Tag Archives: personal power

11 Ways to Navigate through Stressful Times

tumblr_ll3l0cUWgz1qb6t6wo1_500Life has stressful times as a norm, but right now some of us are feeling a more intense squeeze. Feelings of discomfort, unease, and vague anxiety can be constant. Some are feeling great intensity while others are simply riding the waves of expansion and growth, excited to see where they’re going but longing for guidance to navigate the new terrain.

The underlying theme of the day is we’re being forced to change from within by letting go of old, outdated, now-useless ways of being and allowing something new to emerge. Allowing a more creative, self-responsible, and I’d like to believe wiser part of us to come forth.

There are many things we can do to manage stressful times (without numbing out). If you are in a state of self-excavation where extreme personal inner evolution is happening, if you’re in a let go or be dragged phase or your life, welcome fellow traveler!

Always treat yourself like you’re a whole human being with a body that is interrelated, interconnected, and not at all separate from your thoughts, emotions, and soul. Today people are quite disconnected from their emotions and thoughts, not to mention nature, the natural rhythm of the earth and sky, and their own soul energy. If this sounds like you, navigate more powerfully and successfully through unknown territory by paying attention to the needs of your physical body, your mind, your emotions, and your true soul essence.

How?

It’s not that complicated, really. I’ve tried all kinds of convoluted ways and experience has shown me to simply return to the basics. Any links with the following will direct you to my previous posts on that topic.

  1. Eat well. Quality protein with vegetables is my staple of choice. Fresh fruit. Plenty of water.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Preferably at night, all night.
  3. Move your body and exercise.
  4. Go out in nature for a little bit and spend time on the earth.
  5. Seek out people who are trained to help you heal what’s nagging you. We need others to help us who have already seen this part of the journey.
  6. Have some body work (a massage is ideal) which helps settle tension and calm your mind.
  7. Have energy healing (or see a respected counselor) if you are emotionally or mentally stuck. Don’t feel as if something can’t get better. It can and it will if you want it to.
  8. Take time away from electronics and tech devices. Turn everything off and then feel what you feel. Get in touch with the discomfort and be okay with it.
  9. Breathe in and breathe out fully. Breathe in again. Release the breath completely as you breathe out and let go of all that is ready to go.
  10. Sit through the storms without having to self-medicate, get distracted, or otherwise foil the attempts of your soul to have this incredible life experience. Because the number of medicated, distracted, soul-detached people is so high that we’ve become a zombie civilization. Numbing out might feel like the way to get through, but the noise inside will only get louder.
  11. Finally, tell yourself this: All is well with the world. All is well in my world. There is nothing I need to make happen. I easily flow with life. I’m here to create and find joy in my creations.

 

6 Ways to Be in Charge of Your Own Emotional Life

puppet womanLast week I wrote about how we can victimize and weaken ourselves by blaming others for hurting our feelings. In fact, taking greater responsibility for our own responses and reactions to what others might say or do is a path to emotional balance and maturity.

Despite what well-meaning people have told you, other people don’t exist to make you happy and they’re not responsible for how you feel. Likewise, you’re not in this life to jump through hoops in order to make others happy. You’re here to keep yourself on your own life path in the healthiest way possible, while harming none. This is not to say you accept abuse or remain in a relationship that isn’t supportive and loving. It just means you don’t allow yourself to be tossed about in stormy seas without a sail.

Here are my basic 6 ways to get in the driver’s seat of your emotional life. If you practice them, you’ll find you won’t be as susceptible to being hurt by off-hand or unfiltered remarks from others.

1. Develop good boundaries. If you’re not sure of what you think, believe, or want, you’ll be prone to being tossed around in someone else’s stormy sea. Be mindful of what emotional “stuff” belongs to you and what belongs to someone else.

2. Be yourself. This is mandatory! You’re here on the planet to be you, not a copy of anyone else.

3. Let go of the expectations of others. This means you get to live your own life and dismiss what others think you should or should not be.

4. Allow yourself to be imperfect. Give yourself some space to be real. Offer the same to everyone in your sphere.

5. Nurture the relationships with people you can trust who accept you as you are and who forgive (or ignore) your human foibles.

6. Free your mind from the judgment that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. Have no doubt that all is well and in perfect alignment.

You Hurt My Feelings! The Victim Blame Game

hurt feelingsOnce when I was around 12 years old, my Aunt Iris said something to me that “hurt my feelings.” I can’t remember what it was, but Iris was a smart, opinionated, outspoken woman and I’m sure it was nothing other than the bald truth.

Aunt Iris loved me and I knew it. She wouldn’t do or say anything of a negative nature toward me. Yet, I told her about what she said and how she hurt me. Instead of an apology, which I expected, my accusation was met with a surprise. “NO, I did not!” she exclaimed, looking me right in the eye. “I couldn’t possibly hurt your feelings.”

“But you did!” I replied.

“Impossible!” she said. “I don’t have one iota of control over your emotions and feelings. YOU are the only one with that power.”

What in the world? Why, this was simply stunning! Aunt Iris wasn’t taking responsibility for my feelings? She wasn’t even letting me make her wrong? Instead, she stood her ground. My little adolescent heart was hurt again. How dare her!!

But, Iris had just given me one of the greatest lessons for being emotionally balanced. She was teaching me on the spot that blaming others for the way I feel keeps me weak, powerless, and victimized. Since then, I’ve realized there is nothing anyone can say that can hurt my feelings. Which doesn’t mean I don’t feel hurt over things that are said sometimes. It just means I can’t blame the other for saying them. If I’m hurt, it’s about me.

And—holy liberation—others are responsible for their own emotions, too! Their emotions are under their control, not mine. They only wish I’d take responsibility and blame, so they wouldn’t have to. Sound familiar?

Now, I’m not a TV watcher except for one twisted secret pleasure: Orange County Housewives. There. I admitted it. Maybe I find it a fascinating case study in human relations. Yes, that’s it! And those women are absolutely committed to keeping themselves victims in the YOU-HURT-MY-FEELINGS realm. They can’t see it because humans are well-adapted to blaming others for how they feel. The ladies of the OC play the victim, don’t take responsibility for themselves, and perpetuate weakness among women. (After all, how many men do you come across who accuse their friends of hurting their feelings? It appears to be a very female crutch.)

So what to do? Keep the following in mind.

Other people are allowed to comment, express themselves, and speak their minds, even when you believe it’s hurtful. Because in truth, there isn’t anything anyone else can say that can hurt you. You choose to feel hurt because you’re not accepting that what another person says is about them, and not you. Yes, they are trying to make it about you, and you might be at fault. They might be right. Even so, it’s absolutely fine for you to let others make comments and not let them affect you. Something nasty from another person comes from their pain and ignorance. Plain and simple.

So give it a try. Stay centered. Keep breathing. It’s not actually about YOU.

While we’re on the subject, stay tuned for more in the next Holistic Woman post where I’ll talk about 6 Ways to Be in Charge of Your Own Emotional Life.

Mastectomy to Prevent Breast Cancer?

WomanI’ve been asked more than a few times what I think about Angelina Jolie’s choice to have her breasts removed as a method of preventing breast cancer. Although I’ve written a book about the many ways one can prevent and heal from breast cancer, I wasn’t sure how to be diplomatic about the news that a highly influential beautiful woman, that many women look up to, had made this decision. But here it goes. Is it after the fact? Yes. But it’s still timely because many women will find themselves faced with this same choice in their future.

First, I’m not in her head, so I hesitated to judge. I’m not someone who’s lost female relatives to breast cancer, although my father, grandma, and just two months ago, an aunt, died from cancer. I’m also not someone who gives my power away to men (or women) in white coats who have medical degrees. I think for myself, despite what others might believe. This isn’t always popular and it’s not always right, but there you have it. As a woman who lived through breast cancer, as a healer, and as a writer, I have an opinion.

That said, I believe the method of removing breasts to prevent something that might never happen is misguided. It brings to mind words like self-mutilation, self-hatred, ignorance, and misogyny. Yes, it does. Glorifying the mutilation of the female body gets me riled, and I’m afraid we’ve stepped closely to glorification in the case of Angelina Jolie. “Brave decision?” The braver decision would have been to take the path of the feminine and keep the breasts.

Let’s think about it for a moment. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, possibly thousands of things a woman can do to be pro-active and prevent breast dis-ease. I’ve written about many of them. I’ve used many of them. If the body is going to produce cancerous cells that proliferate, is it logical to remove the part of the body that this activity might show up in? Shall I now remove my brain, liver, lungs, and bones because breast cancer can recur in those places? Absurd! Cancer has a root cause, and this cause is not due to the fact that a woman has breast tissue. The causes are many, from viruses to stress to pollutants and toxins. And did I just read that Angelina has spent years of her life smoking cigarettes? Not much prevention going on there.

Breasts are hugely, might I say wildly, symbolic. They represent nurturance, nourishment, sustainment, sensuality, sexuality, and woman power. Female wisdom and power has been cut down through the ages. Cut off, removed, mutilated. So when I heard that one of our influential Hollywood beauties sold out to a culture that doesn’t want feminine power to become too much, or get too big, I was disappointed. I was dismayed. And at the same time, I understand that her decision was a human one born out of fear.

Before making a major life choice, it’s relevant to focus on creating balance in your mind and emotions first, then make your decisions based on your own inner truth and on higher wisdom that stems from a balanced perspective. I know from personal experience this isn’t easy to do when you have authority figures giving you advice. It isn’t easy to do when you are consumed with fear. But we must do it to save ourselves and halt the madness that is the degradation of the feminine.

Uncovering Hidden Agendas That Keep You Stuck

TM4Everyone wants to be healthy, successful, and happy, right? Not necessarily. All we need to do is look around and we can see that sometimes people like the benefits of not being healthy, not being successful, and of being miserable.

Remaining stuck or being a victim around nothing going right in life can have payoffs, but from my perspective we must eliminate these hidden agendas for our own evolution and for the benefit of all living beings.

Here are a few of the payoffs illness, misery, and a lack of success can offer:

  • Get attention
  • Get revenge
  • Be lazy, take it easy
  • Don’t have to work much
  • Be taken care of by others
  • Notice how much others care about you (as they’re offering support and ideas for you to improve your circumstances)
  • See what a stir you can make in the lives of others
  • Feel important
  • Feel special
  • Feel like there is something that sets you apart from others
  • Have an excuse not to do things you don’t want to do
  • Punish others, use “power” over others
  • Be validated as a real person/get listened to
  • Sabotage yourself
  • Have something happen in an otherwise mundane life
  • Fulfill the family legacy, e.g., “lots of people in my family have heart disease/didn’t succeed/were depressed”
  • Addiction to being a victim/accentuate the victim role

It is difficult for us to see our own hidden agendas. That is why they are called “hidden.” It’s valid to be honest and look at these agendas. They are disempowering and work behind the scenes to undermine you.

The Search for Meaning

searchYears ago I went through an intense phase of grumbling about life. During this time, my friend Nubby gently suggested I read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. The book was written in 1946 after Frankl had survived being a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Ultimately, Frankl presents how to face suffering while finding meaning in life so it can be lived not in bitterness, but with purpose. In Dr. Frankl’s country of Austria his book is translated to mean “Say yes to life just the same.”

I had meant to read it for years. The book was already on my shelf, so I didn’t have to go far to find it. The next day after Nubby made the suggestion, I didn’t get out of bed. I kept the blinds closed, commiserated with myself, moaned and groaned about my life — wallowed in it until I was pruney. Then I read Man’s Search for Meaning.

On that feeling-sorry-for-myself day when I refused to get out of bed, Dr. Frankl’s story spoke to me. Here is what it said:

  • We are capable of free thought.
  • We can make it through anything with a positive state of mind.
  • When we look death in the face, the cruelty of it can slice through our illusions so that things become very simple.
  • These are the energies that really count: love, hope, neutrality.
  • The ego is a rather frail construct.
  • We can step back and realize that no horror has any power over us.
  • We can transcend our own personal Auschwitz.
  • Nothing can break our spirit unless we allow it.

After finishing the last page of the book, I laid there in the dark room for a while questioning whether I would have had what it took to get through Auschwitz alive. Then I wondered, had I survived such a horror would I have been deeply bitter and resentful and hateful for the remainder of my life? I wondered if I would have chosen to see the joy and beauty in life again or would I have just grumbled through the rest of my days. I got out of bed, straightened the covers, took a shower, and decided to live.

Communing with Your Higher Self

green goddessYour Higher Self is the wise, all-knowing part of you that is connected directly to All That Is—the Divine Source. It knows why you’re here, where you’re headed, and carries much knowledge and awareness accumulated through eons of time. I believe it’s the part of us that helps us hold our integrity in life. It keeps us moving forward toward positive expansion.

In this age of constant distractions—shiny, sparkly objects catching the attention at every turn—it’s easy to become detached from the Higher Self. At worst, this detachment leads to self-abuse such as drug-use, violence, physical neglect, and negative mental states. At best, it’s a nagging feeling that you’re not living the way you were meant to.

Accessing your Higher Self connects you to your wisest self which has answers for you and knows what step to take next. Communing with your Higher Self requires that your mind be quiet enough to hear its wisdom. Being in silence, settling inward, and getting in touch with the body and breath is one path to linking more strongly with your Higher Self. Experiencing joy is another way. Real inner joy, coming from experiences that raise your vibration high enough that you transcend the ordinary mundane world, can link with your true higher nature.

We not only can touch our soul essence in meditation by tuning into the body and breath, or when we allow ourselves to be truly joyful, but we can gain guidance from our Higher Self and begin to allow it to be the guiding force in our lives. Once you’re in touch—ask, wait, listen, and trust. It’s always been talking to you, but hasn’t always been heard. So give it some practice because there is no guidance better for you than your own wise counsel.

Life Survival Skill #1: Adapting to Change

all shall be wellSurvivors throughout history are those who have best adapted to change. Charles Darwin, famous for his theory of evolution said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” But change often brings up fear. Clinging. Panic. People don’t want to venture into the unknown and leave what they know behind. Willingness to go forward into the unknown requires faith in the future, or at least, an adventuresome spirit.

Change means letting go of the past and that which was familiar. Clinging to the past causes undue suffering and prevents new, often better, circumstances from entering our lives. Resistance to change is resistance to the forward flow of life. When you are more conscious of allowing change to happen, even when it is scary, you create fluidity. You become more in sync with the natural flow.

To help hone your life survival skills involving change, let’s answer a few questions to gain clarity.

When in the past have you responded well to change?

When have you not responded to change as well as you would have liked?

How do you feel when you know there is a big change coming? In what way does your resistance reveal itself? For example, eating more, worry, insomnia, anger, etc.

What is your usual reaction to sudden change?

What is the worst that can happen if everything in your life were to change?

You can use affirmations to help settle your mind around change, such as:

  • I easily adapt to change
  • I will adapt to this new way of life
  • I can flow with what life brings
  • If it’s happening, it must be ok, and I will also be ok.

Focus on how you want to feel when change comes: happy, confident, secure. And finally, when I’m resisting change, I keep in mind a quote by 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich ~

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing(s) shall be well.”

Astrology: Fearful or Divine?

Astrological Wheel, Chartres

Astrological Wheel, Chartres

Even in my relatively open-minded community in coastal California, someone recently told me she was warned about the devilish nature of astrology. I rarely hear such things from the people who work with me. Those who know nothing about astrology soon see its value and the role it has in illuminating our lives. But there still exists the perpetuation of ideas from centuries ago that were based on human fears. Spreading these fears served to keep the masses under control.

Tapping into the rhythms and vibrations of planetary bodies in our solar system is a way to connect with our natural world. I’ve been interested in how the planets affect our lives since I was eight years old — that’s 40 years — and I haven’t come across anything sinister in either my studies or my practice. On the contrary, I’ve found doorways to higher wisdom, inner peace, and solace. It is a tool that helps access your personal power and connect you with your Higher Power, in whatever way you choose. Astrology is fascinating and rich, having to do with the beauty and harmony of the natural world.

Astrology was used in the early church (some European churches still have astrological symbolism carved into their interiors). It acquired a negative association as Christianity expanded. That was a time of great tension and suspicion between the church and the people. Astrology was banned in some places and condemned as a tool of witchcraft. However, it didn’t die out fully because people were unable to dismiss or ignore the knowledge that planets affect our lives on earth. If earth’s relatively tiny moon alters ocean tides, how can it be that much larger bodies have no impact? I’ve been following the effect of the planets almost my whole life, and they certainly do have a say in our lives. There isn’t anything sinister about it. It’s simply nature.

The Healing Power of Art

Jim Dine, artist. "Four Hearts" 1969

Jim Dine, artist. “Four Hearts” 1969

Creativity can be deeply healing. A wise colleague told me that in his 30 years as a healer he never saw a person with growths in the body who didn’t also have repressed creativity. This makes sense. We are born to create. Whether we design, invent, paint, draw, color, write, sculpt, build, weave, bake, or tend a garden, creative energy needs an outlet. Let’s talk about the healing power of art.

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is changed from one form to another. The energy inherent in the desire to create is given outward expression and transformed into a song, a garden, a new deck, a soup. We don’t have to think of creativity only in the form of art such as painting. When we watch children they show us a variety of creative expression. Maybe you pushed your creativity aside as you grew older, but your ability to create something new is still there.

When creativity is held inside it’s like a stream blocked by a dam. The water has no place to go. When a stream is blocked, it changes into a puddle or a pond. There isn’t any forward movement, only stagnation. What if the same thing happens in the human body when creativity has no place to go? Since creativity can be seen as energy, a force desirous of movement, what happens when it’s blocked? Could it contribute to growths in the body?

Do you remember a time when you created effortlessly? What did you love? Colored pencils, fabric, paint, clay, daydreaming, crayons, crafts, yarn, dirt, plants, and flowers? Take a moment to remind yourself of all the ways you loved to create. Which of these could you begin again?