Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Unnecessary Battles

"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength."

-Marcus Aurelius


Have you ever found yourself fighting a battle that doesn`t really need to be fought? There are so many things going on in the world that are examples of that. Fighting about gun laws, fighting about the right to abortion, fighting about who is the best team, or which is the best country, gun rights, or even who has the most power or the best way to accomplish something are fights that are happening now. Some of these fights have been going on for decades and some for millennium. Do these battles really accomplish something? Yet we continue those fights knowing they really cause more pain. We would rather be right than learn and communicate and compromise and be part of a solution. 

We can look at this in a global way or in a more personal way. It doesn`t matter which for the same dynamics apply no matter the scope of the fight. We hold so tightly to our way of thinking or responding without regard to the other. We have become so defended and those defenses don`t allow change or movement. In our world, there is so much pain. In our world, there is so much dysfunction. We keep the cycles of pain going through our actions and reactions, and most of our actions are directly from knee-jerk defended reactions to a word spoken, an action taken. We don`t and haven`t learned how to think and look inside before we act.

Recently another school was attacked by a gunman where many human lives were lost; including the gun mans. He was a young man, clearly suffering from a mental illness. Our country is engaged in a fight about the right to carry guns, and what guns we can carry, and so on. The elephant in the room is mental illness. Is the fight really about guns or is it more about us, humans, not wanting to give something up which we think has meaning to us. We may think the right to carry is an inalienable right. What does it mean to carry a gun? Is it about protection and about defending something in us? What if instead of fighting, we look inside at what we are feeling the need to defend? What in us feels so vulnerable and in so need of protection, to the detriment of other lives?

I know these are a lot of questions, but it seems to me important ones. We are in a relationship with others no matter how alone or lonely we feel. In making decisions which are solely about us and our wounds and in protecting us, we are forgetting the others. How do our actions affect others? How does the need for self-protection keep us from knowing and realizing that we all have the same needs? When we make such selfish unconscious decisions we are making ourselves, even more, lonely. We are also hurting us as well as others. 

In mental illness, when we suffer from young wounds in such a profound way as to tear us apart, we don`t know and haven`t learned what to others may look like simple tools and steps in our lives to take care of us. We don`t know how to take care of us or love ourselves. In our society, these days so much research has been done regarding chemical processes which occur and do not occur in our brains and in treating mental issues with drugs and chemicals that we are no longer able and trained to help our inner wounded parts to heal. We need to begin to look at us and others with compassion and we need people trained and able to plumb the depths in us and others and help others to locate old wounded parts and help them to integrate so we can live whole and vital lives. We need to learn how to treat those suffering from mental issues instead of farming them out and giving them drugs.

When I see incidents like the shooting in Oregon, like war in the Middle East, like our broken political system and so much more, I can`t help but to wonder when we will begin to look within and begin to do our work, each one of us, and to learn to love us and others, giving up our need to defend and to be right so that we can come together as one. Each one of us is important. Each soul is important; so much more so than being right, feeling alone, and hurting us and others. It is not about guns, it is about love.

Shift Your Story/Shift your Life

I was listening to public radio this morning as a journalist was interviewing a Chancellor of a reputable university her in the United States. A question was asked as to what they could do to help bring people more together; to bridge the civic gap. She answered that the arts are a great way to bridge such a gap. Working together for a common cause or goal brings everyone together. Doing so through projects, art, dance and creative wellsprings gives those involved a move greater and different perspective from which to work together. I heard this and was inspired. In this spirit of bridging gaps between peoples, what do you think you would or could do that bridges such gaps within yourself and with others? What are you interested in learning and pursuing which takes you beyond just yourself and into a world of creation?


Take a minute and write down a few ideas that come to you without censorship. Once you have at least one idea written, without over thinking it and starting to wonder and question yourself, write down two or three steps you could begin to take to make this happen for yourself. This means suspending, for just a few minutes, your inner critic.  Put this paper away and read it again tomorrow, and the next day, for 10 days, and see what happens inside you and how you begin to respond to what you have written. If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Reclaiming Our Lost Selves

"If you wear a mask long enough you begin to forget who you are beneath it.” -Anonymous

We can go through our lives feeling perfect, or mostly happy. We eat, breath, love, sleep, work, have relationships, and feel we are living good lives. We are living good lives, or good enough lives. And yet, something is missing or we get reactive to certain people or certain situations. This reaction could seem so innocuous and can seem like it is to something so unimportant. It is this very reaction which in fact leads us to our lost selves. Think about the times you got upset at the driver driving slowly in front of you preventing you from passing him, or getting angry with your child or partner for spilling milk or drinking from the bottle, or some other kind of silly situation in which you got inappropriately upset. These are silly examples, yet the kinds of things that can happen every day. When we react in an extreme fashion which doesn’t equal the event itself, then it is time to look within.

When we are very little, before words and up until the age of around 3, our memories are intrinsic. By intrinsic, I mean that our memories have no category or sense of time and place. We just learned something or experienced something and whatever that was, it is recorded in our memory where it just comes up when something happens that reminds our brain of that memory. In life, as we get older, so often we find ourselves reacting to something or someone and have no idea why. The why is embedded in that intrinsic memory. When we are able to unearth that old memory, it gives us the opportunity to reclaim a part of us that we didn’t even know we had lost.

An example of this is with a patient of mine. This patient has a great need to please others and can lose her own thoughts when connecting with others. Their ideas and beliefs and thoughts become truer than his/her own; for the moment. It isn`t until he is alone that his own thoughts and understanding of who he is comes back to him. Have you ever experienced such a phenomenon? We can be so influenced by others that in a sense we lose our own ideas and thoughts and beliefs temporarily, and sometimes for a very long time.

When we looked back into his early life, we saw he had lost his mother very young and he was never told the truth as to what happened. He was told some things, and what he was told never rang true to him. Yet, he believed what they said. He had to. His father was all he had. It was a matter of survival. On top of this, as a young child, he thought the loss was his own fault. All children think that what happens is their fault. When we are little, everything is about us and has to be in order for us to survive. In his case, so that he didn’t have to think about he being the cause of his mother`s loss, it was easier to believe what he was told. In that moment in which he believed what he knew to be a lie in order to preserve a sense of himself, he lost or let go of an intrinsic part of himself. It was better to believe others than to feel and think that her disappearance was because of him and something he did or didn’t do, or because of who he is. That early belief was much worse than taking in a lie. Where did that knowing part of himself and the trusting of his instincts go? It went out so that he didn’t have to think he was the cause of the loss of his mother. That set the stage for many future events where he believed others over him, and when he engaged in interactions with anyone other than him, he would lose his own sense of his voice and what was right for him.

Becoming aware of that intrinsic memory and how it affected him and still affects him was the beginning of his reclaiming that knowing part of himself. We could certainly look back and see what happened in his mother`s life and father`s life to see what also blindly affects him/and his way of coping in life. We do that through the Family Constellation work. And even without doing that, giving him a consciousness of where this comes from in him is a powerful step to his reclaiming a part of himself. As we do that we become more whole, connected, and vital people.

Guided Visualization:

Take a minute and ground yourself by placing your feet comfortably on the ground. Make sure there are no other distractions with phones, people interrupting you. Begin by taking a few deep breaths and as you do, breathe this air deeply into you. Become aware of your body, the air in your body, and where you may be carrying any tension in your body. Let the air blow away the tension. Imagine yourself going back in time to a time and place where something occurred in your life that was troublesome, traumatizing, painful, embarrassing, or such. Just let yourself go to that place with your eyes closed so you see this in your minds eye. Become aware of the colors around you and the smells and the sounds. What is happening, or going on around you? See it, feel it, and if you can touch something; a person near you or the wall or a nearby tree, and whatever is around you. Begin to take in what is happening and make some sense of it. Who is there? Actually, see them and hear them. What is happening that is bothering you? How are you feeling, and what do you want to do in reaction? What is the reaction in your body? What do you want to say or to do? Now become aware of how you are responding inwardly. What are you telling yourself, and what are you feeling? Are you good enough, do you need to be quiet, is it your fault, how could you have prevented it, you want to disappear…..anything. Just open yourself to this inward feeling. Now begin to move forward in time while keeping this awareness with you. Become aware of yourself on your chair and your breath in your body. You are in the present time. With this awareness inside of you, imagine now how you would react to a present situation which irritates you or upsets you or angers you. Does this situation in the present remind you of how you felt and reacted back in the past? Invite your new awareness to come and be with you. If you can, put together your old feeling and thoughts with your present feelings and thoughts. Is there a similarity? Can you reframe your old feeling and thoughts to be helpful in the present situation? This could go something like: I felt like that then, and I see why I am feeling like this now. This time, I can do something different…..I can respond, or I can know it isn`t my fault, or I can realize this isn`t about me, etc. Whatever fits in your own situation. Feel yourself responding in this new way. Now become aware of your breath again, and feel your body on your chair. Breath deeply a couple of times and when you are ready to open your eyes.

Take a few minutes to write down your experience so you have it with you. And again, if you feel moved to share your experience with this, I would love to hear from you.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

How To Accept Disappointment

"The hardest thing in life is letting go of what you thought was real.”
-Anonymous

Have you ever had something happen that you were very excited about; a new relationship, a child, a dream house, etc. and then it gets taken away for some reason? I don`t know about you, but the disappointment seems to linger for awhile. We could just move on….but how do we do that?

That is the question; how do we move on? It is easy to say, let`s just move forward. Does that work without all the work involved to really move forward? I don`t think so. So what do we do? Recently my husband and I found a house that we really wanted. It was in the location we had been eyeing for years, it had a lake view, it was centrally located, it had all the features we were looking for, and we fell in love with it. We quickly put together an offer, got pre-qualified for a loan and sent it in digitally. We did all we were supposed to do. We got excited and started dreaming. We were thinking about where we would put our furniture, how we would fix up the basement, organizing our house to put it on the market, and so on. We were there in our minds and in our hearts. We had one day to wait and find out whether or not they accepted our offer.

At the appointed time we heard that another couple put in an offer and they needed one more hour. We then found out they went with the other offer. At first, I was a bit relieved. That would have been a lot of work and very quickly. Then I began to miss it and think about it, almost obsessively. I knew it wasn`t helpful and I couldn`t seem to help it. My mind would say to me that everything is okay and we will find another house, and it is only a house. But of course, it is not only a house inside of me. It had another meaning if only I could figure out what it was. A house represents us. I had been looking for a house to represent me for many years of my life. I never felt I had the right to be me when I was growing up. I had to agree with my father or be like my father to be seen. I was never truly accepted by my siblings, in fact, I was seen as someone who was volatile and who was difficult when I was speaking up for myself. Somewhere along the line, I gave up a part of myself to get along and to belong. 

That instinct to belong is very strong inside of us because when we are little we need to belong to others in order to survive. It is about survival. As we get older you would think we would be able to let go what no longer serves us, but our brains and even our minds sometimes remember that it needs to survive. It becomes very difficult to let go of the old way of thinking and feeling unless and until with our new knowledge and understanding of ourselves, we can talk us through the situations that are bringing up our old ways of belonging. 

So I began to talk to myself in this new way, with this new understanding. I wanted a house that fit me and who I am now, in the present. I realized that the urgency I felt in finding a house was an inner urgency and a message to myself to listen to me and to see me and to allow myself to let the parts I had let go of when I was little have their voice and to let myself sing and dance and be me. The house will come. I need to listen to my inner urgency to allow my voice and who I am to blossom.

So how do we accept disappointment? We look for what it is that is underneath the disappointment that speaks to our needs. When we find what we are needing, we can feel our sense of disappointment, and that is all it is. It becomes easier to move forward and through the feeling.


Shift your Story Shift your Life:

Let`s start with an exercise and make this story personal for you. Take out a piece of paper and pencil or pen. Take a minute and think through a situation in which you were disappointed and had a difficult time moving through your feelings. Write out what the situation was and your feelings involved. Now take a moment and think about what is underneath your disappointment. Is it guilt over something, an older loss, a need that you haven’t been able to provide for yourself, etc.? Write yourself through this. In other words, even if you don`t know at first what is making it hard to move through the disappointment, just begin to write and see what comes out. Whatever comes up for you is what needs to be seen. Write about what this particular situation reminds you of….in the past. Not to stay stuck there but to understand that you might be unconsciously bringing your past forward into the present. When you have an idea of what it reminds you of, write about what you can now do differently in response to this situation.


If you get stuck in any part of this exercise, no worries. Just see what comes up and come back to this another day.


Revisiting Old Patterns

"A bridge can still be built while the bitter waters are flowing beneath.”
-Anthony Liccione


It is almost the New Year and a great time for reflection. How was this year for us, and what did we learn, what caused us to stumble a little or a lot, what was good for us, and what do we wish for in the coming year?

It is the coming to an end of something, and the beginning of something new that we create for ourselves. It is colder out and the days are shorter; a great time to spend more time with ourselves in self-reflection. As we do so, what comes up for us? One thing I find very helpful is to ask myself what old patterns and old ways of being came up for me this year for me to look at for my personal growth?

One of the things that came up for me was the passing of my father and the coming together of my whole family for us to be together, mourn him and celebrate what he was for us and who he was as a person. I found that I was glad for his passing. I was complete with him in myself, had done much work around me and him, and saw him as completely as possible with open eyes. What surprised me was what was brought out in me and in my siblings in response to his passing and to our being together. Talk about old patterns coming out… it happened in spades. There is nothing like reunions, weddings, funerals, and religious celebrations to bring out these old habits of being and of being together. Families and groups develop ways of interacting with each other. We learn tacitly and openly how to act through our parents and elders. We become influenced by their behaviors and beliefs and we embrace them without even realizing that we are doing so.  We grow up, we leave home, we think we have grown, and in many ways we have, and then we all get-together. How many of you have experienced this kind of phenomenon in your family and circles?

As we all came together to celebrate, to share feelings, to be with each other and to remember our father, we also came together filled with blind unresolved feelings within us in terms of how we related with each other when we were growing up. It is like when our children grow up and leave the house, go to college, etc., and then they come home to visit and often they begin to act in ways they acted or reacted with us when they were younger and living at home. Often there is one child in a family who is the one who is or feels rejected and different than their siblings. When I was growing up I often felt that way. I thought that things had changed and had even consciously forgotten how things were with us and how we interacted with each other…until…..we got together for the memorial.

Not only was I told I was difficult because I would have liked a different weekend to celebrate his life, and it didn’t match theirs, on the day of the memorial as we began to sit down to begin, the first row which is reserved for the siblings was filled with 2 of my siblings and their children and there was no room for me in that row with my siblings. I sat in the second row separate from them. Later that day one sister brought in some things of our father’s for us all to go through together, and as my husband and I were cleaning up where no one asked if they could help us, they started to go through everything with their children, left everything they didn’t want in a messy heap on my living room floor, and just left. They had to go. Were they consciously rejecting me, leaving the mess and the rejects for me as a symbolic gesture of our family dynamics? No, they were unconscious. Was I hurt? Yes, at first I was…and angry. Then as I sorted through my reactions and feelings I began to see what a gift this was…for me to see how it was at home for me while I was growing up. I am no longer a little girl, although small in stature, and I can take care of myself and take responsibility for myself and my feelings as I couldn’t when I was young. And I could see this as a painful gift, but gift none the less.

Did these old patterns come up for me and my old way of reacting to them? Yes, they did. Yet this time, I wasn’t a slave or victim to them and very quickly recognized and moved through them, seeing me and my siblings in a clearer light. We all have times like these in our lives. They don’t go away, but we do get much quicker and more facile at moving through them to a better place in us and a much larger image of what is actually taking place. It is not about us. We are lovely, flawed, human beings all in here learning together.


Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:


Close your eyes for a minute or two and breath deeply. See yourself in your mind's eye sitting somewhere beautiful and that has meaning to you. This could be in a field of wildflowers, your favorite place or garden, your safe place, and so on. See you now as clearly as possible. Ask yourself what pattern you see yourself repeating over and over again. Take your time with this. Usually, there is some pattern. It could even be a repeating dream. Now, what usually triggers your pattern that you see repeating? This time, as you see the trigger, instead of doing what you usually do, consciously take yourself in your mind's eye through a new internal process. Walk and talk yourself through a different way of acting and not reacting, but acting. Take yourself through it step by step as an athlete does as he/she is visualizing themselves through their game or activity. After you have completed the whole process, open your eyes. Then get a piece of paper and pen and write out the process you just saw yourself complete. Keep it by your bed and read it before you go to sleep at night for the next week.


Let me know, if you feel like it, how this exercise goes for you and what you might have learned from it.


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Path Towards Wholeness

"You can only lose what you cling to.”
-Buddha

As this year of 2015 is coming to a close, it is the end of three years of my weekly blogs and also the end of the year in which I explore a type of memoir to my father, the impact of family on my life and others, and what I am learning in my work with my patients. As December is here I am wondering what I want to write about in the coming year.  I am committed to helping myself and others live whole, happy and vital lives. Through the last three years, I have written about the factors that influence our development and ways to live as we wish to live on our paths to wholeness.

The path to wholeness lies in listening to our true selves, to separating our beliefs from our families and our communities and to actively working on ourselves and listening to those parts that carry our traumas so that we can learn from them instead of being limited by them. Then comes integrating all those parts.  I have written about the Family Constellation work as a tool in this process as well as integrating healing modalities to help us to listen to our souls in our bodies and to help us to heal the impact of old traumas in us, physically, mentally and spiritually. After three years of writing about this work through weekly blogs, I am at a crossroads as to how I want to continue writing as a way to help myself, as our work is continuous, and to share what I am learning with others. 

I have learned a lot through writing about my father and his life, through looking at the impact of my family on my life and others families on their lives, and through working with my patients. Many people say this and I know this to be true; I learn  at least as much or more from working with my patients as they do from me. I will continue to do my work and am honored and privileged to do so. I will find another format for my writing which I will share with you. In the meantime, which I also like to write about (in the meantime), as I do feel moved to write a blog I will also be posting the blogs online and on my Facebook page.

Our families are such fertile fields for us to do our deep work. I know many folks like to stay focused on the present, and the present is certainly important. I find that by looking into our past and the impact of our families on our lives, and by actively working on seeing and feeling how words, actions, beliefs, and events  have affected us, we can move into the present and the future with a much greater awareness of us and who we truly are. We can more easily work through our stresses and stressors and triggers and our reactions as we come to know ourselves and to stop giving ourselves away to others, stop allowing others to get into our private spaces and to know that it is us and only us, ourselves alone that are responsible for our lives. It is us that are ultimately our loving caretakers and as we step into our power we can actually live our whole, healthy and vital lives. We are responsible for the times we feel victimized by others and events. We are responsible for feeling sad and depressed. We are responsible for our unhappiness. And we are the ones that can do something about it. We certainly need help along our paths. Thankfully there are many tools and people we meet along the road that we can gain insight and assistance from. We are the ones who have to do the work. My life and work are about bringing helpful tools and interventions to others so that I can do my part in assisting others to live a life of their conscious choosing and not be victim to their unconscious choices. 

Thank you for being a part of this process with me. If I have been and am any help in your conscious journey I feel grateful. I will be in touch this year through intermittent blog posts, through my offerings which you can read in full on my website, www.bodypresencing.com., which include Chiropractic sessions, mentoring, workshops, Introductory afternoons of Constellations, my weekly words of body wisdom I post on Facebook, Skype and phone sessions, audio sessions, as well as through occasional postings of poems I have written and also excerpts of a book I am contemplating writing.

I love to say, and it is true, that I am available and like to be available. If you have any questions or concerns or insights or issues you would like to share or have some assistance with, I am only an email or phone call away. Stay tuned for my postings in the coming year! 

My email is gail@bodypresencing.com. My phone number is: 314-9959755


Let's all bring in the best New Year we possibly can.


Friday, December 11, 2015

We Are One

"Some of us think holding on makes us stronger, but sometimes it is letting go.”
-Herman Hesse

I was sitting on a bench in our city park the other day. It was still sunny and warm enough to feel the sun`s rays penetrate my whole being. It is a part of our park which is kept natural and is like being in a clearing in a woodland. It is one of my favorite places. I was sitting there and closing my eyes and blending in with the environment. I was just one little part of everything. I could hear the birds talking, the wind whistling through the tree branches, the distant sounds of cars, the occasional distant sound of a siren, and my own breathing all co-mingling. I was one with it all. Have you ever had that experience of just being one with everything around you? It reminds me so much of how we are all one with everything and everybody, and that we in a sense have so much of everything within us.

Through this past year as I was living my life, so much has happened, not only with me in my own little life but with everyone and every place in this world. Just in this last year, I personally have dealt with the family illness of cancer in the family, with heart attacks in the family, and with the failing and passing of my father. All this while I personally was having my own growing pains. This is all a part of life. In addition, we all have everything within us. We have feelings of all kinds; sadness, anger, happiness, resentment, denial, needing to be right, feeling lack and not good enough, and so on. We also have many different parts of us; parts which stopped growing and developing because of trauma and difficult situations, so we are all at once, all of our ages all within us all with their own voice. Holding all our internal voices can be difficult, but also rewarding. On top of this, I love the layering process. We all have parts of our parents, our siblings, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our aunts, and uncles, etc. inside of us. They are in us through genetics, through blood, through memories, through beliefs and thoughts we carry because they are in our lives influencing us, and through plain old love. 

We have so much inside of us residing in us. Most of us struggle with our parents and our families and our communities. Many of us have had bad experiences and traumatizing experiences, and times with untimely deaths and illness, times of loss, and also have had happy and growth producing times. All of this enriches us and gives us the power to become all that we can be and who we are and what we contribute to this world. This is true for everyone. Like it or not, we are all one. We are all in different parts of our growth and our consciousness and yet we all have to go through the same processes to grow.

Having our parents and families within us can be a difficult experience for us. Pretending that is not true and holding our heads in the sand does not change that fact. And also, the truth is that this can be what helps us to grow, to be the people we want to be and have the power to be. The challenge is in learning and knowing how to use ourselves and our experiences to open and grow and become more us  without all the packaging of our feelings of needing to be right, or defaulting to being angry, of reacting to people and events instead of being able to be with our own thoughts and feelings, of defending ourselves, of feeling envious of others or jealous, or coming from a place of feeling not good enough, for examples. 

I have aspects of my father and mother within me like it or not. So does everyone. As I accept it and see what I have taken within me and look at what I like and what I don`t, I begin to have some control and consciousness of who I am. I can decide what I take in and what I don`t when I know myself and know the difference between who I am and who I want to be and who they are. This is the power of the biology of belief; as we change our internal stories through awareness, we can change so many things in our lives. We all can do this. Today, I came to this place through just sitting on a bench in a wooded clearing and feeling just a part of everything around me. There is so much that is possible for all of us. We can all live healthy, vital, whole and connected lives. 

GUIDED EXERCISE: SHIFT YOUR STORY SHIFT YOUR LIFE

Why don`t we all do this sitting on a bench, so to speak, as an exercise? Get a comfortable seat and place your feet gently upon the ground beneath you. Take a couple of deep breaths and tune into yourself. Tune into your breathing, and begin to feel your body on the chair, how it feels, where you hold tension, where you feel the excitement, where you hold your feelings, and so on. 
Become aware of the sounds around you. Just open your ears and listen. What do you hear? If you are inside, do you hear your furnace, any animals you might have moving around, your own breathing, the sounds of others around you, the creaking of your house, etc. If you are outside, the sounds of the birds, of the trees, of cars or planes, of people and animals, and so on. Just listen. Smell the smells around you, and just smell them as you also might begin to be aware of your own smells. Imagine touching the space around you, seeing a color, tasting the atmosphere, if this is part of how you take in information. Just breathe and be. Sit and breathe with this awareness and any feelings that come up for you, or even any memories that come up for you. Just be. 

Breathe a few deep breaths and come back to being aware of your body and your body on the chair that is holding you. Feel any tension you may carry. And slowly open your eyes.

Take notice of how you feel and how it felt to be one with everything around you. For, in fact, we are all connected.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Our Future Holds

"Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward."
-Victor Kiam

This has been quite a year. I have written about my father with inspirational stories, with what I have learned about myself, my family, and from my patients. It has been a year of weaving my life and stories and learning with that of my father and a memorial of sorts to him. We all have family stories and beliefs, events, thoughts, and memories that have shaped us. If felt important to me to bring this together for my learning and to share what I have learned with you. As this year is nearing completion, what does the future hold? That is a question we can all ask ourselves as the new year is approaching; what does the future hold?

This  has been a year of talking a lot about family, our parents, and their influence on us. It has been a year of talking about interrupted bonds between us and our caretakers, talking about truth and grief and mourning, talking about aging and the winter of our lives, making our lives more conscious, learning how to move from being reactive to people and situations to using our reactivity as a tool towards our growth, seeing repeating patterns in our lives, the power of secrets, what it is like living with those who are all about them or who see everyone as if looking into their own mirror, and more. I have depicted examples from my own life, the life of my father and his stories, and from aspects of my patients. 

My father is gone now. His stories remain. He touched many people in his life and left a true legacy; good and bad. We are all good and bad. Hopefully, as we are able to recognize our own goodness and badness we can begin to have more compassion for everyone. We are all in a state of growing and learning. To live such that we bring more light into the world is something to aspire to. Although my father touched many lives and gave a lot to a lot of people, he was all about himself. He wanted to save everyone he could. He wanted to be the savior. He did love to help and his motivation was mostly about himself. I was able to give him a last gift in his life. The gift I gave him was letting him know I knew him and I saw him. He was seen as the person he was in life. What a gift that is…to be seen. Many of us go through our lives wishing we would finally be seen.  In contrast, I went to a memorial for a friend just the other day. In this memorial to my friend, it was well talked about that he also helped many people. He did this certainly for himself, but also with the consciousness that he wanted to help others, and was genuinely concerned  about the world and its affairs and everyone in it. A story was told that touched me. He would carry granola bars with him wherever he went. When he would run into a homeless person, he would give that person a granola bar instead of money or anything else. It struck me how that little thought and gesture implied a lot of thoughtfulness. It also is a little story which tells a lot about the man.

This is the end of the year 2015, the end of my father's life and the end of a year of my story- telling of stories that held meaning to me. What stories held meaning to you in this last year that you will take with you into the next? What have you learned this past year that you can take with you into the future? The future is unknowable in many ways. What we do know is that the work we do now in our lives on knowing our truths, on seeing clearly what we bring with us from us and from our families, across the generations, and the power to consciously see us clearly and with compassion, the more that does affect our future. We then become conscious collaborators and creators in our lives. There is nothing I know that is more empowering that we can do. It also helps us to live the vital, whole, and healthy lives that can be our inheritance.

Change your Story Change Your Life: Guided Visualization


Sit down in a comfortable chair. Empty your mind and begin to breathe deeply. Take 2,3,4, deep breaths and tune into yourself. Feel yourself being held by your chair. We are going to take an inner trip. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place where you feel safe. This could be a favorite place or someplace in your imagination. See what flowers or trees you want to be surrounded by; if you are outside in your minds eye. Imagine you are surrounded by those you love and feel safe with. Now imagine you are in the middle of the area and all of your ages are around you. See your one-year-old self, your two-year-old self, and so on all the way up to your current age. Ask any of them if they wish to tell you something…how they feel, what they need, etc. Listen to them one by one. Let them know what you really want in your life…more peace, greater happiness, good relationships, a successful business, and so on. Ask them how they feel about your desires. Do any of them have reactions to your desires? Listen to the positive and the negative reactions. Tell them you really want to know. As they share their fears and anxieties and excitement, and so on, listen. Ask them what would help them to move in the direction you want to go towards your desires. Imagine yourself holding those that need comfort. Thank them for sharing with you and let them know you will come back again to this place and to be with them. Now tune into your breath again and breathe deeply. Become aware of your body being held by the chair and when you are ready, slowly open your eyes. If you need to, then write down what you want to remember from this visualization that will help you move into your future.