journaling

The Importance of Creativity

This weekend, my boyfriend and I watched a documentary called, “Long Strange Trip,”  which followed the Grateful Dead band from their beginnings in Palo Alto, CA to their eventual expansion as a worldwide phenomena. It was informative and inspiring and as we plowed through all 6 episodes, something notable began to happen.

We are musicians and before Covid hit, we were playing out regularly at a few local bars and restaurants. Our setlist was growing and we started bringing in other musicians and expanding our sound. It was always fun and the performances motivated us to dig deeper, practice harder, and experiment with new ideas. 

Once everything shut down and we were restricted to playing alone in our own space, we lost motivation. We tried recording some videos and posting them on social media, but it just wasn’t the same. Eventually, we found ourselves practicing less with minimal enthusiasm. 

Recently, we have felt a spark begin to re-ignite as the pandemic wanes and the promise of more abundant live music emerges. We have been looking at new tunes and considering a variety of styles, and after nearly a year of rest, something feels novel and promising. It is a growing ember and we are hoping that the flame will catch soon and we’ll be on our way again.

The documentary was perfect timing. 

One of the most interesting parts of the story was the Dead’s innovative approach…to just about everything. Not only did they merge several styles of music (bluegrass, blues, folk, R & B, jazz, classical, jug) into their own unique form of improvisation but they also had a singular approach to handling the business of the band. Instead of following the conventional models of other popular acts, they created their own methods, allowing the journey to unfold and the long strange trip to come alive. Instead of focusing on making money or selling lots of records, their goal was to connect with their audience and create something together, something that was fun and free form, and that’s exactly what happened. 

Innovation and creativity are strong values for me and so, this type of story gets me going. It makes me want to tap deeper into my own potential and find ways to allow more of what they had to flow through me.

As I began to think about ways to do this, I remembered a book I had read many years ago called, the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she points out that everyone has an unlimited creative potential. It is part of our birthright. As children, our connection to this source is vast and unblocked. We easily move in and out of unique imaginings and creative experiences. We are open. We observe. We experience. We create. Then, as we grow and move through our lives, our creative essence is slowly eroded by society until we reach a point where we can no longer find it. Sometimes, we can’t even remember having it. 

Cameron’s book helps those committed to discovering and recovering their creative power begin to unleash this buried gift. She has several techniques like writing morning pages to drain out distracting thoughts and tap into more wisdom. She also talks about planning a weekly “artist’s date” in which the reader takes their “inner artist child” out on a playdate, seeking new adventures and mysteries. All of the experiences and observations gathered are added to our ideas reservoir and become resources for our imaginings. I also believe that when we seek out fun and joy, we find our true selves and in this discovery, our creative potential opens up.

It appears that during the pandemic, my ideas reservoir had been running dry. I had limited social interactions and not a lot of places to go and things to see. I had plenty of valuable walks in the woods but that’s where it ended. My access to new sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes was limited. My imagination felt dulled, and I was not bringing much to the music. 

Now that I have been vaccinated and the world is opening up, I plan to begin “stocking the pond” again and scheduling a “weekly artist’s date.” I am already a daily journaler and will continue that with the intention of clearing the way to my inner creative self. I may even commit to following the program outlined in Cameron’s book. 

And as I think about the lives and accomplishments of the amazing Grateful Dead band, I will listen to more innovative arrangements, spend quality time with my guitar, work on new approaches to a variety of musical styles, write regularly, focus on fun, and take my hand off of the wheel, allowing the journey to unfold. After all, there may still be a “long strange trip” within me, waiting to be born.

To begin manifesting your best life, visit my website here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/.

Time to Unload

I look at my watch and realize I am late. I need to be at the airport in 20 minutes but that is impossible. I am at least a 20 minute drive from the terminal and I haven’t even finished packing. My belongings are spread out all over my bed and my suitcase is already too full and much too heavy. I try to focus and pull myself together but I am quickly in an all out panic and completely overwhelmed. My mind begins to scramble and I lose any remaining mental control. I am going to miss my flight. Of that, I am certain.

I have had this recurring dream over the years and it successfully illustrates how I feel at times. I am an ambitious Capricorn and have always been striving for a higher plane. I know I have it in me to soar to greater heights, I just don’t know how to get there and sometimes it feels like I am carrying too much.

I have been reflecting on this theme recently because I have chosen the 10 of Wands repeatedly over the past month in my daily Tarot card draw. 

The 10 of Wands suggests that we may be moving with too large a burden and that this load may be unnecessary and holding us back from realizing our dreams.  It asks us to reflect on our situation and lighten things up by prioritizing, accepting help, and letting go of outdated and potentially harmful patterns, behaviors, and relationships. It says that our burdens come in a variety of forms including material, spiritual, literal, emotional, and energetic and that if we are to arrive at the desired destination, we will need to unload.

I have felt some heavy energy surrounding my efforts lately and have noticed that most of it is self-imposed (goals I have set for myself, guilt I am working off, scattered organizational energy, unprocessed emotions). I have begun to realize that many of these energies have been with me for years and have slowed my progress. I have started questioning what would happen if I began to leave some items behind. If I dropped some of my bags, would I make it to the airport on time? 

As I consider this, I realize that perhaps it is alright to step back and enjoy the fruits of my labors without carrying any guilt. Perhaps it is better to face my emotions head on and provide time, space, and self care so that I am able to process and release the sadness, hurt, and loss instead of continuing to bring it along, and even though it’s hard to let go of familiar patterns, maybe it’s healthier to say good-bye to those that are no longer working.

In the process of determining what to keep and what to unload, I have found it valuable to observe all that makes me happy and gives me joy. These are the things I want to add to my bag because they are light and propel me forward, and they are indicators that we are on our truest path. 

Everything else can go. 

Of course, there will be negative and difficult situations, emotions, and energies along the way, but I know that the quicker I can identify, process and integrate or let go, the smoother and more successful the journey will be (to begin manifesting your desired life journey, click here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/). 

As we head towards the New Moon on April 11th, it is the perfect time to reflect on what loads we are carrying and if they are a necessary part of the voyage or are hindering our progress. We are the creators of our lives and if we want to travel to exciting destinations, it may be wise to let go of unnecessary cargo so that we can move along more freely with ease, flow, and unlimited grace.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

The Importance of Letting Go

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Ever since I started following the moon phases, I have taken some time around the full moon to reflect on areas of my life that are painful or uncomfortable. I try to pinpoint situations, ideas, and relationships that are causing anxiety, pain, fear, or any negative feeling. I look at past events that have hindered my progress and people who have told me I’m not good enough. I consider the effects these beliefs have had and decide if they are bringing me happiness or holding me back from reaching my fullest potential. 

We all hold onto things for a number of reasons. We may fear change, emptiness, the unknown, starting anew. We may have guilt or believe we are unworthy. We may be holding onto expectations, old patterns and pains, self-limiting beliefs, and harmful encounters that have been thrust upon us by others. We may hold onto the past because we fear saying good-bye. We may define ourselves by these experiences and feel that we are required to carry them with us for the rest of our days. 

The renowned psychologist Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” He believed that we have the power to define and create who we want to be by releasing our attachment to past ideas, situations, people, and feelings that are no longer working. He believed that once we forgive and let go, we are then able to begin the process of manifesting abundance, happiness, alignment with true self, and whatever else we can dream up.

The more I practice the art of letting go, the more I believe this to be true.

When we make it a regular practice to reflect on areas of our lives that cause pain, anxiety, or unease, we can begin to identify their origin and take the necessary steps to release them from our lives with love and compassion. Working towards understanding the reality of the situation or belief rather than the story you and others are telling is important, as is determining whether or not we are avoiding painful realities by busying ourselves, perpetuating our perceived shortcomings through rumination, or attracting relationships and situations that reinforce these harmful beliefs. 

If we are not living a happy, joyful life (most of the time), chances are we are not in sync with our true nature and there are likely things we are holding onto that are not supporting our best selves. So, how do we begin to let go?

I would recommend spending some time in meditation or journaling with the intention of uncovering any areas of discord and their possible points of origin. I would then make a list of all the people, situations, and beliefs that are no longer supporting you. Give thanks for all that you have learned from each experience and for any positive purpose it may have served. Send a blessing and then let it go. An effective ritual is to burn or shred the list as you release the energy into the Universe. This will strengthen the process and punctuate your intention. Also, it is important to remember that some of these beliefs and habits have been formed over many years or are deep rooted and will take a repetitive effort over time to fully release. I believe it is worth the effort and even if the letting go is small at first, you are still heading in the right direction and on the best path.

(To begin uncovering your life’s purpose, click here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/).

Once you have set your intention and have gone through the ritual of release, you can begin to heal and create a more spiritually rewarding reality.  It is a good practice to replace the old patterns and beliefs with new more self directed ideas. Some ways to begin include expressing gratitude, creating and repeating positive affirmations, and practicing the art of creative visualization (I will get to this in more detail in a later blog). 

This month, as I meditated on what to let go, older and deeper memories began to surface. I could see a pattern of self limiting beliefs that had begun years ago with the inception of an idea that I was flawed in some way. The accusation, planted by another, had taken root in my subconscious as truth and I had believed it. Throughout my life, I have made decisions that reinforced it and turned down opportunities that would challenge it. These perceived limitations kept me contained.  

Until now. 

Today, I release all negative energies that are not in line with my true self. I let go of ideas, situations, and relationships that are injurious to me in any way. I forgive all those who have harmed me and I forgive myself for any pain I have caused to others. I attract love, abundance, harmony, health, and creativity.  I have the power and confidence to manifest my greatest potential for the highest good of all involved and I accept the challenge.

A Ritual for Pansies

While on a recent walk with my friend, Mary, the topic of spring came up and we began to express our excitement about the coming of warmer and longer days, the re-emergence of plants and wildlife, more access to fresh air, increased outdoor activities and the general hope that always comes with the season. We shared our enthusiasm for all that was springing forth this year and discussed how it was that much sweeter after enduring a year of pandemic. 

Mary went on to tell me that over the weekend she would be heading to the nursery to buy some pansies to plant in her yard. She said it was something she did on the first day of spring every year and that it was a bit of a ritual, a way to welcome the new season, a response to its beckoning.

The idea of ritual has come to my mind recently as I work on refining the services offered through my business, My Soul Purpose Project. (click here to begin manifesting the life you desire: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/). I facilitate the process of connecting with inner wisdom in order to manifest one’s fullest potential.  I work with moon cycles, dreams, the Tarot, soul journaling, and other practices that use ritual in one way or another. 

In addition to the benefits of grounding, encouraging mindfulness, reducing anxiety, fostering connection to oneself and others, and improving physical and mental well-being, ritual also helps us tune in to our values and connect with others who share the same beliefs. It helps us to focus our energy, to build habits and organize our efforts. It promotes creativity and gives credence to our commitments. It is a celebration of the things we love.

The aim of my business is to help people create a life of happiness and purpose. Once we identify what is most truly desired, we move into the art of manifesting which involves belief, envisioning, writing, repeating, and embodying the desired outcome. Thoughts and words are a good way to begin, but in order to bring an idea to fruition, we must feel it happening, see it in our mind’s eye, and believe it to be true. Ritual adds power to these practices through focus, repetition, creativity, connection, love and fun. It helps to propel our wishes into action. 

The first day of spring was on Saturday and so far the temperatures have continued to rise and the sun has been shining. I decided to go to the nursery myself today and buy a crate of pansies to plant in the yard. They were a variety of colors and seemed eager to burst forth in their new life. I brought them home, thanked the Universe for the wonders of spring, the beauty of these tiny flowers, and the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and then I planted them in a container by the front door. 

As I stepped back to admire my work and reflect, I was reminded of the miracle of life and the unlimited potential available to us all at any time. I could sense the importance of taking the time to tune in and create rituals around all that I love and cherish and especially around the things I’d like to manifest. I felt hope that whatever challenges we face in the wintering of our lives, we will be offered a new beginning, a second chance. Spring.

I suspect I’ll be reminded of this each time I pass by the planter and I sense that the more attention, thought and feeling I give it, the more likely I will be to attract more of the same. When I look upon the expanding pansies, I’ll be reminded that whatever we put our attention to grows and the rituals we create will help magnify our gratitude, allowing us to celebrate that which we hold most true.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Placebo as Medicine

In my experience, the placebo effect has always gotten a bad rap. It has either been used as a way to disprove the effectiveness of a drug or therapy being tested or to uncover a group of hypochondriacs.  Whenever the placebo effect comes out ahead in a clinical study, it usually means that an attempt at a real cure has failed.

I have been thinking about the placebo effect recently while developing my new business, a life coaching and healing enterprise called My Soul Purpose Project. (Click here for more information on how you can begin manifesting your deepest desires~ https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/). Several of the healing services I offer have no solid scientific backing. I perform Reiki, Tarot card reading, and moon phase planning in addition to the more (but not completely) proven methods of massage, craniosacral therapy, and soul journaling and the outcomes are almost always positive, sometimes in cases where more traditional methods have not worked. I have seen miracles happen and seemingly insurmountable obstacles overcome with a focus on belief, positive thinking, healing energy, and tapping into inner wisdom. I began to wonder if the success of these approaches was a result (at least in part) of the placebo effect and if so, did it dim their authenticity. 

The placebo effect is a concept used mainly in the scientific and medical fields and is defined by the Webster dictionary within this context. However, a 3rd definition is given which suggests a broader meaning, “something tending to soothe.” 

Through my recent studies and practice, I have been learning about the power of positive thinking and belief in shaping our experience and it makes me think about the placebo effect and it’s value in the healing process. Instead of looking at the placebo as a tool to prove or disprove the real cure or as a fake medicine to trick the patient into wellness, perhaps it is itself the remedy.

More recently, the placebo effect has been getting attention as a real player in the field of health and has become the subject (instead of just the control) of scientific study. According to a an article published in Harvard Health Publishing/ Harvard Medical School, The Power of the Placebo Effect (Aug. 9, 2019), “How placebos work is still not quite understood, but it involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit.”

The article also states that belief is enhanced with ritual and by taking a sugar pill regularly or following through on a prescribed course of action, the results will have a much greater chance of success.

As I refine and develop the programs and services offered through my life coaching and healing practices, I will keep this in mind. I will continue to develop methods, exercises, and rituals to help tap into inner wisdom. I will encourage positive thinking and help cultivate ways to visualize and strengthen belief in the desired outcome. I will introduce techniques for gaining clearer insights by accessing the subconscious mind through the tarot and soul journaling, and I will foster a connection to the healing energy that surrounds us.  

I believe we should all embrace the effect of the placebo as it appears to be a valuable medicine. Used alone, or in combination with other pharmaceutical, herbal or energy therapies, it offers a natural and self empowering way to heal and to me, this makes it a real cure, one of the broadest, purest and most powerful.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Photo by Liam Simpson on Unsplash

The Power of Journaling

Journaling has a way of helping us open to the wisdom of the subconscious mind.

I woke up this morning with an underlying feeling of anxiety. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where it was coming from. There was nothing particularly unnerving in my current life, so why was this visceral gnawing tightening my chest and leaking into my gut? I wasn’t sure. I hoped my morning walk would bring some clarity or at least some icy air to freeze it out, but no such luck. It was just as strong once I returned, refilled my coffee and sat down at the desk. 

Before I could move on with my day, I knew I had to take some type of action, so I decided to employ a method of journaling that evolved over years of daily writing. 

Whenever a feeling or decision has me stumped, I take out my pen and paper, scroll the question at the top and then begin free writing the answer as fast as possible, without critique or concern for the content or style. I write whatever comes to mind, knowing that I can burn or shred the pages if they reveal something I don’t want anyone else to see. This frees me up to say whatever I want in order to get to the truth. And the truth is always what ends up on the page. 

When I first discovered this technique, I used it daily. I took the approach of coach to client, therapist to patient, and friend to friend. No matter who was in dialogue, I could always sense two distinct voices surfacing, one asking the question and one answering it. The questions were insightful and on track but the answers were what surprised me the most. Each time I began to write, the message would pick up speed and ideas and solutions would come flowing out onto the page from somewhere deep inside. It was like discovering a gold mine or an oil reservoir. Once it was tapped, the treasured solutions flowed out abundantly and easily.

This type of journaling helped to guide me through some important decisions and provided insights that may not have been uncovered otherwise or would have taken years. I called the technique “The Inner Coach” and it became my go-to strategy for solving unanswered soul and life questions.

Recently, I came upon a book which outlines a similar method called writing down your soul by Janet Conner. It is a wonderful book and goes a few steps further to help the reader assign an identity to the voice and also provides prompts to foster deeper awareness, meaning, soul exploration, imagination, and creativity. 

After completing the recommended meditation and journaling, I discovered that I was harboring a fear and uncertainty about the events of this past week, the state of American politics, the instability and fractured nature of our country, the continued loss resulting from Covid 19, our injured economy, the growing unrest and persistent hate. What I was feeling in the center of my chest was a result of a connection to the collective consciousness or communal heart (as I like to call it), the most extreme of which wasn’t happening to me directly. Yet, I could sense a piece of the greater suffering and destruction that is part of today’s reality. 

My inner voice suggested that I meditate to a sound healing video in 639Hz (a frequency that addresses the heart chakra). It also guided me to do another journal entry afterwards, this time focusing on what I want to manifest in 2021 and particularly what I’d like to put out into the Universe as a focus for this month’s new moon (which occurs on Jan 13 at 12 a.m). 

After following the guidelines that came forth on the page and writing out my wish for more peace, collaboration, and love, I feel much better. The ball of anxiety has been lifted and my thoughts are where I want them to be, focused on positive change. I am now able to move on with my day, in a heightened state of clarity and hope and with the belief that the work I have done on myself will extend out to help heal the collective condition. 

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/