Victim or Heroine?

We have all heard the phrase life is what you make of it. On the surface this sounds doable and makes perfect sense. However, when we are in a place of darkness this sounds very unobtainable. Often we develop a sense of being victimized. The victim, best described as one who feels powerless and in that moment of feeling powerless is rendered unable to take appropriate action to resolve situations adversely affecting their well-being. When we make a choice to be powerless, we are often acting from learned behavior that originated in early childhood experiences where core needs were not adequately met. This translates into most of humanity; we all suffer some from this condition. The question is will you choose to stand in it, or move to another point of perspective? The choice really is ours to make.

Today while out for a run I found my mind drifting to a very recent conversation I had with my son, who resides a long way away and I don’t have the opportunity to speak with very often. I heard myself talking to him and beginning to whine about the holidays. He is leaving today to go visit his half-brother for the holidays and won’t be traveling home to be with me. He is my only child, I am a widow, live alone, don’t have a significant other . . . you get the drill. ME all alone for the holidays, just like so many others in the world. He, my very smart child, snapped me right out of my victim mentality and grounded me back into what is real. What is real is that I have a family, both parents and 4 siblings; I am choosing not to be with them this holiday season. Additionally, I have my health, a beautiful son who is healthy, an amazing dog, and a lovely home that protects me from the elements, enough food to eat, and many wonderful friends. The list of blessings could go on and on. So why was I tapping into the victim mentality? There are many reasons why I was going down that road. What is important to ask yourself when you find that you are taking a visit there, is why are you? What needs did you not get met when you were a young child, and why have you not made peace with those issues yet? Why don’t you love yourself enough to know you are enough just as you stand?

It is about taking control of your life, and making it the best life. It is about being able to see the stars even while sitting in the darkness and never forgetting that you are the heroine of your own play. Life really is what you make of it!

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Love Can Heal

What to do when the world around us isn’t practicing mindfulness, much less civility towards human beings? How can you stop this negative, sometimes hateful, destructive energy from tiptoeing into your heart and creating unbalance and unrest? First, it is important to acknowledge and address all emotions.  In other words, you cannot sweep aside feelings of unrest by not acknowledging how they make you feel.  Confront the emotion directly and perhaps ask yourself what you are to learn from it?  What changes can you make in your own life that will lead to more harmony for all of the universe?  This is one of the most difficult tasks, and in these times with daily images of hatred being bombarded on our psyche via television, social media, and our own neighbors forgetting to be mindful and compassionate, it can be a challenge.  If your soul is that of an Empath, all this horror can bleed directly into your heart. What this translates into is fear, and fear is something we don’t want to be living with, we want to be free of fear.

When we normally feel compassion it is biased and mixed with attachment. However, genuine compassion flows towards all living beings, particularly your enemies. If I try to develop compassion towards my enemy, it may not benefit him directly, he may not even be aware of it. But it will immediately benefit me by calming my mind. On the other hand, if I dwell on how awful everything is, I immediately lose my peace of mind.

How to do this? I am struggling with this lately, and it is the state of our world and the fact that more and more people are coming from a place of fear instead of love. Yes, love is where we need to come from in all that we do. We must forgive those that have wronged others and we must forgive ourselves. This does not mean that we do not hold people responsible for their actions.  Collectively we must send out a vibration to the universe of love. When we can all come to this space and hold love for one another, we can begin to heal the issues each of us faces. This won’t be easy; it will test your soul to its very core. That is fine. Sit with whatever comes up for you personally, acknowledge it and ask those simple questions and then begin to heal with love.   Today I have been pushed in many directions on this front, and I found myself asking the questions, what can I learn and where can I change things in myself?

One-way that was clear to me was to write about it, which is a good catharsis for the soul. Grab some paper, or your journal and jot down some things that have been on your mind. Remember when journaling, do not concern yourself with grammar just let the words flow. Set a timer if you must, for even just 5 minutes, and free write whatever comes to mind. It is an amazingly healing exercise that has been scientifically proven to help reduce your stress level.

Collectively we can make this world a better place if we become united in our thoughts of love toward one another, even when we don’t like the actions of another individual. When we can become the love that is divine, and share that love in our thoughts and actions to all of humanity, we might begin to heal.

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.

~ Pema Chodron

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Shine Your Own Light

How do we effect change in our lives? We all seem to wish for some, be it for peace in our hearts, more money, more love, and on and on. The lists for change are as endless and varied as the people who create the lists. The question is how do we bring about change? There are so many options available in today’s world, from Internet seminars, to this guru and that all reaching out to teach what worked for them. But this is where it becomes tricky, because people don’t ever change by becoming someone else. We human beings can only effect change when we seek, find and nourish the best of who we are. When we persist through the darkness, and reach deeper into our own true nature we will find all that we need as we stand in our true source. When we demand the best from ourselves, we rise above the fears of our daily life. Only when we stand firm in the best of ourselves, honoring the ancient ground of our being, will we be able to see our own true path and claim it.

How can you stand in our own right and claim that gift for yourself? Where can you let go of some fear and seek the best that you have to offer the universe? These are not easy tasks, and there very well may be some readings and other such materials available to you that assist in finding your honored path, just be certain to acknowledge that you are enough as you stand. Try believing that you are enough, if only for one moment, and stand firmly in that belief. For me, this is one of the many gifts I learned along The Way while walking 500 miles this summer. I am enough just as I stand. My star will shine as brightly as I allow, and yes I have traveled into and kissed the darkness. If I had not, how would I know how to shine? But I will not entertain the darkness; I will no allow it to eat from my table. Instead, I choose to shine my own true light, my own north star. I encourage everyone to do the same. Just imagine what a beautiful world it could be if we all let go of our fears and came together in our own brilliant light.

We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind.

~ Lakota Seer

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The Turning Point

Writing about grief, teaching journaling techniques to widows and widowers for healing through grief, and having lived it myself I find my world is often times full of death. Is this a bad thing I wonder? The answer is no, for oftentimes a part of us must die in order for another part to come alive. This is the natural rhythm of life. At this very moment in the Northern Hemisphere we can witness this cycle with the autumn season, things are slowing down and dying so that they may come alive once again in the spring. It is time for a rest, time to heal our souls and give way for an internal shift. This happens in everyone’s life, even if we are unaware, as we pass from infancy to childhood, from childhood to becoming an adult, etc. It is part of the cycle of nature. When these shifts occur, it is often confusion and disorientation that act as the messengers to indicate that a shift is taking place within us.

Oftentimes in our lives we have stored up some type of trauma in our souls and have formed a protective shell around ourselves to function. If we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. When we feel this shift, which might be as simple as feeling confined, we can begin to let go of some of the trauma we carry and move forward and begin again. We can make room for death, and in that moment we are reborn. This rebirth allows for us to continue to live our lives, and to fully stand in our light and shine.

Walking The Camino de Santiago this past summer I often felt like I had died, both physically as well as mentally. In my death, I experienced a rebirth, a lightness of being and an ability to see things clearer and to be able to listen just a little longer. It was a tremendous gift to be able to make this journey, but one need not leave their own surroundings in order to obtain such gifts, all one has to do is to surrender to the idea of death and allow for the shift to take hold. Wishing you peace for your journey and as always, love.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force . . . The movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with time; therefore no harm results. ~ I Ching

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Letting Go

What is your spirit communicating to you precisely at this moment? Is it calling you to look within, to see who you are and to see that we are all interconnected? Or are you holding on to the past, unable to move in a forward direction? Tonight, September 25, 2014, is a good time to let go of all the debris you might be holding onto from the past, all the things the ego likes to clutch onto that are toxic to our overall health, both to our minds and our bodies. With this date coinciding with the new moon (which commenced last evening), and the celebration of Navaratri as well as the Jewish New Year, it is an even more auspicious time to clear out the old, to make way for the new. It is an optimal time to purify and cleanse in order to set the stage for restoration of that which we desire to manifest in our lives. Tonight, create a ritual for yourself by lighting a candle; saying a blessing, gazing up at the magnificent universe in the starry night sky, while perhaps using a crystal of your choice, I am being called to anything that is light blue. Blue marks the beginning of life and emotion. Within the light shades of blue crystals we find acceptance, forgiveness, reconciliation, patience, dealing with guilt, and recovery. So grab a beautiful Angelite (love the name), a Celestite, or a Blue Chalcedony and go sit outside under the stars and let go of all that is keeping you from living your best life.

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We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind.

~ Lakota Seer

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Change

The moment of change is the only poem ~ Adrienne Rich

However much we may try to deny it, change is a constant aspect of our lives. Some changes are small, others may seem enormous and life altering. Sometimes we have weeks or months to prepare and ease into these changes, but more often than not they are unexpected, jarring, confusing, and very stressful. For better or worse, change is a fact of life we have to come to terms with, or we get mired in the mud of the past unable to move forward into the only moment that really matters, now. But change is difficult, whether individual desires or cultural ones, we prefer the familiar, the known and therefore we give it value. We avoid change. We deny our intuition and avoid transformation. When you feel conflict, pain, and tension, fear or confusion this is a sign change is occurring. Don’t try to avoid it or withdrawal. Lean into the change, take a risk and allow yourself to fully embrace life.

In my own life, change has often occurred in unexpected and jarring ways, but there have also been instances I have had the opportunity to prepare for change. When I have time to prepare for changes, I often turn to crystals to help with healing and keeping my chakras open and flowing. An excellent crystal to use during times of change is Watermelon Tourmaline. This crystal is exceptional for applying mental and emotional clarity to a transitional period of your life. On a mental level it brings patience and understanding to learn to accept the situation. Emotionally, it relieves stress and supports inner peace so you might move through this transition as painlessly and securely as possible. Like all Tourmalines, Watermelon Tourmaline is a metaphysically protective stone that is said to balance and harmonize the chakras. It works with the heart and higher heart chakras, cleansing and removing blockages, soothing and relieving stress. Watermelon Tourmaline is thought to help lessen depression and mend emotional wounds by allowing one to see the meaning and purpose of certain life events. It also aids in removing insecurities and calming overactive emotions, and it is believed that it also helps attract love and resolve issues in relationships, infusing them with joy and Divine Love.

I also believe diet plays an important role in our healing, so why not eat some watermelon as well when dealing with lots of change in your life? Watermelon is a high lycopene food. Lycopene is important for our cardiovascular health and increasingly a number of scientists now believe lycopene is important for bone health as well.   Your diet also affects your chakras and your overall well-being. Be open to change, especially at this time of the year when the seasons are changing and we are about to experience the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere) as it can be a wonderful gift if you learn how to fully lean into it and listen to your inner guidance.

 

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Heart Opening Along The Way

Extending my greetings to all and thanking you for your patience during my absence from writing. I went away to get in touch with my self. Having been called to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was able to clear my schedule and arrange my life so that I could go travel for 35 days. Even better, my 22-year-old son was able to join me on this journey.

You might ask, what did I find on this journey? Since my return many have asked this question, probing as to what it was all about? I have been asked over and over, “how did I feel”? “What did I find along The Way”?  “Was it all I had expected”? The questions are numerous; often I am unable to answer them. How do I begin to explain what this inner journey represented to me? I find it almost impossible, and my voice has remained silent.

I have written a lot about finding one’s voice, and in fact that was the premise of this blog, to find and hold my voice. As I am just beginning to reflect and process the pilgrimage, one thing I have found is that it is okay not to have a voice to answer the numerous questions and in that I feel at peace. There is a time and place to use your voice, and a time to remain silent, reflecting inward.

I will share that the journey was many things from beautiful, joyful, happy and fun to challenging, painful, gut wrenching and physically demanding. Oftentimes I did not think I could take another step. The Camino is a metaphor for life, it offers up a little bit of everything and it is up to us as to how we greet those challenges and joys. There were times I did not meet situations in a most prudent manner, and others when I was able to comfortably sit with whatever emotion arose.

We had walked from Atapuerca to Burgos one day. I knew the day would be a challenge in that there was much walking to get to the city center through a vast industrial area, in other words not scenic. It was also hot. I wanted to take a taxi from outside of the city into the center, where we would be staying, at least that was the plan, thus avoiding the industrial walking. This did not happen. We walked, lost our way on The Way and were unable to effectively communicate with the gas station attendant as to where to go. We saw no other pilgrims in sight. When you walk The Way you are known as a peregrino, or pilgrim. It was frustrating and my son and I became cross with one another. I asked myself why was I doing this? Whose idea was it to walk 500 miles across Spain anyway? I was miserable. Not from the physical aspect of the walk, as it was a relatively easy walk. As we made our way further and further across the dismal industrial area, which thankfully was silent as it was a Sunday, it dawned on me that I had read there was no bus service in most of the villages of Spain on Sunday, which clearly included Burgos! Just one more frustration to my day as we were standing at a large bus stop noting there certainly were none to ride on this day! I wanted to be done with this part of the walk now and I could feel my impatience mounting combined with the heat.

Suddenly, I took note that I was angry. Yes, on this pilgrimage I was angry. At first I felt ashamed. However, I stepped back and acknowledged this anger and allowed it to be. I did not shame it, stop it, or feed it. I simply allowed it to be what it was. In that moment I began to soften, I was no longer acting from fear, the fear of being lost in this city and believe me after coming out of tranquil rural villages a city the size of Burgos is an overload for the senses. I simply let go and observed what I felt; I told my son, “I am feeling angry”. It was a beautiful release, which lead to a softening of my heart.

That was part of the journey for me, the softening of my heart. I have been through many difficult and traumatic situations over these past 12 years and I have hardened my heart to a lot of life. The Camino was telling me to soften, to acknowledge things when I felt them, to observe, and to let go. This was only one of the many gifts and blessings I received along my pilgrimage. I hope to carry my lessons forward into my daily life because consistent softening of your system dissolves blocks in the flow of your life energy. It connects you with the life force in the universe. As you soften you let go of the stress and strain that have blocked your vitality. What can you do to soften your heart?

You can practice this exercise whenever you feel stress in daily life.

First, attempt to identify where the stress or emotion manifests in your body, and then try the following:

  • Begin softening into that location in your body. Letting the muscles be soft without a requirement that they become soft, like simply applying heat to sore muscles. Softening…softening…softening… Remember that you are not trying to make the sensation go away—you are just holding it in a tender embrace.
  • If you experience too much discomfort with an emotion, simply stay with your breath until you feel better. Now, begin to soothe yourself because you struggle in this way. Perhaps putting your hand over your heart again and feeling your body breathe. Perhaps bringing kind or encouraging words to mind. Hold yourself with loving awareness.
  • If you wish, direct kindness to an uncomfortable part of your body by placing your hand over that place. Maybe even thinking of your body as if it were the body of a beloved child, and gently soothing.
  • Finally, allowing the discomfort to be there. Letting go of the wish for discomfort to disappear. Allowing the discomfort to come and go as it pleases, like a guest in your own home. Allowing…softening…soothing…allowing. Repeat these words like a mantra, if you wish, reminding yourself to feel tenderness toward your suffering.
  • As you do this exercise you may find that the emotion moves in your body, try staying with your experience, continuing to use the technique of soften-soothe-allow.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. ~ Carl Jung

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