In a recent conversation with a friend, she said: "And if you had valued me, you would have ____."
I paused. I had to consider how to respond. This is how our mind works when driven by our subconscious psyche, when we don't do what it takes to "empty the trash" that lives in there, born of our past experiences and wounds. It generates and cycles stories, most of which are based on assumptions, aren't true, and/or don't apply.
I had to gently clarify that my choice wasn't about how much I valued HER. It was about how much I valued ME. It had to do with where we draw the line between ourselves and the other. That can be a tricky line to draw sometimes...
It takes courage. We risk letting go of things we may enjoy. We struggle to release something good to go for something great, fearful that we won't find anything better than what we have, even if it's not great. Not everyone is willing. For some, the risk feels too big. And for many, we are conditioned to settle for "this is good enough" because we doubt ourselves and our worth or value just as we are.
In the highest order of things, we must genuinely love ourselves enough to honor our boundaries, so we know how to genuinely love others and honor their boundaries, too. Because we can't share what we don't already have.
Plus, if we don't honor our boundaries, no one else will either. Why would they when they can have their way with us? When we are willing to sacrifice our truth for their happiness or acceptance? When we willingly hand over our power and sovereignty to them?
This is something that comes up often with my clients because women in particular are taught to put everyone else first, and that if we don't, we are selfish. Yet this is error thinking. Honoring ourselves is self-aware, not selfish, because neglecting ourselves compromises our ability to show up in our full power and sovereignty for whoever and whatever arises, and leaves us vulnerable in all the wrong ways.
As we deepen into genuine compassion and love for ourselves, we deepen into genuine compassion and love for others, too. Relating to ourselves and others from a place of deep, genuine compassion and love is how we cultivate personal power or fortitude, sovereignty, and integrity. It's also how we move ourselves into a higher frequency of being, but it can't be faked. It has to be cultivated...
This is it. We're in the home stretch...sliding into "Holiday Season."
And if you're fairly recently on your own, the whole thing may feel daunting to you. In a few days we have Halloween. Around the corner from that we have Thanksgiving. Then Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Then Valentine's Day...
For single women over 35, these markers can stimulate loneliness, regret, self-doubt, depression, or even fear. We reminisce about "the good times" when we had a partner to share these special days with, and the things we did with them. Maybe this included extended family members that are also no longer a part of our lives.
Reflecting on it, we start to miss how it felt to be a part of something bigger than us. On top of that, we get bombarded with cultural messages suggesting that the only way to truly enjoy these special days is to share them with a partner or extended family. While doing that can be fulfilling, it's not the only way to enjoy ourselves over these holidays.
So...if you are on your own this year, NOW IS THE TIME to make your plans. What will you do with your holiday time? What new tradition can you start for yourself and/or with others in your life? What would you enjoy doing that you've never done before?
The thing is, when we have "free time," meaning time away from work to do as we wish, and we no longer have built in distractions or obligations to fill that time, we are free to get creative! Otherwise, our mind kicks into high gear, slamming us with pathetic stories of the past or future, none of which have any relevance to here and now or to what happens next.
But these stories can easily send us into an emotional cyclone, and before we know, we're sobbing into our peas for no real reason. We get caught in memories of what was or fears of what may be...none of it real. What's real is that we are here, now, and free to do as we choose.
Instead of wasting your energy in mental-emotional cyclones, get creative. Open your FUN door. Let yourself play and enjoy the free time however you want! There are no rules to how we spend our free time, holidays or not. So spend it exactly as you want, with yourself or with others as you wish. Don't buy into the marketing manipulations targeted at getting you to purchase something. Instead, make up your own rules and have a GREAT time!
This week, lots of folks are asking me how to function in the day under the weight of such distress around them. In Texas, much of the recent distress is linked to another school shooting and to the tension around a woman's right to sovereignty over her body. If you're NOT in Texas, remember that on some level and when tuned in, we all feel what happens around us, even as far away as across the globe.
As energy beings, we share the larger energetic field with the rest of reality. We all swim in the same ocean, so in the highest order of things, we can't escape any of it. The quote of the day is: "None of us can truly be happy until all of us are."
So...how do we cope? Two words: grounding and practice.
In the simplest sense, GROUNDING means feeling your energy grounded into (or held by) the earth beneath you and/or the sky above you, with you as a hollow bone or conduit through which pure energy flows in and out on every breath.
PRACTICE means you literally do a spiritually-based activity every single day that centers you into your highest self (like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, art, dance, etc.).
We can't serve those around us when we ourselves feel off-balance or are emotionally overwhelmed and energetically exhausted. To truly show up in the world, we must take care of ourselves so we can stand with genuine confidence and powerful presence. As the saying goes, "Put on your oxygen mask first, then help others with theirs."
Many people who are energetically sensitive or empathic don't realize it, and mistakenly believe that what they feel inside belongs to them when it actually may belong to someone or something else. Sensitives pick up the energies around them, sometimes from pretty far away...even as far away as across the globe. Amazing, right?
But not when you realize that we are made up of the same elements as the rest of life, so we resonate with the whole of it on some level...which means we are not truly separate from anything in this reality. Isolating ourselves or trying to ignore what we feel doesn't make it stop. In fact, it may intensify it.
It's our job to sort what's ours from what we're picking up on that belongs to others. But most of us aren't taught HOW to sort this. There's a shamanic tool called shielding that helps us. Shielding is a way of setting an energetic boundary around you, so you can distinguish what's emanating within your auric field versus what's emanating outside of it. When something originates within your auric field, it's yours to deal with. When it doesn't, it's not. At least, not directly. Nice, huh? Shielding is a technique members of the After A Breakup H.E.L.P. program learn and practice. But I digress...
Energy has to MOVE. To stay physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically healthy, we must move the emotional energy we generate or absorb through and out of our body system. To move it, we first have to recognize it's there, own it, embrace it, examine it, and then we can release it, whatever "it" is.
The key is knowing HOW to release our emotional energy in safe and constructive ways. This means we do not direct it AT anyone or anything, or indulge it. Instead, we emote it in productive and neutral ways...like crying, screaming, dancing, creating, ceremony, journaling, laughing, or moving our body in some way.
These are just a few examples. In the After A Breakup H.E.L.P. program, members access an entire list of healthy ways to emote grief, anger (which work for anxiety and fear too), and even joy that don't cost anything, are safe, and productively move emotional energy out of the body. This is essential because most of us carry around an "emotional storage tank" that must be emptied in order for us to stay healthy and operate from a state of presence in our relationships and lives today.
When we don't do this clean up, the emotional baggage stored in our tank rears its head where it doesn't really belong, causing us to react in ways that don't really help and often can hurt. The challenge is that our emotional response patters are deeply ingrained habits that we often don't see in ourselves. Until they're pointed out to us or cause us enough pain to get our attention, we tend to overlook them...which isn't helpful in relationships.
Cultivating a healthy relationship dynamic means we look inward at our own patterns, preferences, and tendencies first, before pointing our finger at anyone else. I've learned that what we usually end up noticing is how our own choices and behaviors led to our experiences, and that other people involved are never 100% to blame, even as we may want to blame them. All relationships involve an inter-dynamic. When we finally accept responsibility for our part of things, we reclaim the power to change them. And that is when our spiritual journey truly begins.
You've probably heard the saying, "You have to feel it to heal it." After years of struggling to connect with and understand my authentic feelings, I get the value of this wisdom. What a difference it makes in our lives when we can embrace our emotions, honor what's true for us in the moment, heal, and grow on a soul level.
One of the ways we learn to avoid our feelings is by keeping ourselves busy all the time because we're too afraid to feel them. The technical term for this is distracting. Staying overly busy is one form of distracting. We cover several others in my powerful After A Breakup H.E.L.P. program.
This is also a part of our social conditioning—to be productive in this capitalistic society we live in. Value is placed on how much we produce, how much money we make, and how much we possess. We over-identify with what we do for a living, rather than attending to our genuine character.
In general, we aren't taught about the value of tending to our emotions and our inner world. Many of us have no idea how valuable things like emptiness, presence, and stillness are. This leaves us feeling disconnected from ourselves and disconnected from the rest of life.
Let's all remember to give ourselves the quiet, alone time we need to just sit with ourselves, witness, and embrace what feelings arise. Ignoring and resisting them just adds to our sense of stress, chaos, and discomfort inside. Yet when we honor our deepest truth, we find grounding and a sense of center, and we come home to our deepest integrity.
Being with our emotions may be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with practice. In my experience, we come to cherish the quiet, still times we enjoy, and the way the quality of our relationships and our life calms down and deepens as a result.
This blog offers alternative insights and practical coaching to help restore a sense of personal power and sovereignty in relation to some of life's challenges.