Change

Change Yourself. Change the World.

During a Tarot reading a few months ago with one of my Soul Purpose Project clients, we came upon a difficult crossroads which called for some hard decisions. My client was a middle aged woman who had nurtured her family for years, often sacrificing her own needs and desires to assure the happiness and success of her husband and children. Her youngest had left the nest a few years earlier and the empty space which remained was magnifying the discontent she had buried for years. She could see the changes she needed to make in order to begin honoring herself and bringing back the happiness that she once knew.  However, the fears surrounding the outcome and its accompanying pain was a scary proposition. It is not our nature to run towards a storm.

It reminded me of an epiphany I had several years back when I first started playing my guitar and singing in public. I remember one particular performance when I was on the stage alone, a sea of eyes directed at me in a room of silence. It was terrifying. My entire body began shaking and I could barely conjure up any audible sound. Thankfully, I was able to push through but I was sure I would never try that again.

Today, I am in a band and play out regularly at restaurants, bars, and festivals (at least until Covid hit last year). I rarely get nervous and am able to put forth my best effort with confidence. It is one of the most rewarding and fun activities in my life and I am grateful that I was able to work through that initial fear. I believe, deep down, that through this effort I may have also helped others reach out beyond their comfort to overcome similar obstacles.

The belief that helped to push me forward was the idea that whatever we do in our individual lives to honor our truest selves has a direct effect on the collective psyche. In other words, if I can be courageous enough to take the chances necessary to grow and heal and become a better person, then somehow that will affect others who may be going through the same thing. All of my bravery, forgiveness, generosity, love, honesty and healing will not only affect me and those that I touch directly, it will also bring more of these qualities out into the world. 

I like this thinking because it means that when I face hard things head on, I am helping others as well as myself. This makes the effort that much sweeter with a payoff too enticing to ignore.

The concepts of a collective consciousness, collective unconscious, Gaia, and collective psyche have been entering more of the discussion in recent years. The basic idea is that we are all part of a greater whole and our beliefs and actions are influenced by our ancestors and ideas planted in our collective unconscious over generations of evolution. The concept of Gaia states that we, as humans, are all interconnected and together make up the larger earth body.  In summary, when something happens to one piece, it affects the whole. When we feel a deep sense of faith or belief in something we cannot explain, the collective is where it originates.

As my client and I stared at the cards and contemplated the different choices, I asked her to consider the idea that moving forward in the direction which seemed best for her soul, even though it would take a great deal of courage and possible pain, could result in a truer and more rewarding life trajectory, and this change would not only benefit herself and those whose lives she touched directly, but it would ultimately affect all of humankind. Even though she would be running directly into the storm, she might find peace, happiness, and fulfillment on the other side while clearing the way for others. 

As she contemplated this, I could see her face soften and a sense of growing assurance began to surface. She seemed to understand her choices and I felt certain the world was about to change.

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

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.

The Beauty of Scars

Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash

I had a ski accident about 5 years ago which left both my knees a bit tangled and out of sorts. My then husband and I were beginning our adventure on Mont Fort, a monster peak at the Verbier Ski Resort. It was our first day out and shortly after starting the descent of one of her highest peaks, I began a turn prematurely, my knee twisted and the skis did not release. I tumbled a good distance before digging into the unforgiving terrain and stopping myself from plummeting any further. I was stunned and positive I had done some significant damage. After several minutes of deep breathing and regrouping, I realized, injury or not, I had to make my way down the rest of the run to the nearest lodge, and so I did, heart beating and mind engaged in pleading prayer.

After a good while inside, my body settled and although my knee felt assaulted, there was no pain and it appeared the injury wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I was able to make it down the rest of the mountain, continue skiing, and even finish the two week trip with a reserved approach and determined spirit. When I got home and finally made it to an MRI, they found only a bone bruise, but I knew deep down there was more to it. 

I mostly recovered by the summer and was able to resume my normal activities. I thought I was out of the woods until  a few years later when everything got worse. My knee began to hurt and swell after my daily runs, and so I did what I always had in the past, I tried to push through it. 

I have been active all my life and even in rare times of injury, I would recover within a reasonable amount of time without too much intervention. This time was different. At some point, I realized trying to whip it into shape wasn’t effective and so, I started to nurture it. I went to the doctor and began physical therapy. I stopped running. I iced. I rested, and still, it wasn’t getting any better. After several more months, I decided to see a surgeon, but the news there wasn’t promising either. I was told that I had natural wear and tear and would need to live with it. Surgery most likely wouldn’t help. 

As I reflected on the reality of my situation, I began to realize that my knee may never again operate at full capacity. It may require continuous care. I may be limited and forced to make more calculated choices about which activities I chose to pursue. The process of maintenance and recovery could be slow and I would need more persistence and patience in all of it. I may need to accept the injury as a loss and treat it as such. I might be left with a permanent scar that I would be forced to carry forward. 

I understand that life is not always easy and we can sometimes get hurt, and that even though the wounds can be healed, they never fully disappear. Instead, they become part of who we are and color the fabric of our character and our lives. I began to consider that instead of trying to overcome or deny the injuries, we can own them with confidence. We can move forward with pride for what has been endured. We can honor the lessons learned and be grateful for the significant ways they have allowed us to grow. 

I went skiing this week for the first time in a while and had a wonderful time. I had to change many of my normal behaviors like racing down the hill and constantly challenging myself on difficult terrain, but I realized that there were other new blessings coming forth. I was more focused on taking my time and skiing on slopes that were more comfortable and fun. I was relaxed and felt more tuned into my body and what it needed. I didn’t have a need to compete but instead was more social, interactive and appreciative. 

As we all begin to emerge from the Covid pandemic, we will no doubt have some scars and parts of our life will be injured in certain ways. Instead of looking at these hardships as blemishes, perhaps we can reflect on how they have changed us, how much we have grown and evolved, how much has been added to our character, wisdom and perspective. Perhaps we can begin to see ourselves in a new light, as we emerge from the wreckage much stronger and more beautiful. 

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

To Everything There is a Season

Adapting to the pandemic, NYC constructs outdoor pods for dining in winter, a testament to the city’s innovation and resilience. Photo from the NYTimes.

Since the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, I have been keeping a low profile. I have stayed home most of the time, starting an online coaching business, visiting with family and friends over zoom, learning to paint through Youtube tutorials, expanding my cooking skills, exercising to online classes and watching countless Netflix productions. True, there have been some new insights, habits and skills gained, but at this point, I am eager for life to return to normal.

So, when my daughter who lives in NYC asked if I could come for a brief visit to drop off a guitar and celebrate her 27th birthday, I jumped at the chance. She said that NYC restaurants were open for indoor seating at 25% capacity and many had adapted by building outdoor heated structures that were separated with temporary walls. She said to wear a mask at all times, follow the same protocol I had at home and I’d be fine. As I began to think about the details, however, I got a little nervous. What would the City be like in the wake of Covid 19? Would it really be safe to walk down the street in such confined quarters? Where would we stay? Should we plan to eat outside in the middle of February? Had I made a bad decision?

When my boyfriend and I first arrived, we were struck by how little traffic there was. We had both driven through these city streets on a number of occasions over the years, and this was a stark contrast. In place of cars, there were hundreds of electric bikes, most making deliveries of groceries, meals and numerous other goods. Some were even pulling trailers. There seemed to be more bikes than cars and it felt a little unsettling as the traffic rules for this growing culture were vague and chaotic. It was a bit of a free-for-all and we found ourselves looking over our shoulders and around corners constantly in order to avoid these speeding delivery vessels. 

My daughter lives between Murray Hill and Gramercy near the Lower East Side and we were able to find a hotel within a 30 minute walk to her apartment and a 15 minute walk to where we would be having dinner. We had stayed at this hotel before so we felt comfortable booking a room there and the cost was nearly half what we had spent in the past. We settled in, regrouped and then made our way to dinner. My daughter chose a chic Indonesion/French restaurant in Nolita and we decided to try the indoor seating because well, it was cold and we wanted to get the full culinary experience. 

As we walked, we began to notice a number of empty storefronts and many makeshift structures jutting out into the street so that clientele could sit outside to enjoy their meal. Many were charming, garnished with clever decor and seating pods separated by plywood walls and plastic entrances, a testament to the innovative and resilient spirit of the New York culture. Modular heaters accompanied each space and although eating while dressed in winter garb, the diners seemed cozy and relaxed. 

We enjoyed a first class dinner in a nearly empty restaurant with all the amenities and accoutrements one would expect of a fine NYC establishment. It almost felt normal until we got the bill via an app on my cell phone and did all the paying and tipping without making any further human contact. 

It was a decent walk back to my daughter’s apartment, but the weather had cleared, we had eaten well, and the visit felt too short, so we offered to accompany her home.  We were only a few minutes into the walk when things began to feel different. I had visited my daughter before and walked through these very neighborhoods, but now I noticed an increased number of vacant storefronts. There seemed to be a lot more graffiti and there was trash everywhere. (It may have been trash day or a result of the winter storms that had passed through, but I never noticed it like this before). There were few people walking the streets and as we continued, it got quieter and more desolate. Where there normally would have been hundreds bustling to and fro, there were only a few.  True, it was Monday, but it was only 9 p.m. when we dropped off my daughter and headed back to the hotel, and the city was asleep. 

As my boyfriend and I turned a corner, we paused for a moment to take it all in. I felt a weight in my chest and a realization of the extent to which Covid 19 had administered a devastating blow to this proud metropolis. I felt fear, grief, sadness and uncertainty. It seemed very clear in that moment that life would never return to normal because that’s not how it all works. We cannot erase an experience or even go on as if it hasn’t happened. We can never put it all behind us, because even though the phase of destruction eventually ends, it becomes a part of who we are going forward. And in that, I felt hope.

As I stood there looking at the boarded up storefronts and the moon under a brightening winter sky, I began to think about Pete Seeger’s song which was made an international hit by the Byrds in 1965 when it rose to #1 on the Billboard charts. The lyrics of the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, were taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. They rang true then and they ring true now. 

“To Everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

New York City will rebuild just as we will all find ways to heal and redesign ourselves.  We are creatures of adaptation and soon we will flourish again, as the cycle of life continues. Turn, turn, turn.

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

Full Moon Wisdom

The Full Moon ritual of writing out your grievances and blessings and burning them helps to release old unwanted energies and welcome the new.

I awoke on Sunday morning with a lot of angst. The Thanksgiving holiday had gone well. We kept it safe and cozy and got to see most of the family via Zoom and a few others distanced around a firepit sharing some laughs and appetizers. The remainder of the weekend was low key and filled with fireside reading, TV football, casual conversation, feasts of leftovers, and long walks in the woods. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was feeling extremely blessed, well rested and optimistic about the future. So, when this unsettled stirring arrived, it caught me off guard. True, we had officially entered the holiday season which always brings forth a spectrum of emotions, but I could not put my finger on the exact cause of my distress. I felt on the verge of exploding and was not even sure why.

Then it dawned on me. The following day, Monday, November 30, was the Full Moon and I was feeling Her energy pushing my emotions to a climax, asking me to look at what might be causing sadness and anxiety in my life and to consider letting go of any negative patterns that were holding me back.

According to Yasmin Boland in her book, Moonology, “The full moon is the high point of the lunar cycle. It’s a very powerful time for inner work – for looking within, healing, shifting blocks and shedding the past: things we all need to do on a regular basis.”  It is a good time to release feelings of guilt, fear, disappointment and jealousy. 

It is also an important time to forgive (others and yourself) and then to release the relationships that are no longer working. An inability to let go of resentment and anger will only harm ourselves in the long run. Buddha is said to have given this wise advice: “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  

The Full Moon energy also encourages gratitude. Once we empty our plate of what we no longer need, we are left with a void and an opportunity to fill our lives with more positive energy. By giving thanks, we bring focus to the things that are working, attract more of the same and continue to build on them. 

There are many ways to reflect within, identify and let go of outdated patterns, forgive, and express gratitude. One of my favorite approaches is journaling. I usually write the question or topic at the top of the page, in this case, “Why am I feeling this angst?” and then begin to freewrite whatever comes to mind. The answers always emerge within a few pages. When the moon is full, I make a list of negative patterns that are no longer working and any people with whom I need to make peace. After that, I write down action steps, list all that I am thankful for and create a few positive affirmations.  Finally, I construct a sentence or two of forgiveness and then I release my intentions into the Universe by burning the paper in my fireplace.

I love this ritual, particularly the final step of burning, as it feels like I am sealing the practice and conjuring a new cycle, one that will bring me that much closer to my true self.  And on top of that, it releases the pressure that has built up throughout the month and restores me to a more peaceful state. 

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

Yin Energy and the Changing Tide

Life Coaching: MySoulPurposeProject.com 
Bodywork: InBalanceTherapeutics.net 
Music: WendyDarlingandtheLostBoy.org
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

A couple of week’s ago, my daughter asked me to do a tarot card reading for her. She had been on a few dates with someone new and was feeling uncertain about where the relationship was headed. She wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling and if her intuition was correct. She believed they were no longer clicking, that he was pulling away, and she wasn’t sure what to do.

After drawing the cards, the message came forward. The man, who had seemed so promising at first, was dealing with a number of personal issues. The cards suggested that my daughter give him the needed space and although she didn’t have to push him away, she also didn’t need to get involved. If and when he was ready, he would come to her. 

Her job was to focus on nourishing and growing herself, separately. That way, no matter what happened with the current situation, she would be evolving into a more beautiful and self actualized person who would inevitably attract the ideal partner when the time was right. 

I thought it was wise advice and realized that I had been nurturing my own growth in much the same way recently. 

Ever since Covid arrived and we have been forced to social distance, a lot has changed. I am no longer able to get together with family and friends in the way I used to. My band cannot perform live. Restaurants are limited or closed. I can’t work out at the gym. There haven’t been any concerts or fairs and a limited number of sporting events. In essence, there isn’t much to do.

This has become increasingly frustrating. However, there have been a number of silver linings. I have been offered the time and space to slow down and reflect, to sleep more, to read, to take daily walks, spend more time outdoors, cook healthier meals, and rest. In essence, the pandemic restrictions have allowed me to embrace the Yin energy which is often overshadowed in our modern lives.

“Yin energy is considered feminine,” says an article on peacefulmind.com. “Yin is very contracting, passive, languid, inward, and heavier. Unlike Yang, Yin is slow moving and contracts inward.” Some common properties of Yin include: earth, moon, darkness, water, female, space, matter, rest, growth, and contraction. Yang energy, in contrast, contains the elements of sun, light, fire, activity, male, and expansion.  https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/yin-energy/

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, “Everything contains Yin and Yang. They are two opposite yet complementary energies.” and “ Although they are totally different—opposite—in their individual qualities and nature, they are interdependent. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other; they are never separate.”  https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/yin-yang-theory/

The more thought I have given to this concept of Yin and Yang, the more I can see its relationship to what is happening in the world right now.

The Covid crisis is perhaps Mother Nature’s way of rebalancing her energy. Our planet and its inhabitants have been heading down an unhealthy road for quite some time. As a culture, the pace of our lives has continued to increase to an almost break neck speed. We can’t sleep. The rates of anxiety and depression are at staggering levels, and we constantly feel rushed. We take more medication than ever and we spend less free time with our friends and loved ones. 

The earth is also suffering as our outwardly aggressive energy and lifestyles demand too much and give too little. It’s as if we’ve been stuck in Yang energy for much too long and can’t reverse the inertia on our own. No matter how devastating this pandemic has been, it seems to be a necessary step in the healing and rebalancing process. 

The tide is turning, as it always does, and we are being forced towards a more passive and reflective approach in order to survive.

As fall quickly descends into winter, I have had feelings of dread.  The virus is not yet under control. People are fed up with restrictions just as the weather is forcing us indoors. Covid cases are rising. The darkness and cold are lurking, and yet, I have felt an increasing sense of peace and joy coming from a deeper level. 

Perhaps it is my inner wisdom assuring me that all is as it should be, or maybe, like my daughter, I am getting the message that now is the time to focus on myself, to slow down, to grow, to create, and to heal. I do believe that within this contracted state, I will have the opportunity to envision, plant and nourish the seeds of a brighter future.

Everything Grows

Pruning BlogEverything wants to grow.

The importance of this idea came to me the other day as I witnessed a tree being pruned in my neighbor’s yard. I realized that every living thing seeks growth and without the proper attention, like the kind being given to the tree, my life could end up somewhere I didn’t want it to be. 

I had been feeling unsettled and couldn’t quite put my finger on what was causing it. True, I was experiencing the pangs of empty nest syndrome after spending a week with my adult daughters in Maine and then having to say good- bye. I was also at the end of a divorce and there were still some unanswered questions and new decisions to make. 

I reflected on my current situation and couldn’t find anything really wrong. I had landed on my feet. My children were healthy, accepting and independent. I was financially secure with a steady income. I was in good health. I had developed a friendship with my former husband and was in a new relationship that was supportive, loving, and fun. 

There was no reason not to be celebrating my liberation and good fortune. 

Then it dawned on me that the thing that was causing me the most angst was my uncertainty about the future. I have a lot of options, but haven’t yet pinned them down. And, without this future plan and an idea of how to get there, I was worried that my life might go awry or I would lose all that I did have. 

I have been working on my vision. I practice the Law of Attraction, Pam Grout’s Manifesting Magic and Miracles, and Mike Dooley’s Playing the Matrix and am becoming clearer on the importance of visualization, taking action, listening for the universal cues, practicing gratitude and believing in the outcome.

 I also realize that for anyone to flourish, they must be nurtured and in an environment conducive to their unique needs. Like a plant that requires pruning, a person must eliminate the areas no longer beneficial to move in a more specific direction. 

In addition, we all benefit from the help of outside sources like the sun, rain, or a good friend, and thrive best when given time and space to move where we may, as there are forces more wise than ourselves helping to guide our path. 

And there is another even more difficult practice to adopt that will help us move more fluidly towards our life’s goals.

Embracing change. 

Growth is change, and change brings about fear, uncertainty and discomfort (almost always) and so we avoid it at all costs. Yet, the truth is that everything grows whether we want it to or not, and it is up to us to nurture, prune, and guide the growth towards our unique vision.

Diving Into the Shadows

Shadow

I have had the pleasure and privilege of spending the last several days in Maine on my favorite lake enjoying the sun and nature. Last night, it began to rain so my daughter and I decided to watch a movie. After scanning the selections and reviews on her computer, she suggested we watch “The Florida Project,” a 2017 slice of life drama which, according to IMDb TV, follows a “precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.” 

Childhood. Adventure. Disney World. Sounds endearing, right? 

Not exactly.

I did not like the film at first. I kept waiting for the plot to unfold or an inspirational moment, but neither surfaced. Instead, I felt a mounting anxiety combined with sadness and despair as the reality of life in a poverty stricken hotel-turned-residence community exposed all the things that make me uncomfortable: poverty, lying, foul language, cheating, stealing, hustling, betrayal, fighting, child abuse, pedophilia, drug use, prostitution. 

The movie was shown through the eyes of a child who had friends, freedom, food, community and a caring mother, all of which made it more palatable. However, the stark contrast of the lives profiled to those of the privileged thousands visiting nearby Disney World, made me stop and think.

The movie did an outstanding job of portraying the reality of the situation, but I wasn’t happy with the way it left me feeling. Something was tugging at me to look deeper. 

It wasn’t until morning that I realized the importance of what I was experiencing. It became clear that the issues in the movie that made me uncomfortable were the ones I needed to examine more closely. Maybe it was time to look at what it means to lead a privileged life. Had I been turning a blind eye to the realities of those less fortunate?

With all of the recent unrest and attention pointing towards inequality and racism, my viewing of this movie was particularly timely. It became evident that the cinematic story I witnessed was one I had chosen to overlook, just as many instances of injustice get somehow justified through the selective stories we tell ourselves and the parts of our psyche we choose to keep hidden. 

I have recently been working on my own personal growth and have also started “The Life Purpose Project,” a series of one on one sessions to help people reach their life’s purpose through discussion, dream interpretation, tarot, and flower essence therapy. 

I am a believer in the power of positive thinking and healing through love. However, I have been finding that in order to truly heal and make significant progress forward, we need to look at something called our “shadow self”. 

According to an article in highexistence.com, “the shadow is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of our personality that we choose to reject and repress. For one reason or another, we all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like–so we push those parts down into our unconscious psyches. It is this collection of repressed aspects of our identity that Jung referred to as our shadow.”

Full Article:  https://highexistence.com/carl-jung-shadow-guide-unconscious/

Some examples of repressed shadow tendencies include  “aggressive impulses, taboo mental images, shameful experiences, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires.” 

Our shadow self develops as a result of societal expectations that tell as we are a “bad” person if we have certain thoughts and behaviors. We want to fit in and be accepted, so we deny and hide these impulses and pretend they do not exist as parts of ourselves. On top of that, if left unchecked, these qualities feed into a larger collective societal shadow which can multiply and become more systemic, resulting in a world that tolerates prejudice, racism, abuse, and inequity.

Jung believes that these innate qualities are present in all of us and the only way to effectively deal with them is to recognize, accept, and find ways to constructively manage their presence within our lives. 

I have been using dream interpretation and the Tarot to help uncover the shadow within myself and my Life Purpose Project participants. Both methods point out areas of the subconscious that ultimately want to be seen and accepted before allowing us to move forward on our spiritual path. Meditation and identifying psychological triggers can also help shed some light.

One thing “The Florida Project” made clear was that when we look at these shadow qualities, whether within ourselves or society as a whole, the feeling can be extremely uncomfortable. It can bring us to places and uncover a world that is unnerving and painful. 

The idea is not to run and deny, but to look directly into the areas of darkness. When we do this, “fear becomes an opportunity for courage. Pain is a catalyst for strength and resilience. Aggression is transmuted into warrior-like passion. This wisdom informs our actions, our decisions, and our interactions with others..” (highexistence.com).

If we seek to accept the shadows as part of who we are, if we allow them to come forward without condemnation, we may be able to heal not only ourselves but the world as a whole, and people like those featured in the “The Florida Project” may have a fighting chance.

The Power of Flower Essence

Flower Essence Pic

I first got involved with flower essences about 15 years ago when I was studying energy healing for personal growth. My soul had been nagging me for years to take a deeper look, to make some changes, so that it could bloom in full. 

I tried a variety of modalities including yoga, Reiki, massage, craniosacral therapy, and nutrition and although they all helped to center my mind and calm my energy, they weren’t able to specifically address my deeper feelings. I realized there was an emotional component to whatever was holding me back and until I could temper it, I would never be able to fully heal and move forward.

The mentor with whom I was studying at the time recommended I try Essence Therapy.

I was quick to fall in love. I ordered a few bottles of the concentrated remedies from Alaskan Flower Essences (https://alaskanessences.com/) and began to experiment.  Their gentle healing energy flooded my senses in the most subtle ways and suddenly I would notice my perspective had changed or I was no longer feeling angry or sad about a particular situation. It was that easy. No talk therapy. No painful memories. No medication. No discomfort.

Many years have passed and I am once again revisiting the power of the flower essence. 

As I began to work on the Life Purpose Project (a business I started recently), I noticed that a lot of the obstacles that keep people from moving towards their fullest potential have an emotional component. I realized that even though I had developed tools for gaining insights and designing action steps, without the ability to remove the emotional roadblocks, we can only get so far. 

 

In my program of identifying and moving towards one’s life purpose, I encompass dream interpretation, tarot, collaborative discussion and planning, and lots of additional resources. I also encourage everyone to choose one or two flower essences to help them move along more quickly and easily. 

There are many excellent sources for essences including Alaskan Essences (https://alaskanessences.com/), Hawaiin Essences (https://www.janebellessences.com/), and the most widely known, Bach Flower Essences (https://www.bachremedies.com/). 

According to the Flower Essence Society, “flower essences are liquid extracts used to address profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health. They are part of an emerging field of subtle energy medicine, which also includes homeopathy, acupuncture, color therapy, therapeutic touch and similar modalities.”

Essences are made by harvesting pristine wild flowers and garden blossoms and then capturing their unique energy imprint in distilled water as it is infused by the sun. The potentized herbal infusions or decoctions are then preserved in an alcohol base and further diluted before being distributed. They are administered by putting a few drops under the tongue a couple of times a day or by dropping the essence in a glass of water and sipping as needed.

Many people confuse Flower Essences and Essential Oils and although each complement the other, they are in fact very different.

According to the Flower Essence Society, “The most significant difference is that essential oils have definite aromas; flower essences do not. Essential oils work primarily through the sense of smell and its effect upon the old brain. They are highly concentrated chemical substances, many of which are quite poisonous taken internally.  Essential oils are produced from large quantities of plant material, the flowers, roots, seeds, or bark, depending on the location of the volatile oils in the plant. Steam-distillation is the most common extraction method. With flower essences, only the flowers are used and in a very small quantity. The vibrational imprint of the flower is extracted in water, which is then further diluted. Thus essential oils are a physical extract and flower essences are a subtle energy extract.”

For more information, visit  http://www.fesflowers.com/learn-about-flower-essences/what-are-flower-essences/

During the pandemic, I have experienced more anxiety than usual. I have found Bach’s Rescue Remedy to help curb the stressful feelings and keep me calm. I am also working with Bach’s Star of Bethlehem and Walnut.

I am an advocate of flower essences for many reasons, but perhaps the most powerful is their ability to balance our emotions and help us adjust to a healthier perspective through the gentle and subtle genius of nature. Sometimes life’s greatest healing gifts are right outside our door.

What to Keep

LA SkylineAs the world struggles through the Covid-19 pandemic and begins its slow recovery, there seems to be a need to shed all that is no longer serving. In order to heal, we need to reflect on our current condition and define that which is harming us and that which makes us stronger. We need to let go of old practices and patterns that are holding us back and build upon the things that work.

I believe this to be the case with the Earth, with the global economy, and with each of us individually.

Ever since the human lockdown in mid March, the Earth has felt substantial relief. With an enormous decrease in the use of fossil fuels, the carbon footprint has been drastically reduced and as a result we have seen less pollution and a re-emergence of wildlife. 

Many believe that we are being offered a unique opportunity to use the reduced levels of CO2 output as a starting point and find ways to maintain this lower level in the coming years. However, many also fear that as we re-emerge into the world, it will be easy to fall back into our old habits without earnest intent and strict discipline.

The good news is that we have been given another chance. What remains to be seen is how we choose to move forward.

Economically speaking, there is an overwhelming need to re-evaluate as well. With many businesses being forced to shut down (albeit temporarily), consumers have explored alternative ways to satisfy their needs.  

We have cooked more of our meals or done takeout and curbside pickup.  We have turned towards alternative forms of exercise such as walking, biking and online workout classes. We are seeing the benefits of internet shopping as we enjoy the safety and convenience of having food and products delivered right to our doorsteps, and as additional people work effectively from home, we question the need for elaborate office space in expensive locations (or any office space for that matter).

Many of these new practices will permanently replace the old ways of doing business. We may see fewer restaurants, gyms, office buildings, and storefronts. We’ll see a difference in the way food is distributed and how we work. In an attempt to survive financially, we’ll rid ourselves of the practices that no longer work in favor of those that do.

On a personal level, I have been consumed with a similar thought process. My life and habits have changed drastically over the last few months and I’m realizing some of the new ways may be working better. I have found that coloring my hair once a month is easy, looks almost as good, and is much more time and cost effective. I have found that I can cook a meal just as well if not better than most restaurants at a fraction of the cost and that the scope and variety of workout options online may be all I need. I have realized that I don’t have to travel long distances to find adventure and outdoor activity, and I have seen the advantages of being able to work virtually.

The overall trend is towards scaling back, becoming more efficient, spending less, choosing quality over quantity, having a decreased impact on the environment, reducing meat intake, and adopting a healthier lifestyle (which values less as more). In other words, shedding what I don’t really need and building on the rest. 

As the world begins to re-open and we evaluate our new and old habits, I urge everyone to give careful consideration to what is working and what is not, for the earth, for our economy and for ourselves. I hold hope that we will let go of the habits and practices that are harmful and decide wisely what to keep.