These days in light of the pandemic, everyone talks about masks. We quickly got used to hearing the word mask thrown around in every day business. But these are not the kind of masks I'm talking about.
We've also just made our way past halloween, a day when many people very intentionally wear masks. Yet these are not the kind of masks I'm talking about either.
In our culture, every day could be halloween, a day when we dawn masks...because we believe we must wear masks to fit in, to feel safe and to be accepted or loved. Or we wear them to avoid disappointment, disapproval, judgement or rejection. But who are we beneath the masks, and what are we hiding?
The problem with masks is that they cloud our truth and hide our genuine selves. Sometimes we may lose our capacity to sort who we are from the masks we wear. In the end, no one gets to know who we really are because we're not willing to show them.
If we don't accept and embrace ourselves just as we are, then how can we expect anyone else to?
What humans crave most is to be seen, accepted, loved, and safe just as we are, with all our personal messiness. We want to throw off our masks but we're afraid that if we do, we won't be good enough, or will fall flat on our faces, or be embarrassed, or hurt. We're afraid to show our vulnerabilities and insecurities, fearing they'll be used against us, or that we'll be judged, rejected, and left alone with our struggles.
We don't like to hurt, so we avoid the things that may lead us there and grasp for what feels better instead. We're only human, after all, not superwomen, though some days that's debatable...
It takes a lot of energy to juggle our masks day in and day out...energy that we could put towards our personal power and purpose instead, if we did things differently.
What we've all forgotten is that it's in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with the right people, at the right times, and in the right ways that helps us cultivate genuine confidence and strength inside. Without that exposure and some experiences of being lovingly held through the fear that arises when we feel vulnerable, we spend our lives hiding instead of shining. And that's no good. We're not here to hide. We're here to shine!
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.
Listen―we are all on our best behavior while dating and building a new relationship. Of course we want to put our best foot forward! Who wouldn't? It's not that we are totally fake when dating (although there are some real manipulative fakers and f**kers out there), but that we actively strive to make a good impression, so we aren't exactly exposing our whole messy selves.
That is, until we feel like we've "got them." That's not my phrase. It's one I hear from lots of women...and I really don't like it. I don't like it because we never "have" anyone. Genuine relationships aren't about trapping someone into ownership. They're about agreements and choices.
The most fulfilling relationships we have are those in which we stay together because we agree that we want to. And because we each choose to stay, over and over again. And because we both work at keeping ourselves and the partnership thriving...not because we feel trapped or obligated. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be with someone who really doesn't want to be with me.
There's a tender vulnerability and a deeper level of intimacy available through knowing that we each have the freedom to choose, every day, to stay committed to each other...or not. We pay more attention. We are more sensitive. We don't get lazy about ourselves, our love, or how we share them.
A mistake many of my clients make is believing that monogamy or marriage is a relationship guarantee. There are no guarantees in relationships, not even married ones, because people change and so do situations, all the time. Change is a constant state of this reality. There's no way around it. Everything eventually changes by decision, or death. If the changes in a relationship aren't dealt with as a unified team so that all parties feel fulfilled, problems arise. But I digress...
If you're tired of messy and painful relationship cycling, the way past it is to take space and time between relationships to heal and evolve inside. If you keep searching for the answer outside, you won't find it and will continue to hurt. Who cares what your ex chooses to do or how their life looks? That's not your concern. YOUR concern is YOUR life. Focus on what YOU choose to do to evolve yourself and your relationships for the long term. That's when you'll start seeing the results you want in your life.
One more thing: Conflict and challenge will arise in ANY relationship, especially intimate ones. I don't care how wonderful it is or how amazing our partner is! Relationships, by design, show us a very clear reflection of our deeper, more hidden selves (through our partner's eyes), and where our quirks and painful places are. Being able to clearly see these things allows us to evolve past them.
What I know is that we can't change what we can't see, and we NEVER see ourselves as clearly as others do. Our psyche is too tricky for that. Yet relationships give us an opportunity to see our wounds, strategies, and fears more clearly, to heal, to open our closed places, and to grow in our capacity for sharing unbiased love.
The trick is learning how to do this without losing ourselves or getting screwed in the process, especially for those who are energetically sensitive...and that's what the H.E.L.P. journey does for you, FYI.
I remember the sinking feeling that washed over me like a cold chill from head to toes when I found out my ex was seeing someone new and was happy. It crushed me. My knees buckled. And I sobbed...for months.
That was decades ago, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. My whole world changed that day. My heart broke. My life ended too, in a way. I was filled with pain and regret. I couldn't imagine ever feeling that way about anyone else again. And I feared that I'd missed my chance at a great, lasting love.
I remember saying, "I feel like my life was stolen from me." I said that because it didn't take long before a new woman was happily living with my ex in the house I'd found for us. She was suddenly living the life I wanted and had spent a decade building. I was invested in that life. I still wanted that life. But someone else had it instead. The pain of it was overwhelming.
If you're reading this, I imagine you've been there too...
After sharing an intimate several years with someone talking about the future and how you envision building a life together, it's beyond painful to see them taking those steps with someone else, someone they haven't known for long. It feels like a slap in the face. We suddenly feel as if in all that time, we never meant anything to them, so easily disposed of and forgotten, discarded like trash.
"How can they be so happy with someone else already?" we ask. "Didn't I mean anything to them?" We wonder about this because while we feel devastated by the breakup, they seem untouched by it. They get on with their lives as if we never existed, while we struggle on with deep heartache and pain.
The thing is, it's easy to jump into the dating scene and a new relationship following a breakup. People do it all the time. It's a quick and easy distraction from dealing with anything real...like our feelings, secrets, fears, and hidden pain.
That's what we call an avoidant strategy. An avoidant strategy is anything we do to distract ourselves from dealing with our inner pain. It's a default pattern that's run by our subconscious psyche and our deep wounding. Distraction is one type of avoidant strategy. In the H.E.L.P. program, we take a deep dive into exploring this and other common problematic, subconscious strategies.
But for the moment, let's keep our focus on the compulsive dating thing. We all know someone who does it, someone who jumps out of one relationship and right into another pretty quickly. They seem happy, right? We might even feel envious or jealous, thinking about how lucky they are to find love so quickly, and how easy life and happiness seem to be for them.
Well let me tall you, my friend, this is NOT love. It's lust! And it actually points to a hard life for them, not an easy one...at least on the inside.
Follow the storyline long enough with your ex, and I can almost guarantee you will see the same patterns surface that you experienced with them. They may seem happy now because things are fresh and new, but give it some time to get real, and then watch what happens. You may actually find yourself taking pity on the poor new person because you've walked in their shoes and you know how badly it hurts.
New dating and new relationships always look great from the outside because at the beginning of any relationship, the body is rocking with lusty hormones! We feel excited, anticipatory, hopeful, and emotionally uplifted. If our core sense of self is fragile, it's validating and seductive for someone to be attracted to us and show interest in us. Our ego gets a massive stroking, which it loves, especially if it's got the steering wheel of our life.
Eventually though, the same old shit (i.e., strategies) hits the fan, and the relief felt in the newness fades. That's because all of that lusty, new relationship energy and excitement is fleeting, not permanent. It's the hormonal honeymoon phase of dating and relationships, and it's real. The body lusts. It's part of our biology. But the hormonal lusty feelings don't last.
Once the new relationship energy fizzles, and it WILL because it's a temporary hormonal state, your ex will wind up right back where they started from. The same patterns will eventually arise with anyone new because we all carry our wounds inside and they will show themselves in time. There's no way around it. Then, your ex will lose the hormonal, egoic fix they crave, and that party's over...so they'll move on to the next one.
Your journey might not look or feel as fun or pretty as your ex's chronic dating and relating can at the moment, but that's irrelevant. You're going for genuine long-lasting fulfillment, not a temporary fix. You're going for a healthy, sacred partnership that uplifts you and your partner as individuals AND as a couple, through both easy AND challenging times. You're going for a genuine connection and commitment with a person of integrity...or at least that's the case with most women I know, myself included.
If you're with us on this, then take new steps to uplift yourself, and put a STOP to the painful story of relationships you're getting caught in. And STOP comparing yourself to anyone else, especially your ex or their new person. And STOP trying to prove anything to anybody else, especially yourself.
You've GOT THIS. I know because if I was able to free myself from that struggle, then ANYONE can! Trust me. It's NOT out of reach. It's just a question of choosing a road out, like the one given by my After A Breakup H.E.L.P. program. Once you do, you're just one step away from a whole new life!
"How could they move on so quickly when I'm an emotional wreck over our breakup?" I hear this, or some version of it, from clients all the time. And I've said it myself in the past.
The thought of our beloved discarding us like trash and replacing us so easily feels terrible. We reflect on all we gave to them and to our relationship. We question if any of it meant anything to them, or if they truly cared about us at all. We get that painful, sinking feeling in our gut that perhaps none of it was what we thought it was. Or worse, that we have no personal value to them or anyone else.
And that's when we buckle. The emotional weight of it is just too much to bear, and our heart breaks open. We crumple into tears of hurt, shock, regret, pain, and at some point, anger. Anger at them and anger at ourselves for not seeing it sooner, for not taking better care of ourselves, for putting everything we had into it, only to feel we got nothing real in return.
I am here to say...DON'T take what they do personally. Don't fret if your ex "dates someone else" or "loves someone else" or "marries someone else." I know it's easy to take that personally, because it feels personal, but it's not. The fact that they move on, however quickly, is NOT about you. And the fact that they seem happy without you is also NOT about you.
The thing is, our ex's sense of happiness is about them, just as our sense of happiness is about us. Genuine happiness means our ex can be happy and we can be happy, with or without each other. We don't actually give each other happiness or get happiness from each other. The ideal relationship is one in which we are each spiritually mature enough to share the genuine happiness we already hold inside with each other. Then we enter into a state of uplifting fun, healing, and growth together.
It took me a great deal of spiritual work to realize that the real sense of happiness we seek is born on the inside, not something we access on the outside. Until we find our happiness inside—a genuine happiness that's not dependent on external circumstances or conditions to arise—we spend our energy grasping for what we want, pushing away from what we don't want, and suffering because everything changes ALL the time. In this life, things constantly evolve, grow, and change by nature, decision and death. Nothing stays the same for long. So if you cling to what makes you happy on the outside, you will suffer when it changes.
Plus, in the highest order of things, none of us can truly be happy until all of us are truly happy. So be happy for other people when they find their happiness, especially those people you say you love. If you genuinely love them, you WANT them to be happy, even if it's without you...
I remember how PAINFUL it was for me to hear those words years ago. I was maybe 25 and I literally broke down and sobbed. I'd been through a very painful breakup and was an emotional basket case filled with hurt and regrets. Within weeks, my ex dove into a new relationship with a friend of his, and within months they were engaged. He seemed very happy, and I was devastated.
The woman he got involved with was the catalyst that inspired me to end our relationship. I sensed a strong connection between them and wanted to give him the space he needed to be sure of "us" before we made any further commitments to each other, because we'd talked of marriage. I knew it was risky, yet I also needed to be sure that marriage was something we both truly wanted.
In my distress, I sought the help of a pastoral minister because it was free and I was a graduate student barely getting by. Her words cut me to the core: "If you love him, don't you want him to be happy, even if it's without you?"
The moment she spoke them, I felt both tremendous grief and tremendous opening. It was the oddest sensation I've ever experienced. The thought of releasing him was devastating, yet the thought of him being truly happy was liberating. The moment she said the words, I felt the truth they held. I loved him so deeply, that I really did want him to be happy, even if was without me.
As with all things, I believe it worked out best in the end for each of us. Source has a way of holding us to our highest calling, whether we see it at the time or not. In hindsight with a wider, longer view of things, it's easier to see how the threads being woven into the larger tapestry of life serve not only us, but others we cross paths with. Once we "get" that, our entire world view shifts, and the way we relate to life opens up in powerful new ways that bring us an even deeper happiness.
Back in the day when I worked in the public school system, I got asked this question more often than you might think by the parents, students, and adults I worked with: "How do I know if this is psychic capacity and not something else?" They worried that it might be an emerging mental or emotional breakdown or illness as opposed to intuition or psychic/energetic sensitivity or a spiritual awakening.
Let me tell you, it's not always a simple thing to sort, yet it's also not that hard, either. Usually with a few simple questions, we can begin to reach some clarity. You just have to know what to ask.
I've come to believe that humans are born with psychic capacity, and that upon birth, we are wide open vessels of energy flowing through and around us. Consider that as newborns, we can't see clearly and don't understand language. Without clear vision or language, nothing gets "identified" or "labeled" as anything. It's just space with lots of sounds, tastes, colors, motions, smells, and other sensations. We are wide open vessels of energy and love flowing through us, more directly connected to Source and to our infinite nature than at any other time in our human development.
As our vision clears and we begin to learn language, that changes. Social conditioning upon our senses is quick and pervasive. A great deal of focus is given to the mind and its thinking capacities, which eventually dominates our psychic and energetic senses. We are conditioned to believe that the mind is our most important faculty and ally for survival and safety.
To a certain degree, that's true because we need language and reasoning to interact properly with this reality. Yet, it is also true that thought and language create restrictions and boundaries upon the openness, flow, energy, and psychic perceptions we are born with, as well as on our notions of what's considered "okay" or normal, and what's not. Honestly, I've come to see that one of our greatest hurdles to spiritual awakening is removing all the power we give to our mind and restoring our power to its proper home in our heart—the hub of our intuition and the portal to our infinite wisdom and nature.
I've also come to see that we can usually point to at least one experience from childhood in which we had a "psychic" moment, or perhaps felt more directly connected to infinite Source energy, before we got the clear message from those around us that it was unacceptable or unbelievable. As youngsters, our priority is to feel accepted, loved, and that we belong somewhere. To speak of things that are rejected, judged, or dismissed by others puts our sense of safety and survival at risk. So we quickly learn to keep things that others don't accept (such as intuitive knowing, or psychic communication or vision) quiet or hidden, to avoid feeling embarrassed, shunned, shamed, or rejected (unless we are one of the fortunate few who have parents that get it).
Yet, that doesn't mean our capacities don't exist, aren't legit, or just disappear. We just set them aside and they get overridden as we grow up, until such a time comes when it is right or it feels safe for us to examine them and embrace them again. If you look deeply enough, I'm guessing that you can find at least one instance of something more intuitive or psychic you experienced in your childhood, and that you wound up dismissing due to social conditioning...
Maybe you had an invisible friend, ally, or guide. Maybe you communicated with trees, birds, and animals (as I did). Maybe you saw visions or felt waves of future events. Maybe you were visited by strange beings or even ghosts. Or perhaps you had powerful dream experiences. Maybe you heard other people's thoughts or voices in your head. All of these can be signs of strong intuition or inherent psychic capacity. They don't have to mean there is a psychic or emotional break, illness, or breakdown happening, though it is wise to officially rule that out rather than assume anything.
As adults, most of us can point to our intuition and psychic capacity in action, like knowing the phone is going to ring before it does, and/or knowing who's calling before we answer. Or feeling a nudge to bring an umbrella with us on a sunny day, only to get caught in a rain shower later. Or sensing that we are going to cross paths with someone from our past moments before we actually do. Or knowing that a loved one is in trouble or has died before it's confirmed.
These are intuitive, psychic experiences, not mere coincidences. Everyone I know can point to at least one in their lifetime. Yet the fact that someone can't, doesn't mean they lack the capacity. It just means they've buried it deep inside. Chances are that it will resurface when the time and conditions are right and aligned for them to embrace and honor it.
So how do you know if you are energetically sensitive, empathic, or psychic? You know because you are. You are born that way, just like everyone else is. The question to ask is, what blocks you from acknowledging it?
If you're still doubtful, examining these questions can help:
If you experience such things, it could mean that your energy field is too permeable or vulnerable. Or that you have invisible cords connecting you to people, places, or things that need to be released. Or that you have hyper-sensitivity from a past trauma wound that is still active. Or that there are ancestral or past life energies asking for healing.
These things can be easily dealt with, using the correct techniques. If you have questions, hop over to my "Connect" tab and send me a direct message. I can help you determine what's going on and how to get a handle on it.
And remember as always, nothing changes if you change nothing.
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.