protects and honors the same things in life. It is a beautiful and powerful story of creation and personal responsibility. No one else is responsible for what I am creating in my life. Even when challenges happen or disappointment comes to my doorstep, I can decide the story I am going to tell and which main character I will emulate--the "hero" or the "villain."
Some mornings, it can be a challenge to get up out of bed and see the sun shining, the food in the cupboards and the gift of those I love resting peacefully nearby. I am human and have an ego. These are the days when I get back to the basics of being still, building body awareness and breathing. They are powerful tools to find your way back to the pack of gratitude.
First, I sit someplace peaceful and quiet. If I can, I go outside near the earth. Being still to me, means no distractions of computer, TV, radio, children, etc...AND it may only be for a few minutes of time.
Next, I internally scan my body to notice HOW I am feeling. Is there pain anywhere, do I feel emotional or restless, and is my mind chattering away and WHOSE voice and words are really speaking? I practice observation and non-judgment during this time and I MEAN PRACTICE. There is no perfect way when I practice. There is only the doing over and over until it becomes more ingrained in my psyche.
Finally, I take deep, slow breaths. I like to inhale through my nose, pause and hold my breath for a moment and then open my mouth and exhale deeply--sighing like the wind blowing through the trees. I do this for a few moments, envisioning my feet growing roots and settling further into the earth and myself. I feel better and am able to lovingly feed the gentle, playful and compassionate she-wolf within.
I invite you to practice these same techniques and see who you wind up wanting to feed inside of you.
Jen Martin is a Mom, Medium and Movement Person. She uses her intuitive abilities and training in yoga, prenatal yoga, meditation, and business to help others appreciate and help themselves. If you have kids, like hearing from loved ones in spirit or enjoy taking heart-centered yoga and meditation classes, check out Jen's blogs.