Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cause to Celebrate

Celebrating feels good, and there’s been a lot to cheer for over the last few days from where I stand. As the Confederate flag eases down the pole and equal rights are extended to same sex partners with respect to marriage, the energy on my Facebook feed has been warm, loving, fabulous, and fuzzy. It’s like sliding into a big hug over and over again.

Even before this little wave of goodness that rolled in from the Supreme Court ruling, I had been pondering the idea of celebration and counting one’s blessings because it’s become a very critical cornerstone of my existence over the last few years and a practice that has completely transformed my perspective on life. As my perception has changed, doors of opportunity and joy have opened all around me, beckoning to me to enter.

Back before, in my “dark years”, celebration came through a bottle or a drug. I didn’t feel like I had much to celebrate – even when I did – because the truth of the matter is that I’ve always been blessed, I just couldn’t see it. At all. I look back at stretches of years, and I see a lot of depression, anxiety, and fear, and it’s a sticky, grey energy that rolls through almost every memory I have. And because I couldn’t see the miracles and blessings that were lying all around me, I tried to make up reasons to celebrate that involved drinking and debauchery. I needed those tools to help me feel like I could open up to others and share myself with them. I could be merry when I drank; it gave me permission and an outlet. The rest of my hours were spent in a pretty bleak state of fear and insecurity that typically consisted of me beating myself up for perceived bad decisions, a general lack of good fortune and because I just didn’t feel good enough.

This was a cycle that took me years to break. I really thought that I deserved to be unhappy and that I was inherently unworthy of experiencing a good life. I propagated this personal myth by acting in self-defeating ways and then condemning myself for my actions.

Getting through this was a progression of baby steps that was initiated, for me, through recovery. As my head got clearer, my heart began to open. Through a lot of writing and healing work (and trial and error!), I was able to reach a place where I felt like my head was above water. I could have stopped there; life was much better than it had been, but truly a miracle occurred. I got a glimpse that it could be even better, and I had reached a point of actually believing that I deserved prosperity and happiness. I was close enough to sniff the possibility and my desire to claim it began to outweigh my fear of doing the work to move towards it.

It’s difficult at times to know which part shifted what because I threw myself into the process headlong at various points. What I do know, though, is that when I brought the concept of celebration into my life as a way of acknowledging gratitude and blessings received, my vibration aligned with a more prosperous and happy one. Everything began to shift. I celebrated coins found on the ground, food, hugs from my boy, my crazy and adorable pets, and the love of friends. I laughed more and I hugged from my heart more. I began to forgive more quickly and freely. I started to feel really good and the better I felt, the more thankful I became.

I’m not perfect and I am definitely a work in progress, but I enjoy and appreciate the progress. I celebrate as much as I can from a cup that is never, ever less than half full. Even what I might consider painful, hard, or just plain crap, is pointing me towards something to celebrate if and when I allow it to. As I move through my life relishing the little things, I’m not dependent on the need for big things to happen in order to feel good (though they feel even better when they do). There is a knowing that I am okay that rises up and out from within me. And more than anything, that is cause to celebrate.

Stretching the Boundaries of Me

I’ve been writing a lot on communication lately, mostly because it is what is up for me in a big, big way. I’ve been working on my ability to share and trust and be vulnerable with others for years. Expressing myself through speech challenges me in so many ways that I always feel like I’m chasing after a different tail.

What I’m realizing though is that being vulnerable in this way is one of the things that I desire most in the world. I set intentions around it, I write about it, I talk to the few people that know me the most about it. I ask Spirit daily to show me how I can express myself more authentically through spoken word and how I can be even more genuine and true on a deep level in my communications with others.

And then, dammit, so much to my chagrin, Spirit answers my prayers, and it can be so, so hard.

My comfort zone is continuously being stretched. I had a huge breakthrough just a week ago, and then the zone was stretched again. Immediately! Just like that. I spoke up, I spoke out, I shared; I did it and then I still had to do more.

The truth is that I am doing it, and sometimes it is just plain difficult. It’s got me tongue-tied and twisted up and it’s interfering with my writing. I wrote a piece to share and realized that what I wrote was actually me avoiding sharing. It felt empty and hollow, like I was speaking from the inside of a shell and all the sounds were just bouncing around.

The only way out is through. This is almost always the truth with emotional release and pattern work. We can heal and we can face our demons and fears, but we can only face them by looking them square in the eyes.

This requires that I look at myself square in the eyes, and that can be hard. But I notice that I’m getting better and better at spotting my BS. The truth of the matter is that at some point a few years ago I got tired of myself and of all of my excuses and justifications for why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. And I called uncle. I (mostly) surrendered and I committed to really moving through my fears.

The fear around being able to share my authentic self through spoken words is the most difficult. I actually might jump out of an airplane before I told you what is really going on in a conversation if I thought that I might lose or hurt you. I can talk all day through my fingers, but out loud…that is an entirely different story.

I know that I make the choice every day about how I express myself. And so despite the fear that is rushing down on me right now, I am searching for any words, regardless of how clumsy they might be, to say what I’m really feeling. I am just moving sound through me so that I can build that muscle, and allowing myself the space to work through this in my time. I have to remember that I asked for this, and I have to trust that my growth process is continuous and ever-expansive because I have chosen for it to be so. In the end, I am grateful that the words are coming to me and working their way through me, regardless of how clumsy they are. Pattern shifting is seldom easy when the patterns are so ingrained, but I’m up for it. Life is better every day that I take a step through a fear, even when it renders me with glassy eyes and wet cheeks. I have learned that the freedom and joy that I experience on the other side of it are always worth the work to get there.

The Words Within

I’ve been struggling lately with a piece of my puzzle. Throughout my life, speaking my truth has been one of my most challenging lessons. It’s always felt scary and unsafe, and it was exacerbated after being raped. The fear of my voice not being respected, of it being stifled and repressed and ignored by another, has followed me into my forties.

I’ve spent the last 10 years working to release it. I’ve done energy work, journaled my little heart out, written scary vulnerable stuff and had hard conversations even when I didn’t want to do so. I’ve held myself accountable and allowed myself to do so in a way that has felt safe while still moving forward.

This practice helped me out of a marriage that had ceased to support me and my ex-husband, it led me into publishing my words and it allowed me to leave a line of work that was unfulfilling so that I could pursue my dream of facilitating healing and growth in others. It has been nothing short of marvelous and miraculous.

A few years ago, in the midst of a huge personal growth spurt, I became very close to someone, and I trusted her completely. She pulled me in, she made me feel safe and she helped me to heal and grow; she encouraged me to use my voice even more.

And I did. I shared in a way that I had been inspired to share, but when I did, my honesty wasn’t appreciated; she didn’t like what I had to say. She pushed me away, and she did so in a way that was hurtful and cruel, and it triggered all of my fears.

I hunkered down and healed even more. I shared with friends, I did pattern release work, I looked at unresolved traumas. I actually expanded even more and ultimately the experience has helped me to feel stronger than ever. I am expressing myself in the world in a way I never knew possible for me.

And then I was triggered this week. I’ve been growing closer with someone that means a lot to me and I’m noticing that I have been really fearful of speaking up, of potentially upsetting any waters. I have become quiet and subdued when it comes to things I feel might be risky as far as our relationship is concerned. I don’t want to lose this connection.

Things reached a critical mass the other night, and I needed to speak my truth, to really share on an intimate and deep level, and I panicked. I was asked to do what I always advise others to do, what I spent years learning and cultivating and practicing, and I froze. I felt all of the words catch in my throat, I felt myself struggling to please, just speak already, while at the same time not even being able to feel myself. I was a deer in headlights, completely trauma triggered. I could hear the voice outside of me, letting me know that it was safe to share, that I was supported, that everything would be okay and yet: I couldn’t even form a sentence.

At some point, thankfully, the tears started to roll out of my eyes and down my cheeks and I felt released. I was able to mumble a few things, to at least express my inability to understand what was happening, to start the process of unfolding. I slept and throughout the night, I integrated everything. I slept late and woke up feeling clear and able to adjust myself ever so slightly. I began the process of sharing in a new way. There are still words that need to be said, but they no longer feel trapped within me. They are rolling around, finding form, looking for a way to express themselves more fully. The thought of doing so feels slightly scary, but more good to me than not, and my relationship with this person has already shifted in a very positive way.

The process of healing and expanding never ends once started and the more we ask to grow, the more we are given the opportunity to do so. The truth is that I don’t want to be shut down, and I want to be able to trust myself enough to know that when I speak my truth, the other person’s reaction is completely up to them and that it actually has nothing to do with me. If I am rejected for sharing from a space of vulnerability and the other person doesn’t respect that (regardless of whether he or she agrees or not) is entirely on them. All I can do is trust myself, feel strong in my core, and remember that if the emotions and words within me don’t find form to express themselves in the world, I will ultimately suffer. I don’t want to feel closed down and shut off. That version of me is better left in the past.

I love using tools that can help me move through things. Not only does lavender oil smell great and help you to relax, but it’s wonderful for helping you to speak your truth!

Acknowledge, Accept, Allow: The Unfolding of Our Selves

Our feelings are our soul whispering to us so that we may better understand our values, our aspirations and our dreams.

When we pay attention to them, we know who or what to avoid, which situations don’t agree with us and which do; we are able to navigate our personal realm and the world in a way that upholds us.

Most of us are taught from a very young age that our feelings are not to be valued, shared or expressed. We are shown by our caretakers and society in general that the outward expression of our emotions, unless they are those of joy (though even those can be discredited by some), is dangerous and undesirable. We learn to push them down and away, tucking them into a corner of our psyche that is hidden and feels safe.

In the meantime, we put on a strong face and pretend that everything is okay. We tell others that we are fine, even when we are not. We look away when something hurts us and put the needs of others before our own so that everything remains copasetic on the surface. We become masters of disguise, portraying only what has been deemed appropriate and comfortable for others.

And then over the course of our lifetimes, we add more dust and dirt to the piles that already exist within us. We shut down and then begin to look for ways to numb the ever-more-anxious-to-escape emotions that are simmering below the surface. We may even begin to express emotions inappropriately, yelling at a server because the restaurant is out of the item you want for dinner or at our spouse for not ironing a shirt just the way we like it.

What happens is that our emotions don’t know how to lie. They don’t know how to withhold truth and bury themselves away. We have them so that they can guide us through our lives, alerting us to things that aren’t in alignment with our soul values and celebrating with/for us when they are.

Our feelings are our soul whispering to us so that we may better understand our values, our aspirations and our dreams.

When we pay attention to them, we know who or what to avoid, which situations don’t agree with us and which do; we are able to navigate our personal realm and the world in a way that upholds us.

When we repress them, they beg to escape. This may begin as a whisper that something doesn’t feel right. If we continue to ignore the whisper, it will get louder. It will become a plea and ultimately a yell for us to pay attention, to get right with ourselves. This yell usually manifests as some sort of dis-ease or injury. For example, when we repress anger and feelings of disempowerment, our body might respond with a condition of disempowerment, such as candida, in which the healthy balance of our gut is disrupted and unhealthy bacteria take over or an auto-immune disease, in which our body begins to seemingly attack itself. All emotions need to be expressed, so we can choose to do so in the moment, or we can wait until they bust out in a condition that requires medical or healing intervention.

It’s never too late to begin connecting with our emotions. The first step is to simply acknowledge them. When you find yourself feeling frustrated, simply stop and say, “I feel you. I hear you. I understand that there is something here for me to look at.” You might even thank the frustration for bringing to your attention something that wants to be known.

Next, accept the emotion as-is, no questions asked. Denial doesn’t help anything. As much as we try to make an emotion into something that it’s not (“If I just pretend I’m happy, this anger will go away”), we cannot force it to change. It just is. When we can accept the emotion that has presented itself at the point that we are at in that moment in time, then we can begin to move forward.

Next, we want to allow the emotion to show itself. Be a detective and trace it back. When you feel the anger or sadness or frustration arise, follow the trail. Are you really upset about what just happened or did it trigger something else? Journaling is really helpful for this activity. Try not to judge what you write or how you feel; just let it flow. Other methods of discovery could be meditation, energy work and hypnotherapy, to name just a few.

Once we have pinpointed the root cause of the emotion, we want to find a way to express it (note: we can express is at any time in a healthy way, but we will still always need to eventually get to the root cause and those emotions that have been buried). A lot of us have repressed anger as it is an emotion that has been labeled as very unsafe to let out. Screaming into or punching a pillow can be useful (I recommend having a pillow that is just for this). Ripping pages out of a phone book feels great too. Writing a letter that you later rip up or safely burn also works well. There are many ways, just be sure that you have given yourself space and time to process your emotions and that you do so in a way that is safe for you and others.

As we begin to work through this process, an amazing thing happens: We begin to understand ourselves more fully. We learn what we like and don’t like and we are able to connect to ourselves on a deeper level. We feel ourselves aligning with our higher self and our intuition opens up. We begin to process emotions and we are able to find a higher baseline of “feeling good.” Simply put, life becomes richer.