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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tears Are Coming

'Tears Are Coming' Thanksgiving Poem:

Tears are coming. Tears of joy and sadness Looking outside into the cloudy, bleak terrain Seeing the riot of color still on the trees Amidst the gray, dark, pre-thanksgiving day Wondering what it is like to enter a new land And yet, knowing as we, our world enters a new terrain Unknown, scary, filled with feeling; maybe all the feelings: Sad, mad, glad, hopeful, scared, lonely, full, unsure... Becoming one with my surroundings as our world, the nature around us Shows us how it feels and how to feel Tears of sadness, tears of joy Life goes on

Tears are coming.

Tears of joy and sadness

Looking outside into the cloudy, bleak terrain

Seeing the riot of color still on the trees

Amidst the gray, dark, pre-thanksgiving day

Wondering what it is like to enter a new land

And yet, knowing as we, our world enters a new terrain

Unknown, scary, filled with feeling; maybe all the feelings:

Sad, mad, glad, hopeful, scared, lonely, full, unsure...

Becoming one with my surroundings as our world, the nature around us

Shows us how it feels and how to feel

Tears of sadness, tears of joy

Life goes on



Friday, November 4, 2016

Loving Kindness

It seems easy to have what we call loving kindness. If we asked individuals I bet many would say they do and they practice loving kindness. Can we really know what that is when we can't and don't love ourselves and practice loving kindness on us? It is one thing to give love to our children, and it is important. It is one thing to buy someone a coffee and pay it forward. It is one thing to love your family or friends or group or community or country. In all these instances, there is good and nothing wrong. It does well for us and for our world. Any love is good love. How many of us can say we actively practice loving ourselves? How many of us gift ourselves on a regular basis, even if the gift is by appreciating us? How many of us judge ourselves regularly and find us giving us hateful messages about us and have negative thought lines going through us? I think if we are honest with us, most or all of us do to varying degrees.   The problem is that all of us because we are imperfect beings, give us and our children and others negative messages and messages that have been passed on down to us for generations. We find ourselves yelling at our children and the words that come out of our mouths are words that we heard our parents say to us and we didn't even like them when we heard them as children. Learning to love begins at home and continues inside of us on a daily basis. Remember when mom looked into our eyes and just loved us, or dad? And if not, imagine what that would be like. I am sure everyone one of us has at least heard stories or read books or seen movies that stir in us that parent/child love. We are just loved, exactly as we are. Do we do that for ourselves?  One way we can practice loving kindness is through knowing and honoring our  personal boundaries. If you are like me at all, I have trouble doing that. My need to be loved and to care for others sometimes supersedes my personal needs and so I override my boundary and do too much. One way we can tell when we do so is that we become resentful of others and we may say things to us like, I always have to do everything, or I am tired of carrying the weight of it all, or I need to protect myself from others, etc. Sometimes those are the words I find I tell myself. I am learning that when I feel this way that I went too far and didn't love myself enough to honor my boundaries.  I have a patient who is told what to do and how to do things and she wants to be able to do those things. But sometimes she just can't do them. If she does she finds that she is not honoring her inner voice. For her, when she doesn't listen to  her voice and instead wants to and tries to do what others tell her and how they tell her to do things, she finds she is paralyzed and can't do anything. She experiences a lack of energy and motivation. This is another form of overriding her boundaries and it mimics her early life when she had no one except for another young girl to guide her. In her case, she felt lost and rudderless without adult guidance. She didn't have a developed inner voice yet and so she felt lost. Now, she finds that she is back to that very young feeling when she didn't know who she was because by following someone else's way she again is not listening to her voice because now she is letting it overtake her own young developing self. Learning how to listen to herself is learning to love herself and the ultimate act of loving kindness.  In this world today where we see so much violence and we are riding a wave of blind patriotism where many of us are so overwhelmed by feeling helpless to protect us from the acts of selfishness and barbarism all around us, many people are resorting to self-protection instead of self-loving and confusing the two. As we learn to love us and see us as part of a whole where how we think affects everyone, and that every act has echoing repercussions around the world, and that true honoring of our boundaries is not the same as separation from others, we have a chance to change us and change the world. It begins with one thought and act of loving kindness at a time, beginning with us.  Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life:  Close your eyes and think about what you would like to do as an act of loving kindness towards yourself. If you are not used to gifting you, gift you in some way. If you are not comfortable with listening to your boundaries, listen to them. If you find that you have lots of negative self-talk and judgments, feel how it feels to reframe those judgmental words into words of openness and self-possibility, and so on. Once you have a sense of what that act would be, then feel in your body how that feels to you. Breathe it in and give it some life.

It seems easy to have what we call loving kindness. If we asked individuals I bet many would say they do and they practice loving kindness. Can we really know what that is when we can't and don't love ourselves and practice loving kindness on us? It is one thing to give love to our children, and it is important. It is one thing to buy someone a coffee and pay it forward. It is one thing to love your family or friends or group or community or country. In all these instances, there is good and nothing wrong. It does well for us and for our world. Any love is good love. How many of us can say we actively practice loving ourselves? How many of us gift ourselves on a regular basis, even if the gift is by appreciating us? How many of us judge ourselves regularly and find us giving us hateful messages about us and have negative thought lines going through us? I think if we are honest with us, most or all of us do to varying degrees. 

The problem is that all of us because we are imperfect beings, give us and our children and others negative messages and messages that have been passed on down to us for generations. We find ourselves yelling at our children and the words that come out of our mouths are words that we heard our parents say to us and we didn't even like them when we heard them as children. Learning to love begins at home and continues inside of us on a daily basis. Remember when mom looked into our eyes and just loved us, or dad? And if not, imagine what that would be like. I am sure everyone one of us has at least heard stories or read books or seen movies that stir in us that parent/child love. We are just loved, exactly as we are. Do we do that for ourselves?

One way we can practice loving kindness is through knowing and honoring our  personal boundaries. If you are like me at all, I have trouble doing that. My need to be loved and to care for others sometimes supersedes my personal needs and so I override my boundary and do too much. One way we can tell when we do so is that we become resentful of others and we may say things to us like, I always have to do everything, or I am tired of carrying the weight of it all, or I need to protect myself from others, etc. Sometimes those are the words I find I tell myself. I am learning that when I feel this way that I went too far and didn't love myself enough to honor my boundaries.

I have a patient who is told what to do and how to do things and she wants to be able to do those things. But sometimes she just can't do them. If she does she finds that she is not honoring her inner voice. For her, when she doesn't listen to  her voice and instead wants to and tries to do what others tell her and how they tell her to do things, she finds she is paralyzed and can't do anything. She experiences a lack of energy and motivation. This is another form of overriding her boundaries and it mimics her early life when she had no one except for another young girl to guide her. In her case, she felt lost and rudderless without adult guidance. She didn't have a developed inner voice yet and so she felt lost. Now, she finds that she is back to that very young feeling when she didn't know who she was because by following someone else's way she again is not listening to her voice because now she is letting it overtake her own young developing self. Learning how to listen to herself is learning to love herself and the ultimate act of loving kindness.

In this world today where we see so much violence and we are riding a wave of blind patriotism where many of us are so overwhelmed by feeling helpless to protect us from the acts of selfishness and barbarism all around us, many people are resorting to self-protection instead of self-loving and confusing the two. As we learn to love us and see us as part of a whole where how we think affects everyone, and that every act has echoing repercussions around the world, and that true honoring of our boundaries is not the same as separation from others, we have a chance to change us and change the world. It begins with one thought and act of loving kindness at a time, beginning with us.

Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life:


Close your eyes and think about what you would like to do as an act of loving kindness towards yourself. If you are not used to gifting you, gift you in some way. If you are not comfortable with listening to your boundaries, listen to them. If you find that you have lots of negative self-talk and judgments, feel how it feels to reframe those judgmental words into words of openness and self-possibility, and so on. Once you have a sense of what that act would be, then feel in your body how that feels to you. Breathe it in and give it some life.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

There Is So Much We Don't Understand

"People try to make sense of things, and if they don't know the answers, they make them up because, for some, a wrong answer is better than none." -Ann Aguirre  There are so many things in life and that happen in life that we just don't understand. Things happen, people say things that don't make sense to us, we hear things the way we can and through our unconscious lens, and even synchronicities and intangible things happen that we can't explain. Can you think of such an example that happened in your life this past week or so that fits into this category?  I have a friend who calls unexplainable phenomenon by a term, imaginal. I like this term as it embodies what could be interpreted as being imagined, but gives it validity through making it a noun. I guess some folks call a phenomenon like this by the word miracle. However, it is described, trying to understand the un-understandable is an ongoing aspect of our lives. This is also true through helping others to learn about, understand, and put together pieces of their selves. In my work, I often help my patients to heal and to put their pieces of the puzzle together so they can live more whole, vital and healthy lives. This process involves traversing through a woodland to find their way out. When in the middle of the woodland, where it is dark and even scary, so much occurs that we attempt to shed light on so they can find their way out and to their selves. Doing this involves walking through the un-understandable. Many times the only way to find understanding is through our interpretations of feelings, events, sensations, and words which we work together to make sense of. This involves finding what makes sense to us, even though it might not make sense to anyone else. This is finding understanding through a terrain that may not make rational sense.  When I get in the way through my interpretations and through trying to lead, it never works. I have to let go of understanding and of leading and instead trust the process and open a door so my patients can lead, although often unsure and hesitant. We then feel our way through and sometimes find ourselves trying to make sense of what we don't understand. Here often our sensations and feelings and words that spontaneously arise lead our way. Are we right? We can't know. All we can know is what feels right to the patient. This is especially true when things happen when we are very young, and/or when a large trauma is involved, no matter what the age. I often liken the journey as Hansel and Gretel, although instead of putting out bread crumbs to help chart our course so we don't get lost, putting out sensations and feelings which are always there.   What do you do when someone feels a ghost or feels and is aware of the supernatural? We suspend our judgment and need to understand and let it guide us. Who are we to know and make pronouncements of what is real or not? Are they real or are they imaginary who help us to understand something vital in us? Does it really matter if they are part of the breadcrumbs that lead us to us; some part of us that has been misunderstood and put away or even given away? If we can put away our need to judge, make sense of and understand what is mutable and has different meanings to each person, we can then help to navigate terrain that is not understood to terrain that helps to find our way home.   Change Your Story/Change Your Life:  Think of a time or place where you felt lost and just didn't understand something. Now, instead of trying to understand what happened or what someone meant or what they did or said, or even what you saw, take a minute and suspend the need to understand and sit with unknowing.   Instead of going to those old places, sense how you feel or felt by that event or those words, etc. What sensations are you aware of? How did you feel? What did that bring out in you in terms of the story you began to tell yourself or where did that take you inside; to sadness, poor me, fear, visions of something or someone, old memories, etc? Suspend judgment and move with it. How does that vision feel and how do you feel? What do you begin to think of in your life, as in what does this remind you of? Where do you go in your thinking and in your life?  Follow those threads. Write down  what comes to you even if it doesn’t make sense. Again, hold back on tying it in a bow, and just let it sit with you, if possible. Keep this as a journal so you have your bread crumbs to come back to.  Feel free to let me know how this is for you and also if you get stuck and want a little help or push to find your way through this. We aren't looking to solve things so much as to learn about ourselves through much which is not understandable in the traditional sense. We are trying to know ourselves.

There are so many things in life and that happen in life that we just don't understand. Things happen, people say things that don't make sense to us, we hear things the way we can and through our unconscious lens, and even synchronicities and intangible things happen that we can't explain. Can you think of such an example that happened in your life this past week or so that fits into this category?

I have a friend who calls unexplainable phenomenon by a term, imaginal. I like this term as it embodies what could be interpreted as being imagined, but gives it validity through making it a noun. I guess some folks call a phenomenon like this by the word miracle. However, it is described, trying to understand the un-understandable is an ongoing aspect of our lives. This is also true through helping others to learn about, understand, and put together pieces of their selves. In my work, I often help my patients to heal and to put their pieces of the puzzle together so they can live more whole, vital and healthy lives. This process involves traversing through a woodland to find their way out. When in the middle of the woodland, where it is dark and even scary, so much occurs that we attempt to shed light on so they can find their way out and to their selves. Doing this involves walking through the un-understandable. Many times the only way to find understanding is through our interpretations of feelings, events, sensations, and words which we work together to make sense of. This involves finding what makes sense to us, even though it might not make sense to anyone else. This is finding understanding through a terrain that may not make rational sense.

When I get in the way through my interpretations and through trying to lead, it never works. I have to let go of understanding and of leading and instead trust the process and open a door so my patients can lead, although often unsure and hesitant. We then feel our way through and sometimes find ourselves trying to make sense of what we don't understand. Here often our sensations and feelings and words that spontaneously arise lead our way. Are we right? We can't know. All we can know is what feels right to the patient. This is especially true when things happen when we are very young, and/or when a large trauma is involved, no matter what the age. I often liken the journey as Hansel and Gretel, although instead of putting out bread crumbs to help chart our course so we don't get lost, putting out sensations and feelings which are always there. 

What do you do when someone feels a ghost or feels and is aware of the supernatural? We suspend our judgment and need to understand and let it guide us. Who are we to know and make pronouncements of what is real or not? Are they real or are they imaginary who help us to understand something vital in us? Does it really matter if they are part of the breadcrumbs that lead us to us; some part of us that has been misunderstood and put away or even given away? If we can put away our need to judge, make sense of and understand what is mutable and has different meanings to each person, we can then help to navigate terrain that is not understood to terrain that helps to find our way home. 

Change Your Story/Change Your Life:

Think of a time or place where you felt lost and just didn't understand something. Now, instead of trying to understand what happened or what someone meant or what they did or said, or even what you saw, take a minute and suspend the need to understand and sit with unknowing. 

Instead of going to those old places, sense how you feel or felt by that event or those words, etc. What sensations are you aware of? How did you feel? What did that bring out in you in terms of the story you began to tell yourself or where did that take you inside; to sadness, poor me, fear, visions of something or someone, old memories, etc? Suspend judgment and move with it. How does that vision feel and how do you feel? What do you begin to think of in your life, as in what does this remind you of? Where do you go in your thinking and in your life?  Follow those threads. Write down  what comes to you even if it doesn’t make sense. Again, hold back on tying it in a bow, and just let it sit with you, if possible. Keep this as a journal so you have your bread crumbs to come back to.


Feel free to let me know how this is for you and also if you get stuck and want a little help or push to find your way through this. We aren't looking to solve things so much as to learn about ourselves through much which is not understandable in the traditional sense. We are trying to know ourselves. 

Today's Soothing Words: Be A Gift