Thursday, February 16, 2017

When To Comfort Or To Coddle

Being a parent is one of the hardest things to do. We never get it right, our buttons are always being pushed, and every one of our weaknesses comes out in blinding color. Every child goes through a period of time blaming their parents, and actually have every right to do so. With all of that, it is still one of the most rewarding things we can do in life; if we so choose to do so, to parent. In parenting, there is an issue that comes up a lot; when to comfort the child as opposed to coddling them. Another way to say this is that as parents, teachers, therapists, mentors etc., when are we comforting the child, and when are we really coddling them? When does comforting change to coddling?   As someone who works with children in some capacity we know that at times what the child needs is to be comforted, and other times they need to be lovingly pushed or stretched. We can easily get confused as to what is best for the child at the time and we can give too much comfort when what the child really needs is for us to support them yet push them to move forward. Without the loving push, it is easy for the child to over bask in coddling and keep them too close to us which doesn't allow them to take the steps they need in order to become their own strong individual selves.  I was working with a young woman who was sharing painful memories from her early life. This was expressed as her crying easily and not being able to get out of her tears. She could and in fact did cry for hours. In our session, as we would go back to her early life and bring compassion to her young wounded self, she would go into these tears with her eyes closed and resist moving from that wounded place. After working in this way for awhile it became clear to me that what she needed here from me wasn't more comforting compassion in helping to teach her to be compassionate to herself, she needed a loving push or hard love. Hard love is also teaching compassion, just differently. I changed how I spoke with her and told her that I saw her staying stuck in her young stories and refusing to budge. I asked her what her young self-needed and was asking for that kept her in that stuck old place. She was used to getting her needs met through her expressed sadness and trauma and unconsciously was afraid that if she wasn't upset and crying that her needs wouldn't be met. She hadn't learned to ask for what she needed, and that she might get what she needed if she could ask without the drama. In her young life, her mother was depressed and unavailable and her father lived somewhere else and also wasn't available. The only way she learned to get her needs met was to be upset and cry. Then she was noticed; in an extreme state. I asked her how that was working out for her now, and if she liked it? She certainly didn't like it. I helped draw her out of her state of being through pushing her, in a way, to ask for what she needed without the drama. She smiled for the first time and told me that she had been kind of waiting for someone to push her instead of giving into her and, my word, coddling her.  She knew on some level that even though a part of her wanted the comfort and she couldn't get out of that state because it was unconscious, that she also needed some firm guidance. All of us know that on some level. Children push us and stretch us and make us get stronger and better, or they push us and we give in. Usually, we do some of both. The question becomes, are we comforting our children, or are we coddling them and keeping them young? Another way of asking us this question is are we doing this for them, or for us? Is it easier for us to give into their demands at the time than to work with them? Do we unconsciously and consciously want to keep them too close for our own needs so we don't encourage growth when we can? These are all questions to ask ourselves. The more we ask the questions and look for honest answers inside of us, the better we become as people, as teachers, as parents, and so on. It is all about us and our growth.   Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life  Growing up is hard no matter what our age. Let's begin with us. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Ground your feet on the ground beneath you. This is a time for self-honesty. What did we need when we were little that maybe we just didn’t get? Who was unavailable, either physically or emotionally in our lives? This could be a teacher, a parent or a caretaker, etc. What was that like for us? What example comes to your mind here? Let the example take the time to expand in your mind's eye. What was it like and what occurred? How were you affected? What would you have liked if you could have received it? How did you respond at the time? What were your outer, defended, and inner, vulnerable reactions? Now take yourself into the present tense. Can you think of a time, or a place or an example of how that dynamic plays out in your life now with you or with others? How do you respond when you aren't heard or your needs are not met? What do you need and how did you learn to get your needs met? Just be with what comes to you without blame or shame, we are just seeing. What could you do differently in getting your needs met now that maybe you couldn't do then?   Just be with what comes to you and breathe into it a couple of times. Now breathe deeply and open your eyes. Take a few minutes to write down, free write, what you gained from this experience. Share if you feel moved to do so.


Being a parent is one of the hardest things to do. We never get it right, our buttons are always being pushed, and every one of our weaknesses comes out in blinding color. Every child goes through a period of time blaming their parents, and actually have every right to do so. With all of that, it is still one of the most rewarding things we can do in life; if we so choose to do so, to parent. In parenting, there is an issue that comes up a lot; when to comfort the child as opposed to coddling them. Another way to say this is that as parents, teachers, therapists, mentors etc., when are we comforting the child, and when are we really coddling them? When does comforting change to coddling? 

As someone who works with children in some capacity we know that at times what the child needs is to be comforted, and other times they need to be lovingly pushed or stretched. We can easily get confused as to what is best for the child at the time and we can give too much comfort when what the child really needs is for us to support them yet push them to move forward. Without the loving push, it is easy for the child to over bask in coddling and keep them too close to us which doesn't allow them to take the steps they need in order to become their own strong individual selves.

I was working with a young woman who was sharing painful memories from her early life. This was expressed as her crying easily and not being able to get out of her tears. She could and in fact did cry for hours. In our session, as we would go back to her early life and bring compassion to her young wounded self, she would go into these tears with her eyes closed and resist moving from that wounded place. After working in this way for awhile it became clear to me that what she needed here from me wasn't more comforting compassion in helping to teach her to be compassionate to herself, she needed a loving push or hard love. Hard love is also teaching compassion, just differently. I changed how I spoke with her and told her that I saw her staying stuck in her young stories and refusing to budge. I asked her what her young self-needed and was asking for that kept her in that stuck old place. She was used to getting her needs met through her expressed sadness and trauma and unconsciously was afraid that if she wasn't upset and crying that her needs wouldn't be met. She hadn't learned to ask for what she needed, and that she might get what she needed if she could ask without the drama. In her young life, her mother was depressed and unavailable and her father lived somewhere else and also wasn't available. The only way she learned to get her needs met was to be upset and cry. Then she was noticed; in an extreme state. I asked her how that was working out for her now, and if she liked it? She certainly didn't like it. I helped draw her out of her state of being through pushing her, in a way, to ask for what she needed without the drama. She smiled for the first time and told me that she had been kind of waiting for someone to push her instead of giving into her and, my word, coddling her.

She knew on some level that even though a part of her wanted the comfort and she couldn't get out of that state because it was unconscious, that she also needed some firm guidance. All of us know that on some level. Children push us and stretch us and make us get stronger and better, or they push us and we give in. Usually, we do some of both.
The question becomes, are we comforting our children, or are we coddling them and keeping them young? Another way of asking us this question is are we doing this for them, or for us? Is it easier for us to give into their demands at the time than to work with them? Do we unconsciously and consciously want to keep them too close for our own needs so we don't encourage growth when we can? These are all questions to ask ourselves. The more we ask the questions and look for honest answers inside of us, the better we become as people, as teachers, as parents, and so on. It is all about us and our growth.

 Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life

Growing up is hard no matter what our age. Let's begin with us. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Ground your feet on the ground beneath you. This is a time for self-honesty. What did we need when we were little that maybe we just didn’t get? Who was unavailable, either physically or emotionally in our lives? This could be a teacher, a parent or a caretaker, etc. What was that like for us? What example comes to your mind here? Let the example take the time to expand in your mind's eye. What was it like and what occurred? How were you affected? What would you have liked if you could have received it? How did you respond at the time? What were your outer, defended, and inner, vulnerable reactions? Now take yourself into the present tense. Can you think of a time, or a place or an example of how that dynamic plays out in your life now with you or with others? How do you respond when you aren't heard or your needs are not met? What do you need and how did you learn to get your needs met? Just be with what comes to you without blame or shame, we are just seeing. What could you do differently in getting your needs met now that maybe you couldn't do then? 

Just be with what comes to you and breathe into it a couple of times. Now breathe deeply and open your eyes. Take a few minutes to write down, free write, what you gained from this experience. Share if you feel moved to do so.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Art of Listening


Listening is tough stuff. Being able to put aside our own thoughts and ideas and perceptions as well as being able to listen through disagreeing with the speaker is truly an art. When someone speaks to you, how often do you stop what you are doing and thinking and feeling and truly be present with the other?


So often we are busy cooking or cleaning or getting ready for work or to go out, and also in our own thoughts when someone speaks to us. If you are like me and my husband, we find ourselves speaking to each other even in different rooms. The art of listening is truly an art and it also shows the other person that we care.


Another dynamic at play is that we hear the other person through our own filters. An example of this happened with my husband and me just recently. I had explained to my husband the other night how I felt about a television show we watched together. I thought I was very clear. I told him that to me the show was ok, I didn’t love it but I could see why it engrossed him and that I enjoyed watching it with him. He later the same evening said something about my not liking it and sorry he asked me to watch it with him. That is what he heard. Does this type of scenario sound familiar? We hear through the filters of the self-beliefs we carry.


Our beliefs about us and others cloud our eyes and our ears to what others are saying. If we feel bad about ourselves, when someone looks at us a certain way, no matter what they say, we may actually hear the words as derogatory. Our beliefs can also cloud us from seeing, hearing, and accept who the other is. When we want someone to be a certain way it is very easy for us to blindly hear their words the way we want to.  And it is also easy for us to not hear what they are saying and take in who they are and how they feel about something or someone because they aren't who we want them to be. How often do you miss hear your partner or your child or sibling, etc., because they aren't saying what you would like to hear about them? I imagine that happens very frequently. Yet, when we really hear and respond to the other so they are really heard, they feel so good. We all want to be heard and seen and understood. Can we let go of as many filters as we can so that we can really connect with others?


When we are with someone for a long time, or with our families for a long time and we suddenly see them and hear them for who and what they are, it can be very disconcerting to us. What it really means is that we are finally able to see and accept them for who they are. For us to do that, it means we are also more clearly accepting us for who we are. What is true is that we attract and partner with those who unconsciously remind us of the old traumas and unresolved issues we have with those in our family; most especially our parents. In order for us to really listen to others, can we see the other through a clear lens, and not see them through the lens of our parents? Can we set aside our thoughts and feelings at the time and really be present to our partners, our siblings, our friends, our children, our colleagues? Even just realizing that our minds are not clear is a great start to really listening. In a few minutes, I will take you through an exercise to practice this art of listening. As we do, we become more present to us, and we become present to others.


Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life


Exercise: Do this exercise every day for two weeks and see how it works for you. Find a time where you make a pact with yourself to really listen to someone in your life for 5 minutes that day. Put aside your thoughts, your pre-conceived notions, your day's activities, and sit and just consciously listen to the other. Really listen to what they are saying. If it feels right, then say back to them what you heard them say. Do this for just 5 minutes every day and see how it works for you. Notice, just notice, if and when your mind strays. It could be when something the other says triggers you, or if something that is said reminds you of something you wanted to remember, etc. When you notice your mind straying, just continue to listen as if it didn't stray. Afterward, write down how this exercise was for you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Into The Stillness Poem


Into the stillness of the night

The silence is as penetrating as the cold night`s air

Grey skies encircle above

Snaring the birds in its misty claws

Spitting small snowflakes in its wake

Feeling the vibration of the dormant trees

As they rest in drowsy alertness

Closing my pores to the arctic chill

Trying to emulate the tall dormant warriors

Silently making my way to the warmth and light of my house

Anticipating the heat of a hot cup of tea lightly cradled between my hands

Sinking into the silence of the night

Of a winter's evening.


Getting into the stillness and energy of the season. There is truly a time for all seasons. As I settle into the winter's season, I learn from the trees and gently move into a quiet stillness. 


Happy winter to us all.


Check out my new offering: Psychological Astrology Reading. Contact me and ask me about it and I am happy to easily and drowsily and alertly share. Find your way to your highest calling and to move through your life's lesson.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Removing Blinders

Do you ever feel like a horse with its blinders on, to keep it from panicking? I think we all have at some time or another. I love the horse analogy because I think that analogy is one most of us can relate to and also because we can see what the blinders do for the horse. They actively keep the horse's attention straight in front of him/her so that he won't get distracted or panicked by something going on around him. That is what we do to ourselves. We put blinders on so that we won't see something that we are unconsciously afraid of. The blind fear here is that if I see this it will upset me or panic me or embarrass me or disappoint me. It is better not to see.  If we were aware we were doing this, then the blinders would be taken off. This is another example of how we protect ourselves from hurt or perceived hurt. I love how these protective mechanisms work for us. And I also love how when we become aware of what we are doing, often we are able, even with the fear, to take the blinders off.  I see as a patient someone who was experiencing this very phenomenon. She was describing how her sister was doing something which was against their father's wishes. The way she described her sister was as having a co-dependent victim mentality. Their father who was ill didn't want any visitors and asked that his children give him space. Her sister decided that she knew better than he did, and so made plans to go anyway and to help her stepmother, her father's wife, who didn't ask for help. In fact, she actively didn't want help. The stepmother had asked my patient to please intercede and talk her sister into not coming.  As my patient was describing what was occurring, it was clear she saw her sister as an enabler and controlling, yes, but also as a helper and wanting to do this for her parents. She really wanted to see her sister in this light. As I was listening to her, all I could think of was that her sister was doing this for herself, and it had nothing to do with co-dependency, but was all about her. I saw this as a very selfish act, and not in the best sense of the word.  I then proceeded to suggest that her sister was, in fact, doing this only for herself and that it was a very narcissistic act and also suggested that she look at her sister with different eyes, with eyes clear and without blinders. This sister is the oldest child and felt very disappointed by her parents. Her mother was a teenage mother who had her own growing up to do, and her parents divorced when she was a teenager and her father at first kept some distance from his children. She felt victimized and felt that she didn't get what she needed. And she didn't get what she needed. So now she hijacks situations so that she can have her needs met when it has nothing to do with the others but has all to do with herself. Thankfully my patient was able to hear this and was able to see that she was the enabler, the one who wanted harmony above all costs and that her sister was, in fact, acting in a very controlling and selfish manner without their father in mind or their stepmother in mind at all. These blinders helped her to keep the harmony she so desired and desired her whole life. Disharmony and confrontation are very difficult for her. It is important that she please others and that everybody gets along. This is an experience she didn't have with her parents and so she craved it. The blinders helped her to create the illusion in her that her sister has the best interests of others, in this case, her father and stepmother.  We all do this. Yet, by taking off the blinders, we can see something that was always there but beyond our consciousness. When we can allow us to see certain situations and people and dynamics clearly, we can then open us to seeing a greater truth and our own souls growth to blossom.   Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life:  Let's take a moment and think about a time or situation where we had blinders on and couldn't see something that was right in front of us. This could be a partner, a child, a friend, and sibling, a parent, a colleague, and so on. Maybe because of our blinders we got hurt or felt betrayed or got caught in old family dynamics or felt stuck and stagnant. What comes to mind when this happened; you felt betrayed or frightened by something or got hurt, etc?  What red light did you not see that would be a warning sign as to keep your eyes open? This happens a lot with falling in love. The warning signs are there but we close our eyes and our feelings to them at the time. Breathe, and go back in time to that place and person or situation. What did you not want to see that became apparent later? Now, having located that time, slow down your thinking and pay attention to what you didn't want to see. Now look at it with compassionate eyes. What was it about this person or situation or place where you didn't want to see something? What did it remind you of, from maybe when you were small? What would you have seen which would have upset you or challenged a dream or illusion? Now, imagine you seeing it with open eyes and taking this moment into the present. With this clear-eyed vision, does this in any way remind you of something or someone in your life in the present, or of someone you know? Just notice and breathe it in.   Everything we are doing here is without judgment, but just stepping away and noticing. Now you brought it close to your vision and you can apply this awareness today in something in your life. Take a moment or two or three and write down what you noticed and became aware of so you can make it yours.


Do you ever feel like a horse with its blinders on, to keep it from panicking? I think we all have at some time or another. I love the horse analogy because I think that analogy is one most of us can relate to and also because we can see what the blinders do for the horse. They actively keep the horse's attention straight in front of him/her so that he won't get distracted or panicked by something going on around him. That is what we do to ourselves. We put blinders on so that we won't see something that we are unconsciously afraid of. The blind fear here is that if I see this it will upset me or panic me or embarrass me or disappoint me. It is better not to see.

If we were aware we were doing this, then the blinders would be taken off. This is another example of how we protect ourselves from hurt or perceived hurt. I love how these protective mechanisms work for us. And I also love how when we become aware of what we are doing, often we are able, even with the fear, to take the blinders off.

I see as a patient someone who was experiencing this very phenomenon. She was describing how her sister was doing something which was against their father's wishes. The way she described her sister was as having a co-dependent victim mentality. Their father who was ill didn't want any visitors and asked that his children give him space. Her sister decided that she knew better than he did, and so made plans to go anyway and to help her stepmother, her father's wife, who didn't ask for help. In fact, she actively didn't want help. The stepmother had asked my patient to please intercede and talk her sister into not coming.

As my patient was describing what was occurring, it was clear she saw her sister as an enabler and controlling, yes, but also as a helper and wanting to do this for her parents. She really wanted to see her sister in this light. As I was listening to her, all I could think of was that her sister was doing this for herself, and it had nothing to do with co-dependency, but was all about her. I saw this as a very selfish act, and not in the best sense of the word.

I then proceeded to suggest that her sister was, in fact, doing this only for herself and that it was a very narcissistic act and also suggested that she look at her sister with different eyes, with eyes clear and without blinders. This sister is the oldest child and felt very disappointed by her parents. Her mother was a teenage mother who had her own growing up to do, and her parents divorced when she was a teenager and her father at first kept some distance from his children. She felt victimized and felt that she didn't get what she needed. And she didn't get what she needed. So now she hijacks situations so that she can have her needs met when it has nothing to do with the others but has all to do with herself. Thankfully my patient was able to hear this and was able to see that she was the enabler, the one who wanted harmony above all costs and that her sister was, in fact, acting in a very controlling and selfish manner without their father in mind or their stepmother in mind at all. These blinders helped her to keep the harmony she so desired and desired her whole life. Disharmony and confrontation are very difficult for her. It is important that she please others and that everybody gets along. This is an experience she didn't have with her parents and so she craved it. The blinders helped her to create the illusion in her that her sister has the best interests of others, in this case, her father and stepmother.

We all do this. Yet, by taking off the blinders, we can see something that was always there but beyond our consciousness. When we can allow us to see certain situations and people and dynamics clearly, we can then open us to seeing a greater truth and our own souls growth to blossom. 

Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life:

Let's take a moment and think about a time or situation where we had blinders on and couldn't see something that was right in front of us. This could be a partner, a child, a friend, and sibling, a parent, a colleague, and so on. Maybe because of our blinders we got hurt or felt betrayed or got caught in old family dynamics or felt stuck and stagnant. What comes to mind when this happened; you felt betrayed or frightened by something or got hurt, etc?

What red light did you not see that would be a warning sign as to keep your eyes open? This happens a lot with falling in love. The warning signs are there but we close our eyes and our feelings to them at the time. Breathe, and go back in time to that place and person or situation. What did you not want to see that became apparent later? Now, having located that time, slow down your thinking and pay attention to what you didn't want to see. Now look at it with compassionate eyes. What was it about this person or situation or place where you didn't want to see something? What did it remind you of, from maybe when you were small? What would you have seen which would have upset you or challenged a dream or illusion? Now, imagine you seeing it with open eyes and taking this moment into the present. With this clear-eyed vision, does this in any way remind you of something or someone in your life in the present, or of someone you know? Just notice and breathe it in. 

Everything we are doing here is without judgment, but just stepping away and noticing. Now you brought it close to your vision and you can apply this awareness today in something in your life. Take a moment or two or three and write down what you noticed and became aware of so you can make it yours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting Poem


Waiting.
Waiting.
Staying centered and knowing I am being lied to.
Feeling my anticipation in my breath and the quickening.
Concentrating on breathing slowly and deeply.
Listening to the music around me.
Feeling the breath of the air on my skin and in my hair. 
Watching the trees move and breath with the touch of mother nature's energy.
Enjoying the trees expression of life
Quieting my mind consciously
Opening me to the unknown and feeling my own movements and breath
And taking a cue from nature around me, enjoying my expression of life


I hope on this holiday you can find the time and place and space to enjoy your own expression of life. Life is a vital force and one that becomes the gift that keeps on giving.

Love to you all and I hope this next year finds you in good health, with a joyful expression of who you are that you can bring to you and to the world.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Talk



I love the sound of that phrase; happy talk. How do you talk with yourself? That is a funny question. It makes me think of how I talk to myself. I honestly can't say I have a lot of self-happy talks. How about you?

I do find I catch myself with negative self-talk in terms of what I should be doing, or how I would like to feel and what I would like to do, and also sometimes even not thinking I am good enough for something or even wondering why someone isn't speaking with me or wondering what I did wrong when maybe it wasn't even about me. I think if we are honest with us we would find we don't do a lot of self-happy talks. Can you imagine how life would be and how we would feel if we did?

I was speaking with a patient by Skype the other week and I was listening to the language she was using. I heard phrases like, the other women in my family have people to live for and I don't, and I don't have anything I feel passionate about, and I don't do well with groups. While it is true that those words describe what she was feeling at the time, as I listened to more I also heard her say things like, I was more spontaneous with the people at work this time, and I want to be healthy, and I want to live healthily, and I am looking for recipes I like. These were all words she used in a much fuller discussion, but they were words that stood out. As we worked together she was able to come to the place where she heard both sides of her words, the more negative self-talk and the more positive. I asked her if it is correct to say that while her women family members seem to live for their children and others, she is different by being able to live for herself? She heard these words and took them in and said that yes, she does live for herself. As we continued to work she was even able to say that she wants to live healthily and be healthy and that she does feel passionate about food in that she wants to use it as healthy medicine and also that taste is very important to her.

She was able to take words she speaks to herself and able to re-frame them to self-talk words that speak more of who she is becoming and of appreciating some of her life and some of who she is as a person. Are they happy talk words? In a sense, I would say that yes they are. They are words which speak a truth for her and that engage her in a fuller and happier way. What would happy talk words be for you so that you can become happier, more vital and more whole?


Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life:

First of all, sit down and get comfortable, uncross your legs and place them on the ground. Clear your mind with 2 or 3 deep breaths. Now, close your eyes and let thoughts just cross your mind and open your awareness to notice the thoughts that come to you. Just notice the words and/or feelings without any judgment or censor. Now ask yourself what words or phrases do you find that you think about; just what comes to your mind. What do you find yourself thinking? Do you wake up thinking certain things or do you find yourself thinking certain repetitive phrases? Just notice.

Now take a minute and what would be true happy talk for you? How would that sound and feel to you? Repeat your happy talk a couple of times. It could be silly, funny, or even a positive reframe. Now take a couple deep breaths and open your eyes. Grab a pen and write down your initial self-talk and then your happy talk. Read it over a few times upon waking in the morning.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We Are Family

Families can be our biggest source of joy and our biggest source of pain and our biggest source of learning. We are brought up to believe that families take care of each other. This can mean many things. It can mean take we care about each other when we are sick or we need assistance. It can mean we raise our families as a village. It can mean we take physical care of each other as we age. It can mean we support each other financially. The meanings go on. But how often do we really care for each other in terms of caring for what is best for each other and caring for our souls? I know so many individuals who feel that their biological family is not their family in terms of caring for who they are as people. They may be blood relatives and love each other in some ways, but do they really feel seen and cared for? This begs the question; who are family to us?  I work with many patients who don't feel seen, understood or appreciated by members of their family. I was even speaking with a patient just the other day who was expressing how she was hoping to re-connect with her sister during a recent trip as they used to have so much fun together as children. She was so disappointed that she really didn't enjoy being with her. In fact, she even began to feel that how her sister acted was personal towards her. After their trip, she really has no desire to spend much time with her. She is working towards being able to love her but to love her from a distance rather than from being close compadres. Are they family? Yes, and maybe not a chosen family of the soul, but a family member by being born to the same parents and growing up together. There is a lot of power and pull towards our birth families as they really help to shape us as individuals. They also have the rich fodder to help us to learn about ourselves and to help us to grow and become conscious in our lives.  I was speaking with a friend of mine over coffee and I was sharing with her how one of my sisters was thinking about coming into town and hadn't contacted me but had my other sister, and I understood. We have had a difficult history together. She then said something to me, which was a very foreign thought to me. She said it would be a great time to go on a sister vacation together. I told her that is something that I would never have thought of myself. In my blood sisterhood, I don't think any of us would have thought that; to go on a sister vacation together. In my friend's world, that is what sisters do. They enjoy each other and would enjoy going on a vacation together. She has the luxury of loving her birth sister as a soul sister. I say luxury because I know I am not alone in having a different experience.  Birth families hold a lot of power over us for the good and for the painful and challenging. Who are family? On the one hand, they are those to whom we are related by blood and by life. They hold the key to understanding us and how we function and how we think and their belief systems live in us in a powerful way. Does this mean that we choose to be close to them and live with them? Not necessarily. Sometimes it is much better for us to find a way to love them, as they have shaped us, but with a distance. This is especially true with our parents, as we would not be here without them. If we can find gratitude for them and the gifts we have because of them but may decide to make the choice to love them more from afar, we become happier and freer as individuals and can then choose who our soul family is; those who we feel seen by and heard by and appreciated by.  Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life  Do you have a family member or more who you have trouble with and really don't enjoy being with? Or a family member who you feel scapegoated by or have been abused by in some way? Do you feel left out by and unappreciated by a family member? Many times this family member is a parent, but siblings are also very much involved in and with our developing selves. In fact, even those who feel have a difficult relationship within their community can be affected in a challenging way.   If so, take a few minutes, and in your mind's eye, go through an event, a discussion, a situation where you are drawn to or which comes to you regarding a shaping experience in your life. See it from beginning to end. Feel the feelings that were involved. Now, after you have gone through the discussion, event or situation to its end, go back and see the same thing happening, but through eyes of someone watching from a distance. As you go through it from a distance, see how it could be different. What might you say or how might you respond differently? Instead of experiencing it as traumatic, with this distance, see what is possible for you to do and feel instead of how you did at the time. Only you can do this. It doesn't change what happened and how the other person or persons were, but it can change you. Instead of feeling helpless or angry or lost or unloved, maybe you could imagine that the other person or people don't see you but are really blindly talking about their selves. Maybe you are able to express what they can't. Maybe you can see them as lost souls. Maybe you can see their own helplessness and their anger and rage and longing but directed towards you. As you in your mind's eye live through this in a new way, imagine you being able to know that this isn't about you at all and that you are safe. See you accepting them at a distance and beginning to feel self-empowered in a new way. Breathe this new way in. It is yours.  If you find you are not able to do this, then let it go, and maybe come back to it at a time in the future.   Now, see you choosing to be with someone or ones who appreciate you and get you. Feel their eyes upon you, maybe even their arms around you or hand linked with yours. As you do so, imagine walking into the distance with those you consciously choose to be with and follow that stroll. That movement is what is possible for you.

Families can be our biggest source of joy and our biggest source of pain and our biggest source of learning. We are brought up to believe that families take care of each other. This can mean many things. It can mean take we care about each other when we are sick or we need assistance. It can mean we raise our families as a village. It can mean we take physical care of each other as we age. It can mean we support each other financially. The meanings go on. But how often do we really care for each other in terms of caring for what is best for each other and caring for our souls? I know so many individuals who feel that their biological family is not their family in terms of caring for who they are as people. They may be blood relatives and love each other in some ways, but do they really feel seen and cared for? This begs the question; who are family to us?

I work with many patients who don't feel seen, understood or appreciated by members of their family. I was even speaking with a patient just the other day who was expressing how she was hoping to re-connect with her sister during a recent trip as they used to have so much fun together as children. She was so disappointed that she really didn't enjoy being with her. In fact, she even began to feel that how her sister acted was personal towards her. After their trip, she really has no desire to spend much time with her. She is working towards being able to love her but to love her from a distance rather than from being close compadres. Are they family? Yes, and maybe not a chosen family of the soul, but a family member by being born to the same parents and growing up together. There is a lot of power and pull towards our birth families as they really help to shape us as individuals. They also have the rich fodder to help us to learn about ourselves and to help us to grow and become conscious in our lives.

I was speaking with a friend of mine over coffee and I was sharing with her how one of my sisters was thinking about coming into town and hadn't contacted me but had my other sister, and I understood. We have had a difficult history together. She then said something to me, which was a very foreign thought to me. She said it would be a great time to go on a sister vacation together. I told her that is something that I would never have thought of myself. In my blood sisterhood, I don't think any of us would have thought that; to go on a sister vacation together. In my friend's world, that is what sisters do. They enjoy each other and would enjoy going on a vacation together. She has the luxury of loving her birth sister as a soul sister. I say luxury because I know I am not alone in having a different experience.

Birth families hold a lot of power over us for the good and for the painful and challenging. Who are family? On the one hand, they are those to whom we are related by blood and by life. They hold the key to understanding us and how we function and how we think and their belief systems live in us in a powerful way. Does this mean that we choose to be close to them and live with them? Not necessarily. Sometimes it is much better for us to find a way to love them, as they have shaped us, but with a distance. This is especially true with our parents, as we would not be here without them. If we can find gratitude for them and the gifts we have because of them but may decide to make the choice to love them more from afar, we become happier and freer as individuals and can then choose who our soul family is; those who we feel seen by and heard by and appreciated by.

Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life

Do you have a family member or more who you have trouble with and really don't enjoy being with? Or a family member who you feel scapegoated by or have been abused by in some way? Do you feel left out by and unappreciated by a family member? Many times this family member is a parent, but siblings are also very much involved in and with our developing selves. In fact, even those who feel have a difficult relationship within their community can be affected in a challenging way. 

If so, take a few minutes, and in your mind's eye, go through an event, a discussion, a situation where you are drawn to or which comes to you regarding a shaping experience in your life. See it from beginning to end. Feel the feelings that were involved. Now, after you have gone through the discussion, event or situation to its end, go back and see the same thing happening, but through eyes of someone watching from a distance. As you go through it from a distance, see how it could be different. What might you say or how might you respond differently? Instead of experiencing it as traumatic, with this distance, see what is possible for you to do and feel instead of how you did at the time. Only you can do this. It doesn't change what happened and how the other person or persons were, but it can change you. Instead of feeling helpless or angry or lost or unloved, maybe you could imagine that the other person or people don't see you but are really blindly talking about their selves. Maybe you are able to express what they can't. Maybe you can see them as lost souls. Maybe you can see their own helplessness and their anger and rage and longing but directed towards you. As you in your mind's eye live through this in a new way, imagine you being able to know that this isn't about you at all and that you are safe. See you accepting them at a distance and beginning to feel self-empowered in a new way. Breathe this new way in. It is yours.

If you find you are not able to do this, then let it go, and maybe come back to it at a time in the future. 

Now, see you choosing to be with someone or ones who appreciate you and get you. Feel their eyes upon you, maybe even their arms around you or hand linked with yours. As you do so, imagine walking into the distance with those you consciously choose to be with and follow that stroll. That movement is what is possible for you.