Friday, August 11, 2017

Acceptance.


There is that saying….something like you can’t change it so just accept it. How do you feel when someone says that to you? Not listened to? Not heard? Yep. Me too. (might be something in there about not worrying too)
Then from a spiritual point of view, there is the goal of accepting whatever circumstance we are in. But what does this really mean? That we allow people to tread all over us? That we put up with things as they are? That we don’t try to fix things? That we don’t think about changing things? That we don’t plan to walk a different path?
As humans we seem compelled to want more, or better, or healing or fixing or improving. We want more money. We want a better house. We want better health. We want to fix our body. We want to be more confident. We want to be someone better than we are. We want to develop spiritually.
The concept of acceptance seems to be opposite of these. And then there is the thing of judgement entering into this. If we have the perfect life, we will accept life as it is, won’t we? How do you judge what is perfect. You might say, everything in balance. (not being greedy, of course!) How do we get to balance? And maybe this is just a concept we like because it allows us to feel comfortable. Some of us really like to feel comfortable. No conflict, no annoying emotions please.
I suggest that acceptance is something to be considered in any moment. Do you accept that right now you are in pain? Do you accept that right now you do not have the abundance of money that you would like? Do you accept that right now you do not have the house that you want? Do you accept that right now you do not have the life that you want? Or you are not the person you want to be? In getting a sense of acceptance, there is a relaxing that happens. There is a letting go of the effort that has been taking place. The effort makes you tense. It can make pain worse. It can make you grumpy. It can make you unhappy.
Acceptance means that you accept in this moment. It does not mean that things won’t change. Somehow, in the relaxing, other options appear, that wouldn’t if you are tense. Somehow, acceptance opens the door to more.  Letting go of effort, supports you in living your life fully, because you are then open to possibilities that arise. You can be light with the circumstance, knowing that things change, with no effort from you. Amazing things can happen. More amazing than you believe you deserve.  Just stay relaxed. Just stay in this moment. Treasure yourself so that you don’t put up with circumstances, that you don’t allow others to tread all over you. Trust your amazing self to know what to do.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Is calmness a cover up for more interesting emotions.?

We think we are clever. We think we are doing the right thing. We think we are being righteous. We think we are being good. How? By not allowing our emotions. It’s how we have been conditioned by our family, and by society. We are taught that it’s good to be calm and balanced all the time. We strive for this. We strive to be right in this.
When I was younger people admired how calm I was. I can tell you, that it was a big cover up job. Any hint of emotion and I stuffed it down. Too scary. Too unknown an area. And there was a cost to me. It meant that I sailed along in life without experiencing the richness of life. I didn’t experience any strong emotions, either the “negative” ones or the exciting joyous ones.  Bland, I say. BLAND!!.
Do you know what to do with your emotions? Do you allow them to be felt? Do you find them scary and stuff them down before you even get a little feel? Is your life bland?
How about you do a little experiment with yourself. Have an intention to be curious about your feelings. Maybe when you are on your own so you feel safe. And see what happens. As you experiment more you will begin to notice more about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to feel the emotions in your body. When your mind jumps in with the story of why you feel this way, just ask your mind, where in the body do you feel this, and bring your awareness to that part. Your mind will try and jump in again, it’s what minds do. Redirect your awareness to your body. Your body is where emotions are felt.
These days, I am actually more genuinely calmer than I was earlier. Well, you know, in-between the other emotions!! My body has been learning that I will allow emotions to be felt. So they arrive. The good, the bad and the in-between. All emotions are welcome in me. This allows me to live life more lightly, because emotions come and then they go. Emotions do not hang around when they are welcomed to be felt.

Sometimes we want to have the thoughts about the emotion. We want to analyse them. Somehow it seems to justify them. Somehow if we can blame someone else or some circumstance for our feelings then we don’t have to own our own feelings. But really, give yourself some trust. Know that it is safe to feel feelings in your body. If you fall apart into vulnerability, so be it. It is actually okay. If you fall into anger, this is okay too….feel it in your body. If fear or even terror arises, feel that too. You do not have to do anything with the emotions, except feel them. Then they dissolve. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Emotions

Have you ever noticed that after some work on your body, such as massage, bowen, physio, yoga, that emotions arise? Or when you have been to the doctor about an issue? Take note next time, because developing awareness allows you the opportunity to feel emotions that can then be released.
Research has shown that when emotions are stuffed down over time, something in the biochemistry of the cells changes. The cell receptors close in a bit. And if your immune system is down and if disease is going to come knocking, then these cells will be affected. If you have a chronic condition there will be an emotional cause buried deep inside. The World Health Organisation says that over 85% of diseases have an emotional component or cause. Add emotional release work to your health plans.
Recently, I had pain in my hip. When I went to bed one night, I was rubbing my hip…. Giving it some love really, or trying to distract myself from the pain!! But keeping my awareness on the hip. And without effort, an emotion came up and was felt. It was shame….certainly an emotion I don’t want to feel. Certainly one that I stuffed down. But in being honest with myself, I acknowledged it. And then a memory came. I then spoke and got things off my chest. I mostly spoke to my younger self ……..until her and I reached a point of understanding. Since then, the pain has been going.
You can bring your awareness to that part of your body and ask the question: If this part of my body had words what would it say? And how does this make you feel?  This may give you a clue because arising from the emotion, there may be a memory. Have compassion for yourself. Know that all emotions are valid. In our society we usually learn to stuff emotions down. “be brave”, don’t cry”, don’t get angry, don’t be sad, time to get over it. And all this does us a disservice. We actually need to learn to allow ourselves to feel emotions. It is not about projecting emotions out there and acting out against other people. It’s not even about talking about them, because usually we get into the story of why we feel that way. We start trying to figure out why we feel that way and the reasoning becomes blame. And repeating the story keeps the emotion there. The ultimate treatment for emotions is to feel them in the body. These is where we naturally feel them, and it’s unfortunate that we have been brought up to think them, rather than feel them. So when you feel an emotion, subtly or strongly, let yourself feel it in your body. Bring all your awareness to the feeling, focusing on your body so the mind is occupied. Relax into the emotion and it will dissolve in a short time.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Relationships: What is seen and what is buried?

This is not a column of how to make relationships work, nor how to find the perfect relationship. It’s about you and me. There is something in the core of us that wants to be loved. To be cared for. To be treasured. To be safe and protected. There is a want to share fun things, to share achievements, to share troubles. Someone who just “gets” you. Someone who values you and respects you. Who really listens. Someone to show love to, to care for and do things for. Me too.
For some people, these relationships are with family members. For some people, these relationships are with close friends. For some people these relationships are with animals. And for some, the love is between love partners.
What do you bring to a relationship? You bring your personality, your behaviour patterns built up over years, your way of talking, the words and phrases you use, your habits, your love language, your values, your beliefs about life, your beliefs about yourself, your need for control, your need for physical closeness, your need for spontaneity, your need for clarity and rules, your need for understanding…………….. And then, do each of these things match those of the other person? Not in terms of whether these factors are there and apparent, but rather HOW they manifest in daily life for you and the other person. What is the sea-saw effect inside you when there are differences? How much internal movement happens when you try and be the same? How rocky do you like things to be? How much conflict can you tolerate? Do emotions such as resentment build up inside?
Notice what goes on inside you. You are questioned ……..how do you interpret these questions? You are told what to do………do you interpret this as being controlled or not? You are given feedback………do you interpret this as criticism or not?
And do you notice that all these things depend on how you feel about yourself? If you feel great and confident in yourself, things just slide off? If you are feeling a bit down then differences in comments, beliefs, values can seem important.
Our perspectives and interpretations are how we see our world. Inside you are an amazing being. In relationship you have the opportunity for connection with another. But there may be a gap between you. What is dropping into this gap and being lost?
Our innermost needs arise at odd times and we may not always be aware of them. As they arise, observe how they sit in you. Maybe you can meet your own needs. Maybe you can take care of you. Show yourself compassion. Show yourself love. Treasure you. Take time for you to meet your needs. Maybe you need some quiet time, some walk in bush time, some creativity time, some listen to yourself time. And then your expectations of the other may not be so definite.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What do you put up with and how does it affect you?

Do you ever feel like you are putting up with stuff? Putting up with pain? Putting up with being uncomfortable? Putting up with put-downs? Putting up with being criticised? Putting up with people’s anger? Putting up with being told what to do? Putting up with people being negative? Putting up with your living arrangements? Putting up with people not caring?
Why do you put up with these things?
There are probably many reasons. Underlying these reasons that your mind tells you, will be some issues inside you.  Could be a lack of confidence to speak up. You might be too scared to speak up.  Might be a lack of courage. Could even be a feeling that you deserve this treatment. Might be that you don’t feel strong enough in yourself. Maybe you don’t have love for yourself, or even respect. Or value yourself enough. And your need to avoid conflict could be strong. As well, you may fear the consequences of speaking up. Could simply be an old habit that just carries on because it’s comfortable and familiar. Could even be connected to a sense of commitment.
What is the cost of this putting up with stuff? The cost to you as a person? Does it matter? Do you value yourself enough to realise that putting up with anything is not doing you a service. The cost is that you are not free to express who you really are. The cost is that you are not living your life in your purpose. The cost is that inside you are building up resentment. It may be bubbling away at a very low level. The effect of this resentment is that the anger underneath may explode at an unexpected moment. The possible cost to you is your health. All that pushed down emotion can affect your physical health.
What to do? Spend some time contemplating the questions mentioned. If they apply to you, then do some searching inside you. What do you really believe about yourself? Be honest. And how does this affect your behaviour and your ability to speak up clearly and calmly for yourself. What would you like to change about yourself? Maybe you could do with some help to change yourself.
Personally, I was in a place of putting up with most of the things mentioned. For many, many years. I lacked courage, I lacked self-esteem, I lacked the belief that I would be heard. I did not value myself. I did not feel good enough. The physical health issues were a gift because they meant that I then looked for help. And found more than the help for the physical issues.
When we feel strong inside ourselves, when we feel of value, when we feel we are worthy, then we can make changes to how we talk, to how we perceive situations, to what we will put up with. We can be happy and enjoy life.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Directing your life.

There is agony in trying to direct one’s life. We think we want to.  We have a plan. We may know what we want to do. We may have expectations about the future. And we know that these expectations are right for us. We may have a purpose. We may have read about how “thoughts become things”.  So let’s think those things into reality. The agony arrives when it doesn’t work out. Recently I experienced this agony. And it was real emotional agony. I was feeling so restricted by money and by circumstances. I had been so sure that I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I had been so sure that things were going to flow in the way that I wanted them to flow.
Wanting something actually creates a barrier to getting it. How can that be? Because in feeling the wanting, we learn how wanting feels and experiencing it more, just means it get more and more familiar, so it stays right there inside. We stay wanting. It’s like the wanting creates a block. 
So some people create vision boards, some people list the detail of what they want (e.g. the qualities of a partner they would like or a house they would like), some people write gratitude lists, and some people use other strategies of manifestation to get what they want. Does trying to get what we want mean that we are in charge of our life and directing our life?
Be clear on your values. Because these will allow your life to flow. I don’t mean the usual old-school values like honesty (and there are different levels to this!), respect, trying your best, goodness, working hard, pleasing people.
There are even deeper values that you can decide on. Values that can govern your every word, every action and every thought. For me these are inner truth, recognising the goodness in everyone, love, living in each moment. The inner truth is a deep knowing of rightness which is different to the mind saying what is right. Recognising the goodness in people is a real knowing that people behave the way they do because of the conditioning from their youth and their emotions……..there behaviour is not who they really are. Love is more than loving other people and more than loving oneself. It is being love. Living in the moment means the acceptance of emotions that arise (feeling them, not acting on them) and the ability to look at each moment freshly rather than from the ideas of the past.
So I experienced the agony of the emotions that arose when my thoughts went round and round about limitations. I allowed myself to feel the agony and the emotions that were under it. Tears came aplenty. And that was what was there is those moments. Until they weren’t there. Until acceptance and love filled that space.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spirituality, Religion or here now?

Are you on a spiritual path? Do you follow a religion?
Funny things…….are words. Do you notice that the religion question includes the word “follow”? To you, this may be quite okay. To you, it may even be righteous and meant with integrity. And that’s okay. To me, it implies doing what someone else says and not being in my own truth. Which is right? I can’t say what is right for anyone. Who has the right to say what is right for someone else? You need to decide for yourself. Maybe it’s scary to decide for yourself? Maybe you don’t think that you are good enough to decide for yourself. But actually, you are.
To access your own right answer it is helpful if you can relax into your being. Because your mind usually can’t come up with answers. Well, your mind will try, but what is really happening is that your mind answers from the conditioning that you have experienced growing up. And the emotions that you have stored. Research has shown that when faced with a decision, the emotional part of the brain lights up first and then this is quickly followed by the cognitive /thinking part of the brain. To truly access what is right for you, it will be helpful if you release all the stored emotional patterns and ways of thinking. How to do this? (Come and see me!)  After all, there probably are plenty. You may have observed yourself and how you react/respond to situations. You may be aware that in the split second before reacting, that there is a decision made…………. If you can catch yourself in this moment, there is the opportunity to change how you respond.
Some people might say that I am on a spiritual path. I do have the word path in my website name! However, my spirituality is about learning to live in the moment, to be totally present so that I can make the choices from the very best part of me, to live from the stillness that is within. And this is nothing airy-fairy. This is real life. I recently had the opportunity of releasing some of the emotional stuff that I mentioned in my last article. Those beliefs that I had put in place when young about love being conditional and that I needed to work at being good in order to earn love. So now I am feeling deeply peaceful.
A spiritual path can be just as narrow as following a religion. Maybe you think you are following a path to somewhere. Maybe to freedom. But when will you get there? How can you know what is in the future?  Be here, right now. Because you are free right now….in your inner self. Right now, you can choose expansiveness and discover your own truth. Let go of the limitations that you believe are around you.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Letting love in.

Let me tell you a story: Recently I went for a walk in a pine forest with a friend. We walked a long way downhill. Through swampy ground and my gumboot had a leak….so I was getting a wet foot. Ugh! And feeling cross. Then we sat down. Looking up I could see the branches of the pine trees, and also the fronds of a tall tree fern. It felt like they were sheltering us, embracing us. We sat on some rocks. (old volcanic rocks placed there by the force of the earth) We sat in stillness and my friend prompted me to uncover what was going on inside me. I was super reluctant, in fact, it felt like there was no choice for me. I was either going to run away (rebel) or resign myself to staying stuck. No falling into and facing whatever emotion was deeper. In the midst of this a realisation arose – that I felt threatened by love. And secondly that the rebel or resign scenario is a pattern of mine.
So what to do with these realisations. What would you do? Are they familiar to you? Do you accept love offered to you?
For me, I realised that in my childhood, love was conditional. I had to earn it by doing as I was told, by being good, by behaving right. And so in growing up, I worked to earn love. I tried to gain approval from others. In my marriage I worked to earn love. I worked hard at keeping the peace so that I knew that I had earned love. And what is love, really.
Can you love yourself? Can you love the little child that is still a part of you? My little child was so confused. Afterall, our parents or those we live with when we are young affect our whole way of being. In order to feel truly secure and connected to others, we need to experience unconditional love. When we perceive that strings are attached then we set up beliefs about ourselves that do not serve us in truth. We may believe that love only comes when we submit to being controlled. We may believe that we have to behave in certain ways. We may believe that we are worthless on our own. And there are many more possible beliefs that could have been put in place on the same theme.

So how about you talk to the little you inside you, and show understanding and compassion. Maybe give her or him some resources to help him or her cope differently. Stop for a moment and let the love of the universe in. And if you were to show unconditional love to your inner self, what then………….

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Years Resolutions

Often New Years Resolutions are things we think we "should" do........... we've been told by the media or by friends that we should be fitter, healthier, wealthier, smarter, etc. Or they are things that have been niggling at us for some time and because it's holidays and the start of a new year, we think we will decide to do it.
And being human beings, we usually want to improve ourselves, or have more, or enjoy a change!!!!!
It might be health, fitness, wealth, activities, weight, spirituality,...........
Change your focus a little. Be still and quiet for a moment and breath. Just allow the notion that if there were no restrictions (such as money, people, health....) and absolutely all creativity was present right here, what would you really like to do? Let your mind lazily travel outside the box of your existence to the place of all possibilities.
No limits, no boundaries, open expansiveness, all possibilities.
And then, a bit later, what would the first little step towards that be? Take that baby step, not knowing the plan ahead. Focus on that step only, without getting ahead of yourself. When that is completed, the next one will be revealed.

So, here I am, taking my own advice. Sitting and being still, opening to an expansive awareness of life. Expanding more and more. Stepping outside the limitations of my perceptions.
So my vision is to make a difference for people. To support them to know their spiritual self and to let their real self shine. This has been my purpose for some time - seeing people one-on-one, and also in small groups for The Inner Path Retreats. Also, what came up as I expanded was to have a place where people can be on retreat, sometimes silent, sometimes in guided sessions. Some people paying, some people referred and funded.
And the baby step: look after myself and focus on completing the therapy room. I've been calling it the Peace room lately - maybe that will stick, or maybe that will change.
And I have an advertised date for The Inner Path One Day Retreat - to be held in Upper Hutt on 4th February.