Life Through My Eyes

...a Blog about REAL Life.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go!

I heard the song “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” yesterday, but in my head, I was singing, “Let it go, let it go, let it go...” and realized I was actually feeling GOOD about letting go! This isn’t always the case, obviously. In fact, it’s seldom the case, but it can be…if we let it.

This has been a tremendous year of clearing and letting go for me, whether I liked it or not, and there were plenty of times that I did not. There were literal waves of upheaval, bringing with it everything from mechanical breakdowns and repairs, technological challenges and upgrades, leaps of faith in my work, which required financial risks and adjustments…to more interpersonal challenges, including health concerns, relational maladies, and communication breakdowns (and repairs), until it was excruciatingly undeniable that there was something bigger happening here. If it didn’t fit, function, or feel good anymore (literally and figuratively) it was being tagged for removal. IEEEEEHHH…too much too fast! Or was it?

Not surprisingly, every single item or issue that was laid on my path brought some aspect of a remaining false belief, paradigm, behavior, or block I was unaware of, giving me the opportunity to clear it and let it go. I resisted at first, but they were coming so fast that I was exhausting myself trying to keep up (in my head, in my control, in my agenda). At one point, I received the clear message to “Take it to the A.L.T.A.R” (Ask. Listen. Trust. Act. Repeat.), and I did. I learned and practiced sitting still and letting it unfold, in me and around me, one breath and one step at a time. Uggggh. Not easy, but worth it. Ultimately, the healing that alone brought to me was extraordinary.

I made the conscious choice to stop pushing my own agenda and to look honestly at what I believed ANYTHING meant about me, to me, or for me…and really, truly allowed something greater to be revealed to me. It’s a very unsettling experience to imagine this, but to actually do it is the most freeing and exquisitely peaceful space to inhabit. It literally changed my life.

In reality, if I’d been asked to make a list of the things in need of repair or release in 2011, there would have been quite a bit left off my list, but the Universe has a way of helping us out when we’ve clearly asked for the HIGHEST good to be revealed…and have strapped ourselves in for the ride! Whew! I don’t know if it’s over, but I’ve found that it’s not so bad if I open my eyes and reach for the sky, instead of keeping a death-grip on the safety bar. I’ve even found myself belting out a big “WEEEEEEEEEEEE” a few times. Now THAT’S progress!

My wish for you this holiday and the coming year is that you might find yourSelf singing “Let it go, let it go, let it go!", leaving behind in 2011 all that no longer serves you...stepping into 2012, eyes open, hands in the air, enjoying the ride of your life!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Living a Delicious Life!

Have you ever noticed that we humans tend to put our emotional/spiritual wellness and healing on the back-burner of life? We’ll just let it simmer unattended, over a low heat, while we’re busy with other distractions—work, money, relationships, kids, careers—until it eventually boils over, runs dry, and burns the bottom out of our pot! For some people, the house would have to catch fire before they’d slow down long enough to pay attention. It’s not that relationships, careers, and families aren’t important, but if we’re not taking care of our Soul needs, it’s difficult to be present in any area of our life. 

Physical pain gets our attention quickly and we’re typically pretty prompt to do something about it. Yet, when our emotional/spiritual health is in trouble, we don’t perceive it as life threatening so we put it off, make excuses, or worse…find unhealthy ways to cope.

But it IS life threatening. Not living true to ourselves is the most painful, debilitating disease there is, and it affects every area of our life, including our physical health. Many people don’t even realize they’re in need of healing, although they’re suffering in pain—empty, discontented, restless, angry, afraid, lonely, grieving, discouraged, or even depressed—but continue to stir the pot of their own negative beliefs and behaviors, expecting it to somehow taste better over time. Even when offered a new, delicious recipe for life, some will continue to put in the same old ingredients, committed to being right about their own recipe rather than testing a new one. Or they convince themselves they don’t have the time, money, or ability to change and resign themselves to suffering with “what is”. If this sounds familiar, what are YOU waiting for?

There will never be a better time, more money, or more REASON to change your life than RIGHT NOW! And it’s so much easier than you might think. In fact, you already have all the ingredients you need to live a healthy, thriving life and may only need a new perspective and healthy support to learn new ways to use it…new ways to BE WHO YOU TRULY ARE. If you don’t know where to start, start with admitting you don’t know where to start…and start there!

Living an authentic life is living and loving the way you’re made…and it’s what makes LIFE delicious!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Are YOU?

Me?  “I am healer. I am teacher. I am mother, daughter, wife. I am student. I am sage. I am friend and I am fiend. I am sarcasm. I am laughter. I am protector. I am enemy. I am a lioness, warrioress, sister, I am Goddess. I am a shrew. I am a muse. I am a witch. I am a mystic. I am the vessel and I am the water. I am fire. I am earth. I am destruction and I am love. I am shadow and I am light. I am here. I am now. I am free.” ~Kate Bares-Johnson © 2010

I wrote this piece about a year ago…or should I say, it wrote itself. It just showed up and demanded to be written out loud. I don’t argue when this happens, I just open a page and write. What I realized after writing it was that my Self was integrating…my Soul was shining through, begging me to lay down the judgment and wrap my arms around the all of me. Oh, there’s plenty more, but this is all that came through at the time, so I printed it out and tacked it above my desk…RIGHT above my desk, so I see it every day.

You know how that goes: You write something on your bathroom mirror so you’ll see it every morning and then you stop “seeing” it at all because it just becomes part of the mirror, right?

RIGHT! As in EXACTLY RIGHT and it’s perfect, because the words are going into your unconscious mind over and over again, even when you don’t realize you’re seeing them. This is precisely what happened with this piece, hanging faithfully above my computer, right where I look when I’m waiting for thought to form, every day. Twenty or thirty times a day, I see these words. For over a year now I’ve seen them every day and didn’t realize I was even reading them anymore. 

And today, I feel very different than I did a year ago. Today I believe them, and I honor them and cherish them, because they ARE me. The light and the dark, the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly…it is all me! What a relief this is after the years I spent keeping so many aspects of my Self hidden, even to me. But I’m here. I’m now. And I’m finally free to be me.

How long and diligently have you worked on discarding, changing, hiding or healing aspects of Self you’ve deemed unworthy or undesirable? What if you’ve been working on something that doesn’t need fixing? Not that we don’t all have room for improving, but perhaps the "problem" is not a problem at all, but rather, an aspect of Self that is divinely and uniquely True for you?

Who/what are you waiting to become? Whomever/whatever you aspire to be is who/what you already ARE! The one who's calling, pulling, pushing, tugging, nagging...that is the YOU who longs to live on the outside...right here, right NOW! You may find you need help or guidance to retrieve and bring forth this authentic, unabridged Self, but it’s not difficult at all when you have good support and appropriate tools. In fact, it’s so much easier (and more fun!) to be who you ARE than trying NOT to be something you’re not. Ahhh...dig into THAT and see what treasures you find!

You are here. You are now. And you ARE free…if you choose to be!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Take It to the A.L.T.A.R!

There is always an observer within you...the YOU that stands lovingly, knowingly still as the ego plays out its dramas, manipulations, addictions, obsessions...watching and waiting for you to come home. You know the YOU I'm speaking of, I know you do! This YOU never leaves you, will never leave you, because this IS you...your Truest, most authentic, Divine Self, waiting with open arms!

I believe there is an aspect of Self that is all-knowing and all-loving, that remembers who we are and why we’re here. An aspect within each of us that is actually of higher consciousness, but not the part of our consciousness we live from primarily, or at least not the aspect of Self we’ve learned to trust and allow to guide us. As humans, we live from mere survival instincts…physically, emotionally, and even spiritually…rather than from the guidance of our higher Self. For instance, you know that sense you have when something is, or isn’t, right? Or when you feel drawn to something or someone and you don’t know why? You may feel a strong nudge to go a certain direction and then immediately cancel it out with the part of your brain that has the “plan” already figured out. Those urgings and sensations we get are our higher consciousness attempting to wake us up or direct us back into alignment with our True path. Oh, we all have free will, which is why we often take the long route! We like to be “free” to choose, not realizing that we’re equally free to choose to listen to that internal guidance, even without a clue where we’re going! Ahh, now THAT is true freedom!

Listening and trusting from within, learning to recognize the sound of our higher voice, the sensations we feel, and the pictures it presents, will take us to our highest calling, if we let it. It will direct us to those places and people and experiences we long for, if we’re willing to risk the safety of our ego constraints and unfold in our authenticity. Most of us aren’t accustomed to letting go on this level, but with practice and a strong desire to live from the inside OUT, we can get there. We can ALL get there! Can you imagine if the whole world were living authentically? True peace would be restored, wounds would be healed, and the planet would thrive!

A great way to begin to quiet your ego voice and listen to your higher Self, is what I like to call, “Take it to the A.L.T.A.R”, which stands for Ask, Listen, Trust, Act, Repeat. Try it! Next time you have a decision to make, close your eyes and ASK for the correct choice. LISTEN for the first answer that comes in. TRUST it. ACT on it, and then REPEAT as needed. Watch what happens!

The observer within you IS you…watching, loving, and waiting for you to step into your fullest, most ALIVE life. This aspect of Self will continue to offer you the means to grow, to deepen, to become who you truly are, but it will be up to your human to risk it and choose to use ALL of your experiences as they are intended…for your highest, most Divine intention. You may not know what that is yet, but you’re closer than you think! 

When you’re ready to go home…open arms await!   

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Which Is Smarter...You or Your Phone?

I seriously think Smart-Phones (and other hand-held talking communication devices) are making perfectly intelligent people STUPID! I'm all for the profound and wonderful interconnectedness that technology allows us and our ability to reach out and touch anyone, anywhere, any time, but what about the person sitting across the table...or the people right here in the room with you? I don't know about you, but it's a bit disheartening when someone's apparently (and repeatedly) more interested in what's going on out THERE than spending quality time with the company their keeping right here. I'd much prefer to see your face light up from the conversation we're having, than from the glow of your IPhone!

More and more, I've been witnessing otherwise perfectly conscious, healthy, and aware people behaving like full-blown addicts...Twittering everything, "checking-in" everywhere, and commenting on everyone, if not having three or four conversations going on by text, fb, or chat...all while "spending time" with family or friends. Seriously? Feels more like "wasting my time" and it's rude. I could be home watching Dexter, but I put my own addiction aside to be here with you and I think a little phone etiquette would go a long way. Here's a few tips, if you're interested:

1) Resist checking your phone every half hour to see what you missed. You're missing far more than you know right where you are. If you can't resist checking it, leave it in the car or in another room. You'll be amazed at how efficiently the world continues to spin without you!

2) If you HAVE to answer or talk on the phone while in the company of others, take it outside or in another room...and make it quick. It's not the time to catch up with an old friend or talk a new one out of their tree, but if you must save someone, excuse yourself and go find a phone booth, Superman. We'll understand. 

3) If your car is also your office and you catch up on phone calls while driving (which works great if you drive alone and can be hands free), it's perfectly appropriate to tell the person you're talking to that you've reached your destination and will have to call them back. It's much more polite than walking into someone's home, greeting someone in a restaraunt, or walking into an appointment while having a conversation on your phone. Trust one wants to hear it. Finish in the car or just say goodnight, Gracie.

4) Oh, oh, oh...speaking of driving, "No texting while driving" includes reading them, as well as checking fb, email, and twitter. It also includes looking up directions, programming your GPS, or shuffling your IPod. Do it before you take off, or PULL OVER before you hurt someone. Just makes sense.

5) And last (although there's a whole book brewing on the subject!), it's a big, fat TURN OFF. Consider yourself warned. 

I have a sign outside my front door that says, "Thank you for removing your shoes upon entering.". I'm changing that today to "Thank you for removing your shoes and turning off your phone upon entering." 

New boundaries. Guess technology's still catching up with common sense. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free at Last, Free at Last!

I've been experiencing some very deep and personal revelations this week, not the least of which is how uber-responsible I feel for just about EVERYTHING! My "smart brain" is quite aware of where the lines are and I hold them pretty well on a conscious level, but I've come to realize that on a very deep and integral level of my psyche, if something goes wrong or someone's disappointed, I believe it's MY fault. If expectations are not met, communication isn't clear, or conflict or disruption occurs...I'm responsible. If the energy is out of balance, I've tipped it. If someone doesn't have enough money, or love, or time, or Self's my job to make sure they get it. If someone doesn't like or respect or appreciate me, it's because I'm not likable, respectable, or valuable, i.e...I'm responsible for their opinion of me. very arrogant of me! 

Is it possible that I'm just now waking up to the reality that other people's opinions, judgments, dramas, and even their realities are not about ME???? heehee That just makes me giggle. Not only is it possible, but it's about damn time! I've been draggin' around that bloody stump for lifetimes. Free at last, free at last! 

Now on to the task of integration. Yep, it will take concerted, intentional, uber-responsibility for MYSELF to shift that maddening screech of Self-repudiation into one of Self-love and gentle Self-acceptance, especially in the face of adversity, confusion, or conflict...seen and unseen...spoken and unspoken. It will require that I shift that harsh, critical knee-jerk reaction within myself into one of fervent curiosity and grace for the human that I am...that we all are, and ultimately to let go of those who do not serve me, or feel served by me, with love and acceptance for the lessons learned. Ahhh, yes! That's where I'm going. This awakening business takes work, but as uber-responsible and committed as I am, it shouldn't take long to get there. :) 

Care to carpool? We can share the ride if you can pitch in for gas (did I say that out loud?!)...or, I'll just see you on the other side! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Moving Through

 “I know this territory, although I've not been here before. There is a moment...really, it's more like a split-second...when the veil is lifted and reality flashes across my face, burning into my eyes. When the burning stops and I can see again, the Truth is right there...the undeniable, unavoidable, inevitable Truth of all that my ego has mastered to hide from me. And it is over. Tears stop. Fear subsides. Confusion becomes clarity. The change I've been pushing against has come and I can no longer see the life that was mine, not even from the moment before. Nor do I have the desire to search for it or take away some souvenir so as not to forget. I won't forget. And I won't remember. 

I am healed. I breathe. I open my heart. I am forever who I am, from this point forward, and I am grateful.”  Kate Bares-Johnson Copyright 2010

I wrote this piece last year, in the aftermath of grief. It was a powerful and painful experience that I resisted for several months, possible years, before I finally surrendered and let it move me to freedom…to a deeper place in myself than I’ve ever known. I was in the midst of changing my life and with any transformation, we must let go of what “was” in order to allow what “is” and move into new awareness and acceptance. Sometimes those changes are by choice; sometimes they’re not within our control, yet we’ll go through the same process either way…the process of grief: denial, anger, confusion, sadness, and ultimately, acceptance.

So, if your life or relationships feel suddenly disrupted or chaotic, or you feel those confusing feelings of grief and sadness and can’t pinpoint why, simply give yourself time. Give yourself plenty of room to be human. Allow yourself the anger and confusion, but remember it is there to be healed. And then, when you're ready, give yourself to the sadness and allow yourself to move all the way through it. It will take you to that sweet, soft place in your Soul and you will know that you are home. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shift or be Shifted!

We, as a planet, are transforming rapidly and the changes and shifts we’re experiencing seem to be shaking us to our core, literally. Disruption, destruction, disasters…it’s all so much to take in at once and the affects create a deep and sometimes unconscious feeling of powerlessness and fear. We can rationalize and compartmentalize each situation to find a sense of balance, but internally, we will experience the collective disruption and destruction that’s occurring and we will grieve not only for those who are in the midst of the chaos and trauma, but for ourselves. This is really happening...and it's happening for all of us. 

Unfortunately, understanding the reality of a thing does not necessarily or automatically equip us with the ability to accept it. All the right words don't help either. They may help later, but for now, they fall on our own deaf ears. No, you can't talk yourself into acceptance, but you will do your best to talk yourself out of it!

Acceptance isn't something you can think your way through, because it doesn't take place in the brain. That's where denial and fear flail about, while acceptance occurs quietly, down deep, in the very fiber of your being. It is a slow burn, deep into the recesses of your awareness, where, when you’re finally ready to come out of the fog, it is waiting for you to slide into...soft and easy like silk. That slow burn is grief. It hurts and you will fight at first to put out the fire. But it is the fire that melts the pain, if you let it. Then, almost without warning, when you're really, finally, completely are truly free. 

You may find yourself feeling the pangs and waves of grief as our planet shifts in consciousness and awareness, and you’re not alone. That’s the beauty of it…we’re truly NOT alone. We are experiencing this transformation as a collective consciousness and it will move us into a new way of being…a true way of being…if we’re willing. 

I'm willing. Are you?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are You Getting What you WANT?

"That which we most want from another is that which we are least willing to give." ~ Marianne Williamson. 

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! As much as I sometimes resist using it, it will always, ALWAYS take me back to ground zero when I use it. 

Think about it. What is one thing that you wish another person would do, be, or say to you? Now, ask yourself if you are doing, being, or saying that to them? Are you giving that person what you want to receive? Are you giving it to yourself

The best way I know to do this is to simply "walk your talk." Regardless of what is happening, if you want love, be loving. If you want peace, be peaceful. If you want respect, be respectful. If validation and acknowledgment are what you seek, ask yourself where you are not validating and acknowledging others...or yourself? Resist the temptation to blame, judge, and make others responsible for your pain. Stop waiting for them do what you are failing to do yourself. You must embark on the excavation of the Truth within, humbly and willingly exploring your own actions and behaviors. Forgive yourself...forgive others! If you want truth, be truthful...and the deepest Truth is love.

Sound challenging? Go ahead. Try it on! Step out there on a skinny limb today and stretch past your comfort. Strive for the Truth and be willing to stand in it. What is one thing you have longed to do, say, or be, but have been afraid to risk? Is there something that you want to share with someone...a feeling, an apology, perhaps gratitude? Is there a boundary that needs to be set? Where in your life are you withholding? Who are you afraid will reject or embarrass you?

Nothing in our lives improves by our not showing up! When you wonder why you aren't getting what you want, stop and consider how you're asking for it, or if you're asking at all. Are you assuming you can't have it? Are you inviting it into your life? Open the door! Allow the Universe to support you. Step out there and speak your truth, walk your talk, live your life the way you want it to be delivered back to you. Perhaps that is all that is required of us; to just show up and let the Truth of our being shine through.

Go ahead, take a risk and watch your life magically unfold!

Today, I will look within myself for that which I have desperately, painfully sought out in others. I will forgive others and myself. I will begin the process of giving that which I want to receive, with gratitude and love. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is Your Communication Saying about YOU?

There is nothing in our world, or our relationships, that is not affected by our communication. What we think, feel, need, want, believe, and expect are being communicated constantly, both verbally and non-verbally, consciously and unconsciously. We are communicating continuously with our thoughts and actions, fears and reactions…and getting results accordingly. Even those with healthy communication skills are often baffled by their results with others, when they themselves seem to be communicating “effectively”.

This is because WHAT we communicate is far more inpactful than HOW we communicate…and it’s happening behind the scenes, in every moment. We are, in essence, either responding or reacting to everything in our environment, all the time. We respond or react to people, experiences, circumstances, stress, joy, pleasure, pain, disappointment, satisfaction, loss, gain, and the list goes on and on. We are sometimes tired, sometimes energized. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes discouraged…troubled, peaceful, excited, or frightened. You get the picture. This is real life, and we’re not going to get around our humanness, however, understanding what’s happening on deeper levels will go a long way in improving communication on the conscious level.

Obviously, it takes more than just better communication skills to communicate better, which is where “WHAT we communicate” comes in. When conflicted internally or externally, what remains unhealed within us is what we communicate most loudly, regardless of the words we speak. It is crucial to our well being and our relationships to look honestly at our reactions and begin to connect the dots to our past experiences, so that we can diffuse the energy, allow old wounds to heal and current relationships to thrive.

Most of us are not aware of our triggers, so an easy exercise to begin the process is to track your communication with others for one or two full days…all your interactions with friends, strangers, children, parents, coworkers, partners, and even pets. Observe your reactions to others’ communications and choices, gestures, and even your annoyances and tolerations. Just observe, and when you find yourself reacting, even when it feels justified, check in with what emotion or pain is beneath your reaction. It might show up as disrespect, violation, fear, abandonment, not feeling appreciated or loved, or feeling out of control or unheard. Again, just observe without judgment. Keep a notebook handy so you can later see if there is a common thread of early experience(s) in your life. You may need support or guidance to help with the healing and release of energy around it, but it is well worth the excavation! Once the healing has commenced, you will likely begin to notice a difference in your interactions with others…and so will they…as you become more peaceful, grounded, and present in the here and now.

I’m always interested to hear how the practices work for you, so please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or for support and guidance through the process. Many blessings!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Need a rope?

There are things that we do, and say, and believe that simply...are...not...true. False paradigms molded from the extremities of our life experiences...some we were taught and some we made up ourselves, to make sense and survive pain. We have survival instincts on all levels...emotional, physical and spiritual...which is obviously a good thing. However, we can also get stuck there, continuing in a cycle of surviving rather thriving or fully living. These false beliefs and paradigms come with behaviors and choices that have become our "survival strategies". Over time, these become our "knee jerk" reactions to life and experiences, inevitably working against us rather than in our favor, creating the very pain we're attempting to avoid.

Sound familiar? If you answered "no", then one of your survival strategies may be denial. *grin* Seriously one is exempt from the human condition, regardless of how deeply buried in our subconscious it may be. In fact, it's usually not until that pain outweighs the pain we're avoiding, that we finally wave the white flag and surrender to our healing.

And we can heal! We CAN! We can stop the madness...and we will, when we're willing. True, we probably won't get far employing the same strategies we've used thus far, (false beliefs and paradigms), and we may not know what to replace them with, but we can ask for help. We can stop being right about what's wrong and get a second opinion; a different perspective; a second pair of eyes to see what we can't see. Someone we trust to be honest and objective, who can guide us when we get off track, or throw us a rope when we fall in a hole...and hold it steady on the other end while we pull ourselves up. There's no shame in not knowing what we don't know. We can ask for support...and we can get it.

So when you feel stuck, or that "something's missing", or you don't understand why painful patterns keep repeating themselves...or you DO understand, but you don't know how to stop the cycle; or you feel angry, scared, lost, or hurt; unloved or unworthy, not good enough, unmotivated, out of balance, or just generally "not in your true skin"...maybe it's time to grab the rope? Not to hang yourself, silly...but to let someone help you pull yourself up.

There's always help, there's always hope, there's always a choice...and we're never alone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time and Money...Got Enough?

Next time you hear yourself saying, "I don't have time to..." or  "I don't have enough money for....",  stop and ask yourself, "Hey that really true? Do I really not have enough time or money? Or is the real truth that I just don't want to spend my time or money on...?

If we're willing to be completely honest, we'll find the latter is almost always true. If you're arguing with me in your head right now, then ask yourself, "Okay, much money did I spend at Starbucks and eating out last week? Or at that great sale this weekend? And tell me again how much time I played on Facebook this morning? Wow...that much!"

The reality is, we'll always, always, always find the means to do those things we want to do, (especially our habits and compulsions) but we'll use the excuse of LACK if we're apprehensive, not interested, not ready, not sure how, or not comfortable simply saying "No." Which is quite unfortunate, considering we're creating constantly and therefore, calling more and more lack unto us, each and every time we affirm that we "don't have enough" of anything!

So, next time you hear yourself using lack as an excuse, get HONEST! Shift the "I don't have..." to "I'm not willing...", "I don't choose to...", or simply, "No, thank you." and you'll not only stop the cycle of lack, empowering yourself (and others) with integrity, but you'll recognize very soon if your choices, energy, and intention are aligned with your true values.

Go ahead...try it! And let me know how it goes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Get Your SHIFT Together!

SHIFT HAPPENS...and it's happening RIGHT NOW!

We are experiencing a phenomenal shift in consciousness on our planet...a true time of change and growth or us all. What an honor to be here at this time and place of such Divine transformation !

The Release & Renew Weekend Intensive offers us the opportunity to engage in the process (the shift) in a powerful way...right here, right NOW! To use the energy available to release Self-limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in patterns of disbelief, discouragement, fear and bitterness, and embrace a new way of being...a TRUE way of being!

This is an invitation and a call to action! When we heal within, we heal each other, and peace is restored in our world.

Join us February 18-20th for the:

 Release & Renew Weekend Intensive

...and experience the Divine within.

Early registration is extended until Friday, Jan. 21st...
Reserve your space TODAY!

Contact the Center at 512-249-5683 

Friday, January 14, 2011

When It's Time to Let Go

When we have to let go of someone we love, it hurts. Whether that is through separation or death, we all go through the same grieving process: Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness/despair, and finally acceptance. No one is exempt from it...NO ONE. It's healthy, normal, expected, and needed. It's what heals us. Each stage serves a purpose in our recovery, and understanding what's happening to us, helps. Nothing can make the pain stop except time, so attempting to fill the void with substance or human flesh only prolongs it. Yes, we need support and we sometimes need comfort, but we need these through the process, not instead of it. 

Over time, I've been surprised by how many people are unaware of the process of grief. I've had clients who've been previously diagnosed with depression that medication didn’t relieve. It may have taken the edge off, but they were like dry-drunks...all the symptoms still very much in tact, but without the ability to express them. If you believe you’re depressed, I encourage you to explore grief counseling before heading to your doctor for meds. It's not always obvious.

Each phase of grief is preparing our psyche to accept the loss, which we resist because we have to pass through the depths of sorrow to get there. Therefore, these stages also serve as a buffer until we're ready. If we take this process gently, allowing ourselves (and others) time to move through it organically, it will take us all the way through and we WILL see light again. Knowing the process helps, so here are the stages as I understand them. I will use the context of a relationship ending:

Denial: This may appear as a "deer in the headlights" response; shock; exasperation; pretending it's not happening and acting/communicating as if the relationship is still in tact; fantasy thinking; an inability to see our part or take responsibility. Sometimes denial can extend into unhealthy behaviors such as obsessing, excessive communication, poor boundaries, possessiveness, and even stalking. It's important to get support if you find yourself slipping into any of these feelings or behaviors. 

Anger: When the denial begins to wear off and we can feel the sting of our loss/rejection/pain, we don't like it! Our anger is an attempt to stop it, control it, or push it out of our experience. For those who are uncomfortable with anger, it may show up as passive/aggressive blame, shaming, or revenge, while others may express full blown rage. Either way, it's a temper-tantrum on the inside that sometimes leaks out onto others. We will turn flips to justify it, only temporarily protecting our hurt, eventually feeling the pain anyway. This too shall pass. Just breaaaaathe…and correct as needed.

Bargaining: The bargaining phase has many faces. I call it the "questioning" phase, because through it, we question EVERYTHING, especially ourselves. We might feel desperate, needy, confused, guilty, afraid, blaming, accusing, regretful, frantic, obsessive, crazy...and we'll go back and pick up anger and denial, too. We constantly ponder the "what ifs, only ifs, maybe ifs, should'ves, could'ves, would'ves, and whys". We're looking for logic to our pain. We go over it again and again. We ask what we did, and what we could have done different. We've wrapped ourselves around the legs of our loss like a pleading child, begging "Whyyyyyyy?" We're attempting to find anything that might possibly prevent the inevitable...the letting go. Bargaining is our way of negotiating with fate. It's exhausting and incorrigible...and futile.

Sadness/despair: This is it. This is what we've been attempting to avoid...the true sadness of our loss. Once we've kicked and screamed and pushed against reality, we lay exhausted in a heap on the floor, literally or figuratively. We have no choice but to surrender and allow it to move through us. The tears are not sporadic as they were before, but deep, guttural, and unyielding. We wail. We scream. We feel anguish in our bones. There's no sense of time or space, or logic. We just are. We unfold in that depth of ourselves and open to our humanness...raw and fragile and strong. We. Are. Real. We bleed. We breathe. We hurt. We nurture and we nourish. We love. And we grieve. That's all there is to it. 

Acceptance: Acceptance isn't a sad state of resignation or an Eyore kind of "nothing I can do about it". Acceptance is the clear, precise awareness of what is. Reality is no longer deniable, nor does it conjure up feelings of anger or regret. It is not joyful or exciting either. It's neutral. It's peaceful. It's quiet. It's a gentle, unopened feeling of relief. It allows us to go on with life and love. Our memories don't hurt any longer and will soon even bring us joy. We don't feel guilty when we're happy, or lost when we're alone. We will sometimes still cry, but we don't fight it because it helps us remember that we're alive and loved...and can love again.

So that's it. That's grief in all its glory. It's a beautiful, cleansing, healing process in its own right. It's organic and healthy, and every single human being experiences it. It can be subtle and happen in a moment, or it can be full-on and take days, weeks, months or years, depending on the depth of loss or change in our life. Some people unconsciously hold onto grief in order to hold onto those they've lost, so if you find yourself stuck in sadness, anger, blame, depression, or even unforgiveness, reach out for support. There’s help. It's not easy...and you're not alone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feelin' the ahhhhhh...not the ugggggh.

Wow, it's been weeks since I've blogged! I was so excited to finally BE a blogger and here I've neglected my blogging in the worst way. Actually, I've neglected quite a few things lately, which is unusual for me, especially  at the beginning of a new year. I'm typically raring to go after the long holiday off, but this year, I feel like I'm ever so gently eeaaaassing myself up off my laurels, like I'm recovering from a hip replacement!

No surgeries here...I have all my original parts...but I do feel as if I'm "energetically" recovering. 2010 was a very powerful, very challenging year for me. I healed aspects of myself I wasn't even aware were wounded! I dug in the dirt. I shifted. I sifted. I looked hard at parts of me that were hard to look at. I surrendered. I held strong. I grieved. I stretched...and I grew. I let go. And I grieved some more. And I loved...I loved a lot. I loved BIG. (and I still am!)

Yep, 2010 was a big year, emotionally and spiritually...and I'm tired. I've been waiting for my energy to kick-in, pushing (and judging) myself for being the un-motivated motivator, which has only made me more tired. It's a new YEAR after all...I should be movin' and shakin'! But feels more like jogging through tar. Apparently, I wasn't fully re-charged when the ball dropped. 

So...I've decided to trust instead of judge and I've been resting. Rejuvenating. Reading. Creating. Pampering myself a little more than usual, doing those things that feed my Soul and my spirit. Even in writing this, I feel lighter and more enthusiastic! I love to write. I love creating new things (especially from old things). I love transformation. I love being healthy and strong, and moving my body. What's important right now is balance, and I know how to do that!  Simply DO WHAT I LOVE every day. Not at the end of the day when everyone else has already been served, but first thing...first breath...first intention. Honor My Self. Honor God.

This morning I slept in, went to a session with my healer, made myself breakfast, and went to yoga. I had a do-to list as long as my arm and guess what? I still do! But now I feel good...and the energy and peace I gained from those couple of hours spent honoring my Self (without the guilt!) will go a long way in accomplishing my work today. That feels better already. Rather than the uggggh I've been dragging around, I'm starting to feel the ahhhhhh. 

Balance is a beautiful thing!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ready to get your Life in Balance?

A LIFE IN BALANCE Coaching Series: Mondays, January 17-March 14th...6:30-8:30pm in NW Austin!
(Teleclass available for those out of the Austin area. Contact for details!)

Get your spot and get your BALANCE on!