April 23rd, 2014

When the love we are shown as children is fake, self-serving, and conditional…

When you were a child, perhaps the love you were shown by one or more of your caregivers was confusing because it was not consistent, unconditional, or pure in intention.  Now as an adult, the mixed messages and inauthentic actions that you continue to observe help make sense of what was likely always there.  What you are being shown is not unconditional love.  It never was.

 

Perhaps there are times when we all need to make choices around self-preservation and self-love.  We may need to ‘let go’ of the wishful thinking that someone could be kinder in their words or not ‘two-faced’ – acting as though they care when really they are just making the obligatory small talk – or perhaps feeding their own selfish need to feel good about their relationship with you.  Perhaps it is enough that we take care of our own needs, honouring what would be best for us – even if it means spending much less time in the company of others whose professed ‘love’ of us is self-serving at best.

 

These are real life stories; they exist for real people.  We cannot just assume that because we are ‘family’ that each member knows or wants to love us without conditions.  Rather than compromise who we are, give in to societal pressures (like getting married for example because then we will be accepted or given approval by our family and others), or lose our self in the quest for approval based on someone else’s subjective and limited views, why not first acknowledge what you see and feel. Validating your experience doesn’t mean it will change anything.  But it will help you to make sense of what love is not.

 

 

Perhaps the story conveyed to me of one person’s story of a childhood of “conditional” love will help explain what too many of us have experienced.  Perhaps you or someone you know can also relate and through reading this, know that you are not alone.

 

 

I watch closely but I do not feel love.  I hear the words “I love you” but they are empty. Sometimes the words spoken carry a weight of expectation: they are spoken in order to hear the same in return. I can feel it.  I watch the look on their face when I say the words back and they are satisfied, like an addict that has just found their fix.  Love is indeed a drug to those who do not know what it means to love themselves.

 

I realize that words without truth are just words.  They are confusing at best because they are empty.  They do not give me comfort nor do I feel cared for.  I am left confused – as if something is missing. Imagine a lifetime of this.  How I come to know love is through the love that exists within me – what I feel inside is love felt easily, naturally when I can be around animals – when I can feel and experience unconditional love finally in my love for my pets. They return my love. (As do certain extended family members whom I feel a genuine warmth and an unconditional love from whenever I see them.)  My pets return my love.  This feels wonderful …but most of all it feels REAL.  No words – just the experience of real love from within – expressed by me and also felt – reciprocated – in the instinctual behaviours of my pets directed toward me.  My love given and received by another living being – unconditionally – validates my experience of what genuine love is.

 

As with all kids, I learned to read the body language and facial expressions of my primary caregivers.  Perhaps most crucial – I could feel the energy attached to the words someone spoke.  Almost like a human ‘lie detector’, I was able to know instinctively when the words someone spoke were congruent and authentic with their true feelings – and when it was not.”

 

This is how we know truth.  Words spoken are not always truthful. In fact, we hide behind our words – spoken to cover our true feelings because it is safer – easier – and because it is what we have simply been conditioned to do.  When you continue to communicate with words that are not backed in (your) truth, you will continue to feel empty inside.  This is where the sadness comes from even though you may not realize it is building, growing – perhaps for years – inside you.

 

Words without truth are empty.  They die in the space between being uttered from someone’s lips even before they reach you.

 

 

 

As a child there is NO “off switch”.  Children learn how to guard and protect themselves only after many repetitions of being hurt, experiencing a betrayal of trust, and of course through physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.  These are the experiences that teach us not to trust, that love is uncertain, conditional, and unsafe when ‘delivered’ by certain people.

 

 

As a child you tap simply “flows” with love.  You don’t know how to ‘shut it off’.  You LEARN to close your heart in self protection and self preservation because if there is no escape from the ongoing harm of lies, hurts, or abuse, you must find a way to survive.

 

I hear many stories from clients who were emotionally, physically, and also sexually abused by the people they placed all of their trust and love in.  These were people who I believe had the most important job on the planet but failed to see it as so. 

 

 

As a human race, we have all experienced unconditional love. The difference is that some parents make the conscious decision to not treat their children as they were treated; and that it is up to them to love themselves – to heal themselves first – before repeating the cycle.

 

When you return to your childhood home – whether it is to visit those same caregivers or to reunite with extended family at holidays and special occasions – the ability to intuitively perceive whether there is real love or just empty words – carries much weight. As an adult you no longer have to feel uncomfortable, sad, hurt, “wronged”, betrayed, or a lack of belonging – even though you likely will.

 

This is because our feelings (and the situations in which we have been wronged) remain buried deep inside us – buried because that was all that we could do with them as a child.  Buried because they were just too frequent and damaging for us to make sense of them at the time. Burying the hurt allowed us to carry on – to function in hopefully the best way possible – while always hoping, wishing – that what was told to us (when there were kind words) …was really true.

 

As an adult, one of the best ways to acknowledge any of the painful memories of your past is to open them; to look inside and see what is true. Find a means of first validating and then reconstructing the discrepancy between what you were told (e.g. empty words, lies, manipulation) and the truth. Once you can begin to make sense of what confusion you felt but could likely not explain nor understand (as a young child) – what inauthentic actions and hurtful words your caregivers did and said that made no sense, then you can begin to release – ”to shed” – this pain. 

 

These vast incongruencies meant that you were “right” to feel confused, sad, and uncared for, at the mixed messages of love, for its inconsistencies, for love being withheld, for your inappropriate and disproportionate degree of punishment (aka discipline) based on your caregivers inability to contain their rage, frustration, or overwhelmed feelings.  All of these examples were not love.

 

 

As adults, we are (in most cases) biologically able to have offspring. We are not always so able to offer the emotional security, unconditional love, and care that a child requires.  Or – as in most cases – we are able to offer this some of the time.

 

 

 

We need to examine our own childhood long before we contemplate having children.  We need to first make a commitment to heal our own past, (from abusive homes and parents who gave us conditional love (if love at all). We need to return to our childhood through the eyes of our ‘inner child’ and see what damage has been done – not for the purpose of blame and finger pointing, but out of the ability to heal past actions through understanding that the times when we didn’t feel the congruency of being loved – indeed we were “right” .

 

As an adult, if we remain observant to the actions of our former caregivers, we will be shown the accurate ‘proof’ of what was true.  It offers the inner child in all of us validation for all of the feelings felt when there was no explanation for why we were feeling them.  It also provides an understanding for all of the (years of) sadness, mistrust, and our reservation for letting our guard down with them now.  In the presence of these former caregivers and everyone else who acts inauthentic and dishonest – now you know the truth.  To know the truth will be enough to heal you.

 

THE PROACTIVE SOLUTIONS?

For some of us who are exploring the relationship with our inner child – (the inner part of ourselves that we recognize was hurt or wounded at a earlier age) – and because our inner child was without the adequate love, nurturing, protection, safety, kindness, etc to navigate through that particular experience successfully (aka without lingering emotional dissension or trauma) you may wish to return to a particular time in your mind where you experienced a past incident. Using visualization, allow your younger (inner child) self to speak ‘their’ mind.  Allowing them to have a “voice” offers empowerment, and a way of acknowledging the wrongness of the past. Having an inner conversation with your younger self where you allow your true thoughts and feelings to surface gives your inner child strength and the power to change the outcome by going back in time.  In your visualization, see the outcome you want – make it different!  (There is great healing in visualizing a different outcome while feeling the effects of what you are seeing in your mind.)  Let your inner child be heard, loved, validated, given fair treatment.  This is how we can wrong what has happened in the past.  This is what is meant by “taking back” or “reclaiming the self”.

 

Secondly, as an adult, it is up to you to speak honestly whenever you see (or sense) incongruence or in genuine behaviour.  (If you sense something is not congruent to what you are being told there is a strong likelihood that you are receiving what is not perhaps being spoken but is nonetheless there).  Speaking your truth is not to prove that your hunch is correct – it is to simply give your feelings a voice.  Speaking your truth never guarantees that someone will change, admit the truth, apologize, etc.  Speaking up with firm kindness and compassion simply gives you a window into the past – into acknowledging what is (and what you believe to be true) and for holding others accountable to their behaviours.  It means that you have acknowledged what you are witness to in that moment even if they cannot.  Notice how this step is enough to help you make your own peace with who they still are…and some of the past.

 

 

 

An Afternote or two…

The more inner work you do to be authentic and truthful, the more it will bother and even upset you when others are acting inauthentic.

 

Parents who themselves were mistreated or given “conditonal” love often seek love through their children – realizing their young children will love them “no matter what”.  Because of this parents can ‘get away with’ being quick to anger, using harsh words to manipulate or scold when not obeyed. Parents can enforce what action they demand through guilt, bribery, and by withholding love or through punishment.  There can be no trust gained for these caregivers for two main reasons:  one being that these parents may still continue to act out in ways that are harmful and that inflict wounds.  Second, if the damage is deep, their adult children will always be cautious, careful, and guarded – to not become prey to the habits of the past.

 

Parents have different relationships with each child because they are different people at each birth – and at each stage of child rearing.  How inexperienced parents raise their first child will be substantially different than how they raise future children.  Who that child is in their ‘nature’ and ‘personality’ also greatly affects the relationship a parent has with each child.  Even though you may be in the same family of multiple siblings – each of your siblings experiences throughout childhood will be significantly different.  Having older siblings to help (or hinder) a child’s experiences in their family of origin also plays another important role in their experience growing up.

 

For those of you seeking to make amends, to dialogue, communicate, seek understanding and an improved quality of relationship with your adult parent, realize that this may not be possible – not because you aren’t making a genuine effort or that your desire is not great enough – but for the same reasons that your caregiver’s behaviour existed in the first place.  Your parents may not be capable of letting go of their ‘stories’ and the misperceptions that have served them so well.  They may become defensive to your honesty and candidness – being triggered by the wounds of their own childhood.  They may become enraged, resorting to the same type of behaviour you witnessed so many times in childhood: and they may lash back – causing your ‘inner child’ wounds to be felt all over again. 

 

This is why much of the work in healing the inner child – or simply your adult self – is done without the presence of these caregivers.  It is safer without their presence or involvement and the healing may happen best when you can give your (inner child) self what you need in order to heal rather than hope or wait on your needs to come from a place where it has already been proven that it never can.

 

In the end, you may decide to have a very different – perhaps far more distant relationship with your adult caregiver.  In cases where the abuse and emotional and physical neglect were extreme – there is really no room for anything of substance (or depth).  These caregivers themselves are stuck in the emotional habits of blame – of not being willing to look at their own actions, nor are they willing to truly seek the change that is needed to heal themselves so that they can cultivate a healthy dynamic.  This limits any growth that could potentially happen. 

What remains is your choice – whether to allow them a simple place in your life, or not at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 28th, 2014

Active Laziness

In his book, ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’, Author Sogyal Rinpoche uses the phrase “active laziness” to describe how we are constantly cramming our lives so full with compulsive activity that we don’t ever have time to examine the ‘real’ issues.

 

Our life seems to dictate to us what we do; possessing its own bizarre momentum – and carrying us away with it.  Sadly, we often feel that we have ‘no choice’ or ‘control’ over what we “have to” do.

 

If we pause to look a little more closely, we begin to see how many unimportant tasks (so called “responsibilities”) accumulate, taking up valuable time – and keeping us from experiencing what is really important.

 

We tell ourselves we have “no time”, that we will “make time later or tomorrow” for things that are important to us  …. and yet by the next morning, we wake up and do it all over again.

I’ve been gently reminding people that we eventually “run out of time”; that there is purpose in “living IN this moment”, and not waiting to do something you’ve been meaning (or desiring) to do.

lifeiswhatwemakeit

Because months (and let’s be honest), decades of our lives can “get away from us”…all we have is the present moment.  Practically speaking, it only takes minutes to write down what you would really like to experience, do, enjoy, and be …for today, along with some ways you will go about making these happen.

After all, life is a series of many moments….and the culmination of all of our experiences of these moments. Hopefully we can remember that we are in charge of our moments…by choosing so.

Namaste everyone!

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March 24th, 2014

Manifesting an Ideal Relationship

I used to wonder how it would ever be possible to heal – improve – specific relationships.  After all wouldn’t doing so require the full commitment of both people?

With BELIEF and the commitment to realize (no matter how long it may take) what it is you want most…truly anything is possible!  Most of the time, when we fail to see the fruits of our efforts, its because we have given up (we have stopped before what we wanted has manifested completely!)

 

With belief you can manifest anything!  (In fact, what you desire most ends up being true because of such a strong resolve you have in making it a reality – even when at times its a reality only in your own mind!)

Consider that the one thing holding you back from having the relationship  (e.g. love, friendship, sibling, parent-child, etc) of your dreams is simply how you perceive it.  The other important factor is the amount of belief you hold in making your ideal relationship – a reality.  (This INCLUDES the effort and work that is required to propel you towards what you want most – making it happen!)

 

Most of us focus on the problem.  We become lost – caught up in the negative aspects of our relationship, and focused on the flaws of the other person, rather than the solution – and what we want the relationship “to be”.

 

We can manifest the most incredible ideals for anything in life….but the moment we begin to focus on the problems, we direct our focus and energy on these, perceiving (and even making them) to be bigger than they really are.  We also lose sight of what is “good” and “working well” and most important “how” we want to improve our relationship further.

FYI:  The other thing that we can do is minimize the ‘real’ problems (e.g. abuse, neglect, deceit, infidelity etc.) and convincingly ignore these in the “hopes” that they will somehow ‘improve’ on their own.

 

In the first example, we are more likely to ‘give up’ on our ideals for a healthy relationship, deciding that it simply isn’t possible to have what we want.  In the second example, we ignore and make excuses for the “real” problems rather than end the relationship and seek our ideals for a healthy relationship elsewhere.

 

Important to remember, manifesting your ideal relationship may no longer be possible with the person you are presently with.  In some cases, a relationship will not be able to improve because one of its members simply doesn’t have the same desire (or ability at present) for it to be different (better).  For a relationship to progress and develop: to strengthen, deepen, and transform in a way that takes both people to a new level of understanding, respect and love, both have to share a similar desire – and to focus on this desired outcome as they do the ‘work’ of making it so.

In all relationships, when both people share similar ideals – i.e. and if they both believe – without doubt – in the possibility of the relationship to reach new depths of love and intimacy, and levels of honesty, openness, and closeness – it will happen!  (It can also happen even if only one member of a relationship desires and believes in this – but as long as there is effort made towards this  - AND OF COURSE…that the other person remains open to the positive efforts they see are being made.  One partner’s positive efforts is often a catalyst for a relationship improving – if both members truly desire this).

 

So, what have you been manifesting?  Are you looking at the ways in which you may have an even more incredible relationship with those you love?  Or are you focused on what’s wrong, missing, or the ‘water under the bridge’ (old hurts and resentments of the past)?  Either direction will subconsciously bring you that result.

 

Make it possible to have what you want by defining it first – either in your mind or in written form – detailing exactly what you want your relationship to be.  Next, consider what you are willing to do toward accomplishing this.  Let your thoughts and ideals be the road map and your actions be the ‘tangible’ ways that you make your ideal relationship possible.

You may be surprised at first as you begin to see your relationships transforming.  Notice even the simplest ways in which you have been able to contribute to making your relationship “better”.

Sometimes (like in my case) your efforts won’t fully be materialized for YEARS!!  During this time, it may seem easier to throw in the towel, to stop believing, to give up the idea that you could ever have the kind of relationship with someone that you’ve always wanted.

Just remember… You have any relationship (providing that the other person is as deeply invested in deepening and strengthening the relationship – by first BEING / LIVING / the ideal for HOW you want the relationship to be.
For example: if you wanted a more open and honest dialogue with a family member, you need to begin by first modelling this behaviour, directly ‘asking’ for the same in return (forthright communication is such a pivotal component of healing and nurturing relationships) and providing examples of what this ‘looks like’ for them.  You also need patience and fortitude to overcome the preconceived ideas you have about what the other person is capable of – as well as persistence and BELIEF that EVERYTHING YOU DESIRE MOST is possible.

 

In the end, no matter how long it may take, perhaps you will be (like I was) both amazed and grateful at how it was possible all along – just as long as you remained focused on the positive behaviours (that you are responsible for), PATIENT (you may see results instantly, but it can also take years!), and constant in your BELIEF of the outcome you want most!

Namaste everyone!

 

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March 21st, 2014

Witnessing Your Incredible Nature Through the Eyes of Others….

As much as we may experience the challenge at times of seeing ourselves with loving eyes (often we are our own worst critic, repeating many of the same words that we’ve grown up hearing others say to us), I am always in awe of  how incredibly healing it is to hear how others “see” us.

 

Whether from a friend, loved one, or perhaps someone we don’t really know – hearing genuine kindness spoken quite deliberately affects us deeply.  Hearing words of truth that are spoken through another’s eyes gives us a new ‘landing point’ – a way to see and evaluate ourselves differently.

At times the parts of our selves that we are struggling with most need reassurance, loving words, and acceptance. Having others acknowledge our greatness can help us to believe in our self; and to see with approval all that we already are.

Having nothing at stake, we can more easily consider the words of others spoken sincerely, and allow these words to sink ‘in’ …feeling their positive effects in ways we had perhaps not imagined.

 

Consider witnessing yourself through the positive words, adoration, and kindness of others.  Write these words so you can see and read them later  - and at moments when you may begin to doubt yourself.  Remain open to the ways in which messages of ‘truth’ and appreciation about who you are finds you… and trust that these are exactly the words that you need to hear at that moment.

 

Namaste everyone!

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March 20th, 2014

How Do You Know?

With anything you choose, how do you know what will be a ‘right’ choice and what will be so wrong?

Remember who you are choosing for. When you make decisions that affect your life, are you choosing based on what someone else thinks or recommends, or do you focus on the best outcome based on your needs and what is right for you?

 

Growing up, we are taught to “listen” to our parents, to “do” what we are told, to ‘follow’ without needing to think for our self. If you have not had much practice in making decisions autonomously, how can you trust that what you decide will work out in your favour?

Decision making, like any daily life choice follows a particular pattern. If you focus on the problem or the challenge you are faced with, decision making will be more confusing.  You will continue to be caught between what you hope won’t happen and all of the possible scenarios that might. This never helps you to make a ‘right’ choice.

 

Focusing instead on what you want most gives you a clear directive.

How do you know if your decision will be the right one?

Answer:  Because you are focusing (and acting) in the direction of what you want most; and of what is best and right for you.

Namaste everyone!

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March 9th, 2014

Living IN this moment.

Words of WISDOM when prompted from someone in their early seventies …recently conveyed the importance of one life lesson they had learned thus far.

It’s the idea of slowing down, of not being prisoner to the thought that we are too busy to enjoy “taking time” for the simple things.

When you can mindfully exhale …releasing all of the thoughts that go with where you have to be next, what tasks are waiting for you that you are not looking forward to, and the worries of how you will possibly accomplish all that you “need to” today, what happens is that you create an OPENING – a space – in which to ENJOY whatever you are experiencing right now.

The beauty of calling your attention back into the present moment is to experience being engaged IN life.  To experience the richness and beauty of each singular moment you need to be fully present IN THIS MOMENT. present moment

Anything experienced with the pleasure of present moment awareness is heightened.  Just begin to think of all of the activities you already enjoy; the simple pleasures of a first cup of coffee in the morning, the heat of a steam room warming your entire body, or a kiss from the one you love.

This means that all of the experiences we love most are made even better by focusing our attention on them.

Consider that you will need to use some parts of your day for planning future events.  Yet, make the conscious decision to live more of your life as an active participant “in” your (present moment) experience.

*Especially when you are doing tasks that are not enjoyable – use your breath to bring you back into the present moment and be attentive.  Find the joy in whatever you are doing right now even if the task isn’t your most favourite.

The richness of  life’s simplest moments (often unplanned and purely spontaneous) far outweighs the ENJOYMENT of future or past thoughts about something else.

 

This is what is meant by the words: ‘Living IN the now’.  We can only experience THIS moment fully.  Every other moment is now either memory or what we have already forgotten.   When we come to realize this, we can actively create future moments (with certainty and enjoyment) but then be present to LIVE in the experience of right NOW. Namaste everyone!

and P.S. A simple afterthought….. Even the moments used for ‘planning the future’, ‘setting goals’, and envisioning the future are powerful tools to actualizing what you want.  Even these ‘tasks’ can be experienced and lived fully by enjoying them fully!

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October 13th, 2013

Giving “Thanks” for CHALLENGES: Thanksgiving 2013

 

Recently I led a Group Meditation on the topic of ‘giving thanks‘.   I can think of no greater way to move with ease through the challenges that any of us face than to accept them with gratitude.

 

When you welcome any “challenge” (hardship, problem, etc) with acceptance and gratitude, you no longer feel powerless against it.  By choosing to embrace this ‘challenge’, and to view it as an important part of your current life journey, you begin to embrace what teachings the challenge holds for you.

 

Once you master what teachings the challenge offers, it then becomes a life lesson that you own, allowing you to draw from the expertise and knowledge you would have gained from it.  

 

Consider what other privileges and opportunities you have been seeing as problems or challenges.

See your challenge with readiness and be grateful to embrace how you will be moved to grow and change because of it.  Trust that whatever self-awareness, new behaviours, and transformation occurs is exactly what you need as you go forward in life.  

grateful

Give yourself the ‘challenge’ of seeing, visualizing, and imagining the solution to your “problem” situation.  Hold the vision of your future ideal, how you wish to be, what you want to accomplish, and how the challenge might be best ‘fixed’ or resolved.  This is how you stay focused on the positive outcome while you set in motion what actions are required to get you there.  

 

BEING THANKFUL simply allows whatever challenges you are still working on, to become manageable and possible rather than overwhelming and impossible.

 

Remember that you are only continuing to experience the same or similar challenges until you have mastered them.  This is inevitably how we evolve as human beings.

 

Namaste everyone!

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July 25th, 2013

A Note about Sadness

In a world were so much focus is placed on our outer appearance, the state of what physical objects we own, how we look and appear to others, what others see; and what we wish to see of our self, there is less of a need to acknowledge and honour what is within. Working to find our unique path in life; one that allows us to feel a sense of promise, hope, and fulfillment happens only as we are aware of our heartfelt desires; those gentle and yet sometimes fierce inner urgings that tell us to take a certain path; to try this new thing, or to go in search of a particular new experience.

 

 

Feeling attuned with your inner self means being aware of this place deep within you. Your sadness, and any other inner anxst or turmoil are often visible reminders that there are things beneath the surface; inside your being that need attention.

 

Sadness can often be the result of some past life situation – perhaps unresolved.  A general low level of sadness that seems to be there whenever you find yourself in moments all by yourself, can have very different meaning for you.   The main point is to no longer attempt to cover or deflect the sadness (or any other emotion you may be feeling) and instead step in ever so further. The point of looking at any emotion to explore and uncover its root origin allows us to have information- to have knowledge about why we feel the way we do and to address the underlying root cause.

 

Sometimes you will find yourself feeling sad for no real reason. The sadness comes from your train of thoughts and whatever you were thinking in those recent past moments.  Uncover your thoughts to see how your thoughts influence your overall mood state.

 

Sadness like any other feeling has an underlying purpose. It is there to reveal what may be missing, unhealthy, unsatisfactory, or disturbingly wrong with a present life situation. Sadness also comes out of our choice to focus on a particular life situation without truly empowering ourselves to discover what we need to do with it. We remain lodged in the feelings of sadness and replay the conversation or event rather than contemplate “What can I learn from this?” or “What would I need to feel at peace (happy, content, healed, etc) from this situation instead?”

Let your heart (your intuitive source) point out some real possibilities and begin to imagine yourself following the path toward them. Contrary to any previous thought, you do not have to remain sad; sadness is a feeling that is the result of “something” and not a resting place for our state of being.

 

The next time you glimpse even a fleeting sense of the feeling of sadness, consider what you are guided to do instead. Feel the sadness but decide whether you will choose to remain here; whether you will make sadness a regular experience or whether you will acknowledge it as simply an emotion that calls on you to attend to its for purpose – it is always a feeling that requires further exploration and examination.  Likely your decision to explore sadness will allow for some positive action that moves you toward feeling an entirely different set of emotions after all.

Namaste everyone!

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July 22nd, 2013

The Purpose of Meditation

*Sometimes I feel a message is worth repeating.  This blog comes from one of my previous Notes of Wisdom…. A weekly series of inspirational thoughts meant to encourage you to think about life differently :)
P.S.  You can always request my Notes of Wisdom to your email in-box each week by clicking the link to the right:

“Meditation is an experience that reminds us that we can simply ‘be’; to experience ourself in this moment – NOT as what we are thinking (nor our thoughts of our self) but our true state of being.” - Dorothy Ratusny

 

Meditation is the art of focused attention on a single point. Each time the mind begins to wander off, you (the gentle observer of the mind) simply direct the mind back to a focal point. At first, you may notice just how often your mind wanders, and how easily it is distracted. Each time you observe and then re-focus your mind on what you have given it as it’s ‘task’, you improve your mind’s ability to hold attention.

 

Each time you sit in meditation it is always a different experience. Some days your mind will be more receptive to focusing and on other days, it will far more challenging to stop the mind from jumping from thought to thought.

In gentle stillness, and with the solitary task of being mindful of your breath, you can experience the quiet, inner peace that exists beneath the layer of thoughts that are the typical workings of the mind. Meditation is how you cultivate inner calmness and the ability to simply exist in the perfection of each moment. Meditation is also how we are able to go deeper within to hear and know our infinite wisdom.

*Some of this also appears in my upcoming book: ”The Book of Wisdom’ which i’m so excited to be completing!!
Finally, I’d thought I would share a gentle guided Meditation in Nature (under one of my favourite new trees!) Enjoy!
Namaste everyone!
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June 29th, 2013

How we Know GOD

How we come to know GOD is through who (or what) we believe HIM/HER to be.

 

The path of GOD is not to follow an omnipotent being rather to be LOVE in the model of how we have been taught GOD is.

 

The path of SPIRIT is to acknowledge that we are ONE with every living creature in the universe.  That our breath is truly sacred; each time we inhale we breathe in the beauty of life force energy – that which keeps us alive and thriving, but also reminds us of our true nature as energy.

 

What do you still think of when you think of GOD?  Is it someone or thing that you need to believe in? …to behave for?

 

Do you examine the mysteries of faith that have been chosen and adopted by various cultures as organized religion – following passages and beliefs that other people have chosen for you?

Spirituality and the science of Metaphysics suggests that there are some things that cannot be explained by precise measurement and proof; that there is a marrying of both ideas and facts in how we come to know that the universe is indeed a creation and also something that is created by its inhabitants.

 

We can offer the most serious thoughts and expressions of what or whom created the Universe and yet each of our actions in real time has a mark on what the universe continues to become.

 

Consider what you intuitively feel GOD to be.  Is God truly a being to be feared or one to be explored?  Is GOD another word (or name) to describe a universal consciousness; an infinite intelligence? or have we personalized GOD as someone only to obey?

 

Find your own significant interpretation of what GOD is for you by considering the purpose of how GOD exists in your life.  Honour your intuitive findings and perhaps the idea that “GOD” is both an idea and a reality; a model of greatness and simultaneously who each one of us already is.

 

 

GOD is how you come to know yourself.  your inner calm, your gentle innate nature, your capacity to love.  In moments of quiet deliberation; regardless of what formal religion you may have been taught…. consider what the concept of GOD means in your life; how the concept of GOD is alive in your life…. or is it?

 

How you know GOD will instinctively happen as you make steps toward knowing SELF….for one is a part of the other. One is the other in human form.

 

Namaste everyone!

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June 26th, 2013

Friends for LIFE

Sometimes weeks or even months pass with limited contact between myself and my closest female friends.  When we finally get together, I can then sit with them over a meal and easily catch up; any time ‘in-between’ doesn’t feel as though it is measured in clock time; we pick up right where we left off, with such ease and comfort.

 

The few female friends I hold dearly in life, share a similar yet pivotal commonality: I never feel judged by them, and they don’t hold expectations of me or of our friendship.  I would hope that they feel the same from me.

 

This means that we can truly be ourselves; blurt out our ‘truths’, say whatever is on our mind at any moment… and not be afraid to reveal anything – since we hold no judgment toward one another.

 

Lately I am reminded of the importance of BEING a friend.  Too often I see others looking, relying, depending on their friends for much.  I wonder if we look at our ‘friendship’ relationships as ways in which we might give unconditionally – trusting that when we do so, we always manage to receive exactly whatever we need in that moment even if we have no preconceived idea of what that need might be.

 

The value of a true friendship suggests that we are loved by another.  Being loved by someone outside of our family suggests that others have CHOSEN US to hold dear in their life.  The state of a true friendship is measured not by how much face time two people share, but by the quality of the moments spent with one another, and the depth of honesty that they are willing to share.

 

…And I suspect that whomever said, “You only need a few good friends in life ” truly knew what this meant.  We can’t possibly engage in the depth of quality needed to nurture such an honest and authentic relationship if we are juggling fifteen people whom we call “our closest friends”.  Like any significant relationship, a ‘true’ friendship requires nurturing and growth over time.

 

Your friendships add to the quality of your life; the friends you hold dear to your heart grow with you even if the person is going through very different life experiences than you.

 

Consider what YOU VALUE MOST IN your friendship relationship.  

 

Perhaps its the simplicity of being accepted as you are …being loved unconditionally….. or being free to talk about anything without fear of judgment.

 

I am in awe of how much love I feel from my friends; and pray that they feel my love for them.  I enjoy and cherish knowing of our ‘history’ together…of sharing in so many happy moments that we both will remember forever… and for them being my soul sisters….

xoxo

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June 17th, 2013

The WISDOM of LOVE to Cure all things….a Metaphysical Perspective.

One of these days, I’m going to write a more extensive blog on the topic of channeling.  Channeling Divine energy is simply the act of being in touch with your Highest Self.  On some days (like this morning :)) I channel bold global statements that I feel are worthy of sharing – trusting in that those of you on your spiritual path will find the words I write comforting, and inspirational.  To channel or ‘communicate’ with your Highest Self is simply bringing the Divine out of you – whether that be in words, actions of kindness and love, or beautiful thoughts that become wonderful things.  Enjoy!

Love is infinitely strong in its grace; in its capacity for freedom,and acknowledgement of all that is good, comforting, and just in the world.

Love deliberately and joyously given… strengths and heals past wounds for in being forgiving, LOVE overrides despair and initiates understanding and healing.

 

Love does not imitate false hope nor does it pretend that which is untrue or unfaithful.  Love cures all things.  Because of your capacity to elicit love, you feel its healing effects – its soothing properties of lightness and bold expansion coursing through you.  This is how you experience yourself as ‘larger than life’ (not in a boastful, ego-driven way, but as true immensity for greatness).

 

Holding love for others means you can hold more for yourself.  

‘Holding’ (feeling) love for others fills you with the feeling of love.  It is though this that you experience the depth of love you are capable of – directed inward.  Learning how to love the self is one of the greatest life lessons we could ever know.

Namaste everyone!

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June 16th, 2013

A DAY in Celebration of Fathers….

There are many definitions for who and what a ‘father’ is.

In organized religion, “Father” (theologian, priest, Padre) is the term used to refer to a person who performs and oversees a sanctioned sacred ceremony. “Father” is also the name for a higher power – e.g. “God the Father” (the first person of the Holy Trinity). Biologically, a father (a male parent) is someone who has co-created a child.

As a transitive verb: “to father” is to beget, bring forward, make something new; and to accept responsibility for.

 

*Check out the origin of Father’s Day at the bottom of this blog*

 

We likely expect a great deal from our Father. After all, they have taken on this role willingly and eagerly, right? This means that they should know what fatherhood is all about and consistently “know best”. Of course, fathers are not perfect….nor can we expect them to be.

 

Perhaps I offer a different viewpoint simply because as a Psychotherapist, I am privy to hearing the less than positive experiences clients convey about their own fathers, husbands, and father-in-laws.  I hear how these men have come up short; “have not spent enough time with their young growing children”, “have been absent”, “verbally (emotionally, or even physically) abusive”, “manipulative”, “irresponsible” and the like. (And ‘Yes’ I do hear the “good” stories; but predominantly I am called upon to help with the ‘less than ideal’ realities others live with).

 

Just because you have co-created a child doesn’t mean you automatically become a great father. Indeed, the title ‘father’ like any ‘title’ is one that requires consistent effort, learning, patience, understanding, discipline, forgiveness, and so many other traits that typically require more “work” than you could ever have imagined.

 

 

Just yesterday I heard ‘a father’ scream at the top of his lungs (so loudly I wanted to find cover as far away as I could get to) at “his” 6-yr old son because the young boy was “not listening”.

 

 

I don’t hear people claiming that parenting is an easy ‘role’, yet it is a role that challenges any adult male to come to terms with their own demons, to take responsibility for their choice to co-create, and to ‘make peace’ with their family of origin issues (including their own relationship with their male parent).

 

Fatherhood should you choose that ‘role’ is one that requires the commitment first to be your very best self. Fatherhood (and similarly Motherhood) are very much among the most challenging ‘responsibilities’ you will have. For most people, the role of parent is a great character builder; teaching us to think of the well being of others and in cases, to put others’ needs first before those of our own, to love unconditionally (even when our child does not act lovingly toward us), and to allow ourselves to be stretched and moved to grow beyond who we once were.

 

Fatherhood is a significant and life altering role – primarily in the first, formative years of a child’s development, and then, hopefully as your child grows, you recognize that your role as a father changes. You become mentor, guide, counsellor, and also friend. There will be a pivotal moment in your child’s life where you really aren’t practicing the ‘practical’ role of father as you once did. If you can let go of your need to attach too much of your self-worth to your title (and this usually goes hand in hand with making less demands of your now adult child (or children), and simply enjoy their company); you will likely see the fruits of your labour, and enjoying the forever changing relationship that exists between parent and child.

 

Success in fatherhood isn’t always ‘getting it right’, but being willing to learn from your past behaviours in order to be different – and of course -”getting it right” going forward.

 

 

Clients who report to have the most loving relationship with their adult children are those who enjoy them; without continuing to micro-manage details of their life.  Fathers who truly embrace their parental role realize that love is the only true requirement of them – particularly as a child grows up, becoming their own adult.

 

As a father, consider giving up any and all needs to be ‘perfect’, ‘all knowing’, and ‘right’ (including the need of your ego to prove yourself so), and instead let the experiences of your role as father: teach, shape, challenge, and aspire you to being your greatest version of yourself.

The role of father does not imply perfection, nor wisdom.

 

Rather it is in a man’s ability to be open to learn from their life experiences as ‘father’, to learn from all that their child ‘demands’ of them (because children are among life’s great teachers even when they do not realize they are being so), and from their ‘duties’ as caregiver, role-model, and mentor – that ultimately they experience the wisdom and grace of what teachings they have so perfectly been given.

 

Become a great father by being willing to change, transform, and grow through examining your ‘behaviours’, your character traits, vulnerabilities, and existing belief system. Deciding to see yourself honestly will then influence how you choose to be different. Consider how you want to teach, model, mentor, and offer guidance so you can be the great father you aspire to (and especially in those most challenging moments).

 

This isn’t a new message I’m relaying. The message is worth repeating because so many men idealize the “role” of father when indeed one’s ability to be ‘a great father’ to anyone begins with your ability to first be a great human being.

 

Some practical suggestions if you are contemplating fatherhood or …reflecting on aspects of your present role as a father that could be better:

 

Begin with a simple list of behaviours and character traits that you believe would make you a great father. (Noting that some of these may be what you already possess). Next, make a second list of any behaviours and personality traits that you know would benefit you as a person– without attaching yourself to any roles here.  Even if you don’t initially know how you will accomplish your changes (which is what clients initially say), trust that by imagining the new actions that would support your new ideals, you begin a path toward becoming different. Change doesn’t happen without working toward a new outcome. Making self-improvements always has a positive spill-over effect to how you are as a …. brother, husband, friend, uncle, boss – and any other role you choose to be.

Notice the similarities of both lists.  Hhmmmmmm  

Now…begin moving toward the changes in small steps.

And finally….A father doesn’t have to have produced ‘off-spring’ to be a great father. I know this first hand.

Namaste everyone!

 

Did you know?

The idea for an official Father’s Day celebration came to a married daughter, seated in a church in Spokane, Washington, attentive to a Sunday sermon on Mother’s Day in 1910. This was two years after the first Mother’s Day observance in West Virginia.

 

The daughter was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. During the sermon, which extolled maternal sacrifices made for children, Mrs. Dodd realized that in her own family it had been her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, who had sacrificed-raising herself and five sons alone, following the early death of his wife in childbirth. For Mrs. Dodd, the hardships her father had endured on their eastern Washington farm called to mind the unsung feats of fathers everywhere.

Her proposed local Father’s Day celebration received strong support from the town’s ministers and members of the Spokane YMCA. Newspapers across the country, already endorsing the need for a national Mother’s Day, began carrying stories about the unique Spokane observance. Interest in Father’s Day increased.

 

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the day. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that states, if they wished, should hold their own Father’s Day observances. He wrote to the nation’s governors that “the widespread observance of this occasion is calculated to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children, and also to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

 

It wasn’t until 1972, sixty-two years after it was proposed by Mrs. Dodd, Father’s Day was permanently established by President Richard Nixon. 

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June 13th, 2013

This is WHY they say… ‘Ignorance is Bliss’

Some would say that the process of therapy is about getting help with a critical life situation or problem that you’ve been struggling with on your own for some time.  

And yet, I always explain when asked ……. the fundamental purpose of therapy is to help clients see themselves (and their life situation) clearly – accurately – truthfully.

 

It’s actually quite common for a client to attend only a session or two (yes that quickly!) and have a pivotal, life changing … “Ah ha” moment.

Self-awareness doesn’t only happen ‘in’ therapy, but whenever someone is willing to look at a situation (or their self) with different eyes – or in many cases with severe honesty – and the intention of seeing things from a different (and more accurate) perspective.  And yet to admit the truth (particularly when it means revealing a flaw or problematic behavior) to yourself is a difficult thing for many of us.

 

There are many times in our life where we know exactly what to do, but yet don’t do it.

 

Being open to seeing a situation, a behaviour, or a way of thinking with honestly, requires that you see it as “it is”.  No doubt it’s easier to sugar coat the truth, to make excuses for your own (or another’s) actions, or to tell yourself that “it’s okay” in an effort to deny a gnawing feeling that you have when you know deep down inside that what you’ve just told yourself is “okay”, is truly not.

 

Recently a client had finished a series of counselling sessions with me.  Her actions in the workplace (reprimanding her staff “with aggression”, ‘mothering’ rather than ‘mentoring’, using sarcasm and passive-aggressive behaviours rather than dealing with matters directly and calmly) made her a candidate for receiving therapy as part of the necessary requirements of her conditions of future employment.

At the outset of therapy, it felt as though nothing I was saying was reaching her.  Sylvia (not her real name) appeared to be actively defending her behaviours, as well as denying some of the accusations made toward her.

 

Fast forward a few sessions and I gratefully began to see the results  (the payoff) of Sylvia’s struggles to see what I was attempting to show her.

 

It is when we first take responsibility for SELF and for our ‘own’ actions, that we become “awake”.

To be awake is to be able to see yourself and all of your thoughts, feelings, and actions with clarity and truth.

 

In a moment of ‘awakening’ we forever change.  There is a shift that occurs deep within our psyche that acknowledges what we have done, who we have been, and how we have viewed the world up to this moment.  When we awaken we “evolve” – we transform.  As our eyes open to seeing ourselves both as we are, and how we have been – it is like turning a page in a book.  We see and recall details of the chapter we have just read, but we are now looking forward to the next chapter in front of us.  (At any time, we can go back and reread parts of previous chapters – much like how we benefit from reviewing, reflecting on past behaviours, and reminding ourselves of where we have come from).  The idea here is that our awakening begins first with awareness – recognition – and acknowledgement.  

Enlightenment comes out of your willingness to live in that new found awareness.  It is the gift of living “awakened”.

When you look at a situation in order to examine, dissect, and understand it, there is usually an underlying and often overwhelming need to have things be “okay”.  Observe your self first.  Truly it is only your own actions that you can change so this should be your focus and not the actions of others.  Be willing to see your ‘mistakes’, to note where you could have behaved differently, and to imagine what other outcomes (within your own control) would have been more helpful.  Be willing to see your imperfections not from a place of harsh judgment but as a way of learning – and of observation as a means towards positive change.  

As an adult, we don’t have the same level of input from caregivers, teachers, and positive role models (e.g. older siblings who have done ‘good’ in the world) that can guide us.  As adults, we forget that we are not infallible nor have we mastered all of the “right” behaviours.

 

When you begin to see yourself honestly, you will likely also experience a barrage of distinct emotions.  For example, sadness, remorse, disbelief, shame, regret etc for what has transpired, and for what you are willing to take responsibility for (even if just quietly to yourself).  

 

This stage is important since it is in ‘awakening’ to yourself completely that change happens.

As you move into another ‘way of being’ – or as I refer to in my upcoming book: ‘WISDOM’, “a return to your true self” – you cannot help but see the world differently.  For example, the exact same behaviours in others in light of your new found clarity (your awakened state) can no longer be overlooked or denied.  The world around you may initially not appear so bright or pretty with your ‘new’ eyes.  It can (and often does) leave one feeling despondent, depressed, even hopeless… and wondering how much better it really is to see the ‘truth’ (hence the phrase: “ignorance is bliss”).  

Seeing clearly at times means big changes for how someone lives their life.  It isn’t unusual for a person to change careers, release a relationship, change their lifestyle (e.g. become vegetarian) as a result of their awakening.  None of these changes likely occur without careful thought; you realize that you no longer can continue living the same ‘lie’ – the same incongruency that you once did.  

 

And remember, the changes you make from an awakened state even while difficult at times, while always improve the quality of your life (and reveal your natural state of happiness).

 

So how do you exist in your new non-blissful state of truth?

You actually need to feel uncomfortable, let down, and at times even betrayed (yes indeed…. betrayal is a keen motivator compelling you forward to take care of yourself).  For Sylvia, it was returning to the same workplace she had left two months earlier, except that now she saw everything as it was.

In those first two weeks, she experienced other staff resistant to helping her integrate back into the team.  She noted colleagues were hesitant to share updated procedures, and a Manager who appeared to be ‘playing’ multiple sides at once, telling her what he thought she would want to hear rather than the ‘whole’ truth.

 

Seeing everything ‘as it is’ means that you need to observe with a strong resolve of  ”detachment”.  You can become easily distraught in the ‘half-truths’ or unethical behaviours.  Choose instead to focus on being your best, rather than attempting to change everyone around you.  Realizing that what she saw all around her was no longer acceptable meant that Sylvia no longer wished to stay on in her job. 

 

Envision the great things that YOU will do with your life.  It would be sad to allow all that you now see “cloud” your life by being negatively affected.  See the truth but remember – its not your job to ensure that everyone is behaving well.  Allow others to be who they are without needing to change them.

Be aware and awake – focusing on what good you will bring to your own life.  To be distracted by all the ‘wrongs’ that you now see would take away from what your new clarity has in store for you.  Pay attention to your heart’s yearnings….and the signs and messages that you see pointing you in a new direction or challenging you with a welcoming opportunity that you can feel excited about.

The message below is a little strong…but there’s ultimately truth in it… and …it does make you think :)

Namaste everyone!!

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June 11th, 2013

Grateful to WALK? RUN?

A recent reminder rekindled my interest and desire to run.  I was enjoying the ‘gentle’ landing of the treadmill beneath my feet this morning and gazing in reflection across the street when I saw them.  

A woman likely in her early to mid-fifties was helping what I imagined was her mother get out of the car.  The mother looked far older than her likely age.  She required a walker and even with its support, she walked carefully – slowly.  They were going inside one of those medical clinics where you have your have tests run (e.g. blood work, urinalysis, etc).   

I was watching with curiosity while simultaneously enjoying the ease of running – moving my legs at any pace I desired; feeling the freedom and ease of deliberate constant movement and the expression of my body in motion. 

running

How often do we take for granted such important abilities so many of us are born possessing?

For how long might we have such a gift before it is no longer an aspect of life for us?

I am no distance triathlete, but I love the feeling of my body moving with ease; and how running in particular requires nothing but the road (or treadmill) beneath you.  With running you feel a part of everything in your surroundings and so incredibly free.

Are we truly grateful each time we get out of bed or do we loathe what is to be a brand NEW day of life?

 

I understand the importance in enjoying each moment.  I also believe that we are always shown reminders of what to be grateful for and also what can become our destiny.

How willing are you to enjoy the simplest of life’s blessings?

Consider being thankful for even the smallest abilities you possess.  Then notice how much more abundance, privilege, and “gifting” – you are given.

Namaste everyone!

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