Tag Archives for " empowerment "

Staying Empowered While Navigating Social Media

Have you been feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of social media and the news? When there is a lot of highly charged energy being passed around, social platforms it can create anxiety where there used to be fun. This is an especially challenging situation for empaths, as we are not only experiencing our own pain, confusion and emotions, but we are also tuning into the energy of the collective emotional consciousness right now, and in doing so, we are tapped into the feelings of others.

But many of us want to understand and follow what’s happening…Now more than ever, many of us feel the need to not be ignorant of what’s occurring in the world around us.

So how can we reconcile this for ourselves? With a little awareness and discipline, it is possible to remain inspired and aligned while also being engaged and informed.

A good starting point is to tune into how we feel before engaging with social media. If you notice that you are feeling tired, upset or anxious, try another activity that can shift your mood before you get on. The experience that you have on social media is directly relational to what you take to it. And a lot of the time, we’re not even aware of what we are bringing to the interaction.

Activities such as dancing, meditating, walking in nature and laughing can shift our energy powerfully. If you do something uplifting and then still feel down though, try honoring that feeling. What is really going on? See if you can pinpoint the emotion or energy that wants to be released and express it. Follow that up with doing something to further nurture yourself. The important thing here is to listen to yourself and honor what your body, mind and spirit are wanting.

If when we tune in, we notice that the desire for social media is connection, we can call a friend, make a tea date or take a walk with someone. If it’s boredom, what can you do instead to fuel the desire to be inspired?

And if you feel that you do truly want to jump on social media, gauge yourself as you go: How are you feeling? What links are you clicking on?

In the recent past, our social media feeds were likely filled with a lot less political commentary and news than there is now. Not only is the information difficult to take in on a personal level, we are also being exposed to the super charged emotions of our family and friends who are posting them.

Here are a few guidelines that can help us to navigate social media and the news in a way that feels self-empowering. We always have a choice as to how we interact with our environment and what we choose to take in!

1. We can choose which news sources feel the best to us. There is a lot of purposefully inflammatory news being passed around right now, but we can opt to only interact with the ones that feel the most stable and unbiased and we can use them with awareness.

2. Setting boundaries for ourselves is an act of self-love! We can schedule our time on social media and we can pay attention to our bodies and what is coming up for us as we do so. When we start to feel tired or drained, we can practice loving self-discipline by finding something nourishing to do away from the computer or phone.

3. It’s important for us to be mindful and express our emotions. It’s helpful for us to feel the emotions as they arise: cry, yell, stomp our feet, laugh…Whatever comes up is ours and real and valid.

4. When we finish reading, we can further support ourselves by disconnecting from the energy of the news and the collective when we are finished. Imagine cutting a cord with the platform you are on and anyone whose energy you may have taken on and then take a few moments to bring yourself back into your body and breathe mindfully.

5. Engage in what you love. It  is supportive for empaths to balance the days out with creative activities and things that are inspiring…things that help us to remember our aliveness.

6. We have the power to tailor our social media experience. Unfollow friends or family whose posts are triggering to you and leave any groups that feel intense. Add in some fun groups that you could be interacting in that would help you to feel inspired and connected and spend more time in those.

When we remember that social media can work for us rather than against us, we regain our sense of empowerment in sometimes difficult situations. As you navigate these new waters, stay in the awareness that we get to choose our experience. Holding that awareness alone can be a powerful catalyst for a new type of social media interaction.

I’d love to hear about any tools that you use to manage social media! Jump down to the comments section to share or to ask any questions you may have.

Sending you much love!

6 Reasons Why It’s Awesome to Be an Empath


A lot is being written about how overwhelming it can be to be an empath, and there is truth to that ~ if you allow there to be.

But being an empath is a gift, truly ~ one that can help you to understand the world that you live in much more fully and that can help you to align with it in the way that feels best for you.

Here are just a few of the ways in which your trait of being an empath is a blessing for you. If you are an empath, you:

1. Are highly sensitive in nature.

This is an amazing gift once you learn how to take care of yourself! When you are feeling the emotions of other people, you have insight into their nature and their character. From this space, you get to choose how this person interacts with you in your life! If this is a stranger, you can disconnect from their energy or send it back to them or hold onto the information that you received if it serves you in some way.But, if you were wondering if someone is a good energetic match for you or if an opportunity is the right choice for you, you have access to an abundance of information that can lead you in the direction that feels best and right for you.

2. Can learn to avoid relationships with people who don’t hold your best and highest good at heart. 

In addition to feeling the emotions of others, as an empath you most likely receive an energetic impression of that person. Learning how to distinguish the emotions that you are feeling that belong to from what your intuitive impression is of them can help you to use these cues to make empowered decisions in your relationships.

3. Have a huge heart!It can be tempting for an empath to give so much of herself that she feels depleted, but if you learn to establish healthy boundaries (with yourself and others) then you have the opportunity to love in a way that lifts your own spirits, helps you to feel lovingly connected to others and the Divine, and provides you with the chance to contribute powerfully to the world.

4. Understand those you love in a truly intimate and compassionate way! 

Empaths don’t need to be alone. Sure we need time to recharge and enjoy self-care, but it’s not written into any script that we have to be overwhelmed in intimate relationships. Our empathy provides us with a powerful ability to understand how those we love feel and how they feel in relation to us. If we can separate their feelings from ours (this is entirely possible!), then we have the opportunity to go even deeper into our emotions and our authentic selves with one another. In turn, we get to experience profound growth and a deep breadth of understanding of human nature.

5. Can tune into the energy of a place before you visit to see if you even want to go there.

This is one of my favorite psychic tools! If you are unsure about whether you want to have coffee with the woman at work or go to the after-work party, tune into the energy of the place before you respond to the invite. Set the intention to access the energy of being there. How does it feel to you? Do you feel uplifted or tired? Is your chest/solar plexus open or constricted? Trust what you get here. And if you get a read that the energy will be challenging but you know that you have to go, set yourself up for success. Take a separate car, your favorite essential oil that helps to center and ground you, and give yourself time-outs from the gathering when needed by stepping outdoors for a few moments.

6. Have a powerful connection to nature! 

Empaths love, love, love the earth and all of its sweet little creatures. Animals and the outdoors recharges us like nothing else, so planning walks, hikes and outdoor time into your day gives you the opportunity to commune with Mother Earth and fill yourself back up again.

If you want to know more about how you can manage it and tap into your other intuitive gifts, I can help you! Email me HERE for more information or to set up a free chat to find out how. I’ve worked with empaths for the past dozen years helping them to understand their gifts and how to feel empowered with them.

Much love to you!

8 When You Stay Stuck in a Story…

…you give your power away.

Truth be told, most of us love a good story. An account well-told captivates us; it brings us together and allows us to feel solidarity and connection with others.

In fact, a catchy story played over and over in our own heads can be just as mesmerizing. Typically the plot lines of these stories follow one of two general layouts, either the I’m-the-victim-of-all-of-it plot or the I’m-to-blame-for-all-of-it version (which is also really a variation of the victim story). Sometimes there is even a middle ground that shifts between the two.

Regardless of which adaptation we are telling ourselves, when we hit repeat on the player, we are in effect keeping ourselves in a place of disempowerment. We are telling ourselves over and over again that: “this ~ and only this ~ is how it is.” Much of the time, we’ve written our version into a tragedy because drama sells.

So when the version of the story is one that doesn’t serve our growth, not only can it quickly become stifling ~ it can seemingly smother us. When this happens, we begin to feel anxious, overwhelmed, isolated and alone.

For years I told myself that life was a struggle. I had been victimized and I played that reel over and over again. As a result, the story bled into most areas of my life. I truly believed that I wasn’t enough and that I didn’t have enough value and so, in turn, I never perceived that there was enough available for me.

Turning this belief around was huge. I was attached to my story that life was hard and that I was a perpetual victim of circumstance. And so I continued to struggle and I continued to be victimized. Becoming a single mom further perpetuated the myth I’d created because I then bought into the societal belief that being a single mom is really hard.

And it is really challenging. I’m not downplaying the amount of dedication it takes to be a single mom (or any type of mom or dad for that matter). But I did stop buying into the international best-selling version of the story, which is that single moms don’t have enough money, time or support to raise their children the way other families do.

I decided to rewrite my as-yet-uncharted history ~ to create the unfolding that I truly wanted to claim. Now, updating this story didn’t happen overnight. I had to unravel years and years of personal and societal brainwashing.

I had to heal my emotional wounds. I had to process, cry, scream, laugh, journal my big ol’ heart out, and really dig deep into my psyche and my awareness. It was a complete overhaul of my raison d’être. It was messy and sloppy and so so so beautiful all at once.

But I did it. And thank goddess ~ because I’m not struggling anymore.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments that are hard because there are plenty. What it does mean is that: I’m not defined by not being able to get through my hard moments. I get through them by moving the emotions and energy around them. And when I do that, the record changes. It’s a living and breathing story that allows for expansion and growth rather than holding me in a pattern of stagnation and constriction.

I’ve moved from victim to hero in my story. I say hero because I saved myself. And in the saving of myself, I created a better environment around me. This means that my child benefits, as do my friends, my family, my clients, my neighbors and the world at large. How wonderful it has been to take one more version of the stress/lack/scarcity paradigm out of the field and to replace it with a vibration of faith!

I’ve rewritten many stories in the last several years, and one of them is my money story. A part of that was giving up the idea that there isn’t enough and that I didn’t deserve to receive what was out there. I did loads of healing around this and then once I started working with my business coach, Monica Shah, my mindset shifted considerably. Here is a photo of me sharing my now ever-evolving money story ~ the one that I am actively creating ~ at her Master Your Money event in Atlanta this past weekend.


When we claim a new story, we create a new reality.

What story are you ready to rewrite? I’d love to support you. Share in the comment section below and I will hold your intention to shift along with you!

4 Eliciting Intimacy

When I set the intention to journey into more intimacy in all of my relationships, I wasn’t certain what that would mean for me and others in my life.

A part of me thought that I would be met with wide-open arms, and in some instances that was the case. A few of my relationships deepened immensely and there is a beautiful richness to them that allows for soul-baring honesty, profound support, and limitless love. These connections are nourishing me in ways that I never even knew possible. In addition to the increase of emotional intimacy in these friendships, the openness in my heart has fostered an even deeper connection with Spirit, which has spilled over into all of my interactions with others.


The work of deepening intimacy and vulnerability also afforded me the opportunity to experience a new type of romantic love, one that has shown me what it is to be held fully and completely in all areas of my life. This relationship precludes shame-blame energy, which in return, promotes honesty and truly open communication. It fosters a heart-to-heart connection that has opened me to experiencing myself in new ways.

This process was not easy. I had to be really brave and I had to constantly ask myself: How can I go deeper? How can I reveal myself in a way that feels authentic, true, and safe?

A part of what I realized was that as I have grown to feel safer and more secure in my own life, as I have embodied myself more fully, I have been able to create a strong foundation of self-trust and confidence that in turn has created an ability to trust the process of increased vulnerability. I feel safer opening to others because for the first time in many, many years, I feel safe in my body.

That doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt when my advances for more intimacy weren’t met. It also doesn’t mean that I didn’t experience sadness when it was revealed that the dynamics of some relationships weren’t equal.

It did convey that I had to look deep within my own heart to examine what it was calling forth of me to acknowledge and honor. I entered into another layer of healing and I looked at my pain as honestly as I could to see if and where I was holding myself or others away.

But even when others didn’t meet me head on, there was an overall increase in the depth of all of my connections and the flow of energy around me, from the teller at the bank to the drivers on the road around me to my family and friendships.

Sometimes this process was messy. And sometimes it was full of grace. At times I was triggered and at others I was embraced.

But it was always truthful. It was always heartfelt. It was always me, standing before another with my heart on my sleeve.


16 On Being Self-Full

I used to really struggle when it came to putting myself first, though taking care of others came very naturally to me. If I sensed that someone needed something, I quickly prioritized it, putting it above my own needs. I gave and I gave and then I would give even more, often to the point of depleting myself.

As a strong empath, much of my life has been experienced through the feelings of others. Within seconds of being around someone, I know exactly what emotions are processing through them, from the surface layer and all the way down to the most hidden.

At my best, this gift allows for me to be really good at what I do.

At other times, it has created confusion, anxiety, depression, exhaustion and a host of physical ailments.

Society taught me as I grew up to give selflessly while my empathy pushed me to try to manage everyone else’s emotions so that they would feel better. Initially, before I knew how to handle “being sensitive,” I had to numb myself with alcohol and drugs. The world always felt like it was just “too much” for me to handle and so I had to check out in order to manage it.

Once I got sober, learning to care for myself became a fast necessity. Valuing myself as my first priority was one of the most challenging lessons I had to learn, and it’s one that I’ve been working with for years now. Turns out, boundaries and self-care aren’t a one-shot lesson; they roll themselves out over and over again and with each step further into self-love, we extract a new layer to learn from.

For the longest while, it didn’t feel natural to prioritize my own needs, but what I realized was that unless I figured it out and put myself at the top of my own list, I wasn’t going to be good for myself or anyone else.

Even today, my primary impulse is almost always to over give, whether it’s of my time, my space, my knowledge, my heart or my energy. I have had to learn a lot of awareness so that I can step back and assess what areas of my life are pulling a little too hard on me so that I can adjust accordingly. I’ve had to assert myself in ways that have felt uncomfortable and hard so that I can understand my surroundings and the people in my life and find a way to interact with them in the way that best values my wellbeing.

And I’ve had to learn that self-care is non-negotiable. I still catch myself trying to circumnavigate this one at times. I’ll put it off or stick it behind a lists of tasks that I think are more important ~ and I can promise you that when I do this, it never ends well.

But when I am full because I have been nourishing myself and taking care of my own needs, the energy that I extend towards others is much more vibrant and alive. It is full of my own love of self that gets to spill over from a full vessel into the lives of others. It is infused with love and life and respect and honor because that is the energy that created it.

When I am around others who are doing the same thing: What a treat! We get to share in this beautiful exchange of energy that uplifts us both. Our hearts get to meet one another in a space of being self-full and we both are able to experience a richness of connection that is authentic and loving. Truly the best gift I can give to others is the highest version of me and it’s the one that I would like to receive from them as well.

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

What is one thing you can do to nourish yourself today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

Healing Systemic Candida Helped Set Me Free

I spent a lot of my life feeling afraid and disempowered. I’ve written a lot about it, and I’ve always focused on the emotional aspect of it along with the trauma trigger that precipitated it. That is the because the primary focus of my healing work with myself and with others is to find the underlying limiting belief and/or pattern that is creating the undesired outcome (whether emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical) and then focus on how to shift the patterns and behaviors so that we may find a way to present ourselves in the world that feels more in alignment with who we truly are. Determining who we really are is often a part of the journey as well.

For me, one of the physical manifestations of disempowerment that I experienced was a serious candida overgrowth. As a result of it, I spent years in a foggy, confused, depressed and anxious haze. Towards the end of it, my system began to reject foods and I was experiencing extreme discomfort in the form of constant bloat, acne, and achiness. As an intuitive, I suspected that the cause of a lot of my physical symptoms stemmed from being raped and the subsequent years of alcohol and drug abuse mixed up with fear and feelings of victimization, but I didn’t fully understand the complexity of what was happening to my body.

The more it lingered, the worse I got. I often refer to those years in my mind as “the dark years.” When I look back on them, it’s like there is a veil of sticky, dark energy hanging over my entire being and I felt trapped and victimized by my circumstances.

I did a lot of self-healing and I also worked with other healers to start pulling back the layers of self-hatred and fear. As I started to gain more clarity, and I began to feel a little stronger in my sense of self, I got to a point of actually believing that I deserved to feel better. This was a huge turning point for me! A part of me had truly believed that it was just my lot in life to be tired, depressed, and disempowered.

I did a lot of research and came across information on candida, and I knew immediately that I was suffering from an overgrowth. I didn’t even hesitate to start the diet, despite the fact that I was going to have to make drastic changes in the way that I was eating and living.

I experienced immediate relief from my symptoms and I thought that I was “cured.” I went back to my regular life, and things moved along smoothly for a while. I was feeling pretty good. My ex-husband and I had separated and I was optimistic about my future. I felt like I had moved into brighter and better days.

I moved back to the States from Costa Rica and I soon stepped into old patterns of behavior that included drinking and disempowered and co-dependent relationships. I was dropping into depression again and I was at a complete loss with respect to how to manage it. I quit drinking; I changed my diet. I tried supplements. Nothing was working. In a moment of desperation, I stumbled upon a Nutritional Response Therapist and I went to him for testing. My system was crashed and my diet included foods I was sensitive to. Underneath it all: candida.

Again I treated it and coincidentally (or not so coincidentally), I began to shift the dynamics of my personal relationships and my life. My candida cleared again.

It wasn’t until I facilitated a remote healing session with Elicia Miller that I understood fully what had happened, though. I was engaged in my healing process throughout my experience with candida, so even though I didn’t catch the direct connection to it, I was doing the right things to eradicate it. I was stepping through my fears and eliminating toxic relationships. I was making strides to leave a profession that felt stifling to me and moving into full-time healing work. I was learning to take care of my emotional needs.

What Spirit shared with us during that session was the emotional/psychological component that allows candida to flourish within our system. I was able to understand why my candida had returned and what work I need to do to keep my system in balance. I still have a few food sensitivities, but I can consume fruits and chocolate and grains and tea. I can indulge in a dessert and not worry that my symptoms will reappear. It’s been completely liberating.

When Elicia expressed interest in hosting a retreat to help others work through the core issues of their candida overgrowth, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Her tagline is: Your symptoms are a gift. Through all the work I’ve done with clients that are experiencing some sort of physical imbalance or dis-ease, I’ve learned that our symptoms are the doorway to growth. We get the opportunity to know ourselves better, to clear patterns and express ourselves in a new way. If we treat the symptoms but ignore the root cause, the inner expression of imbalance will, without a doubt, find another way to express itself, either through a relapse into the same illness or through another. Ultimately, treating the symptoms but not the core issue is another way of numbing what really just wants to be known.

“After 1.5 years on the strict candida diet and another 1.5 years of deeper healing, I felt healed from candida. I then got into an old relationship pattern with a man and my wounds were triggered. My bloat came back with a vengeance and I got a yeast infection. That’s when I reached out to Janet for an intuitive energy healing to see if my Candida symptoms were emotional and what I needed to do. Janet saw my inner child sitting cross-legged, knocking to let her out, to let all of the repressed anger, sadness and even joy that was still repressed out. I did my inner child work and emotional releasing, and I took care of my emotional needs by ending the relationship. That was three years ago and I haven’t had any candida symptoms, cravings, or emotional eating since. I can eat what I want, I married my soul mate, and I live fully empowered from my heart’s desires. Through Janet’s work I discovered the root cause of Candida and have created a course, programs, and retreats to address healing all aspects of candida to be truly free.” –Elicia Miller



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.

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.

Nice + Assertive = Authentic + Empowered

Assertiveness can be very difficult. Most of us have grown up during a time in which we are taught to put the needs of others over our own. We are often shown that the happiness of those around us is more important than ours and that we should do whatever it takes to maintain peace in a relationship. For those of us too who are sensitive to the energies of others, assertiveness can feel risky: What if we hurt their feelings? What happens if they don’t like what we say? We often choose the perceived peace of mind of another over our own needs.

Being assertive and establishing healthy personal boundaries took me years to understand and it still challenges me constantly. Historically, it has been hard for me to ask for what I need. It has always seemed easier/safer/calmer to just step back and allow others to do what they needed to do, even when it meant that my needs weren’t being met. I was terrified of being rejected and/or frightened that I might hurt the other person by asking for what felt right for me. Ultimately, though, my passivity meant that I wasn’t taking responsibility for my own feelings; I was instead placing my emotional wellbeing in the hands of others while simultaneously not supplying them with all of the information.

I love this equation that a client’s guides passed on to her through me the other day: nice + assertive = authentic + empowered. I spent a lot of time being nice + passive. What this ultimately engendered was a sense of resentment towards those that I was allowing to overstep boundaries with me. I assumed others should just know how I felt, and I was afraid I would be pushed away if I spoke up and shared my feelings openly and fully. And so time and again, the problem became a snowball that would quickly pick up steam as it rolled down and ever-steepening hill.

Eventually I learned that everybody is responsible for their own emotions. This doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to treat someone poorly, but it does demand of us that we be honest and allow the other person in question the opportunity to respond in the way that is true to them. Assertiveness engenders respect for ourselves and the people in our lives. It asks us to put our needs in a place of importance; it predicates that we be accountable to ourselves and that we suit up and show up in our lives.

It also shows others that we care enough about them to be honest, open and vulnerable with them. We get the opportunity to show the people that we choose to have in our life that we trust them with our essential being. It is a way of being true to all involved and it fosters a connection in which all parties trust their ability to speak up and be heard without shame or fear. When we are able to share of ourselves in this way, we have an opportunity to express ourselves in a manner that is empowering versus cowering in a state of very disempowered martyrdom.

My heart still skips a beat or two when I think about opening so fully to someone in this way, but I know that if I’m not genuine with others, my heart will close off just a little bit more each time. I know that I can’t go back to the darkness that I used to feel when I was too scared to be me. If I am to continue to grow and expand, I must continue to be open and to take risks. I must trust myself and those that are near and dear to me. If they reject me for being me, then I must know that this person is just not a match to who I most am. I have to believe in myself fully and completely and above all else, even when it feels nearly impossible to do so. The fear is very real, but the reward? The reward is empowerment, freedom and the sense of being in true alignment with my soul. It is a knowing as well that the people that are in my life love me with full knowledge of who I am and what I need from them. There are no guessing games or manipulations or walls to maneuver around. It’s just us, two people, connecting heart to heart and soul to soul, and that is truly amazing.