Monthly Archives: November 2015

Dropping the Stone

I want to make an amends. This is an amends that I’ve wanted to make for the past many years and I haven’t been able to locate the person. And then last night I was inspired to look again and this time Google took me in a different direction and within just a few minutes a familiar yet grayer face was looking back at me from the computer screen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion lately and the mistakes that we make, sometimes over and over again before we finally get it right, before we finally have a shift in perspective that allows us to create a more positive impact in the world.

I’ve been trying to hold space for others to make the same mistakes that I’ve made or that others have made millions of times over since our soul bodies began inhabiting this particular species of life. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes I just don’t understand the who, how, what, why or where, and every once in a while, because of that, I want to cast a stone.

Every day I ask myself how I can hold my heart open even a little bit wider than the day before. I see how we are all just humans here having human experiences, which includes making a lot of mistakes and hurting, sometimes intentionally and sometimes inadvertently, others who cross our paths. It doesn’t make it right, but it is human. We all have different ideas of what is right anyway, and we are all creating a unique and individual path that is taking us to exactly where we need to be.

Until I knew better, I didn’t do better. And then sometimes, even when I did know better, I still didn’t do better. These days I’ve got a pretty good track record, though, and that is mostly because I made a decision several years ago to love myself more. Once that became a reality, after a lot of soul searching and deep healing, it became easier to love others and to hold space for them to be uniquely them. Sometimes holding space means listening to them, sometimes it is allowing them to make their own mistakes, at other times it is accepting them exactly as they are instead of thinking they should be how I would want them to be.

That last one can be hard. In my world, the one in which I inhabit the central space and the leading role, I’ve got a pretty clear idea of how it would all run a lot more smoothly if it all happened my way. Unhooking these preconceived notions has been both difficult and liberating. They still pop up, but when I can let them go and give the other person the space to have their own experience, there is an energetic exchange that takes place that feels clean and expansive rather than manipulative and constrictive.

And so as I contemplate this amends that I want to make, it takes me back to this place of appreciation for this person. Things didn’t end badly with him, but I have seen since I started my healing journey how some of my actions may have been hurtful to him. I want to acknowledge that and honor him and perhaps (hopefully) make it right because now I know better and because on an energetic level it clears some heaviness for all involved and as a result for the rest of you as well.

I doubt that I would ever act that way again. I start every day with an intention to be the best version of myself that I can be that day. But I will likely make other mistakes as I move forward and so the wider my heart is the bigger the circle of love and support I can cast and the greater the ripple effect for all will be. I want to hold space for you to be uniquely and exactly you, just as I would love for you to hold that same space for me. Then perhaps we can find our way through this thing together and with love.


Fluid Boundaries

I’ve spent years healing boundary issues and it is a process that still continues today. For us empaths, understanding where one person begins and another ends can be challenging and difficult. I have always felt everything that everyone around me was feeling and until I learned how to manage my energy body, it was incredibly confusing and overwhelming. Unless I am in session with a client (where my empathic skills are a true gift), I have had to learn to intentionally not take on others’ stuff. This keeps me from burning out and allows me to be open and bright instead of numbed out and shut down, something that I felt the need to be for years.  Alcohol and drugs are not an option for me anymore, and I’d rather not numb out in other ways either, such as with sugar or distractions.

As I said, I am still sorting through the many nuances of boundaries. I am also striving to find a way to experience more intimacy with others. At first glance, these two things feel at odds with one another. How can we continue to open our hearts while simultaneously keeping ourselves detached from the “stuff” of others?

It’s all come together for me within the context of fluid boundaries. With fluid boundaries, it is necessary to learn how to tune into yourself and to trust what comes up. It’s simple, but it takes a little practice.

Start by taking a little time each day to get attuned to your body and how it communicates with you. Focus on your breathing (from the stomach allow your belly to rise with the in-breath and fall with the out). From there, notice yourself really in your body. If you find yourself thinking, questioning or analyzing, allow your attention to drop down into either your heart or tummy. Really feel yourself fall into this space. When your mind becomes inactive, there will be a sense of melting into whichever spot you chose.

Next, just pay attention to your body. Notice where it is calling to you, any discomfort and any open space.  Just let your body share itself with you. After your scan, ask it questions and see how the responses feel to you. If you want to know about how a person is for you, focus on him or her and then set the intention that your body show you how it senses the energy of that person. Do you feel tightness in your chest? How does your stomach feel? Are you smiling or frowning? Maybe you feel lightness or heaviness. Maybe a sound even escapes you. Practice this skill as often as you can. Get to know and trust what your body is telling you. You can use this tool to get valuable information for yourself on just about anything.

Next we can take this skill out into the world. Use your tools to manage your energy body when you leave the house and then as you go through your day, use the above tool to intuit how you feel about the people and places that you interact with. If, when you stop to talk to Susan in the break room, you get a headache or feel heavy, trust that it behooves you to keep your energy filter strong around her. If on the other hand, you feel lighter and brighter around her and when you think about opening your heart a little more to her, it feels good and safe, then go for it.

When we learn to trust our ability to discern who is healthy for us and who is not and we can then act accordingly, we open the doorway to keeping ourselves healthy while also forging deeply satisfying and rewarding relationships.

I’m still careful about who I let in, but I’ve allowed myself to connect more deeply and with more vulnerability because I feel stronger and more capable of taking care of myself. I also know, because I’ve done a ton of work, that even if I make a mistake every once in a while, I’ll get through it. It doesn’t have to be a crisis in which I doubt my own ability to manage my life or affairs anymore. And I don’t have to blame others for their shortcomings either because I know that I have support and love not just around me, but within me too.

*For those of you who use essential oils, Clove is a wonderful aid for the establishment and maintenance of healthy boundaries. It supports us in moving from a victim, can’t-say-no mentality to an aligned-with-my-authentic/empowered-self viewpoint. I highly recommend working with it in your auric field and chakras, diffusing it or using a few drops on the soles of your feet. I recommend following application directions and using only 100% therapeutic grade essential oils such as those made by Young Living.

An Inner Landscape of Peace

I used to be a very angry person. I had locked down my emotions for years and years and the majority of them were simmering beneath the surface. They leaked out all over the place ~ in traffic, at my partners, when I dropped something at work. They were omni-present even though I’d spent decades repressing and trying to ignore them.

Most of my friends wouldn’t have considered me an angry person and yet I found myself complaining a lot, looking for ways to judge others, or getting mad when I felt victimized by fate. The anger I expressed daily was a sideways response to the way that I felt that the world around me affected me. My frustration, resentment, jealousy and lack of compassion kept me operating from the space of a wounded child and showed up in the way I perceived the world at large ~ a hostile place that didn’t hold my or others’ best interests at heart. I saw violence and war within and all around me and I responded with anger and fear.

The worst manifestation of this inner violence was against myself. The constant diatribe of self-criticism and judgment kept me in a state of insecurity and mistrust. I didn’t have faith in myself, so feeling trustful of the world was completely beyond my ability to comprehend. I tuned into violence and projected it back outwards in an attempt to validate the hatred I had towards myself. This type of violence was insidious in that it was disguised as self-righteousness.

The truth is that I did have a lot to be angry about. In my experience, most of us do. We have all lived through stuff that is really, really hard (sometimes nearly impossible). And all the while, we’ve been taught to not express it, to hold it in, to: “Shhh…Stop crying (yelling, screaming); everything is going to be okay. Just be strong.”

This is a societal message, one that is fed to us all from hundreds of different outlets. And when we hold it in, silence our yells, or choke down our sobs, we really just bury it; it doesn’t go away. It festers. It simmers. It swallows us whole at times.

It creates in internal landscape of mistrust. It teaches us that it’s not safe to be us or to express ourselves honestly. It cuts us off from having authentic communication with others and it inhibits our peace-making and keeping skills.

I still struggle with repressed anger and sadness at times. I’ve spent years digging deeply into my being to uncover the anger and pain that my inner child/teenager suppressed and I have made great progress. My inner critic is much quieter now. But she still shows up at times and she tries to disguise herself beneath “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.”

Cultivating inner peace is a daily practice. For me, it requires meditation, awareness and compassion. It asks that I be vigilant with my thoughts and actions and that I backtrack and cancel the critic within by rewiring and reinforcing healthy behaviors. It asks that I apologize when I act out and it requires that I communicate when having trouble with others (something that still requires a lot of courage and strength for me ~ it does not come easily to me).

When I feel my wounded child rearing her head, I have to stop and tend to her. I have to uncover why she feels unsafe or angry in a situation. I have to release the emotion and then nurture her back into a safe place. (Elicia Miller does amazing inner child work! Our work complements each other really well and we are offering a complimentary talk in Atlanta this Tuesday, November 17 to share what we do together.)

As I cultivate peace within me it manifests as peace outside of me. Will this solve the crises in the world tomorrow? Not likely. But if each of us were to take one more step each day to cultivate peace within, could it eventually? I’d like to think so. What I do know is that thousands of years of warring hasn’t solved violence and that the only thing that stops a war is a peace accord. What if we all chose a peace agreement for ourselves? What if we all committed to expressing one more kind and compassionate action towards ourselves each day? It certainly wouldn’t hurt anything and it just might feel good. I know it has for me and that my life improves every day that I work to treat myself with more love and respect.

Behind the Curtains

I’ve pulled a lid off of a healing pot. The recent healing I received with John of God and his spiritual posse of guides combined with a complete revamp of my food intake (taking everything that is or converts to sugar out of my diet while I integrate this spiritual healing) has split me wide open. The release of a relationship revealed even more. Years of pulling back the sheaths, one by one, are now yielding veins of gold underneath that are ready to be mined.

This healing thing never ends and for that I am grateful.

I asked to feel closer to Spirit through my John of God healing and that intention is bringing me closer to myself, opening me to receiving an embrace from myself that I have been longing for my entire life yet didn’t even know I was missing. It took years of healing to get to this precise expression of me, the version of myself that is ready and able to open to even more.  I feel certain that there will be many more moments like this in my future, if only I continue to allow for them.

This most recent revelation, sprung forth during meditation, shook me to my core, and tears spilled out of me in heaving sobs. I had spent years afraid of this moment, fearful of opening the curtains that had been obscuring the shame, anxious that it would sweep me away. But the beauty was that as my body shook and the tears released, I was able to see myself more clearly than ever before. I was able to understand myself with a deep sense of compassion for the brave young woman that I was almost 30 years ago. For years I mistook her actions for weakness and so while I have taken apart and dealt with my rape on my levels, there are pieces of it that have remained tucked away. Now, by being even more present to my process, I get to see them through the lens of courage. What a gift to myself!

I have discovered through my personal and professional healing work that no trauma is one-dimensional. There are nooks and crannies, nuances waiting to be surfaced and explored. Each insight brings another wisp of freedom, continually contributing to a fuller understanding of self and a stronger foundation upon which we can stand. When we continue the journey, ever deepening our understanding of self, we open ourselves to a more intentional and loving experience of co-creation.

A Forever Person

I’ve been blessed with many relationships that have all served important purposes in my life and this last one was no exception. I’ve walked away from all of them, even (and maybe especially) from the dysfunctional ones, stronger than I was when I entered them. And as I’ve grown, matured, deepened my spiritual practice and lived a sober life, I’ve been able to gain even more clarity around myself and myself in relation to others. Through this work, I’ve also been able to move further and further from codependency.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and sharing about my most recent break-up. “But you looked so happy in those pictures!” she said. She wasn’t the only one to say that, either. The truth is: I was happy in those pictures that were taken a week or two before we broke up. I was deeply and genuinely happy. I was also becoming more acutely aware, as was my partner I believe, that we weren’t moving along on the same path. We had fun together and he helped to bring my inner child out to play. I was smiling and joyous in those pictures because I and my little girl were having a good time. We were doing things my inner child hasn’t ever done before, not even when she was a small (because of her acute shyness and perfectionism), such as taking pictures with total strangers dressed up in crazy costumes, dancing and singing in the car, and laughing at many of life’s twists and turns.

Alternately, though, there were things between us that couldn’t be reconciled, as is the case in many relationships. We just couldn’t find our footing together, so to speak. I love him and he loves me and yet…

Ultimately, we were able to consciously release the relationship and it was a beautiful and loving break-up. We were communicating as the two people who love one another and who want the best for one another and for ourselves. There was no anger, no blaming, no trying to make one another feel at fault or wrong. We didn’t allow the relationship to overstay its welcome and we didn’t move into fear and defensiveness. It felt clean and it still does. Unlike in past break-ups, I don’t feel either of us trying to hold onto the other. There is no energetic pulling, clawing, manipulating or forcing of anything. It just feels – clean. And that has allowed me to grieve in a way that feels pure. The tears come and they flow and then I move forward. I’m not being held back by stuff – I don’t feel stuck and overwhelmed by my emotions. This is HUGE for me!

I so so so want to meet a man that I can develop a deep and lasting bond with. I want to experience intimacy at one year, five years, 20 years and beyond. I want to be able to continue to navigate deeper and deeper waters with someone. I think I had a lot to learn, though, before I could get to an emotional set point that could handle that. It’s taken me a lot of healing and so much introspection that at times it’s dizzying. I also don’t want to compromise my potential for growth or that of my significant other by staying in a relationship that doesn’t ultimately allow us each to fully flourish.

And it feels good to recognize that even though I love my now ex-boyfriend and that there wasn’t anything “wrong” in our relationship, we both honor one another enough to recognize that we aren’t the best other half for each other and that to stay together any longer would only hold us back from moving forward both independently and hopefully with someone else better suited for each of us. I feel blessed and my life was enriched by this relationship. I also feel even more clear about what I hope to create moving forward and inspired to continue to do the work I need to do to find my forever person.