Introspection: 5 possible approaches

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict and you’re not really sure how you got there? This has happened with me this week. I find myself in a conflict I would have never predicted and I don’t really know how we got here. It hurts my heart. I do not like conflict and typically work very hard to avoid it. All the same, here I am. I have been trying to use an introspective approach to determine what steps I can take in the future to avoid this same situation. After all, life is about moving forward.

The Oxford Dictionary defines introspection as: “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional process.”  This seems like a good approach to heal this situation and avoid future ones. What could I have done differently? What within me caused me to react in the manner in which I did? What parts of myself do I need to heal in order to move forward without a similar future situation, like this,  rearing its ugly head? Introspection is about looking deeply within yourself. We can only control our own reactions and responses to situations.

There are many ways to approach introspection. Here are 5 of my favorites.

1. Journaling – journaling is a great way to let the words just flow. It is a safe space to say everything you want to say, and you never know what wisdom may flow onto the pages. There can be many “ah ha” moments while journaling.

2. Meditation – mediation allows you to step away from the circling thoughts and find a few moments of peace. This is a great space to set an intention of having clear guidance and insight flow to you. I find this a powerful process.

3. Therapy – Meeting with a good psychotherapist is a great way to have someone hold space for you to get beyond any issues at hand. This person can often help you identify blind spots or actions you do see, that can cause pain.

4. Exercise – Going for a walk, running, or yoga can also be a great way to go inside. There is something about this process that is not only healing but helpful in gaining insight into who we are and the type of actions we take.

5. Tarot – This one may seem weird to you but I find, working with either tarot cards or oracle cards, is a great way to dig into the subconscious. Our subconscious often has a different agenda than our thinking mind. Even if you do not know what a card means, looking at the symbolism you notice and thinking deeply about its message for you, can be a great source of insight.

Introspection is a great tool. Whether you are currently within a situation that brings a need to look at your own actions and intentions, or you are just on a journey to be the best version of yourself. We all have shadowy areas within ourselves. It never hurts to go in and clear out the cobwebs.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have introspective insight when you need it, as if by magic.

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I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, as if by magic.

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Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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Family Secrets

 

About a year ago I had my DNA processed with the 23 and me testing. Because of connections made through my DNA being tested, I have learned some family secrets. This is not as new to me as one would think.  As a hospice nurse and a tarot card reader, I have often been privy to other peoples family secrets. I feel that these “secrets” can sometimes be very toxic and eat away at the inside of a family. 

As a hospice nurse I have watched people decide to unburden themselves to their family at the very end of their life. When this happens, some families accept this with grace and move forward to heal. While other families are forever hurt and confused by the revelation of this secret. Either way, it can cause so much confusion and brings things from the past into question. 

The truth usually always finds its way to the surface.  I feel it is so much better to be honest and upfront; I myself have never been one for keeping secrets. I will keep confidence with other peoples information but in my own life, and with my personal story, I see no reason to keep secrets. If I make a decision which seems like a mistake, I fess up and ask for forgiveness because keeping secrets is exhausting. 

Often secrets are just kept as a way to keep pain from affecting those around us. That pain though,  can be so much worse, when the lies and deceit are piled on top to keep that initial secret. 

I am learning more about my family through my journey with DNA testing and the connections I have made with relatives are rich and true blessings; learning more about my family’s past and interesting ways they lived their lives. These past experiences do not have to be painful if we remember that everyone does the best they can in the time and space they are in. Then with this in mind, even though we may not agree with what someone has done, can still offer forgiveness and love to that person. I find that the things I am learning make me wish that my ancestors were still alive to ask them questions, because there seems to be so much more to the story that probably has its own beautiful lessons and connections related to it. 

People are usually stronger that we give them credit for and we are also stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Instead of hiding it, share things with those you love. They can handle it! Often times the secret you’re holding, is not as much of a secret as you may have thought. Often times others already have a sense of it but still love you just the same. People many times just need to process the information you share; but wouldn’t you rather trust them with the information than continue to have to hide it? 

I can think of only one possible exception to this and that is if you will not be safe to reveal the secret. When you truly fear some type of abuse or severe punishment as a result of the reveal. If you are in a relationship, where you would expect abuse (physical of emotional) as a result of sharing this information, then I suggest you seek professional help. 

Perhaps I have over simplified all of this, because I have been accused of doing that in the past. I think with love and acceptance all things are possible. Always trust your intuition and follow your inner guidance. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you be free from the burden of secrets, as if by magic. 

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Messy Emotions; How to better understand yours!

Emy and I returned from our retreat with such Joy in our hearts. We decided to set an intention to keep this Joy, regardless of what life through at us. We had no idea how much we were going to be tested. A series of random concerns and annoyances turned into opportunities to learn how to hold Joy firmly in our heart.

The Joy was overflowing from my heart while on our retreat. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having had the space and time to just be and work on myself was such a beautiful gift. Then we stepped back into our lives and it was life. Things were being thrown into our path to see if we could really continue to navigate with Joy. What a test it was! When I was having an especially hard day, Emy reminded me what Wayne Dyer had said. He told us that, when we are squeezed, all that can come out is what we truly are. If I am Joy then only Joy can be squeezed out of me. So as stressful situations and heartbreaking circumstances popped up, I purposely sent Love (Joy) into the world and to the other parties involved. Hate (Fear) serves no purpose. It only hurts everyone.

I do not mean to say that I am perfect and that I didn’t feel frustrated, fearful, or even angry at some of the things going on. I just didn’t allow myself to stay in those lower vibrational feelings. I believe that ultimately there are 2 emotions and everything else are just ranges along that continuum. There is Love. This is Divinity and our true nature. Love is the energy that creates all of the beauty and blessings we are surrounded by. On the far, other side of the spectrum is Fear.

Fear holds a much lower vibration and is a place where we can get stuck. Look at a situation in your life that brings up negative emotions and then ask yourself why you feel that emotion. Keep digging away and going deeper into that emotion. Keep asking yourself what is underneath it or what is bringing this emotion up. I bet as you peel back the layers you will find Fear deep in the core. You are also likely to find Love there too.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a friend that has some unhealthy habits. You get so frustrated with this friend; because they just continue to make these poor choices. You try to talk to them or help them but ultimately nothing changes. You may even feel angry with them or even disgusted at this point. Why? Because you love your friend and you want to see them have a happy and successful life. You are fearful that they are going to get hurt or their choices are going to cause them problems that they cannot recover from.

Try this with scenarios in your own life and see what is deep down there. Understanding where the emotions are coming from may not change how you feel but it may make it easier for you to send Love to the person or situation, rather than Fear.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find understanding of your emotions and acceptance of yourself, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Ybor City, FL

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7 Important Traits of Friends

I feel I am blessed to have so many good friends. Interestingly, I have never been someone who sets out to make friends but somehow I’ve have always been blessed with the most amazing friends. My friends live in many different places and it is a blessing when life brings us to the same places at the same time. Time together is such a gift and as I have grown, I have learned some things about being a friend.

  1. Accept your friends for who they are. They are perfectly them, just as you are perfectly you. If you try to change them you will only feel frustrated and they may feel hurt. Accept them whole for just who they are, warts and all. It is what is inside that really matters. This concept is called unconditional love.
  2. Time together is the greatest thing you can give a friend. There is no need for extravagant gifts. Nothing could be better than spending time and sharing experiences. Last weekend Emy and I shared our retreat. I have another friend who introduced Marty and I to Kirtans and we often attend them together.
  3. Be fair. Equal exchange of energy is very important in life and even more so in relationships. I am blessed to have friends who are very generous with me. It is important that those kindnesses are repaid in some way but not necessarily tit for tat. Marty and I have a friend who lets us do laundry at her home and another who stores our vehicle, when we’re in Florida. Marty and I help with projects around their homes, as we can. There are many similar examples of how we can support each other by assisting with what each other needs, without having to feel a responsibility too. Just lend a hand when the opportunity arrises.
  4. Listen and really let your friend feel heard. One of the greatest gifts we can give another human being is to really listen to what they have to say and hear their stories. When I read tarot cards, it is one of the most important parts of the reading. Hearing what the other has to say and sharing ideas, is such a great way to connect as well. You just never know what may grow out of this exchange.
  5. Be honest with your friends and allow them to be honest with you. If a friend shares a deep dark secret with you, don’t judge them, just accept them for who they are. Hold a space for both of you to speak your truth. Sometimes we can feel pushed into something with friends. We get swept up in the excitement and before we know it we are carried away into something they want to do. Trust your friends to love you, even if what you want to do is not what they want to do.
  6. Encourage your friends. No matter how crazy the ideas may sound to us, having a friend who cheers us on, is a beautiful thing. Often family gets wrapped up in the fear, but a friend can really help us manifest our dreams so we can live our best life.  It is such a blessing to have a friend encouraging you to live the life of your dreams.
  7. Do not take them for granted. I appreciate my friends so much. I always share with them that I appreciate them and their time. I tell my friends I love them because we all need to hear it. I hug my friends. When our hearts meet in an embrace it is such a beautiful moment of warmth and connection.

What traits do you find important in friends? How do you bring your best foot forward in friendships? What traits are important to you when you are looking for friendship from others? We do not travel this life alone. Others join us, some for a large part of our life and other times for a shorter period of time. The length of our friendships does not lessen the impact they may have on us or us on them.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May all of your friendships be meaningful, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Rome, Italy

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What Is It you Most Want?

As Emy and I prepare to begin our retreat, I find myself wondering what it is I most want. What is it that I am hoping to gain from this experience? How will I grow as a result of going so deeply internal? What guidance will I receive? What will Spirit have to share with me? What should my intentions be?

I know I want to be more fully me. I want to step more completely into being the person I was born to be.  When we live our lives most authentically, then the magic happens. When you live authentically you will feel happier and things fall into place more naturally.

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:
they try to have more things, or more money,
in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier.
The way it actually works is the reverse.
You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do,
in order to have what you want.

~ Margaret Young ~

The trick is to find the authenticity. We spend so much of our life being told who to be and how to act, that we get lost. As we move into and out of relationships (work, friendships, and romantic) we show different faces of ourselves. We mold ourselves (at least to some degree) to connect with these people. Think about the people who are close to you. Do any of them really know you or do they all know a different aspect of you? How well do you really know yourself? Getting to know ourselves, on a deeper level, is a great gift we can give ourselves.

No matter how you go internal and give yourself the space to learn your true nature, it can be a wonderful process. You never know what might come up. It maybe even be painful at times. Sometimes very painful past emotions will pop up and need to be felt and processed. Allow them to come; don’t push them down. Feel them! Then bless them and release them and know that your are safe in this process.

Authenticity will set you free! This will lead you into living the life of your dreams. Perhaps your dreams are not even what you think they are and will evolve as you get to know yourself better. Blessings to you on this journey!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you have an enjoyable journey finding your authentic self, as if by magic.

*photo was taken of Reflection Lake in Washington State.

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