Much of what causes us such “distress” is when we encounter our “shadow elements”. Shadow elements are the traits and qualities that we typically keep in the dark and project onto others, both at a personal and a collective level, creating the very convincing illusion that such elements do not belong to us. Our life situations and relationships with others are constantly reflecting this stuff back to us for us to see and work with. This is why learning the tools to do shadow work, and/or finding a well-versed practitioner to help you do the work and be a mirror for you, is so important. Shadow work can be defined as the practice of acknowledging, facing, engaging, and integrating what we have turned away from, disowned, or otherwise rejected in ourselves. Our specific issues become most apparent in our judgments of ourselves, others, or our life situations. Our suffering arises from what some would call our conditioning or our domestication. Often, these childhood events that compromised our sense of feeling safe and/or wanted in some way were the causal factors in our learning to enact behaviors of control and acceptance. Our suffering does not come directly from the conditioning per se, but our identification with it and the issues it brings up for us. If you find yourself engaging in the following avoidance mechanisms (more than just moderately), it may be time to seek some help and/or learn some tools that you can use in your life to work through that which you are trying to avoid in the first place. You can only avoid something for so long, but eventually, life will keep putting it in your face until you deal with it, learn from it, and give thanks for it. Key Avoidance Mechanisms: -Drinking -Smoking (Tobacco or Marijuana) (Or a combination of the two or three) -Excessive TV Watching -Over Eating -Over Exercising -Procrastination -Spiritual Bypassing – employing spiritual beliefs and practices to avoid dealing in any significant depth with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. -Projection – seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people -Acting Out – not coping, giving in to the pressure to misbehave -Denial – refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred -Displacement – shifting of intended action to a safer target -Distancing – moving away -Fantasy – escaping reality into a world of possibility -Idealization – playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of thins desired -Intellectualization – avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic -Passive Aggression – avoiding refusal by passive avoidance -Performing Rituals – Patterns that delay -Rationalization – creating logical reasons for bad, or self-destructive behavior -Reaction Formation – avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position -Regression – returning to a child state to avoid problems -Repression – subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts -Symbolization – turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols -Trivializing – making small what is really something big When you begin to notice that you have been enacting avoidance mechanisms, they can be a really good indicator that something more significant is a play behind the scenes of your conscious mind and that it is time to start looking at where you feel uncomfortable and some of the best ways to begin to engage and work with that discomfort before it becomes something bigger mentally, emotionally or physically. That is precisely the service I offer people. If you want to understand and overcome those difficult and uncomfortable things that you have continually struggled with, then book and appointment today! I will help you find the transformation and peace of mind you have been looking for.]]>
Well, what can we do about these characters that use up our time and take space in our mind? One of the biggest things you can do once you get awareness around one of these voices that consistently shows up is to give it a creative name. It helps to make it funny! For example, I had this voice that liked to doubt everything I attempted to do. It sounded kind of meek and said, “Welllll, I don’t know…(if that’s such a good idea, if that is possible, if you have the money for that, if you look good enough, etc.)” before a lot of things. It would then start making a list of all the obstacles I would have to face before I could achieve a goal, some of them real and some of them distant possibilities, but nevertheless, they were added to the list until the list looked overwhelmingly in favor of the goal not being obtained. I decided to name this voice Danny Doubter. What does a silly little exercise like this do for you? One of the best things it can do for us is to help us begin to loosen their grip on us. When we can create a little space around these voices with our awareness and humor, what that then gives us, is the ability to relate to it rather than from it. This allows us the space to make clearer and more empowered choices, because we are not coming from such a fearful place anymore. It gives rise to our more authentic nature and allows us to be just a little more, free from our conditioned and unconscious behavior. Try this on for size and give a fun and creative name to one of those voices that you so often hear in your internal dialogue. Write or message me back and let me know how it went!]]>
Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. -Babe RuthWhen baseball is put in the context of a story that I heard from one of my dear mentors, it certainly can be. I am not usually one for remembering jokes and stories, but this one really stuck with me because it was a very clear example of how perception, or one’s perspective really functions. It is also a tale of wisdom. Another reason I really liked this story was because it was short, but packed full of little nuggets I could remember and take with me. So, what is this amazing story you may be asking? Well, maybe it is not super amazing, but it is “The Tale of Three Umpires” and it goes like this: Three umpires were standing around and talking at home plate, waiting for the home team to take the field. They were discussing how they each call balls and stikes. “I may be a new umpire,” said the first one, “but it just isn’t that hard. I call them as they are.” The second umpire smiled and shook his head knowingly, for as a more experienced umpire, he knows that isn’t really the case. “I used to think I called them as they were, but now I know better. I call them as I see them.” The third umpire, the most experienced and wisest of the three, smiled and shook his head knowingly. “I used to think that I called them as they are, and then I realized that I simply called them the way I saw them. But now I know they ain’t nothin’ until I call ‘em.” This story exemplifies the growth of wisdom through experience and understanding. The first umpire thinks he is dealing in facts, that the thoughts in his head are the Truth. Like us, he is making judgment calls as we do about ourselves: “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do …,” I will look ridiculous,” “I’m a disappointment.” The next thing we know, life reveals itself to be consistent with our thoughts, providing further evidence for our self-proclaimed statements. The second umpire realizes that he makes judgments about what he saw, that he doesn’t deal in facts. When we find ourselves at this stage, we realize that our perspectives and attitudes have a big influence on how we experience and live our lives. At this point, we are also open to learning from others, reading books, taking classes, and workshops that help us develop our potential and get past obstacles that present themselves in our lives. The third umpire knows he has the power to choose his perspective and that his choice is what determines “reality” for him. When we reach this stage, we realize that not only does our attitude affect our actions but we can also choose our attitude. Regardless of circumstances, at this point, we see ourselves as the source of our choices and actions. We are no longer victims of circumstances, but take responsibility for our thoughts, emotions, and choices every moment of every day.
Which umpire are you going to be today?]]>
My day started shortly after I went to bed. I was awakened roughly six times throughout my nightly slumber by our feline friend who felt compelled to snuggle, and once snuggling suddenly had some other urgent business to take care of. Each time he enters the room it is preceded by shrill meowing. As you can imagine, I was working on falling back asleep only to hear my alarm for the day chime in. I was so tired and grumpy I could hardly form words. I proceeded to put together an edible lunch for my daughter for school, made some feeble attempts at helping her get ready and out the door so we could arrive on time, before 8am. We walked through the doors at 7:59, just barely making eluding the dreaded tardy slip. After that, I knew I needed some strong caffeination fast if I was going to turn this day around. What I have also come to realize over the years, is that there are many aspects to a day, and a nice, warm Americano was just the thing to begin this process. What happens to so many people is that those waking moments have a great tendency to define and shape our entire day. When we begin to look at those many aspects of our day as new days within our day, it is much easier to “start over”, “hit “reset”, or recalibrate our course. I chose to redirect mine with a cup of coffee and a pause to choose how I wanted the rest of my day to go.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. – Nido QubeinIn another fifteen minutes, I was at my Chiropractic appointment. I had about half of my coffee before I got there and it hadn’t quite kicked in yet, but I was already feeling better. They call what a chiropractor does, making an adjustment, and this morning, it couldn’t have been truer as I was getting physically adjusted, so was my attitude. As I was feeling better, I also realized that I needed some breakfast, so I stopped to get my favorite scone at the local market. As I sat there eating and drinking the rest of my coffee, the sun literally and figuratively poked its head out of the clouds. What I have come to know and practice in my life is that any act can be a meditation, if you give yourself the time and space to be present. I used to think that meditation meant sitting, or lying down for a period of time, but I now do my best to make the actions in my life a meditation as well. I can be sipping my coffee or going for a walk and that is my meditation. I give myself the space and time to clear my mind, then focus and decide how I want to proceed with what I am doing next. Outcomes are not determined by what I do as much as they are by how I do them, and that goes for the course of my day too.]]>
As Dr. John DeMartini said, “The lowest state of human awareness is the victim mentality, where there exists disassociated perceptions and blame. The highest state of human awareness is where you realize there is no separation between cause and effect, where your perceptions are the true causes and your reactions are the true effects of your life, where you are the cause of your own effect.” When we react and identify with the emotion our struggle is producing, we can feel stuck, or like there is no way out of our present condition. Next time you find yourself suffering or in struggle, ask a few questions, so that you can begin to respond instead of getting stuck in reaction. What am I really upset about? Many times, what is truly upsetting us can be veiled by our perception of the situation and our emotions. A recent client of mine was upset that his brother had “taken his seat” out of turn more than one evening in a row, three, actually. What he thought he was upset about was something getting taken away from him. When I inquired further and asked what that meant to him, or how he felt because of that, was “left out”. So often, we perceive an event and think what we are upset about is what is directly happening, but there is usually a story such as “left out” that is getting fed by your upset at the current situation. Each event that triggers an emotion is an opportunity for us to love, or bring peace to an aspect of ourselves that we are not ok with, an aspect of ourselves that is asking to be loved and integrated. When we integrate these wounded parts of ourselves, we feel lighter and more whole. This is the cornerstone of the work that I do with people, helping them to bring more peace and freedom to their lives and many relationships. Comment below and share with me what you struggle with this time of year and into the New Year. I would love to hear from you, as I am developing new programs for the New Year and into the spring, and I would love to create programs around your needs and desires. What programs would you love for me to put on in the New Year? What is it that you most want to transform or know more about in the coming year? Take a moment and send me a message so I may better serve you in the coming months. Thank You! I wish you all the best of holidays and an even better New Year!]]>