Image copyright: 123rf/nicku
Coffee with a friend can be filled with unexpected conversations. Over my friend JK’s latte and my mint tea, she shared that she was very disappointed in herself.
JK had divorced many years ago. Her children were grown and lived out of state. She did not move in the same social circles as her ex, had not seen him in ages and was very busy enjoying the new life she created for herself. Her comment surprised me. Then she shared this story.
A few weeks earlier she and another friend were waiting to be seated at a restaurant when JK turned around and suddenly found herself face-to-face with her ex…and she froze.
She didn’t remember what she said or if she even said anything. She simply shut down. Her friend gently took her arm, guiding her as they followed the hostess to their table.
Once they were seated JK started to shake. “What just happened to me? The divorce was over ten years ago. I’ve worked so hard to heal. I don’t understand. Am I falling back down into that awful dark hole? I’m terrified of going through the pain it will take to climb back out again.”
“No, you haven’t fallen down any dark hole and no, you don’t have to climb back out of anything,” her friend said. “Your body was simply trying to protect you. It felt danger and went into a flight or freeze reaction. I’m glad it chose to freeze and not run out of the restaurant on this bitter cold afternoon!”
JK told me she laughed, took a few slow, deep breaths and her panic subsided.
Now, as she sipped her latte, JK said that she assumed once she healed, she would simply move on. But our bodies have long memories, and sometimes it takes more time than we realize to reassure ourselves we are safe.
We decided healing isn’t a package with a bow that you receive as a reward for the hard work you have done. We didn’t want to imagine healing as that smelly onion with all the layers that you keep peeling off while they make your eyes water.
We agreed that healing was an adventure, an exploration. Whether the new scenery we encountered was dark and frightening or shimmering with light, it would constantly challenge our perspectives and often take our breath away.
Lately I’ve been quite confused. It’s not the usual confusion of wondering why I walked into a room, or where I put my car keys when I’m holding them, or which direction to go when my GPS has recalculated one too many times.
What’s confusing is that I’ve not been myself lately. I’ve been feeling out of sorts. It’s like I’m not able to get traction in my life.
When I shared my feelings with a friend, she clapped her hands together and said, “Hooray! That’s wonderful!” I responded, “What? Why would you say that?”
“It’s simple!” she said. “You’ve been working hard to discard your limiting beliefs. Now you no longer fit the image you’ve had of yourself and that can be tremendously confusing. But as a result, you’re growing into something new and expanded. That’s wonderful—and truly a reason to celebrate.”
The more I thought about her words, the more comforted I became. Aren’t we all doing our best to learn and grow? Wouldn’t it make sense that the more we discover, the more we will reevaluate our beliefs and discard those that no longer serve us? Wouldn’t it make sense that our insights and understanding expand?
As we embrace more and more of who we truly are, our sense of self and of the possibilities life offers broadens and deepens. And as we begin to redefine ourselves in a more compassionate way, we clarify our purpose and how we choose to journey through life.
May we each continue to learn and grow, and when we experience times of confusion, let’s celebrate!
The following is a guest post by Michele Rae of The Center Within.
Energetic alliance with expanding energy is healing. It keeps our mind, body, emotions and subtle bodies in balance and harmony and opens us to the higher resonance and frequencies available in the interconnected web of all that is we call consciousness. There are a number of energetic healing techniques that can provide assistance in clearing dense or stuck energy and enhance or replenish life force energy. Some include Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Frequencies of Brilliance, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, massage, Shiatsu, breath work, Emotional Freedom Technique, reflexology, Traditional Chinese Medicine and ayurvedic medicine.
Often, transformational coaches use healing energy and guided imagery to ground, balance and relax our mind, body and heart by connecting with the supporting and nourishing energy of the Earth, our higher selves and spirit. These energies flow through us and the sacred container of space and time we create. This energy supports us as we explore, expose and unblock limiting beliefs, self-talk, patterns, fears, and constrictions. The same flow also cultivates insights, intuition, passion, wisdom, gifts, strengths and expansion.
You can utilize these techniques in your own practice of self-healing and reflection:
- Rest your attention on your breath.
- Relax your body from head to toe.
- Feel your heart, maybe by remembering someone you are grateful is in your life.
- Feel the energy of the Earth rise in your body through the base of your spine, your hands, and feet and out the top of your head. Imagine the top of your head opens to the energy of your higher self and spirit. Feel the energy descending through your body and into the Earth. I often see these energy paths as parallel strands, similar to the configuration of DNA in a helix.
- In this condition of flowing life force energy, bring a question you would like clarity on into your awareness. What does the solution feel like? What pictures arise? What words arise? Is there any fear or tightness around the issue? What expands the possibilities for a creative solution to reveal itself?
- In this energetic state of balance and harmony with all that is, feel your body-mind-heart. Are there any tight or painful areas? Are there places that are aching to expand, express or create? With your attention, direct this healing energy to soften, relax and open these spaces.
As your capacity and sensitivity to feel self-healing energies in and around you grows, notice the energy in your daily life. What depletes or nourishes you as you are making decisions, engaging in the relationship, finding work-life balance, managing stress and contributing to the world at home, at work, and in your community? Investing time, attention and awareness in decreasing constricting energy and increasing expanding energy in your life is a gift to yourself. You are worth it!
The following is a guest post by Lisa Bobyak of Living Fully Balanced.
You’ve got them in your house, but have you ever thought about what truly differentiates the thermometer from the thermostat?
The thermometer in your home reads the room and adjusts to the external surroundings. It’s controlled by factors outside of itself. The thermostat is set and remains steady no matter what the external conditions are. The controls are internal and constant.
To understand why I’m talking about the HVAC system in your home when my typical subject matter isn’t focused on climate control, I’d like you to consider these common life events. How do you respond to them? Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?
- You couldn’t get in to see your doctor for three months and the day of the appointment arrives. Your appointment is scheduled for 2:00pm and you get there early to check in. As you settle in to the seat in the waiting room, you notice others are being taken back their rooms. You wait. And you wait. And you wait. Finally, at 3:30pm, a nurse calls your name and takes you back to the exam room. You get changed into the paper gown. And you wait… again. Your doctor eventually rolls into your room around 4:00pm. ARGH! Is your reaction more like a thermometer or a thermostat?
- It’s Wednesday evening and you’ve had a relatively good day at work. You’re feeling fine and you’re happy to be home. However, things quickly change when you open the door from the garage to the house. You can almost taste the tension in the air. Your six-year-old twins are arguing over who’s turn it is with the shared iPad. And your spouse is yelling at your oldest, “Turn off the TV and find your soccer equipment! If we don’t leave in five minutes, we’ll be late!”. Thermometer or thermostat?
In our busy, sometimes frenetic days, it’s so easy to get caught up in reacting to the “temperature of the room.” Without thinking about it, we often soak in other people’s emotions and before we know it, we’re the ones taking on the stress and negative emotions that weren’t ours to begin with.
It’s a natural response to react like a thermometer.
However, constantly reacting to, and being pushed and pulled by other people’s moods and agendas gets exhausting. And it’s not just tiring. Our physical health takes a huge hit when we absorb other people’s stuff.
So, what’s our protection against the constant barrage of emotional shrapnel in our everyday world?
Be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.
Thermostat people have an internal locus of control. They know they have the power to control how they respond, no matter what’s going on around them. Their reactions are controlled and they are not affected by external factors.
Thermostat people are resilient.
Resilient people are happy.
Resilient people find joy in life.
And joyful people are better at practicing self-care and being kind to themselves.
The following is a guest post by Joan Steffend with an introduction written by our founder, Barb Greenberg.
Are there days you feel you don’t quite fit into your life, that you have lost your way or lost your footing? Are there times you feel you are trying so hard and nothing seems to work out? Do you sometimes doubt your value?
Please know you are not alone. Someone recently told me to consider these feelings as “growing pains.” They remind you to pause and to reevaluate. In doing so, you will “grow” into a new understanding and relationship with your life. Please be patient and remember you have more value, more relevance, than words can express. May these words from Joan Steffend comfort you:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word relevant. Was I? Am I? Could I be? Is it important?
What does it mean? That there’s a place for you.
What does that mean? That you fit in this world, perfectly, just as you are.
What does that mean? That you can let go of the struggle.
What does that mean? That life rises up to support you.
What does that mean? That you can relax.
You are relevant, even if others don’t see it or know it.
That is enough.
You are enough.