Last night I read these words:
"I touched my chapped and peeling lips carefully with my fingers and winced…
“Your body is trying to tell you something,” Ani said as she held up the mirror to so I could see my face.
I was shocked to notice that my lips were swollen bright red. They were even cracked and bleeding from when I had tried to widen them into a smile.
“Oh, Ani, they are so sore.”
“Why have you not tended to them?” Ani asked.
“I was busy with other things, I guess.” I looked at her sheepishly.
“When you refuse to learn a lesson in this life, because you’re too busy, or because you’re afraid, or because you don’t know how to stop doing a certain activity, the body takes over and begins to teach you.”
“What does that have to do with chapped lips?”
”Chapped lips, colds, fevers, accidents – whatever you ask for, your body gives you"."
Abridged except from Chapter 8, Windhorse Woman by Lynn V. Andrews
I was touched by the wisdom of these words. How often have I not listened to my own inner voice (don’t eat bread today), not tended to my own needs (staying up too late), let myself get too busy (pushing myself too hard), and obstinately continuing on with habits that were not good for me. It really is like going against my inner guidance and the natural flow of life.
I wonder how much of that impacts on the greater picture of life. For example: If I want something but my focus (emotional energy) is on something else then I am probably not going to get what I want.
So a question popped into my mind: am I affirming life (my natural wisdom) and what I really want or am I going against it? It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?
Let us say you wake up in the morning with 10 units of energy to spend through the day. You decide you want to use the energy to make up a website. Here’s how you spend your units:
Now here is a different scenario….
It’s the same with good health and vitality, isn’t it?
Do you ever feel lonely? I wonder what that is all about. I am a person who likes time on my own. It gives me time to relax, to walk or read or study. To do things I want to do. But I have noticed that there are times when being alone feels uncomfortable. Often I do nothing about it, and grind on through the day feeling a bit empty and dissatisfied. The feeling hangs out with me and, if left unattended, starts to morph in all sorts of directions. I start to wonder what is wrong with me? If I decide to go down that rabbit hole it can end up in all kinds of dark places (usually ending up with beating myself up) - and that's not a nice way to treat myself! Recently I decided to explore this more.
What does loneliness mean to me? I realized I feel this feeling when I separate myself from people. Quite literally I isolate myself. I do have lots of wonderful friends, but sometimes I unplug myself from that network and imagine that I am in the world all by myself. Instead of ringing a friend up, I focus on being isolated and alone.
One day I realized I could start to see that lonely empty feeling from a different perspective - to re-frame it.
I have noticed that as soon as I do this, I no longer feel isolated and alone. I have reconnected myself into my network. Dare I say it, I have connected into the flow of life And everybody loves feeling that they belong, don't they?
So next time you feel alone, try re-framing it and see what happens.
Elayne is a Massage Therapist. She is running a special offer of $50 for a 1 hour session during the month of July.
Do you ever get a feeling of being “empty”? It’s an uncomfortable feeling, like being bored, restless, or aimless wondering around.
I liken it to the feeling I experience when I am hungry and looking for something to fill me up - I go to the fridge and finding nothing to satisfy my appetite.
I call this feeling the void.
The void turns up when:
It’s a BIG EMPTY SPACE…. Often accompanied with the words “What now?”
Here are some things that you should know about the void:
Fortunately we can use the void to actually assist us in the change of direction. Here’s how:
To create the future, we have to take stock and know who we are now. A little constructive life review can be helpful. Some people might do this through the vehicle of The Hero’s Journey, others through astrology, numerology, or personality testing. Life review helps us to know that we are always moving forward, even when it seems we are not.
The next step is to wait for the empty “void” feeling to come. Then gather up all the emotions around it. The longing, the frustration, the ache, wondering what’s next, and feel it as intensely as I can. This energises the void space, like an oven cooks a cake.
Then I start to become aware of my current energy which is made up of all my life experiences, who I am now, who I want to become, all my curiosity about the future and what it could possibility bring for me. I make it full of potential and as positive as I can then I gather all this feeling up and put it inside of the void. That’s right, in the middle of the oven where all the emotions are.
Then I relax and let go – this gives me a feeling of expansion. I acknowledge that some part of me does know exactly what is really going on and all I have to do is let it unfold. Efforting at this point just blocks the flow, so take a break.
I then say to myself “I know, even though I think I don’t know”. Deep inside of me all the answers are there, even if they have not arrived in my mind yet but I know they are coming. The new path for me could be anything – maybe even something I have never thought of before. For example, I used to work in Law. When I had that job I never dreamed I would be a massage therapist now. It was through a chain of events that led me to where I am now, and that began with a nagging ache that something needed to change but I had no idea what (the void).
Nowadays I am more aware of this feeling and I can consciously use this void to help me move forward. Every time I feel that uncomfortable feeling of the void, I now gather my energy and ask for something new to turn up. I use my mantra: “I know even though I think I don’t know”. I imagine a new wiring happening from my deepest knowing (which appears to be hidden from me) direct to my mind, so that I am aware of inspiration, sign posts for the new direction, and a sense of “go here” or ‘try that” which pushes me forward where my inner being wants me to go.
We can gather our attention to a new direction through creating a ceremony for ourselves.
One of the reasons we are more prone to anxiety these days, is that we are constantly on an emotional roller coaster – stimulated by movies, social media, television and books with emotive stories. On one hand each one of these activities can give us some “time out” at the end of the day, on the other hand, it is important to note that our over-stimulated mind and emotions absorb it all and the constant input actually "adds" to the overall stress.
For example: if you watch a movie about a predator and you are involved in the story, your body cannot differentiate between the pretend story and real life. If you feel frightened whilst watching the movie, or your hair goes up on the back of your neck, you feel cold, sweaty or upset; then your emotional system is on! This means your adrenal glands are pumping the hormones that make the body to go into fight and flight mode. (Check out my deep breathing practice to reverse the affects of adrenal gland hormones)
Likewise if you see or read something that is really sad (I get triggered and cry every time I watch the movie Whale Rider), and you feel like crying, you are also having an emotional reaction which is affecting the chemistry in your body.
All this is fine if you are not over-anxious, but it is not okay if your system is already in overdrive. Our thinking and emotions are affected by the chemicals in our body: food, drugs, our own hormones, and toxins in the environment all have an affect on our mental and emotional health. For example, when I had my son, I did not sleep well (as is usual if you have babies!) and also had a lot of financial stress as my husband was made redundant. Eventually this lead to the break down of my health and I became fatigued. It was when I changed my diet, learnt how to relax and sleep, rebalance the chemistry in my body that I started to emotionally/mentally feel better again..
So, take some time out from movies,social media, books and TV. You could:
Please note that these blogs are from a lay person and not a counsellor, psychologist or medical professional. If you think you have severe anxiety or depression, you should consult with a professional.
Letting go of the past is not easy, especially if the past holds something unresolved.
Questions haunt us and they take a lot of energy....
WHAT did I do wrong?
WHAT could I have done differently?
Pondering on these questions can drive us crazy. These questions can form a loop in our minds and take up a lot of "free to air space"! Often there are no answers to these types of questions. Even if the person concerned could give you an answer, it could be emotionally loaded or distorted.
The good news is that with a bit of effort on your part, there is a way to make them lose their grip and stop their obsessing.
Step 1. Every time you go back to an old thought (which may include he WHY or WHAT questions), write it down in a notebook. When it repeats again, give it a tick and have this conversation with yourself:
"Yep, got that thanks. I can’t change this and at this stage there is no answer to it. Maybe one day in the future I will know the answer, maybe I will never know the answer to it. I do know that the question has already been asked, and if I am meant to know the answer it will come to me in its own good time. Thinking about this question is not helpful to me right now. In fact, I think it so much it is becoming boring”.
This kind of self-conversation can be quite helpful as it helps the mind change its focus.
Step 2 is CHANGE THE RECORD. By this I mean:
Step 3. Every time you get a repeat thought do Steps 1 and 2 again. Before long it will begin to change. The periods of obsessive thinking will get less, and the “I am feeling okay” time will get longer.
Many years ago a friendship ended suddenly. There were lots of “whys” floating around in my head, I kept thinking about the person, even though I didn’t see them any more. So I found a photo of that person, said all that I wanted to say to them and thanked them for the lesson. I told them I wanted to be free now. I then said “I let you go” and asked for them to be surrounded in love. I didn't have to love them myself, but I knew that there is some kind of benevolent love out there which could go to them. I then changed the record in my head by saying affirmations, getting involved in an absorbing activity or giving thanks for what I have.
Whenever this person came back into my mind I did the same process again. In fact, the first day I did it a lot of times – such was my habit of thinking about them. I was very strict with myself and stuck with the programme. The second day it was less, and by the third day it was considerably less. It was such a relief to stop thinking about that person. I felt free!
In time some answers did come to me - often unsolicited and out of the blue! I realised it wasn't all their fault and that I had a part to play in it too. By releasing my grip on the situation things began to open up and come clear.
If you have trouble letting go and would like some help, please contact me.
Developing intuition can appear to be rather a random process. I remember about one year into my massage training sensing something deeper about a person's body - more than just skin and muscle - there was an underlying feeling of corrugated cardboard. It amazed me that I could sense a person on a double level - the physical and then on some kind of feeling/knowing level.
I believe that there is a "practical intuition" that we all use in some way through our daily life:-
1. Our animal instinct i.e. we can smell food and know it is off, sensing danger, something tastes wrong, reading body language
2. Many years experience can lead us to be able to read situations/people accurately
3. We might study something for a long period of time and suddenly the brain "sorts it" and it becomes an integral part of our inner "knowing"
4. We get a "gut feeling" about something.
For me intuition is also a type of "sensing": Many years ago I attended a meditation course, where we explored several different methods of meditation. One of them was colour meditation - we painted a ball of a single colour and looked at it until we could also see it with our eyes shut. Every time the colour faded we could look at it again until the colour was absorbed. For some reason this experience of different colours stuck with me, and after that I could sense colour when I worked with a client. Through the meditation my brain had developed some kind of awareness about colour and it would overlay this when I worked with people. Eventually I began to sense people's auras - and learnt to interpret what I saw.
At one stage in my development I was fortunate enough to live with a crystal healer for a period of time. Her house was a healer's paradise full of crystals, books and essential oils. And I was able to spend many hours with a wonderful person who wanted to share, experience and learn all about healing! Often I would come home from work and sit with her crystals, holding them in my hands and seeing what I could feel. At times I felt nothing, sometimes I felt different sensations in my body, or a sensed movement in my hand. I would notice which crystals I was drawn to and read up about them in her books. It was a playful, fun time and I learnt so much. Not just about crystals, but about how to develop and trust my intuition.
I found that once I had developed a sense of intuition with crystals, I could use it with anything - essential oils, aura soma, flower remedies and plants. I had an interest in plant tinctures and occasionally helped my friend out on her stall at festivals. Even though I didn't know everything the tinctures did, I had no trouble finding the right one for a person. I would then pass this on to my friend (who was a trained herbalist) to check I had the correct one. One day I was watching her working with a client. Something seemed to be missing from her tincture. I scanned the remedies and picked out the violet tincture and handed it to the herbalist. She said it was for grief. Much to our surprise the customer immediately started crying - talking about her grief.
Doing massage in the workplace and at festivals has also been a great teacher for me. Every person feels so different, and at these events I had a chance to feel many people in a short period of time. Of course there is the physical "feel" of the muscles - are they soft and relaxed, generally tight, or balls of knots. However there is another "feel" to the client as well. For example: they might feel wooden, or there is an inner tension that feels like a wound up spring, or they are calm and relaxed. If I get chance I will talk to the client about this and discuss with them ways to address the underlying issue.
Sometimes I also get a picture in my head. Recently I was working at a healing evening doing massages. Between clients I could observe the other healers working on their clients. As I watched one healing session, I saw in my mind's eye a picture of the client with her feet in the clouds. Later I talked to the healer about this. She said she had been advising her client to be more grounded. The client had told her that she was the second person that day to suggest this to her!
Next Saturday (19th September) I am teaching a Crystal Healing Course, with an emphasis on developing intuition. If you are interested in this area please contact me.
Learning to forgive your self is not an easy task – it’s a process which takes place over a period of time. There are many ways to arrive at the point of forgiveness. Each step brings a subtle shift towards inner peace and acceptance. I recently watched this video on forgiveness and it inspired me to write this blog. Here is my personal story of forgiveness.
I think we often do or say things that harm ourselves or others when our needs are not being met. This could come from an early childhood experience where we feel we are not “good enough” or “not accepted”. There are many reactions to feeling not good enough – trying to be better than someone else, feeling we have to prove ourselves, trying to obtain as much attention as we can from other people at any cost, treating other people like they are not good enough, being selfish, being invisible… the list goes on.
For much of my life I was blind to how I was behaving – I was doing the best that I could with what I knew. It was only through many years of experiences (sometimes difficult ones), personal reflection, asking questions, reading and learning that I realised how much “not good enough” was affecting my life – and hurting others.
I remember at one point writing my story in two different versions. Firstly, as the victim(poor me) with all the things that went wrong, blaming everyone else and taking no responsibility. Secondly, as the heroine, the person who learnt and adapted from each experience, who was helped by others and was willing to change. A person who became a better one over a period of time. Writing these two stories was quite a challenge for me. As the stories unfolded I started to see the effect of my actions – and the impact it had had on people close to me. Upon this realisation I wept with sadness: I felt ashamed and guilty.
This guilt stayed with me for a long time. I remember trying to appease a past relationship through a new one. Somehow I felt if I could “make things up” with the new partner, I would get be forgiven and get off the guilt hook. Of course this didn’t work! My new partner refused to accept my attempts to make things better, and I felt desperate and frustrated. I had no way of healing this situation with the original people. I had definitely learnt my lesson and wanted to do things differently (restorative justice) but how could I be free of this guilt? I was in a no-win situation – lesson learnt but I was stuck in prison with guilt. The guilt made me feel so bad. It fed back into my “you are not good enough” conditioning.
In the end I realised that the only way forward was to stop punishing myself and let myself out of jail. Ohhh it was hard. Had I punished myself long enough? I had certainly been flogging myself with remorse, regret and recriminations for a very long time.
And yet, I could not really stand strong in the lesson, if I didn’t free myself of the guilt. I had two choices:
Option 2 seemed the only alternative. So I tentatively stepped out into forgiveness. I let myself off the hook. I decided I would forgive myself once and for all. To do this I created an imaginary process where I talked to all the people concerned. I talked about my needs and how I had wanted them met, and how I acted to try and get them met. I stepped in their shoes to see things from their point of view. I was fair to myself, I accepted that it was a two way interaction and I wasn’t totally at fault. I was gentle with myself. I wasn’t born with the manual on how to live life – and sometimes mistakes are made. I told them what I had learnt and how I choose to behave now. I explained what I could have done differently, and what my new standards are now, based on this knowledge.
I asked them to forgive me. And then I FORGAVE MYSELF. I said goodbye to the guilt and walked out of the prison I had made for myself. I then celebrated that it was all over and thanked them for the experience.
Over the following months I watched my mind for the old punishing thoughts that wanted to return. Each time they came, I reminded myself that I am forgiven, and that it’s over now. I have learnt the lesson and live differently. I give love to myself, I accept what happened and that I cannot change it. I let myself feel inner peace.
Forgiving myself has brought inner peace to me. I am still learning and growing. I expect I will do many forgiveness processes in my lifetime – for mistakes in life are common. However it is wonderful to be free and shining my light once again.
Please do not think this is a magic formula for forgiveness. It isn’t. Many people have helped me along the way: friends, family, counsellors, authors, healers. We all have our own way of getting to inner peace. It’s just a matter of conscious choice. Do we want our heart to be hurt and closed all our lives? Or do we want to have it open, trusting, wise and free?
I recently watched the movie “Mr Holmes” – it is a wonderful story of forgiveness and healing for an old man and the people around him. Life is such a mystery and one of the greatest miracles is that of getting to a place of forgiveness.
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling low?
Are you always struggling with your mind to get into a positive state?
Our minds can be pretty funky places at times.... And it if occurs often enough (we feel flat every day), it can become a habit. When we feel low, everything feels bad. Our body tends to have more pain and tension, our diet deteriorates, the day at work seems harder, the verbal dialogue goes around and round, we beat ourselves up and stop being fun to be around.
The trick to changing this is to change our thinking. (After all it is the one thing we do have control over).
We all get a bit flat at times, and I am no exception. One morning I got the idea to rev up through using affirmations (this has always worked for me in the past), so I took a look on internet to find some fresh ideas. I came across a talk by Abraham Hicks on called "The Easiest Way to Start Positive Momentum". It was a great talk, and I want to summarise it for you in this blog.
Esther Hicks and Louise Hay both say that using affirmations help shift our mental state and reality, but unless we get into a positive feeling state, affirmations do not work. Let me give you an example. You own a heater. You know it gives you warmth. But it only works when you turn the power on. Likewise with affirmations, they only work when we have a strong positive emotional feeling behind them. The emotional power literally turns the affirmations on.
So if you wake up and invest emotional energy into self talk about how flat you feel, that is what you will get - a bad day. If you wake up and invest your energy is a "rev up" pep talk with positive emotional energy behind it, then your day will be much better.
The easiest way to do this is to make yourself a recording of your affirmations when you are in a good mood and play it to yourself first thing in the morning. Leave enough space between each affirmation to repeat it, and remember to get into the feeling - like you already have it. BE excited!
I have one below which you can download.
Abraham Hicks says best way to start your 'rev up talk" is with something general.
What do you appreciate right now? Think of all the things that are easy to appreciate.
Think generally: your body, your home, your comfy warm bed, food in your cupboards, a hot shower...
Then go out into the community: people at the bank, your friends, the library service, the supermarket...
Then globally: the electricity to your house, the roads...
Take a moment to appreciate the wellbeing of the people around you. People who inspire you.
You could compare yourself with all the people who live in other places, and appreciate where you live and what you are accomplishing right now
GOOD VIBES ATTRACT GOOD VIBES
When you can put a good, excited, happy, uplifting feeling into your words/appreciation, this puts power into them. Often we let our good feeling go, and slump back down to apathy. So set an alarm in your phone a couple of times a day to remind you to lift your vibe again.
Abraham Hicks says the next step is to receive what comes your way. Allow yourself to go with the flow. Let your positive vibes carry you along throughout your day. We all know how good it is to be around someone who has these vibes. You can be like that too. People sense this - they will want to help and support you.
It takes commitment to keep picking yourself up and getting into a positive vibe. But ask yourself: which mouth do you want to feed? The happy one or the sad one?
One day is not enough to break a habit, but one week can start showing you some positive results. It takes about 28 days to change a habit, and probably 3 months to have it embedded into your system Practice pays off!
Two steps that can instantly make a big difference in your life
1. Start your day off in a positive way
How often do you wake up and for a split second you will feel okay - then you lift your head up off the pillow, think about life and now you feel terrible? The best way out of this habit is to have an action list right by your bed to look at as soon as you wake up. Here is an example:
• Think of a happy memory and re-live it so that you feel the good feelings again
• Smile, stretch and take 10 deep breaths right down into your belly
• Say an affirmation 10 times
• Have a glass of lemon juice
• Take a shower and then go for a walk
These positive actions will help you get out of the habit of feeling flat and kick start your day.
2. Get enough sleep – some “lowness” is just “tiredness”
Sleep is very important when you are feeling low. It is the re-set button and gives you time to process what has been going on in your dream time. Not enough sleep prevents your body from rejuvenating, and makes you feel tired throughout the day.
• Go to bed early
• Have a walk early in the evening
• Have a milky drink or chamomile tea before you go to bed
• Avoid video games, tv, movies and emotional books before you go to bed. They will stimulate your mind and trigger off emotions and fight/flight hormones
• Do a relaxation exercise
• Listen to calming/relaxing music or a visualisation CD/MP3
• Do some deep breathing into the lower abdomen whilst laying in bed
If you do not get enough sleep throughout the week, have an afternoon nap in the weekend to catch up.
For me the most difficult part of breaking the pattern of feeling down is the mind.
1. It tells stories all the time
2. It has imaginary conversations with people over and over again
3. It has to know WHY - which drives us crazy
4. And if the answer to the WHY isn’t nice, it will punish “us” relentlessly or “them” relentlessly
5. Or worse still, the mind could choose to make up a WHY story – which may or may not be true!
Have you ever been on that merry-go-round? I have, and it is not easy to get off.
Also our mindset can create lots of problems for us, often based on things that are not true. Take a look at this TED talk.
A teacher of mine once said “an unkept mind will default to the negative”. And I believe it is definitely like a muscle which needs to be trained. We need to weed out the unhelpful chatter and put in something positive. The mind is one thing that we CAN control in our lives – but it does take patience and practice.
Part of the process of feeling great in life, is getting to know our mindset and directing our mind into a healthy positive place. There are so many attitudes and ideas about life we can have, it is up to us to choose them.
For example: A man gets on a train and sits by a father and his two small children. The children are misbehaving but the father is ignoring it. The man gets irritated by it and eventually asks the father to “control his children”. The father says, “my wife just died in the hospital and we are going home”. The man then changes his attitude and asks how he can help the father.
When we feel low we can get into a strong mindset pattern which holds us in this position. What we don’t know is that there are many other mindsets we could hold but often we just cannot see them. The mindset we are currently in gets very tight.
I remember going through a low period and then being invited to a music festival. The music was wonderful and it made me feel happy. I opened up and talked to lots of people who I had never met. The event changed my mindset and I shifted into a completely different space.
So what feeds a negative mindset:
• Computer games – they make us feel empty and to keep searching for the next “fix”
• The same type of music
• The same type of movies
• Alcohol and drugs
• Repetitive habits that have a “shutting down” affect
• Meeting with friends and complaining about the same things
• Focusing on the past
What changes our mindset:
• Knowing what our mindset is and learning about how to change it
• Listening to uplifting music
• Seeing positive films
• Changing habits
• Hanging out with different people
• Developing new hobbies that take you out of yourself
• Focusing on what you could make happen now
• Spring cleaning or upgrading your living space
• Exercise puts feel good hormones into your body
• Relaxation helps reduce tension in your body and calms the mind
• Being open to new ideas and ways of thinking
Elayne Lane is an instructor of the Universal Healing Tao. She has been teaching and doing bodywork in excess of 25 years and hypnosis over the past 5 years.