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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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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Twin Flame Relationships

Have you ever heard of the idea of a Twin Flame? Many people romanticize this concept but there really is more ‘pain’ than ‘romance’ in most Twin flame experiences. It is a very different experience from meeting your soulmate.

Twin Flames; is the concept that your soul is split in two to go into this earthly plane to have very different experiences. From my understanding; Twin Flames are typically opposites in almost every way. (Opposite sex, passions, personality, demeanor, spirituality, politics, etc.) Although many people may meet their Twin Flame, very few of these relationships are successful. The differences are just too great. It brings to mind the song from the Disney Movie, Little Mermaid; “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” When this relationship is successful, it is likely a very old soul that has worked through many experiences in countless lifetimes.

Recently, I have seen several articles about relationships between Empaths and Narcissists. It struck me that the Narcissist is the anti-empath. They cannot empathize with others. Perhaps these are actually Twin Flame relationships. Twin Flames feel like Karmic relationships. Have you ever had a friend who is drawn to someone so opposite and bad for them, that it just doesn’t make any sense, but you can’t talk them into staying away? This very well maybe a Twin Flame. Despite all the pain, they go back again and again. They can even verbalize how bad the other is for them, but like a moth to the flame, they can’t stay away.

Because Twin Flames are a split of one soul, there is a feeling of completeness and of home that comes when the two are together. It makes it that much harder for them to breakaway from each other to live a healthier more balanced life.

Relationships are one of the biggest teachers we experience in this life, especially romantic ones. Nothing will put your “stuff” in your face, like a romantic relationship. Having a romantic relationship with a Twin Flame can feel predestine and still be the most painful thing you experience. There can be lots to learn and much growth, but it will likely take just as much healing, personal work, and self discovery to recover after the relationship.

So what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me that the Narcissists and the Empaths are drawn together because they are Twin Flames? Have you had a relationship with your Twin Flame? What was your experience like?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with happy and healthy relationships, as if by magic.

*The featured photo on this blog was taken on The Little Mermaid Ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando FL.

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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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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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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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