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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Letting Go of Darkness

The full moon is in a transformative time that comes every 28 days. It is all about letting go of the old, while the new moon is about manifesting or bringing in the new. These energies of the moon start about 4 days prior to the actual event and last for about four days after, according the Susan Miller: Astrologer. This transformative time gives us wonderful opportunities to think about what no longer serves us and what we would like to see come into our lives.

Last night was the full moon. My husband and I attended a Kirtan. These are becoming the favorite feel good events of ours to go to. This full moon Kirtan was a beautiful event and attended by many sweet souls. This, once again, made our souls sing along with our voices; as the call and response of the mantras progressed throughout the night.

When attending an event like this or starting a meditation, going to a yoga class or retreat; it is always a great idea to set the intention for what you hope to achieve or experience. I learned this many years ago from a wise teacher and have found it to powerfully enhance my experiences as well as help me along my path of healing and health. Knowing that there was a full moon shining overhead, I set an intention to let go of any darkness in my heart. To let any anger, fear, jealousy, hate, distrust, sadness, or need to complain flow gently out of my heart and into the earth. There it could become fertilizer to grow something beautiful. I intended for all darkness to leave my heart so only love would reside there. My great grandmother said, “Those who sing, pray twice”. Singing or chanting is a beautiful form of prayer.

As Chi Johnson lead us skillfully through the various chants. We came to the one that was so very perfect for a full moon Kirtan: “Nataraj, Nataraja, Jai Shiva Shankara Nataraja”. (One part of this powerful mantra) Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. He is also called Lord of the Dance. This is basically asking Shiva to dance through our lives and destroy what no longer serves us, so that we can transform into who we truly are. As we sang this chant I asked Shiva to remove any darkness from my heart. No, not just remove, but destroy anything other than the love that was residing there. “Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe”, Lao Tzu.

When we are hurt, darkness can take hold in our heart center and it can come out in a variety of ways. It has a purpose though; it is trying to protect us. There is purpose is all things, even when we cannot see it or know what it is. The complication is, that sometimes we hold onto these things much longer than we need too. My heart’s fear of being hurt, served me well, as I was healing from the acute pain of a broken relationship. It no longer serves me though. I have held onto it much longer than I needed too. Now is the time to release any darkness in my heart to make room for unending love. Love for all people and things. Love and respect so that I can more fully live in the flow of life. By doing this I can open up to appreciation and gratitude for all the beauty around me.

I am grateful for the Full Moon Kirtan. I am grateful for Shiva dancing through my heart, so that I can release that which no longer serves it. I appreciate all of you who walk your journeys along side mine. When you are ready, know that you are safe to release those things that once protected you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you easily let go of the darkness that has taken up residence in your heart, as if by magic.

* Photo was taken on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.

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When You Love and Hate Someone at the Same Time

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said; “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received.” I shared it to the BWCAdventureSisters Facebook Page. What a powerful statement! I imagine we all have had experiences like this that have caused us pain. Where we did not get the apology we hoped for from the person who hurt us. I imagine, that there have also been times in our own lives, that we have been the cause of pain for others and never apologized; for whatever reason. I know I can think of several times in my own life. These were times when I was not brave enough to say “I was wrong”.  Other times when I never had the chance to express what was in my heart before the other person was gone. I wrote about one such time in my blog When the Last Interaction Is Not Positive.

I like and shared this quote, because it shows that we do not have to stay stuck in anger, just because we didn’t receive what we thought we needed to move on. My first divorce was incredibly painful! I didn’t know how to love and hate someone at the same time. It was confusing. More so than confusing, it was also so lonely. No one could really help me through it. I was suddenly and utterly alone in this deep grief. I had friends and I had family. All who were supportive and willing to be there for me; but it felt like none of them could possibly understand what I was going through.

How do we reconcile love and hate while still respecting our need to protect ourselves from further abuse? How do we move on past anger and into acceptance and forgiveness? How do we allow the love that is there to take that pain and safely transform it? It is not easy nor does it happen overnight. They say time heals all things but I do not believe that time alone is enough to transform these very difficult situations. It takes work, processing, acknowledging, and ultimately forgiving; to move beyond these confusing times when we feel we were wronged.

I have forgiven my first husband for that long ago pain. Yet I have never apologized for keeping his children from him though. I was doing what I thought was right, but in the end, I understand that I hurt him and I hurt them through this action. Relationships are tricky things. We can have an impact on others, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize. I hope those I have hurt can find it in their hearts to forgive me, so that they can be freed from the burden of ‘that’ pain. Because really; forgiveness frees ‘us’ more than the person we are forgiving.

I love you! Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find peace and forgiveness, as if by magic!

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Improving the World – Starting Right Here

I want to make the world a better place. I want to do my part to raise the vibration. Bring peace and healing to the planet and to promote kinship, hope, and love amongst all people. These seem like quite lofty goals. So how does one even get started on a journey to make the world a better place?

This morning in my meditation it became clear to me. The best way for me to improve the planet is to start right here, deep inside of myself. I cannot promote love unless I am love. I cannot promote peace, unless I am peace. I cannot promote healing, unless I am healing. I cannot promote high vibrational energy, unless I am high vibrational energy.

Far to often as I go about my day stressed, disappointed and frustrated as part of my experience. I am human and having human emotions is a normal experience. I must not “shame” myself for these emotions but I also must not get “stuck” in these emotions. When we experience these lower vibrational energies, it is important to acknowledge them. Allow them to move through us. What we resist, persists! By trying to deny our experience of these human emotions, they cling to us. When we notice them and feel them, then we can let them move through us.

Here are some steps to help process and move past these times when we are not feeling our vibrations are at their highest possible levels.

1 Become aware of it: Notice that a lower vibrational energy such as anger, grief, jealousy, sorrow, judgement, fear, etc. has entered your experience.

2 Feel it: Really feel it. Do not judge it.

3 Allow it: Take a moment to allow it. Just sit with it. Don’t shame yourself. This is a part of the human experience.

4 Reflect on it:  If it is possible step back from it and look at it. Think about why you are feeling like you do? Why has this situation affected your emotions in this way?

5 Bless it: Those emotions have purposes. Thank them for being a part of your human experience.

6 Release it: It is not necessary to hold on to it. There are many different techniques for release of stubborn emotions. The Sedona Method is one. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or tapping is another. Some emotions will release easily. Others you may need a technique and still others you may need the help of a therapist or healer.

7 Replace it with Gratitude: Gratitude, which is born from Love, is powerful. We ALL have things to be grateful for. Allow that gratitude to flow into you and through you to replace the space the lower vibrational energy has vacated.

Today as I journey through my day I will focus on Love, Gratitude, and Hope. I will feel blessed and share blessing with my fellow voyagers. When I observe an emotion that does not seem to be in alignment with these intentions I will work the 7 steps above to maneuver past it. I hope you will do the same. Together we will make the world a better place!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you effortlessly move past emotions that do not serve your greatest and highest good, as if by magic. I love you.

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Self Care: a series – part 4

In our series so far we have learned about keeping healthy boundaries, taking time for ourselves, and healthy self talk. Today lets dive into accepting our emotions. A lot of time we tell ourselves we should or shouldn’t feel a certain way. This causes excess stress and we judge ourselves to be “wrong” about our feelings.

Yes, we want to have positive emotions and keep our vibrations high. We are all human, however. No one is happy all of the time. Things happen to us and we “feel” things and in different ways. It is part of the grand experience of being human. When life is throwing a lot of stuff and responsibilities onto our plate we feel stressed, exasperated, worn out, maybe even depressed. However you are feeling, it’s not wrong. It is important that we do not wallow in low energy feelings without making an effort to change the vibration and energy, but that is not what we are talking about today. Today we are talking about when “those” emotions show up, that we accept them for what they are. We do not make them or us “wrong” for having them.

There are going to be times in your life when you feel angry. Life and circumstances happen that can cause us to feel frustrated; like that time your tire went flat and you were late. When people make choices that you do not agree with and you feel outrage. If someone betrays you or criticizes you, it is natural for you to have an negative emotional response to that. Accept how you are feeling. Do not make yourself feel further negative emotions by judging yourself by what comes up. Find a healthy way to cope with the emotion. Some examples are; going for a walk, creating some artwork, cleaning (this is what I do when I am mad), listening to music, or talk to a friend.

Sorrow is another natural emotion that we are going to experience in life. It is important that we honor this feeling when it comes up. The death of a pet or a loved one, a loss of any kind, disappointment, all of these things can cause us to feel sad. It is natural that we feel that way from time to time. Do not beat yourself up. It is okay. It is normal.

Be kind to yourself and accept yourself as you are. This does not mean we do not continue to try to improve ourself. The need for improvement does not indicate a reason to judge ourself lacking now, it’s just a higher goal to aim for.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of high vibrational emotions and acceptance of any lower vibrational emotions you happen to have. Accept yourself “as is” friends.

 

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Beneficial Forgiveness

Who are you unable to forgive and why? What things do you consider to be unforgivable? What mistakes have you made in life that you are still holding tight to because the pain is too much to think about? Being able to forgive others and even more so, to forgive yourself, can be life changing.

Most people do not set out in life to be a pain the the you know what. As humans, I believe we do the best we can, in the time and space we are in. But because of what we are holding on to, sometime the decisions we make will cause pain for ourselves and or others. I think if we realize that people do the best they can in the time and space they are in, it’ll help you leg go of the anger, regret and disappointment in order to find it in your heart to offer forgiveness.

I was in a toxic marriage once. There was verbal and emotional things happening that have had a lasting impact. I stayed in the marriage because I really believed that my children needed a home with a father and a mother. I also did not believe I could be successful in providing my children with a home and the other things they needed without two incomes. I was wrong about both of these things. I stayed because I didn’t know I was wrong. I stayed because I didn’t understand the lasting impact that this environment was having on my children. I stayed because I did not have enough self worth to believe I could leave. Eventually, I found my self worth and did leave the marriage. I am only now starting to fully understand how my children were hurt and affected by this.

So who do I need to forgive as a result of this story. I need to forgive myself for staying way to long. I need to forgive my ex-husband for the way he treated me and the children. I need to forgive my daughter who still holds so much anger at me for staying too long and for not protecting her more. I need to forgive my catholic up bringing that made me think I couldn’t leave. I need to forgive myself for feeling like a failure, because I couldn’t fix it.

I will tell you I have worked through this and have been able to forgive. Much of this processing and healing took place in the BWCA, with Emy’s support and love. I was able to touch those very painful emotions that were pushed down deep inside. I was able to feel them and understand them and eventually let them go. I was able to understand that my ex-husband was doing the best he could in the time and space he was in. He had learned how to be a family from his own family. Perhaps what had been modeled for him, when he was a child, was also not healthy. I came to understand that he had his own inner demons and probably did not like himself very much. He did not know how to deal with or heal these things. So it came out in these ways that harmed our family. Once I had some understanding of why he acted the way he did, I was able to forgive him. This forgiveness was a gift to him but more importantly it was a gift to myself. Forgiving him freed me from wallowing in the hate and self loathing. Forgiving him allowed me to get to the place where I could forgive myself. Forgiving him allowed me to let go of that “failed” marriage and give it blessings for the experiences I had and the things I learned as a result of it. Forgiving him gave me a new found freedom and a new found peace. Forgiving him was far more beneficial to me than it will ever be to him. Forgiving my daughter is easy. I pray the someday she will forgive me. Not because I feel I need forgiveness but because it will free her and allow her to heal. Forgiving my catholic up bringing was easier once I realized that it was a result of good intentions on my parents part. They were doing what they thought was right. They were doing the best they could to raise their children. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I think when we can see the good intentions behind the things that hurt us, it is easier to find forgiveness.

The hardest forgiveness that took place from the story I shared above was forgiving myself. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. We do not allow for our own mistakes. We take these perceived “failures” and hold on to them. We often feel they are unforgivable. None of us are perfect. Once I was able to realize that I too did the best I could in the time and place I was in, I began to see that I was able to forgive myself. I forgave myself for staying too long, for “failing” at marriage, for the mistakes I made in the midst of the marriage that made situations worse. The freedom of no longer holding on to these things allowed for a sense of freedom. The chains had been released. I was able to move on. I was able to work on myself and become a healthier version of me. I was able to find a relationship that is happy and healthy.

What in your life are you not able to forgive? Yourself? Others? Situations? Is there a way that you can see these situations from another perspective and find forgiveness? It will change your life. Forgive others, not for their benefit but for your own benefit. Free yourself from having to hold on to that disappointment any longer.

Do you have a story to share about how forgiveness improved your life? Do you have things you are currently working on forgiving yourself for? Do you have things you have learned along the way you would like to share with others?

Thank you for reading my blogs today. Feel free to share it with others you feel it may help. May your life be filled with healthy forgiveness. Blessings, Stacy

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Are You Positive?

What do you practice daily? This question showed up in my facebook news feed as a video by a young boy. I was so impressed with the wisdom of this youngster. I shared the video to our Adventure Sisters Facebook page. He was asking people if they had a daily practice. He went on to tell them that, whatever they practiced daily, they would become expert at. He gave example like; joy, anger, and complaining. He gave example of how practicing complaints and anger could make you very skilled at these things. It was really amazing insight for such a young person. Obviously an old soul resides in that young body. You can see his video on the Adventure Sisters Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

So what do you practice everyday? I think it is a good thing for us to look at and really talk about. Our brains are predisposed to see the negative around us. When you think about it from a survival stand point it makes sense. If you are always looking for the danger (aka the negative) you will be able to flee to safety. The habit forming potential of negative thinking is probably something we have all experienced. So how do we shift our focus? I consider myself a pretty positive person. Am I really, though? If I sit back and watch myself, do I complain as much or more then I express joy and delight? It is winter where I live. I do not tolerate the cold as well as I do the heat. I think I probably complain more in the winter then I do in the summer. Winter is beautiful. I love the way the fluffy white snow sits on the prickly branches of the evergreen trees. There is a simple serenity in the the near black and white color palate of winter in the north. So why do I spend my time bitching about the cold?

Others expect negativity from us as well. Have you every been excitedly telling someone about the positive things in your life and you get a sense of disapproval from them? So you throw in a couple negative aspects. The other person will accept you now. If I told you: I love my job, I work for a great company. I have supportive collaborative teammates. My boss has my back and helps mentor me to further success. I get paid well. My benefits are good. I get plenty of vacation time and my job perks are out of this world. Would you feel jealous? Would you feel I was bragging? Would you think I was trying to convince you or me that my job was great? Would your eyes glaze over and would you secretly be plotting my death? Would I notice this look in your eyes and feel the need to think of a couple of negative things about my job in order to feel a little less like a crazy person?

Do we not want our friends and family to be happy and have lots of blessings in their life? We say that we do. What is it that makes us not want to trust happiness, joy, good fortune, and miracles? Of course nothing is perfect. Given the opportunity, we can find something to complain about in any situation. But the opposite is true too. Given the opportunity we can find something good to talk about in any situation. I challenge you to be Pollyanna. (Do you know who that is?) Look for the silver lining. Turn that frown upside down. Make a decision to be the happiest person in the room. Embrace the madness of a positive attitude. “It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed” ~ Thomas Moore.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your daily practice bring you joy!

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