Telehealth and Pandemic Reflections…

This blog is inspired by a conversation I had on video last night with one of my closest friends. Lysette Herrera is a psychologist who has been seeing clients for many years now in Seattle, New York City and currently in Portland where she has worked for a group practice the past chunk of years. She sees mostly teenagers and has formed strong bonds with her clients whom she has been working with long term.

Upon switching to tele-health, like many therapists, she was nervous and unsure how sessions would feel over a video versus in person. We tend to see technology in a negative light and to think that screen connection is less intimate. Yet to her surprise, Lysette found her sessions to be very intimate. She discovered clients having an easier time being vulnerable when sharing from the comfort of their home and she has met many of her client’s pets too, which as we all know, are important family members.

Lysette has found that video sessions are not more intimate, per se, but differently intimate. I have found this to be true too. Lysette named the experience I have had this past week using tele-health. I too have experienced that differently intimate experience of connecting from our homes. The power of place is real. Home is a safe place and a comfortable place. When we feel safe and comfortable we tend to open up more and this allows therapy to go deeper.

Lysette mentioned that another positive aspect is that a certain amount of formality is shed through video sessions. This speaks to how I feel the pandemic is stripping away the persona and the formality in us all. The roles we put on in order to communicate are changing. Our humanity and vulnerability are coming more to the surface. As a result, sessions feel more powerful. Add the video element, allowing both therapist and client to connect from home, and the intimacy does feel very differently powerful.

I feel no less of a connection through having video sessions. The screen does not get in the way. I have not asked my clients about their experience yet but I imagine it is different for each person. Some people are more sensitive to screens and technology and others may actually prefer it. I can only say for myself, in many ways, I prefer video sessions because I enjoy the differently intimate experience that it creates. I also enjoy working from home.

I do miss going to my office and having a special physical space to see clients. My office is filled with crystals, cards, incense, and the vibe I work hard to create. I share my office with a friend and we share office space with another therapist we rent from. I love our physical space and location. The three of us create a very harmonious healing environment. Video sessions do not replace the in person experience but now I now know that tele-health is complimentary and not just a “plan B”.

Since the pandemic I have been spending a lot of time connecting with friends through video as well. My days in quarantine are spent sitting in my special chair where I video everyone. In-between connecting with clients and loved ones I do yoga, walk, get groceries, watch Netflix, meditate, read, journey, reflect, and pull cards. I am finding my new routine. I empathize with everyone who lives alone needing to find a new routine in the aloneness.

Living alone through this time is very surreal. All of my connection with others is through video except sometimes I take a walk with a friend nearby. I don’t have any physical touch, nobody to “prepare for the worst” with, nobody to be with in my home. Solitude takes on a new form that often feels too hard or like it’s too much. Anxiety can creep in. There is a lot to manage being alone. Therapeutic skills are extra vital as is keeping a routine.

I am beyond thankful I can continue to see clients through video as it is grounding to be of service. I am thankful to be able to continue to work. Many cannot and surviving monetarily is a real concern for many. This pandemic is going to force us to find new ways to be resourceful and take care of each other. It is forcing us to care more about community and our neighbors and not just for the self and immediate family. I think of my father who is all by himself in his eighties. I think of the service industry people out of work right now. The chain reaction of the virus will create much needed structural change on many levels.

Being connected through video is my life’s blood right now and I am learning to embrace the screen more through this challenging time. My intention is to highlight the positive to bring balance to the more prominent negative lens that tele-health and video connecting is somehow inferior or less connected.

During these challenging times tele-health is needed more than ever and my hope is that it becomes more of a norm in society. My dream would be for our licenses to be national or even global. For as therapists we are trained to work with humans, not just humans in one area.

 

 

Reflection on Manifestation, Surrender and Music….

I am sitting in a cafe with a blog idea in mind as the song, “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac plays and I am taken into a special place in my heart. A nostalgic and warm feeling seizes me and I think to myself, “music inspires and heals”. Instantly I try to connect this thought to my blog topic in some fluid way…

Like how music is often made to express pain and unmet longing, showing that life is not just about manifesting our desires and that there is beauty and truth in loss. I think of my father telling me how he listens to certain songs from his youth when he is missing his wife. Music heals him in his time of grief and connects him to his heart.

I am uncertain where to put paragraph breaks because I am flowing like a poetic song and not writing like a logical therapist trying to emit a message. Through music the message of truth and beauty in pain is felt and understood without explanation. How many of us love the sad songs? This love is meant to be as much as the happy songs…

The rise I have been feeling this past week is how many people are on the “manifest your desires” train as if that’s the only truth, purpose and reason to live and the only solution to an inner feeling of lack. It bothers me because life is about so much more than making pain go away by getting everything you want.

Life is about learning how to be of service. Life is about surrendering. Life is about learning soul lessons. Life is about transforming and growing through loss. Life is about becoming more caring and loving through healing the self. Life is about growing through suffering. Life is about love and love is about pain and pleasure, not just about desires being fulfilled all the time.

Music reminds us that life is about love and love is about everything on the spectrum of loss and gain, birth, death, illness, pleasure and pain. The universal experience of being human is understood through music. We all share the same wants and pains. Yet we all have different karma within the collective soup.

The natal chart in astrology is one way to discover your individual life path and karma. Numerology also is a great map.

For instance, in my numerology, I understand that I am here in this life to help reduce suffering in humanity, to take on great responsibility and sacrifice personal desires for the good of all. Therefor, if I don’t manifest my dream of being a famous artist, it is not because I need to focus more on the light, raise my frequency, or anything of the sort that will “fix” my inability to manifest this dream. It is because I am meant to surrender this dream due to a deeper calling in my soul.

The callings are the karma as much as healing wounds is karma. We let go of heavy wounded feelings from past lives and this life and this is karmic healing. We also get in touch with our inner truth of why we are here and this is also karmic healing.

You may not be here to help humanity. You may be here to experience manifesting all you desire. This is why we cannot compare and make a belief system the only lens everybody looks through. If your calling is to experience manifestation then the create your own reality/manifestation belief will serve you well. If you are here to learn to surrender and be of service the same belief may not help you as much.

We need more variety and understanding how important honoring variety is when it comes to truths and beliefs.

Numerology or the natal chart mysteriously spells out individual karma but you may not believe in it and that’s ok too. Variety. You can find your own way of becoming clear about your inner truth and calling without such maps.

You can become clear through what gets you emotional on a deep level. A teacher of mine used to say that “whatever brings you closer to your own broken heart,” is your calling.

I used to desire to be a famous artist living large in the big city but this path did not bring me closer to my own broken heart. I spent years trying to make it as an artist, finally moving to NYC to test out this dream but upon being there I felt an emptiness in my heart and realized my desire for fame was more about projecting self love onto the world. The calling wasn’t to be found. I knew then that I was meant to let that dream go. It took years to let it go because I had identified with it for so long.

Surrender and letting go is as positively powerful and life changing as manifesting what you desire. This is what I have learned.

When I think about helping humanity, when I sit with my clients, and when I read or watch stories of human experience, I am brought closer to my own broken heart. I feel the calling. The feeling resonates deep beneath the ego projecting into the world hoping to “get the cookie” in order to feel pleasure and worth.

Key word: broken. The sacred broken heart is a poetic phrase that honors the suffering we experience in the collective and through the bloodlines because so much injustice, tyranny, abuse, and needless suffering continues. The balance is lost and the systems are broken and need repair. Nobody is free of this. We all need healing. You might be able to distract yourself through focusing only on your self centered wants but in the shadow is your broken heart too.

I don’t mean to moralize being of service or shame being self centered because humans are supposed to be self centered. We are supposed to live out our individual karma and be a unique character with specific wants. Service to others and self fulfillment are not mutually exclusive. They go together. Some of us have a more service oriented karma than others but we all have our own unique balance of this within families, community, humanity, or in our jobs.

Callings may be to help humanity, raise a loving family, enlighten, manifest desires, learn balance, experience sacrifice and loss, create strong boundaries, be alone, find self love, experience true love, be an artist, inspire the world, invent something, devote to your craft…on and on and on and on. Callings are always changing and evolving too.

The point I want to make is that only you know. The calling is an inside job.

Back to music. Music seduces the heart into expressing feelings you cannot get to otherwise. Music inspires the heart to feel your calling too. The song “Spirit Bird” by Xavier Rudd connects me to my calling deeply. Any song by Stevie Nicks connects me to love I have not manifested that longs for expression. Some music helps me make peace with the pain while other music inspires my calling.

Our hearts yearn to be understood, seen and heard and music gives this to us.

I am writing this blog under the Pisces Mercury retrograde new moon cycle so these words are flowing like a song and like thoughts that swirl around a strong and stable heart center that longs to express wisdom, love, and inspiration.

Do not think something is wrong with your vibration if you are not manifesting what you long for. Sure, you might need to work on yourself to line up and manifest your inner calling but you also might not be meant to manifest what you desire at this time. Lost dreams are teachers. Surrender is a teacher…

Surrendering to spirit is a powerful transformer when you are forced into it because you cannot “do it” on your own. Spiritual surrender leads me to think about surrendering to a higher power with addiction or any form of chronic illness and suffering. We can surrender to the transpersonal when pain, addiction, loss, and life itself becomes too overwhelming.

Surrendering ego to the transpersonal is an act of strength and empowerment. We are not separate entities plucked from the whole, meant to do everything on our own. This belief is actually an avoidant attachment wound speaking. We are meant to be interdependent creatures living symbiotically with all of life, including the forces larger than us.

I have surrendered to spirit over and over again in my life and experienced spirit take my pain each time. They call this the miracle and in my life journey I have experienced a handful of miracles. Who would I be if I had not been forced into surrender because I manifested everything I ever wanted?

How neurotic are people who do manifest all their desires and get everything they want? Where is their self love? Having all the things you want does not make you self loving or content. Self love and contentment stem from finding inner peace and acceptance, not from having everything you want. Inner peace is achievable if you are on the path of healing and understanding your inner truth.

The spectrum is real with those who have and those who don’t have. With everything from relationships, jobs, money, health, children, every fundamental human experience and craving. We are meant to experience both having and not having. What we make of ourselves and our lives from not having what we most long for is just as meaningful and important as getting our desires met.

And then there is music to comfort, heal, and inspire…

Widen the lens of your belief beyond manifesting your desires as the central core of meaning. This line of thinking is more rooted in western capitalist thinking but that’s a whole other diatribe. Your perception is your power.

I want to inspire you to grow beyond the narrow gaze of holding only one belief as truth. I wish to restore the variety. Fundamentalist thinking shows up in conservative religious ideology as much as it does in the new age.

Our hearts are complex and life is a myriad. Music understands this and not the logical mind that tries to solve and remove pain. Pain is also fruit. Pain is also needed. Pain is a teacher. Pain is a trickster. Loss is a trickster. Our characters are the riches.

 

Reflections and 10 Skills for Healing Body Shame

This blog is intended for women. I am not excluding men, gender fluid or non-gendered identifying people from the topic if it resonates with your experience. No matter what, we all experience body shame and my focus on women is purely due to feeling called to be specific in this blog. Apologies in advance for any unconscious generalizations that could show up in these words. I do make conscious general commentary regarding women, based upon history.

The truth is, I don’t know one women who does not feel shame for her body on some level from severe to mild. I don’t know one woman who does not criticize her fat this or that, her wrinkled this or that, the sagging neck or jaw, the ass that isn’t there, the boobs that are no longer perky, the aging body, the fat body, the misshaped body, on and on…

Me included and I have worked hard to heal. My intention is to weave my personal commentary into this collective epidemic of body shame.

Shame rises up for the body for being too much, not enough, aging, and flawed for every woman I know because women have long been expected to be beautiful, sexual objects for a very long time. If women are not expected to show their beauty or flaunt sexuality than they are expected to hide it. This blog is not intended to be a history lesson. Just a quick summary of what we are all aware of…

The mind grabs hold of shame and turns it into different stories.

Some minds put off happiness, relationships, sex, or self love until the weight is lost, the health is fixed, the cleanse is complete, and until the body looks good according to the expectations we have been conditioned to believe are sexy, pretty, appropriate, and healthy.

This is not to say that there isn’t any truth in health and beauty expectations stemming from some root of reality. Perhaps some eyes like sinewy lines. Perhaps some excess fat creates health issues sometimes. But not for every pair of eyes or every body. Some bodies are perfectly healthy in a larger size than the expectation. Some shapes appear sexier when not conforming to the hour glass or twiggy versions. The variety is lost on us when expectations turn into rigid belief systems that constantly are conditioned generation after generation.

Another aspect is that women are conditioned to find the bulk of our self worth in what a man thinks of our value as a sexual and beautiful woman. This may not be the case as much in the LGBTQIA community though I imagine it runs through every community and may be less prominent in communities where people have been forced to break free from conditioned ideas of what is right and good, in order to survive. Being outcasted and treated unjustly, as in the LGBTQIA community, usually leads the soul to more depth, compassion, and openness in all ways.

I also want to mention that many men feel body shame too but their conditioned standards are much more forgiving on the whole from a collective perspective. A man can look distinguished with wrinkles and cute with a belly. Most men don’t wear make up to accentuate their face. Their handsomeness and sexual attractiveness has more leeway to be connected to their actions, mind, and presence, especially as they age. Just to give a picture here, imagine society with men dressed as women and women dressed and as men. You can get the point when you see this in your mind.

I like to think of famous awards ceremonies where the women are stuffed into dresses like beautifully wrapped Christmas presents hugging their curves up on stilts for heels sucking in their tummies while the men walk around in the same natural fitting tuxedo outfit and comfortable shoes like a bunch of penguins. I don’t mean to say anything negative about anyone walking down a red carpet. My commentary is purely on the social expectations of beauty and worth.

This isn’t to say men and women don’t have differences either. We do and it’s great. Differences are wonderful and needed. It’s ok to honor differences and not try to make every human being the exact same prototype. Variety is important and spices up life. I am only calling out where the balance has been lost between men and women. Where women are so conditioned to be pretty sexy objects that look like the female magazine model and men are given the grace to stray from the male magazine model and be handsome for a variety of physical expressions and his inner qualities too.

We are so conditioned that we have become the judge of ourselves, holding ourselves to impossible and rigid body expectations. Even if you don’t care about how you appear to others, you may still care how you appear to yourself without understanding that your preferences are not your own. You may be heavily conditioned by your mother, father, and friends as well by society, since birth and through the bloodline. The conditioning is everywhere and has been going on for thousands of years even if the specifics have changed a little through the generations.

Another way the mind can grab onto shame is to avoid the body. Many of us live dissociated from the body. We can’t feel the negative effects of shame hurting the body. We do not sense the toxic effects of putting too much or the wrong food and drink into the body or the negative effects of not getting the right nourishment and movement for the body. Avoidance can look like wearing only sweats and baggy clothes when really you would love to dress differently deep down. Sexual avoidance is very real and this can be conscious or unconscious. You can think you want sexual intimacy but unconsciously push it away at the same time.

Sexual expression is a fundamental human need and pleasure that has been exploited completely by religion and the media in a highly contrasted fashion. Either you should feel ashamed of your sexual body or you should look like Marylin Monroe and be a sexual kitten. The former is more about shaming your desires and the latter is more about shaming what you look like. The former is more about putting the moral soul above the amoral body and the latter is more about needing to fit into one very strict prototype of a body that is impossible for most people. Whether it be the Marylin body, the yoga body, the model body, the strict prototype is that we must be thin and either have curves or no fat.

I want to share that I know body shame more than any other shame. I have been obese in my lifetime and grew up the chubby kid who was always teased.  I put on a lot of extra weight due to coping with childhood trauma. I healed through the years and let the excess weight go and I am still many sizes above the expected beauty norm in our society. My body has been the place where psychological pain has expressed the most. Food addiction became my escape hatch and this is another method to avoid shame. Addiction is the number one way for the mind to escape shame.

You can be addicted to food and put on too much weight than what is balanced for your body or be addicted to dieting/working out and have just as much shame being a size four. Eating disorders are rampant in our culture as a result. Truth is, every body has a natural size and shape it wants to be from teeny to huge. We don’t need to glorify thin and shame fat. We don’t need to heal by glorying fat and shaming thin. Healing is allowing the variety to return and self-sovereignty over one’s body to be restored.

I am not afraid to share my story anymore but I used to be. I have worked hard on myself to heal body shame and I have approached healing from two angles, internal and external. From the internal angle I have found self love for exactly how my body looks in the present, flaws, fat, sags, wrinkles, and all. I also have an autoimmune disease that presents in very ugly skin eruptions. I found much acceptance and love for the way this disease attacks my body.

From the external angle, I have healed shame by losing weight, getting in shape, and being committed to my yoga practice. I was carrying more weight than what was right for my body due to food addiction, which is why losing weight was healing for me though losing weight may not be needed for every body to heal. Getting in shape brings me a lot of joy which is healing. My yoga practice connects me to my body each day and this is the crux of body healing for me. I do think every body benefits from mind body connection as it is our birthright to be whole and connected creatures.

I have made friends with shame along the way. I am not free of it but shame is greatly reduced and when I do feel it, I bring love and radical acceptance to the shame knowing that if I do so it will leave my body. Shame is a passing chemical storm. It is not who you are. And you can feel just as much shame being the body society promotes all the way to being the body society rejects. Doesn’t matter. Shame is not logical and it is not rooted in reality.

Learning how to meet shame with love and release shame from the body is the key to health, balance, and self love. True beauty is making peace with all of who you are body, mind, heart, and soul. But it’s hard because we are hooked on comparing ourselves, feeling bad about our bodies, and trying to meet society’s beauty expectations again and again. What has been most conditioned is the hardest to change.

To overcome body shame and feel self love for the body requires a commitment. Kind of like a marriage commitment. The reason why I say this is because it’s too alluring to slip into body shame and believe it, again and again. It only takes a moment to slip and fall into a shame spiral that acts like quick sand once in. Healing from shame sometimes requires a fight but more than often requires skill and dedication.

One skill is to utilize love and not confuse love with like. I may not like the skin eruptions I can get with my autoimmune disease but I can love the eruptions. Using the marriage metaphor, you can learn to accept your partner’s traits that irritate you because you love them unconditionally even though you may not like certain things about them. Love your body the same way. Just like a relationship, every body has its pretty and ugly parts or parts you like and do not like. This is ok.

Love is not about liking all the time. Love often loves what is does not like. This is hard to understand or put into words because love is a felt experience and not a logical equation. Body love is felt and the feeling grows with skill and dedication. This love versus like skill applies to body size and shape too. You may not like your body size or shape but you can love your body size and shape.

Some people carry more weight than the beauty standard and enjoy how they look and some don’t. You can work on your size and shape if you want to change it but are you doing it from a place of love or as a way to avoid feeling shame? This difference is important because if changing your body is motivated by shame you will never love your body no matter what you look like.

Changing from a place of love is the healthy route. This goes for any aspect of the body’s appearance. Sometimes accepting what you don’t like about your body’s appearance, that you could change, is the healthiest and most loving route. But to even have the choice between changing and not changing your body requires self love. If you do not love your body you will feel like you do not have a choice. You will feel victim to shame or your mind will tell a story that you must lose weight (or whatever it is) to be healthy, pretty, good, or valued.

So it gets complicated…

Having an autoimmune disease has taught me a lot about accepting my body when I don’t like aspects of it. Nothing screams shame like horrifying and unsightly skin eruptions. In my most noble moments, I feel this condition is in service to my work as a therapist because I have been forced to learn how to love and release shame to the extreme.

If you live with acceptance and love for your body you will live in the present, stay connected to body, and you will be more inclined to move and feed your body in the way your specific body truly needs. You will be more likely to let an intimate partner into your life, you will be more motivated to dress in a way you enjoy, you will be less judgmental of others, and you will experience more peace.

I feel that it is the responsibility of every woman to try to love and accept her body more so that we can change the beauty expectations and society’s conditioning over time. It’s not just for yourself you are healing for, it is for every women and every child. It is to bring more equality to women in this world. It is to bring more equality to everyone in this world.

Women can look refined with wrinkles too. Our bellies can be cute. We can be large or thin, flat or big chested, have a butt or no butt, wear make up or not, on and on, and we can be valued by society as healthy and beautiful if we make it a responsibility to own our self worth and body love within, first.

One thing I have learned on my path of healing is that even though it’s not my fault for what happened to me or how I got conditioned, it is still up to me to heal. This is the harsh truth of life for us as humans. Even if you have been truly victimized by another, by society, or in the world, you are the only one who can heal yourself. When you heal yourself, you heal everyone.

I want to share what I did to release shame and love my body because maybe it will help you too.

  1. I made the commitment to myself. I did this by creating a ritual on the new moon, calling in the directions and to the transpersonal forces in my own way, I asked for help and said my vows out loud. This was my marriage ceremony to my body.
  2. I began doing yoga naked in front of a full length mirror. This was very hard! I had so much shame in the beginning but I kept doing it anyway and asking the transpersonal to help me see my shape and size with loving eyes. Wouldn’t you know it, it worked. I began to see myself with authentic loving eyes and to have acceptance around parts I did not like. I still do naked yoga because it has become very enjoyable connecting to my body this way. Our society tends to over-sexualize the naked body but let us break that mold. The naked body is our innocence and creature self in raw form. You can try a practice of looking into a full length mirror naked once a day for a few minutes. I recommend asking spirit to help you see with loving eyes. Stick with it. This took me a few months before my perception shifted and shame lifted.
  3. I began mindful eating no matter what that looks like, meaning I can mindfully eat quickly with robust vigor as much as I might eat mindfully slow and methodical but the point is to be aware I am eating and enjoy the food. Thank the food. Thank my robust appetite. Thank my belly for digesting my food which is really number four.
  4. Giving gratitude to the body for it’s functioning. Thank you body for digesting my food, for my walking legs, my eyes that see…you get the idea. Take some time to think about all your body is doing for you and give it thanks. Give thanks for your body allowing you to be here alive on this planet.
  5. Radical acceptance. This one simple skill is hard to achieve and all you need to meet shame with love. I learned how to move through the shame by giving it space to express itself without fear. Learn to not fear shame. When shame rises up know that it is nothing more than a chemical storm coursing through your body. It is not who you are. When it rises up, notice shame as a sensation in the body and radically accept its existence just like you might accept a storm passing through your town. Shame will pass. Shame will leave the body when it is given non-resistance.
  6. Find the movement you love. I found yoga. I love doing ashtanga yoga. When I do it, I feel like myself. I feel open, free, peaceful. It’s not fun per se, but it makes me feel whole and balanced. I also found fun body movement in walking and other random activities such as swimming and being on a boat feeling the water move my body ever so slightly. It’s not just movement, it’s how your body feels. I love the way my body feels when the sun shines on bare skin, when I step into a hot shower, when I slide into clean sheets. Find all the little body joys. Every day.
  7. Stop looking at triggers like fashion mags or anything that seduces you into the comparing mind. I refused to pic up fashion magazines in the beginning stages of my healing journey because they made me feel not good enough. Now I can flip through them without being triggered but it took time. Know your limits. Honor your limits. Reduce triggers as much as you can until love starts to take over and shame is released enough. You will get stronger, I promise. It isn’t weak to know and honor your limits. It is smart and healthy.
  8. Be consistent with your practices. This is the hardest lesson of all but absolutely necessary. I have this skill down with ease now but it took a few years of pushing myself to do what I don’t feel like doing over and over. You can not listen to your feelings and do the thing anyway. Get on the mat. Go for a walk. Say the gratitudes. Eat mindfully. Look into the mirror naked. Do the things.
  9. Always call the transpersonal for help. Every morning I say my invocation and ask for spirit to take my body shame and bring me body healing. The transpersonal is real. You can surrender to your higher power. This is not weakness. We are only human. We are not superheroes and this is ok. Our wills are stronger when they are knitted to the whole, to the transpersonal larger forces however you relate to them, religious, spiritual, or nature.
  10. Get into therapy! Of course I say this as therapist, I believe in it. If therapy isn’t your thing than have therapeutic dialogue through diary writing, talking with friends, seeing energy healers to get support, there are many ways. I keep a diary, talk to my spirit guides, and have my support system. Body shame is a big deal and usually very chronic and life long in women. Be patient with yourself. The healing takes time but results are real.

May you find your way to release shame and love your body. I share my experience because maybe I can be of help or inspiration. We are all in this together and the more each one of us heals the more society will reflect balance, love, and true sovereign individualized health. Beauty’s natural variety will return and we will all feel more free, more peaceful and more content.

 

 

Stream of Consciousness Healing Blog

I write the following blog with the intention of my stream of conscious writing to be a catalyst of inspiration and healing, if you enjoy reading in this style.  It is meant to be one big long paragraph where I did not think before writing or craft the writing, I just typed and allowed the unconscious to do the expressing. Raw material direct from within. You may want to try it yourself. Don’t think, just write or type and let it all out…

My mom’s one-year death anniversary is Thursday. She feels so gone. Doesn’t show herself in signs or dreams. It’s so weird to feel how gone she is. It’s weird how natural it feels that she is gone. I suppose I expected to feel suffering, but I don’t. Grief is not suffering. Grief sometimes is worse than suffering but often grief is beautiful. There are many faces of grief and we all grieve differently. I speak of my experience. The dark abyss of endless longing for somebody you will never see again is a face of grief worse than suffering. It is the face of an endless heaving creature pain that pummels the nervous system. Nature never makes that last more than the body can survive it or more than the heart can survive it. But the mind can always glom on to the pain and create stories of life not worth living anymore. For elderly spouses this can be a common story. We are only human after all and this story is tender and deserves compassion. My story, per usual, is always one of healing. My mom’s death has catapulted me into healing the multigenerational wound in the female line. Body shame. Let’s face it, what woman do you know that does not feel some kind of shame about her body? Anyone? Our pain is not unique. It is collective because collective forces have enslaved our inner power. Feminine power in both men and women equally. Females are the avatars, but men are enslaved just as deeply. They have more power to run the world, but they run a messed-up world from an enslaved mind that does not comprehend how sick the world is. They are the avatars of power imbalance. Women have less power in the world, sometimes no power at all, but women talk about their feelings and bond emotionally with each other and therefor are much more empowered in the heart. Men are disconnected in the heart. These are sweeping generalizations made by the magical child’s commentary. It’s ok to let her voice out too. No fear. Then you have all those who don’t identify with these labels of gender and sex identity at all and may these types navigate their own course of identity, pioneering and catapulting evolution. Room for everyone in the variety, is my motto. I cannot write about it all though. I write specific. The beauty of grief I feel is how deeply I can love my mother now that she is free of the human suit. Nothing says love like I will never see you again. I hear her laugh in my head. She is light and happy as a spirit guide. She lets me know this all the time. I flipped the cushion of the chair I always sit in last night and said, “see mom, I did it, ” knowing she would be proud. Felt her in that tiny moment. It’s the little things even after death. Grief is beauty because she is inside of me. A piece of her soul landed inside those closest to her. I got some of her elegance, pragmatism and humor. Back to the healing aspect, I also got her unprocessed human pain and I am discovering how to let it go. How to heal that multigenerational wound that lived in her. How to process her anger and shame that mingles with my own. It’s through letting go. Always. I am beginning to understand on deeper layers how to let go. Not buying into the negative mental story. Not expecting life to provide fulfilment. Forgiveness that is felt and not just known as some ego-should to obtain. Radical acceptance which is the only act that leads to genuine forgiveness. Radical acceptance is not expecting life to be different than it is and allowing pain as much room as pleasure to exist as a fundamental aspect of human life. Accept what is. Every single aspect. The abuse of power, the positive force of the human spirit and everything in between. This pain is meant to be happening. The feelings say, “no it shouldn’t”. The creature hurts and doesn’t understand hurt. So soul needs to play mom and dad within to child ego, child creature, the very human part of us. Soul needs to play god and goddess within and guide creature. Soul needs to comfort and validate creature’s hurt, leading the way through the dark night. Soul has her dark night too though and needs to express lifetimes of karma, the deep well within of all she has endured. The she within every man and woman. We have all of these stories as movies, poems, novels, plays, songs, paintings, carvings, sculptures, meals, gardens, every creation that stems from pain. Beautiful expressions that release the pain through sharing it. We know we are not alone and we are meant to endure it. The paradox is hard to digest mentally. Sweet ego, always trying to make logical sense when only about one quarter of life can be reduced into the tiny cup of logic. Half of life needs the skills of mindfulness. unconditional love, a strong consistent practice. liberation of addiction, bringing order to chaos, rewriting the narrative of self, healing the multigenerational wound through letting go and making up a new myth of humanity. But you cannot exist fully in skills. We are not supposed to be healing robots. We are human beings and half of us is wild, the feminine spirit in every single body, the creative unknown, the pioneer, a body still quite unknown to science, so much still to know and explore and so much we will never know. We need creative expression, freedom, sex, sensuality, connection, newness, evolution, dreams. We need to remember the power within that is us but more than us. The transpersonal is the power within, call it what you will. We are connected always to the transpersonal force that courses through bringing us into life, love, intelligence, and awareness. We heal to touch upon this. We heal to remember this. We heal to grow. Healing is the structure that supports living, healing is not the point of living. Sometimes we get so bogged down though. We are weary from healing. We long for new stories to begin. Remember in your weariness that the act of enduring is meant to be too. Pain is a teacher. Grief is a teacher. Enduring is a teacher. Meaning and inspiration can rise from pain as much as from light and expansion if you touch the raw tender center with your mind. I know that sounds vague, but it will make sense over time. No need to avoid any aspect of life. Welcome dark to tea as much as light.

 

Reflection on Past Lives

It doesn’t matter if past lives literally happened or if they are mythological and archetypal stories informing us of the soul’s life. What is real versus what is not real, in terms of esoteric information, cannot be solved by the human mind and empirical means. Our ability to know what constitutes the whole of reality is limited and always will be.

Different pathways of knowing are designed for different knowings. Science, empiricism, logic and reason has its place. Intuition, feelings, imagination, and belief has its place. Both are needed and valid. Knowledge may be discovered in many different ways.

When it comes to spiritual knowledge, people tend to either go on blind faith or felt experience. I always recommend the latter as blind faith tends to create enslaved minds because it is often fear based and a way to give power up to a larger external institution. But felt faith is different. Felt faith is a lived experience of faith and full bodied, placing the power source within.

I believe in past lives because I have remembered many of my own. The memories feel like memories I remember in this life. Ever notice how memory has its own specific feeling?  My memories have come through past life journeys, dreams, and instantaneous sudden awareness. I have been shown signs. I have vomited and cried upon first meeting somebody in this life I have known from past lives. And all the lives I have recalled have all helped me heal.

I could deconstruct every past life I have recalled to sift out the major psychological themes happening in my present life. Meaning, I can turn any past life into a metaphor. Which one is true? Is the past life a metaphor or literal? It doesn’t matter to me. I hold both as true. I have a critical thinker and an esoteric priestess in me. The latter is more my true self and knows past lives are literal. The critical thinker in me is always humbling the priestess by saying, “this may be all in your mind.”

I like to be humbled by the critical mind. Nothing is more falsely seductive and bypassing as a spiritual guru type claiming to have all the answers in their new book, class, technique. The real gurus are the ones hardly saying a word and living off the grid without materialism at all in pure service to humanity. All the rest of us may be wise, psychic, and intuitive healers but we are very human with egos and desires that constantly want to feel needed, valued, and empowered.

Let go of trying to prove something right and as my friend said the other night, “bring it back from the dead with the power of belief.” Belief activates what is in the collective unconscious. Think of it like a vast place as big as space that we all psychically spring from. In this vast space everything exists in essence. The infinite void contains all, contains the multitudes. When you believe in something you resurrect it from dormancy by pulling it up from the collective unconscious infinite void into your waking self where life is lived out loud.

We are supposed to believe in myth. Stories inspire, guide, and heal. Our ancestors pass down their stories through the collective unconscious through patterns of behavior we exhibit, through feelings and desires bigger than our own, and through dreams. Each ancestral life lived a particular story with particular wounds and longings unmet that travel through the DNA hoping to be lived out by the next generation. This is a form of past life too. Our ancestors are our past lives.

The way I see it in my mind is in two axises. The vertical ancestry and the horizontal ancestry. The vertical is the soul’s journey from group soul to individual soul, from starseed to human, from lifetime to lifetime, and from dimension to dimension. The horizontal ancestry is who you are in your earth bloodline of ancestors. Where the two intersect is where the true self roots. We are a verb not a noun. True self is an expression of the vertical and horizontal ancestries living in the present moment.

We are never a separate being plucked from the collective. We are an expression of both ancestries at all times. You have your great great great great grandparents in you, your star home in you, your past lives in you, on and on. You are history living in the now. You are the future living in the now too but let’s not get too trippy in this blog. Who you are is a collective pretending to be an individual. This pretend game is very serious in that spirit aches to express, evolve, grow, and play all the time. Spirit is always alive in the present moment, always dancing. You are spirit dancing.

There are many ways to recover past lives. You can go see a past life regression therapist. I have guided many people into past lives. The guidance is very simple and the basic technique is relaxation of the body to go deep into the unconscious self to recover the life through imagination. The hard part is trusting the imagination. Many people think regressions are where you are not conscious while “going under” but you are conscious. You must trust what your imagination reveals to you because the imagination is the movie showing you the life.

Dreams can reveal a past life too. You may not be literally told in the dream that it is a past life but the scene, the people, and the scenarios may all feel very familiar, vivid, and important. Both journeying/regressing and dreams require trust in the self. This is where I see the most blocks in others. Self doubt. We are so conditioned to only put validity in science and empirical knowing that the intuition and imagination muscles may be weak.

The only way to increase psychic skills is through practice. Practice journeying, practice imagining, practice listening to your feelings and intuitions. Meditate a little bit every day. It takes work and effort like anything else. In our society, the gym and making money hold much more importance because we put more value in the body’s health and appearance and in the status and comfort level of the ego. There’s a grave imbalance. On the other end of the spectrum you have people going on blind faith and believing with no lived experience, no critical thinking, ignoring the body completely and living all for a future place in an after world.

I diatribe but just want to make the point that balance is key. What you focus on grows and what you ignore atrophies. Simple as that. If you want to remember your past lives you need to practice developing your journeying, intuitive, and imaginative skills. Although some people go deep right away when being guided by somebody or self guiding. You might already be gifted and just need to create the space and time to go within and take a journey to remember.

Past lives may be felt when reading or watching something on the screen too. You might be watching a period piece and find yourself crying for no reason. You may be obsessed with a period in history because it is a life you lived. You might detest a period in history. Clues surface all the time when coming into contact with history through entertainment, school, stories from elders, walking through a museum or a library. Trust the feelings. Listen to the feelings. Follow the feelings and allow your imagination to unfurl.

I have uncovered past lives with clients when pulling tarot cards. This happens when the client is already somewhat skilled in using intuition and imagination. Through talking, pulling cards and our mutual intuition, out pours the lifetime. Sometimes I see past lives in others suddenly. When I see the past life of a client I share what I see but I never want to hold more power than they have to know the self. I share with humbleness. Back to the top of this blog, what I see can be used as a healing metaphor only.

This is why I travel back and forth between literal and metaphor, spirit and psychology, the esoteric and critical thinking. Keeps it real. Keeps the ego from inflating and soul from deflating. Keeps the balance. Feel free to share what you see. We are not performing surgery when we share, it’s ok to be wrong or off and to stay playful about the vision. Sharing what you see may be a gift for the other person.

Getting out of the glamor of the esoteric is important because if you sink into the glamor you bypass the healing work. If you are all ablaze with importance because you remembered you were the king of a country, you will bypass the feeling of being insignificant that needs out of the shadow. You can as easily be ego inflamed from a horrifying and sad past life if the ego over-identifies with the wounds it carries, bypassing empowerment trapped in the shadow.

Just like somebody with a beautiful physique may live fully in the attention they receive for their outward appearance, ignoring their inner life, a psychic maven may ignore her lower chakra creature life and live in an inflated sense of importance with her intuitive gifts, the attention this gives her, and the power she feels from helping others. We all have gifts and we all have areas of weakness and the human ego loves to inflate the gift to repress the weakness in order to feel loved, needed, validated, and seen. Not one of us is above the craving for attention and the hunger to be loved and needed.

In astrology you can find your past lives in your south node and Chiron. Some schools find it in Pluto and Saturn too. In my own channels, I find Chiron to reveal the deepest wound carried from past lives, the south node to reveal the past life character wishing to be integrated but not identified with, Pluto to show where the soul feels the most loss from past lives and Saturn to show where the soul feels most limited and challenged due to past life influences.

There are a few lifetimes I have recovered that transformed me through remembering them. They involved meeting the souls I share this life with too. Soulmates are not just romantic. They are siblings, friends, parents, teachers, anyone. Romantic soulmates are very intense because lovers are intense and most closely mirror attachment with parents or caretakers.

The key to healing from past lives is to understand that all feelings that were not let go of and made peace with before death travel with the soul into the next life. This is karma. Guilt, for example, may be traveling with your soul through the vertical ancestry from life to life and be traveling down the horizontal ancestry through the bloodline from the first Grandmother who was oppressed by the patriarchal system. Until guilt is released it will travel with you.

If guilt is traveling with you, the unconscious will create relationships that will make the guilt rise up to the surface to be felt because feeling is healing. To let go we first must feel what needs to be released. If you feel the guilt and choose to accept it without judgement and let it go by not believing the story around it, you set guilt free from the soul. You no longer carry it. You release the karma. This is the key to karmic healing and the point of remembering past lives.

There are many paths to the same place. You can not believe in past lives and never talk about it once and still heal as deeply as somebody doing past life work. Through accessing your feelings in this life you can release all karma and understand yourself fully. It’s all a matter of choice, belief and individual expression.

 

 

 

The Journey of Grief

The inspiration for this blog comes from wanting my journey of grief to inspire and help you on your journey of grief. I want to pioneer more therapists sharing their own life stories and reflections because those of us who have been through it to be a guide for others have much to offer from our personal experience. We can speak in a universal way in order to connect with others on the healing path and to release muck from the collective unconscious.

On January 9th it will be one year since my mother passed away. The experience of her death is a treasure in my memory as my sisters and I sent my mother into death with our words and comforting presence. A rare opportunity. This was my first experience of sending a human into death. I did this with a doggie and the feeling was similar. Peaceful. My mother was not scared to die. She was ready and trusting. She felt spirit and soul to be real, not in a religious way, in a way she could feel on a personal level. Her felt experience gave her inner peace. She was only scared of the actual passing moment and she called her daughters to be witness and help her transition.

Although the few days she was in a coma prior to dying were two of the hardest days of my life, I am beyond grateful to have been a death guide for my mother. I asked her in the hospital, days before her death, how she wanted to die. She said with certainty, “at home, surrounded by my family.” I told her we would make that happen and the conviction in my body was so fixed nothing could stop me. I learned a lot about that feeling of fixed conviction. I learned that it is a transpersonal and archetypal force that rose into my ego to make my mother’s death be as she wanted. We have help from the transpersonal/archetypal realms whenever we need it.

Her year and half battle with cancer was brutal toward the last six months. I have thought a lot about it since her death. I have thought a lot about my behavior. I worked very hard to accept her battle and accept how she wanted to proceed through it. I remember distinctly learning the lesson of letting go of trying to control her in order to make myself feel better. The lesson of surrender is deep and life long. I did the best I could and I don’t harp on myself. I showed up with a lot of presence. I also recall all the times I was irritated with her, angry with her, wishing she made different choices and all the ways I reacted without presence and surrender. Part of grief for me has been going through each memory and forgiving myself for every time. It’s a process.

I also have needed to go through the awful memories of her vomiting and in pain with me as witness. I have felt so much pity and pain for her when these memories rise up. I then hear my mother in my head say, “I am free of that now, don’t dwell on the pain,” and I know she is right. This is a hard lesson for me because I feel so strongly how she did not deserve to go through all of the pain she went through. The anger for her having to endure cancer and the battle to kill it,  flares up strongly in my heart. I then tell myself all the crone wisdom: life is unfair for everybody, life is suffering, life is dark and light… and it helps. I make the intention to release the anger. Again, this a process and it just takes time.

What is important about grieving is that every step is treated as important. You cannot rush grief. Everybody grieves differently and for different amounts of time too. I cannot control my father’s grief and my sisters and I grieve each in our own way. Grief control us, we don’t control grief. You must let grief have its way with you and not judge others for how they grieve. Grief will teach you to endure loss, surrender and become much more aware of time and the shortness of life if you let it do its magic. If you resist grief you will become more addicted to the things you are addicted to: shopping, hustling, working, drinking, eating, controlling, whatever it is. People resist grief all the time and dive into doing all the things and escaping in all the various ways.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. I have cried the hardest for missing my mom about ten months after her death. In the beginning, the tears were more violent and deluging storms of shock. Once I accepted my mom’s death (stages of grief) about six-seven months later, the tears have become about missing her versus being shocked she is gone. I did not think about it until these new “missing her” tears…about how the longer the loved one is dead the more you miss them because the longer time passes without them. A very logical thought that I did not consider. Grief is not logical. I miss her presence so much.

I miss my mother’s voice, her scent, her sayings, her mannerisms. Grief has taught me that love for others is much more about their particular essence and much less about compatibility or beliefs. My mother and I were very opposite personalities but we found connection when shopping, watching television, having morning coffee, sharing our love of animals….but it’s not the connecting I miss about her. I miss her. Vivian. I miss her being in this world. The lesson this teaches me is so potent. I realize that love really is about love. It’s not about what I get or give. Sure, I miss how she nurtured us with her domestic ways and I miss giving her my love too but what I really miss is literally her presence as a living human being existing in this world.

I come from my share of abuse, dysfunction, and trauma like most of us do. Yet I am also very lucky that my family knows and gives unconditional love. I got very close to my mother over the last twenty years and we healed our stuff. I know me being a healer had much to do with it as I stubbornly pushed for healing in the early years. Yet also, my mother was open and healthy enough in her psyche to go through the healing journey. Many mothers do not have the capacity to heal or even relate. Many loved ones are so mentally ill that their children and siblings need continual distance and hard boundaries at all times. Grief may be very complex with the pain and mental illness involved in family systems. This still does not tell you how you will grieve though. Grief will surprise you.

Grief transforms you, a friend and fellow therapist told me. He has been through a lot of death. That sentence sticks with me. I have witnessed myself transform over this past year. Solitude is something I need much more of since my mother’s passing. It may not always be this way but for now, I don’t feel like being very social like I used to be. I have become a ghost friend. I know those who love me and are closest accept me for my ghost phase and those who cannot accept me, I let them go. I need a lot of space around me and a lot of time to go within. I don’t feel like doing much of the “fun” things either. I don’t want to go out much. I go to bed early. I am more serious, somber, and internal. I am sure this will balance out over time but for now, I need what I need.

One of the biggest transformations is that I no longer care what other people think of me, for the most part. I used to be much more concerned, as many of us are, about being liked and accepted by others. Now, I don’t care. I have an attitude that feels like, “if you don’t like me that’s fine, whatever.” All shame about being me has vanished. I feel a major increase of self love. I also feel more shit cutting, pragmatic, and honest with myself and everybody. I am not trying to people-please and any ideals carried over from my twenties have dissolved in the grief journey. I want to continue to dream, grow, and live with fulfillment but it comes from a much more grounded place inside now.

Again, my friends who are close honor this change in me. The people who count allow me to change as I give the same allowance to them. If we need to grow apart, that’s ok too. Those who needed me as I was before, I release. It feels really wonderful to be free of needing to be liked or to hold on to relationships that don’t serve me or them anymore. The self love increase is nourishing too. I am so much more gentle with myself. It feels as if my mother’s soul went into me and is helping me to become more gentle and balanced.

I feel that when the soul leaves the body, a piece of it enters those who were close. I feel the piece of my mom that went into me is her dignity, her shit cutting attitude, her grace, her pragmatism, and her love for fashion. Not all of these traits lived in the conscious world of my mother’s personality but all these traits lived in her being nevertheless. I feel these traits mix with my own and make me new. I have worn more make-up since her passing, feeling her love for make-up and being lady-like in that New York city way. I feel her quiet grace and earthy poise become a part of my former stormy celestial sparky self. I feel her shit cutting wisdom permeate my ethereal attitude. This makes me feel close to her too as I transform.

As we approach the year marker of her death, I feel a sense of joy. I feel joy that she is free of her body and her life here. I have connected with her on the other side. She is actively becoming a spirit guide and very happy with her life choosing to not reincarnate but to be a soul guide for the incarnated. Not every soul gets this choice. You have to die with enough peace in your heart to see the choice in the first place. How we live in this body continues after we leave it, with the same continuity of emerging into unknown possibilities and choices whether we are human, in another kind of body, or not in a body. But I will save the esoteric for another blog. I feel joyful for my mother’s happiness.

At the same time, I feel sorrow for my father being left without her. This is the dark side of love. Somebody will grieve the other when you get into these long partnerships. The lesson returns of not controlling. I cannot control his grief. I cannot control his life. I have learned so much about how we want control others when they are hurting because it hurts so much to feel their pain. Through my mom’s cancer battle, her death, and my father’s journey now, I see how much I want to take away the pain of those I love with my solutions, my way of seeing things, my way of healing. The lesson is to let it go. Allow others to experience life as they need to and only show up to help as asked. Pain is not bad and pain should not be avoided. Surrender.

Surrender means making peace with what is. Making peace with what is means making space for what is. Making space for what is means not saying or believing things like, “this should not have happened” or “this is wrong and unfair.” To make space means to allow all of it. ALL. I have discovered how to allow life to be grief, pain, hurt, and loss just as much as growth, pleasure, gain, and expansion. It means letting all of life express itself, the good, the bad, the ugly as they say. It means letting go of controlling the cycles. Paradoxically, you must put effort forth to self-care, heal and grow to allow yourself to let go of controlling the natural vicissitudes of life.

I always recommend the book, “Dark Nights of the Soul,” by Thomas Moore. He inspires me to find the richness in the dark night, whatever it may be. What bothers me is the collective ignorance of “turning the frown upside down” or bypassing the stages of grief (denial, bartering, anger, depression, acceptance) with sayings such as, ” don’t be sad, she’s with you in spirit.” These sayings are so the sayer can control your pain so they don’t feel afraid of it. It is vital to go through the grief journey with all the frowns, tears, stages, and for as long as you need. The difference between getting stuck and moving through the stages is that the former comes from resisting the stages of grief and the latter happens when you surrender to the stages and allow them to pass through you.

 

 

Reflections on Fear…

Fear is the inspiration for this blog. Good old human creature fear and how it effects the psyche, the body, and the human experience. My intention for this blog is simply to reflect. I want to honor the process of contemplating, intuiting, and understanding in service of allowing the unconscious to unravel in the moment…

When fear is pushed deeply into the shadow of the psyche, going unfelt and unseen, it manifests as physical ailments. Digestive issues. Constipation if the human body retracts and tries to protect itself. Or diarrhea, the other direction, if the temperament of the creature tends to run more anxious than withholding…

Attachment wounds reveal themselves inwardly as much as outwardly. When we are not securely attached (most of us) we tend toward avoidance or anxiousness, the former being anxious too but withholds/hides/avoids and so it doesn’t seem to present emphatically.

It’s not just how we are raised that determines our attachment style and wounding, it’s the temperament of the body which has everything to do with the multigenerational family system. Avoidance style (the island) or anxiousness style (the wave) may be a pattern running down the DNA line. Digestive issues may run in the family through the female or male bloodline with each creature carrying fear that gets pushed into the shadow.

Feelings have to be felt to be released. Healing is feeling. Must fear be felt to be released?

How hard might it be to feel fear if you are wired to push it into the shadow and present with digestive issues and probably a neurotic mind. Usually when fear is hiding in the shadow the mind is defensive, controlling, and fanatical or extreme in certain ways to compensate for the unseen fear.

Fear is big. The country is big with fear. The family system is big with fear. The creature if big with fear because living a human existence is scary. We are not given any guarantee of safety, control, or happy endings. People experience undeserved tragedy all the time.

I think about animals that experience tragedy and how they are not conscious of themselves with a cognitive mind so they don’t have the ability to think, “why did this happen to me,” or “I am not good enough” or “this person is bad and I am a victim of evil,” or any such conclusion that only a self aware cognitive mind could come up with through the thinking process.

Fear is not the summation the mind makes. Fear is present in the body and then leaves. In animals, it presents and leaves if the animal gets to live a healthy life but trauma from abuse or neglect will collect just as much in their bodies, proving that the consequences of trauma live in the body first and foremost. The human mind only makes it worse.

The body collects what is not processed and this is a region of the shadow. I am thinking of an abused or neglected doggie living on the street that presents as mean and vicious (the wave) or through slinking and hiding away (the island) if anyone approaches to bring love. The doggie’s body is filled with fear from the trauma of being abused or neglected.

The only way to heal the doggie is exposure therapy to love.. First the doggie must be tricked into being caught (maybe a piece of food in a cage). Next the doggie must slowly be introduced to loving care, allowing her body to slowly release the fear and accept love. This proves that love is the healer of fear.

Humans are the same. Fear collects in the body from trauma, abuse, or maybe there is no abuse/trauma but there is the multigenerational absence of affection, attunement and acknowledgment of being seen, heard, and loved without conditions (the feminine side of the psyche).  Only love can release the fear the body holds.

Not some parlor trick for the mind. Ok, I have a bit of irreverence for certain modalities of therapy I think trick the mind into “feeling better” by changing the chemicals but I don’t think this is healing. I think it is temporal band-aid. I feel true healing is always rooted in the experience of being loved, listened to, and acknowledged.

The feminine aspect of life knows this. Knows that love heals all. And what is love? Love is how we behave. It is not a concept. It is not an ideal. It is how we care for the self, others, and life. How we show up. How we tend to fear. Fear, like with the doggie, will leave the body with love. It just will.

Self love is a start and usually the base of love. Self love releases fear beginning with not listening to self-sabotaging neural pathways, the well worn path, the shitty narrative in the mind that says, “I am not good enough, who do I think I am” etc….or the other direction of, “they are ruining my existence, they are to blame for how I feel,” etc.

Ignoring the sabotaging narrative is key and the base of self love but then what? It is it truly different for everyone. For me, self love is practicing mindfulness so I don’t listen to the narrative of doom, keeping up with my exercise and creativity practices that make me feel balanced, inspired, and confident, and being nurturing and easy on myself.

I truly believe in being easy on the self. Sure, there is a time to face fear with a wand of courage and determination. But back to the doggie, if you push him he will fall apart. If you give him time, patience, understanding and slowly expose him to love and new life, he will heal.

I am somebody who needs to go very easy on myself in order to heal, maybe more so than the average person (is there an average person?) and so I attest to this path as being pertinent in healing because I have been healing with great results over time. I speak from my own lived experience and find that the gentle path brings proven results.

Fear needs to be handled with skill and fear is attachment. We fear because are attached to security, health, love, and success….as we should be. Nothing wrong with being human! Yet in this messed up world with broken bloodlines riddled with too much suffering, we need major skill to bring healing to fear.

Like the doggie, learning to let more love in is an exposure process. Love will dissolve fear but it’s so scary to let love in. Letting love in may feel scarier than the fear. What a paradox.

Unfortunately the doggie cannot respond to humor but I think for humans, humor is a major healing tool for exposing the self to the fear of letting love in.

My god can we laugh at life for a second? I say this with emphasis because my own typical tendency to take life too seriously. You could say it is a privilege to have a light heart…and…it is also temperament. There are those who seem to have a light heart even when enduring the worst of circumstances.

But don’t beat yourself up if you have a heavy heart. I have a fairly heavy heart and I love my heavy heart because it allows me to sit with people in their deepest pain and give love, it allows me to analyze the psyche and discover new territory, it allows me to sit for hours and write about big ideas. I would not want to be romping around like a Pixie but more power to the Pixie.

Honor your temperament is what I am getting at here. You can heal from fear with a heavy or light heart but even heavy hearts can heal from humor. Laughing is vital. Laughing at the self releases the grip of those pesky narratives that shadow the fears.

Life is unsafe. We can create as much safety as possible by living in sheltered homes and communities with organized cultural institutions that allow us to experience more of the light and less of the pain. We can learn to love more so that we don’t have to feel unsafe with each other too.

At the same time, life is unsafe, suffering exists and it always will. People will cause violence and tyranny over others. Nature can wipe out a community in one cataclysm. Illness strikes even the most healthy. The dark side of life is not evil and cannot be eradicated. We can reduce suffering and achieve balance but we cannot be rid of darkness. Dark and light are equal forces of nature.

Fear will rise again and again, Fear is as natural as love.

All this being said, learning how to deal with fear is more pragmatic than trying to get rid of fear forever in the mind by demanding reassurance of continual safety (the wave) or through avoiding fear by living in one safe routined rut forever (the island).

I am all about living a fulfilling life where we get to keep growing and evolving each day and this is rooted in healing.

There is no healing arrival point where all fear is banished. Yet results are real. Healing the psyche brings more peace, love, fulfillment, ease, and all the other desired adjectives that balance out fear that will rise again and again.

I radically accept fear. I radically accept life not being safe. I radically accept the dark and light aspects of being human. I radically accept the patient process, the gentle path, love, and humor as medicine. This is my deepest reflection…

The more there is acceptance around fear the more body can stop expressing fear through digestive problems or other ailments, the more heart can let in love, the more mind can let go of self sabotaging narratives and the more soul or true self can rise out of the shadow and express in this world.