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Let's face it, life is full of all kinds of stuff:  some we label as good, some we label as bad.  Today I want to talk about what we sometimes label as bad:  change or loss.  Loss happens.  So does change.  Relationships end.  Jobs and careers go away.  Things happen.  So often the tendency is to somehow make the feelings as a result of those losses go away.  We don't want to hurt.  In fact, there is a judgement about the hurting itself, as if there is something shameful or wrong about it.  We tell ourselves we shouldn't hurt, to put our big boy and girl panties on and buck up.  We try to hide it, deny it, medicate it, do anything except feel it.

When we do, all we do is form ugly scar tissue over the break.  We heal it, but we don't cure it.  We don't do our grief work.  Because of this, we are doomed to a life where we may not feel the hurt acutely anymore, but all of our reactions and decisions are consequently based on that one event.  We've got tunnel vision and it is very limiting.

Here are some examples:

  • The relationship ends, and instead of doing our inner work to learn the lesson, we immediately get into another one.
  • We experience a loss, and instead of going through a grieving process, we get a prescription.
  • Something "bad" happens, and instead of working through it, we get so busy that we have no time to thing.

I'd like to propose that there is a different, gentler way to do things, and it is also more rewarding in the long run.

The difference between a broken heart and a broken-open heart is profound.  We all have times and instances in which our hearts get broken.  We hurt.  Eventually we heal, somewhat, but it is never cured.  There is a difference between healing and curing.  Healing is temporary and very shallow. Curing is permanent and goes deep.  Healing only takes care of the surface wounds.  Curing changes us at deep levels, and such change is necessary for us to move into the next greatest expression of being.

A broken-open heart can be the way to a cure.  It is a doorway through which we can live a new and wonderful life.

If your heart is broken, I'd like to suggest that you do not medicate it, jump into another relationship, make yourself so busy you have no time to think, or any of the other things we typically do to make the bad feelings just go away.

Instead, feel them.  Acknowledge the grief and allow the process to happen.  Do the inner work, because a broken-open heart is a doorway into new ways of thinking and perceiving ourselves and life.  Consider getting support and help moving through the process

 

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"Pursue the obstacle. It will set you free."  Mark Nepo

Do you have an obstacle in your life?  Something that seems to block your way no matter which way you turn?

I'm not speaking of an outer obstacle here, although if outer obstacles keep appearing that can be an indicator that something in your life needs to change.  But for this post I am referring to inner obstacles.

Maybe a fear that keeps you from taking that next indicated right step.  Or stubbornness.  I'm sure you are familiar with this:  you know a change in thinking would be the best thing, but you stubbornly refuse to make the change...just because.  Or maybe it is anxiety.  The thought of doing something makes you short of breath.

These are the obstacles to which I am referring.

What Mark Nepo is suggesting with his quote is that instead of trying to get rid of the obstacle, or attempting to block it somehow, we pursue it.  He clarifies, in his book titled "The Book of Awakening:" "we are asked not to oppose what blocks us as something mounting its will against our own. For the obstacle will simply give our resistance back to us. We are being asked not to empower or perpetuate the life of the obstacle, but to step aside if we can with openness to the energy of the obstacle—much like the ancient art of Aikido, where instead of blocking a punch, you help the punch move past you."

How could this be done?  Nepo suggests that we describe the obstacle as a part of nature.  Sort of like the deer in the headlights. And then ask ourselves how is what we want or need colliding with what it wants or needs?

When we go within and get in touch with our inner wisdom, the answers will come.  The obstacle isn't really an obstacle.  It's a doorway.  Open the door.

I now have some openings to help you move beyond your inner obstacles.  Contact me now for more information!

DSC_1141painted"You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety."  Abraham Maslow

One of the most heartbreaking things for me to see in my counseling practice is when people choose to step backwards into safety. ...continue reading "Are you stepping forward?"

DSC_4341I’m sure you’ve all heard the analogy of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It is a perfect analogy, a very good metaphor for us in our lives. The caterpillar goes about it’s business and then one day, change begins. It begins to build a cocoon, and then inside the cocoon, becomes literally mush, a messy gooey lump of mush. This process continues, until one day a beautiful butterfly bursts forth to fly and frolic in the breezes. The caterpillar does not fight the process, nor does it try to rush it. And if someone, in their misguided compassion, tries to help it, the caterpillar will die. It needs to be left alone to do the process it was meant to do. ...continue reading "5 Steps to Turn into a Butterfly"

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Thank you to Jeff Anderson for this quote. There are traditional ways to refer to a process which allows us to open up to our highest good. In traditional language, words like powerless and surrender are used. For me, these words evoke a return to victimhood and I do not resonate with them. But the concept is powerful. This quote allows for an opening. To let go of resistance to the total openness of who I am implies that anytime I am feeling resistance, a fight, a nudge that says, "something needs to change here," I can acknowledge that perhaps the way I've been doing and being is no longer working, and then I can contemplate and allow for a new way of being and doing. This is why contemplation is so important in our lives, and this is why I am doing a workshop that will give you some new ideas about incorporating contemplation into your life. Won't you join me on Friday, April 17, at 6 pm, at the Center for Spiritual Living in Carson City, to explore this together?

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I woke up this morning, and as is my usual practice, looked out my window to see what Mother Nature was up to this fine morning. I noticed that a storm had moved in while I slept, and was hovering over the mountains west of me. This is the normal weather pattern here in my neck of the woods, and I wondered if the storm would make it over the mountains to gives us valley folks some moisture. As I sat and contemplated all the metaphorical meanings of this, a rainbow appeared! It was almost magical, one minute it was not there and the next minute it was.

I love rainbows. To me, they are a reminder to always look for the good. For there is good in every situation. Even in the midst of stormy times, there is good.

Using Mother Nature as a metaphor is a valuable practice for me. Storms have to come. They provide much needed moisture. In the mountains they provide snow, which brings visitors for ski season, which bring jobs. In this valley, the moisture from the storms facilitates the vast acreage of pasture land here, which feeds the cows and horses, which provide jobs, recreation and food. People like to complain during the storms, but I stopped doing that since I realized the storms were a metaphor for life. Storms are necessary for life to proceed.

We all have storms in our lives. Changes, loss and illness, all are the storms of life, and rainbows cannot form unless there are storms. So when I see a storm, I always look for the rainbow. Likewise, when I have a storm in my life, I always look for the good.

In this way, I can, even in the midst of sadness or anger or any of the other feelings I might be experiencing, know that there is good in this experience, and there will continue to be good. There will always be a rainbow.

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I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about transformation and change.  The reasons why we change:  is it forced upon us, or do we make a conscious decision to change?  I think it is a little of both.  In this post I am addressing the changes that are seemingly forced upon us.  I say seemingly because I don't think anything is forced upon us.   I can hear the protests rise up in a giant cacophonous  noise even as I write the sentence.  Yes, I know we do  not consciously choose many of the changes that happen in our lives.  I've had many changes happen in my life that I would not have consciously chosen at the time they were happening.  But I stand here today grateful for every thing that has ever happened in my life, and I know that I would not be in the place I am today if it weren't for each and every one of those events.

Did I handle all those changes gracefully?  Did I respond with dignity and move into acceptance with nary a temper tantrum?  No!  I fought, and kicked and screamed and complained and struck back and did all those things that we seem to automatically do when change happens.

Then I learned a few things.  I learned that when I am not accepting change, it is not the situation I have a problem with, it is my feelings about the situation.  And I am the only one responsible for my feelings.  I can accept and feel at peace, or I can fight and be very uncomfortable.

When I stopped fighting, I realized that there was an incredible empowerment in the lack of resistance.  And the transformation that occurred in my life as a result of that has always been of great benefit to me.

What changes are you experiencing in your life?  Are you embracing them, or fighting them?  And what is the result of your reaction to the changes?  I'd love to hear about your experience.

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I just began writing my first book.

Yeah, that's a big deal.  Writing a book has been on my list of things to do for a very long time, but school, earning a living, play and a multitude of huge changes meant that particular item on the list has gone undone.  Until now.

I've settled in from all the changes, graduated from school, and now have the time to do some of the things on my to do list.

I do not think it is a coincidence that the title of my book will be (tentatively) Courage to Change.  This came to me in a dream a few weeks back.

Since I made the decision, and then began to act on that decision, all sorts of "coincidences" have popped up.  NOT!  There is no such thing as coincidence, but I've discovered that when I make a decision based on love, not fear, and then act immediately on that decision, I am shown very quickly whether it is the right thing to do.  It feels right!  I'm going for it!

So...you can expect to see a lot of blog posts about change as I move through the creation of this book.  Here is a quote I just came across.  It is from Julie Tallard Johnson, writing in The Zero Point Agreement:

"... we have a tendency to respond in a patterned and limited way to our circumstances. Therefore, we often remain blind to the possibilities inherent in the situation. In these impoverished circumstances, blinded by our habitual view, when there is a strawberry or even more to reach for, we still don't see it. This is because our own perspective and history limit us.... Our past agreements and beliefs and our supporting assumptions based on our history prevent us from taking risks, reaching out, and making something remarkable happen."

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